ATV GNCC Report Round 2
Round number 2 of the GNCC traded the warm, sunny sands of Florida for the cold, rainy mud of Aonia Pass in Washington, Georgia, which has been dubbed by some as a “survival” race due to track conditions that deteriorated throughout the day. The Can-Am/Warnert race team braved huge ruts, deep mud and bitter cold as they negotiated the sometimes-treacherous course.
Warnert’s U2 class racer, Rick Cecco, managed to defeat the elements for the most part, claiming second place in his class. “I came off the line in 4th place, but with all the mud I had to pull into the pits to get new goggles and gloves,” said Cecco, who’s pit stop put him back to almost last place. Cecco immediately put the hammer down and began picking off riders and found himself in 2nd place as he crossed the finish line with a time of 02:14:23, putting him in 15th overall for the morning classes.
Meanwhile, Can-Am/Warnert teammate Cliff Beasley went on to claim his second consecutive win of the season in the 4x4 Lites. Cliff was in 2nd place for most of the race until the 4th lap when leader and fellow Can-Am rider Jerime Dudding got stuck in a bottleneck in the woods. Beasley got around the bottleneck and took the lead. Beasley’s time of 02:10:45, gave him an overall standing of 6th place for the day.
4x4 Open class racer Scott Kilby had a good run and finishing 3rd in his class, while 4x4 Limited rider. Michael Swift encountered problems out on the track during the first lap, which put him in dead last. Swift managed to hang in there and worked his way back through the pack taking 8th in his class, finishing 4 laps with a time of 2:03:51.
By the time the XC1 Pro class took to the track that afternoon, the ruts had gotten so deep that there was no escape from some of them if you happened to choose the wrong line. Chris Bithell, who came off the line in 5th place, worked his way up and was running in 2nd for a couple of laps. Bithell was running strong until he encountered several areas where bottlenecks had developed. “I was running in 2nd place for a while, then in the 4th lap I got stuck and then I got stuck twice on the 5th lap,” said a disappointed Bithell. “I have to thank the fans for their help though. At one point I had 6 people out there trying to pull me out when I got stuck,” he concluded. Despite the help from spectators, Bithell lost several positions, which put him back to 15th. At the checkered flag, Bithell had managed to move up to 13th with a finishing time of 2:33:13. Bithell’s XC1 teammate, Chris Jenks, had a tough go of things after a first lap crash that took the wind out of his sails. Jenks managed to finish 4 laps in 1:58:38, which put him in 16th place.
The next round of the GNCC is scheduled for March 29-30 and will find the Can-Am Warnert team in North Carolina at Steel Creek for round number three where Cliff Beasley is hoping for his 3rd consecutive win in his pursuit of the 4x4 Lites Championship and Bithell and Jenks continue to push themselves to the limits in the XC1 Pro class.