Kiser Takes First Career Win at ATV GNCC Opener
Borich, McGill Overcome Mechanical Troubles to Land on Podium
Alva, Florida's Taylor Kiser started the 2009 Can-Am ATV Grand National Cross County Series in dream fashion by notching his first career win at the season opening River Ranch GNCC in Lake Wales, Florida. Kiser, who finished the 2008 tour ranked sixth in the final standings, topped Rockstar Yoshimura Suzuki's Chris Borich and FRE KTM's Adam McGill on a rough, dry, sandy race track at the West Gate River Ranch Resort.
"This is like a dream to win it in front of all of these people," said Kiser in front of his home state fans on the podium. "I saw Chris and Adam setting a good pace out front, and I wasn't sure if I should go with them, because this course gets so rough and I knew it would be a long day. So I just played it smart and it paid off."
Borich grabbed the $250 MotorcycleUSA.com ATV Holeshot Award and took off early. He and McGill traded the lead a bit before McGill came in contact with a lapped rider. "Another rider had just pulled out of Chris' way, and then he pulled back onto the track just as I was coming through. I flipped the thing and it broke the bolt on my front brake. That was some bad luck there."
McGill took an extended pit stop, and Kiser went around to take second. Then Borich started struggling as his clutch started fading. "I felt real good, real strong early," said Borich. "I've been training a lot harder, hitting the gym real hard. We're ready. I ride the clutch a lot through those sand whoops, but in this sugar sand it started to fade. I really had to change my riding style on the last lap just to get in to the finish. I think everyone probably had clutch problems out here."
Kiser admitted his clutch started fading, too, but after he made the pass on Borich he kept his pace up and rolled to a win by just over a minute after two hours of racing.
Fourth went to DeRisi Racing veteran Bryan Cook, on an Honda, with last year's XC2 Champion Don Ockerman grabbing fifth on his factory GT Thunder Yamaha. Sixth went to Brandon Ballance, on a Yamaha, with Warnert Racing Can-Am's Chris Bithell in seventh. Jeff Pickens, Jarrod McClure and Josh Kirkland rounded out the top ten overall, with Kirkland topping the XC2 Pro-Am Class on his FRE KTM.
"This is the way I was hoping it would go, but really, I was just hoping to get to the dirt races to get a win," said Kirkland after a day in the sand.
Second in the class went to another KTM rider, David Crane, while third came an unheralded Kawasaki privateer from New York, Scott Rich. Yamaha rider Brian Wolf grabbed the $100 Rekluse XC2 Holeshot Award and finished fifth, behind Honda rider Eric Hoyland.
Defending GNCC Champion Bill Ballance struggled all day dealing with the effects of getting surgery on his ribs just three weeks ago - the result of an injury that lingered from last year. He finished 18th in the XC1 pro class after completing four of six laps.
Ballance and Bithell did, however, compete hard the night before the race as part of barrel racing at the River Ranch Rodeo. In the end, Ballance came up a second short of the fastest horse while riding his YFZ450R.
In the morning race, KTM's Angel Atwell notched the $100 GT Thunder Morning Race Overall Award in her first GNCC on a KTM. Jennifer Albright notched second overall and second in the Women's class, with Warnert Can-Am's Michael Swift taking top 4x4 honors by notching third overall and winning the 4x4 Limited Class.
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series continues with bike racing from the Parts Unlimited River Ranch GNCC on Tuesday, March 3rd. For more information and full results, visit
Parts Unlimited River Ranch GNCC
Lake Wales, Florida
March 1, 2009
1. Taylor Kiser (Yam)
2. Chris Borich (Suz)
3. Adam McGill (KTM)
4. Bryan Cook (Hon)
5. Don Ockerman (Yam)
6. Brandon Ballance (Yam)
7. Chris Bithell (Can)
8. Jeff Pickens (Yam)
9. Jarrod McClure (Yam)
10. Johnny Gallagher (Yam)