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Ballance Tops McGill, Kiser at Wiseco John Penton ATV GNCC
Ockerman again in XC2, Verkade takes morning overall
It's an old lesson in Can-Am Grand National Cross Country ATV racing: Do not give Yamaha's BIll Ballance momentum, because he does't like to give it back. Adam McGill now knows what happens when you give the eight-time GNCC Champion an inch, as Ballance took his second-straight series win, this time at the Wiseco John Penton ATV GNCC, while McGill and fellow KTM rider Taylor Kiser took second and third.

Jason Hooper photo

"It was a one of those days where you had to be smart and smooth," said Ballance. Mud left over from Friday night rain led to tough track conditions, even though Saturday's racing featured perfect weather. "Sometimes you didn't even want to be the guy up front, just because you knew people were going to be getting stuck, but at the same time, you didn't want to be getting roosted."

Ballance battled McGill, Kiser and fellow Yamaha ATV rider Brandon Sommers all day, and the four built up a big lead over the rest of the pack. They went back and forth, but eventually Ballance grabbed the lead halfway through the race and built a gap. McGill's last-lap charge came up just four seconds short.

"If anyone said Bill doesn't have that fire anymore, forget it because he was going for it," said McGill. "We would catch a bottleneck and he would get away, and then we would hit another one and I would catch up to him. On the last lap, I knew I had a gap to make up, and you can talk about being consistent for points, but when you're second on the last lap, it's checkers or wreckers."

Kiser believed coming in that he could run with the lead pack, and he did that all day for his second podium of the season. "I've been putting in the hard work, riding here in the area to try to learn these conditions," said the second-year pro from Florida. "It's good to see that hard work paying off."

Sommers, who started the race by grabbing the $100 ITP Holeshot Award, dropped from the battle when he clipped a tree and found himself upside down on the course. XC Bob/Safari Motorsports Matt Smiley picked up the pace to take fourth and nearly run down Kiser for third. "I was actually ahead of him at one point," said Smiley. "I just got stuck on a little hill and stalled it, he got back by me."

Fifth went to The National Guard's William Yokley, ahead of Alba/DC Cycles' Ryan Lane. Bryan Baker was next on the factory Polaris, ahead of Yamaha/Cernic's/GT Thunder's Johnny Gallagher. Rockstar/Yoshimura Suzuki's Chris Borich had another dissapointing run in the mud for ninth.

Tenth overall went to GT Thunder/Yamaha's Don Ockerman, who nailed down his fifth XC2 Pro Am win of the season. He had quite a challenge from The National Guard's Mark Notman and Baldwin Motorsports' Brian Wolfe, who took second and third. The $100 Rekluse Holeshot Award went to David Crane. 

In the morning ATV race, a last-lap bottleneck opened up an opportunity for Montgomeryville Cycle Center's Stefanie Verkade to take her first-ever ATV morning overall win. Tom Clark Motorsports' Angel Atwell and Yamaha's Traci Cecco took second and third.

Verkade shed tears on the podium, completing a life-long dream by getting the class and overall win. "Today, I had luck on my side, for once," said Verkade, who collected the $100 ATV Morning Race Overall Win Award. "I've been racing my whole life, and this is just a dream come true to get up here."

The top Utility result came from Doug Henke on a Kawasaki KFX700 in the U2 class. Bryan Buckhannon (4x4 Open) and Cliffton Beasley (4x4 Lites) continued their perfect seasons, while Michael Swift got his fifth win in six races in the 4x4 Limited class.

The one-hour GNCC Youth race was postponed from morning until afternoon to give the track a chance to dry. An 11-year-old, Ryan Early, made history by becoming the youngest-ever overall race winner. Logan Fluharty and Jerry Welch rounded out the podium.

The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series continues in two weeks with The Weekend Warrior Spartan GNCC in Sparta, Kentucky.

Wiseco John Penton GNCC
Millfield, OH
May 10, 2008

Top Ten Overall

Top Ten Overall
1. Bill Ballance (Yam)
2. Adam McGill (KTM)
3. Taylor Kiser (KTM)
4. Matt Smiley (Hon)
5. William Yokley (Hon)
6. Ryan Lane (Yam)
7. Bryan Baker (Pol)
8. Johnny Gallagher (Yam)
9. Chris Borich (Suz)
10. Don Ockerman (Yam) XC2 Pro-Am Winner

XC1 Pro Class

1. Adam McGill (134/3 wins)
2. Bill Ballance (122/2 wins)
3. Bryan Cook (106)
4. Chris Borich (100/1 win)
5. Brandon Sommers (99)
6. Taylor Kiser (94)
7. William Yokley (92)
8. Matt Smiley (79)
9. Ryan Lane (77)
10. Jarrod McClure (66

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Composed: 05/20/2008 | Modified: 05/20/2008
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