The home state fans roared when North Carolina’s own Bryan Cook grabbed the win at the Elka Yadkin Valley Stomp ATV GNCC.
“Man it feels so good,” said Cook. “I heard the fans cheering all day, every time you came around a corner there were people cheering. You know, it gives you some motivation over the winter when everyone is talking about everyone else, and they’re not talking about you. I wanted to get back up there and get my name back out there. Today I had a good start, and then Branden (Sommers), something must have happened and his engine just quit. I got lucky and I was able to get around. After that, I just kept my head down. I got a little fatigued but not too bad, and I held on.”
After grabbing the lead from Sommers at mid-race, Cook held off a last-lap charge from Ballance. “I knew a good start would be key today, and my Yamaha got me off the line quick,” said Ballance. “I pulled a little bit of a wheelie, so I had to clutch it and everyone got by me. I just put my head down. On the last lap I was getting pit boards that I was closing in, and I thought I might see Bryan up ahead. I was giving it everything I had, and I must have just barely clipped a tree. I went over the bars a bit.”
Still, Ballance extends his GNCC Series points lead over KTM’s Adam McGill, who ended up fifth. Third went to McClure, his first-ever XC1 Pro Class podium finish.
“It’s hard racing against these guys,” said McClure. “They have the big trucks and the equipment, we just have our little trailer, but we do what we can. Today I had a good start and I just stayed up there all day, didn’t make many big mistakes.”
Ryan Lane scored his best finish of the season with fourth, ahead of McGill. Rockstar Yoshimura Suzuki’s Chris Borich turned in an amazing ride after crashing in turn one, shaking off the pain, and making up nearly a minute of time to fight through the pack. Next came National Guard Honda’s William Yokley, who was fighting a clogged filter in the dust. KTM’s Taylor Kiser, XCBob.com’s Matt Smiley and Excell Motorsports’ Santo DeRisi rounded out the top ten.
Yamaha’s Brandon Sommers grabbed the ITP Holeshot Award and led the first lap, but a crash dropped him back to 11th.
In the XC2 Pro-Am Class, another North Carolina rider, Jeff Maloney, grabbed his first career win. Pennsylvania’s Tyler Lenig was a close second, with Ohio’s XC2 points leader Don Ockerman in third. “I don’t live too far from here, and it was great having all of these locals out there cheering me,” said Maloney. “It was tough, Tyler (Lenig) was creeping up on me. Every time I looked back, he was right there.”
Lenig pushed hard for second. “I was going for it, I wanted that win,” said Lenig. “Jeff ran a great race.”
Ockerman had the early lead after taking the Rekluse Holeshot Award, but he crashed when he hit a tree stump. “There was a big creek jump, and we had decided early in the day we weren’t going to jump it,” said Ockerman. “I didn’t want to take the chance of breaking my machine and not scoring any points. And these guys rode awesome.”
In the ATV morning race, Tom Clark Motorsports’ Honda’s Angel Atwell took her fourth win of the season, out dueling series rival Traci Cecco (factory Yamaha). Atwell’s niece Kristin finished third overall as the women’s class swept the podium again.
Bryan Buckhannon (Open 4x4 ATV) and Cliff Beasley (4x4 Lites) kept their perfect seasons alive with victories, while usual suspects Michael Swift (4x4 Limited) and Michael Benson (U2) won their classes. Buckhannon, Swift and Beasley rode Can-Am Outlanders, Benson was mounted on a Kawasaki KFX700 ATV.
Elka Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC
Top Ten Overall
1. Bryan Cook Casar, NC (Hon)
2. Bill Ballance Smiths Grove, KY (Yam)
3. Jarrod Mcclure Kaska, PA (Hon)
4. Ryan Lane Bicknell, IN (Hon)
5. Adam McGill West Union, WV (KTM)
6. Chris Borich Sunbury, PA (Suz)
7. William Yokley Tompkinsville, KY (Hon)
8. Taylor Kiser Alva, FL (KTM)
9. Matthew Smiley Kunkletown, PA (Hon)
10. Santo Derisi Casar, NC (Hon)
GNCC XC1 Pro Class Standings (After 8 of 13 rounds)
1. Bill Ballance 177/3 wins
2. Adam McGill 154/3 wins
2. Bryan Cook 154/1 win
4. Brandon Sommers 134
5. Chris Borich 128/ 1 win
6. William Yokley 127
7. Taylor Kiser 118
8. Matt Smiley 105
9. Jarrod McClure 103
10. Ryan Lane 102
Photo Jason Hooper