GNCC

Salminen wins, Watts, Willis and Kearney in top 20

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A massive field of 1700 riders took the famed Unadilla Valley Sports Center in New York for round 11 of the Suzuki GNCC Series last Sunday (Sep-25) with KTM‰Ûªs ten-time world enduro champion Juha Salminen coming out on top and extending his lead in the championship. "It was rough," said Juha, who had lost the last two rounds of the series after reeling off six wins early in the season. "I liked the track, but it was very tough. There were so many riders out there. But finally things are back to normal. When you have the bad luck one time, you don't get so mad. But when it happens twice, you want to come back and show everyone you can still do it." On a rugged, rough, rutted Unadilla track, Salminen crashed in the first turn and was still able to rally back to a win ‰ÛÒ another incredible performance. But the New York fans were even more excited to see High Falls native Nathan Kanney carry his privateer R.E.R. Yamaha to second overall ‰ÛÒ his first GNCC podium ever. "I went as fast as I could all day today," said Kanney. "The difference was, I've been busting my butt at 7 in the morning every day for the last few months getting ready for this race. It's awesome having a thousand people out there in the woods cheering that are as motivated as you are. Usually, I'm at these races all alone trying to do it all, but today I had my friends and family here, and I really have to thank them. I‰Ûªve been training really hard trying to get a job with a team. I just hope I can keep getting up here, or I‰Ûªll just be a 22-year-old has been." Am Pro Yamaha‰Ûªs Barry Hawk saw his two-race win streak end with a third place finish. "The lappers out there, it was so bad you just couldn‰Ûªt get into a rhythm," said Hawk. "I think it just came down to mistakes, and I made more of them. I don‰Ûªt think anyone was faster today." The Unadilla GNCC offered all of the thrills of the legendary motocross track combined with rough and rugged GNCC terrain. Rain early in the morning turned a dusty track into a muddy one, but then it dried out to leave perfect traction. It led to great racing. When Salminen, defending GNCC Champion Rodney Smith and many other top riders crashed in the first turn, Hawk took advantage and grabbed the early lead, with his 19-year-old rookie teammate Charles Mullins and KTM‰Ûªs National Enduro Champion Mike Lafferty right behind. They battled while Juha clawed his way back into the mix. Soon he was with the leaders, but Mullins wasn‰Ûªt making it easy, the rookie putting in an amazing ride until he lost his rear brakes. This left Hawk to challenge Juha, but then Kanney, inspired by the home field advantage, came out of nowhere to take the lead. "I fell in the second turn, then right before we went into the woods, and then I fell again as soon as I got into the woods," said Kanney, who was running custom graphics with a the New York City skyline in the background. "I guess I got all the crashes out of my system, because then I started riding smooth." Hawk struggled, though, and Salminen was able to get around him and then battle Kanney for the lead. Kanney hung as tough as he could for a solid second, ahead of Hawk. Behind him, KTM teammates Lafferty and Robbie Jenks scrapped it out for fourth, with Jenks getting the nod. Juha, though, was back to his dominant self. "I had nowhere to go in the first turn," said the Fast Finn. "I had to work very hard to pass all the guys. When you would get the lead, there were many lappers, so it was hard to pull a good lead. This was a good win." Two full-time pro motocrossers tried the event and did well, Ithaca, New York‰Ûªs Paul Carpenter and Skaneateles, New York‰Ûªs Bobby Kiniry. After bad starts, they both pulled through, with Carpenter in 14th overall and Kiniry in 17th. "Man, that was by far the hardest thing I‰Ûªve ever done," said Carpenter. "I have tons of respect for these guys. There were so many ruts and roots, I couldn‰Ûªt believe we had to ride a motorcycle over it, and especially not race over it! But I had fun. I‰Ûªd like to try another one to see if I could do better." "I had fun, I‰Ûªm glad I did it," said Kiniry. "I just wanted to finish, that‰Ûªs all. So this was great. It was tough, though." From an Australian standpoint Glenn Kearney consolidated his third place in the standings with 8th overall, one place behind compatriot Shane Watts in 7th. Fresh from the ISDE in Slovakia Victorian Offroad Champion Jehi Willis impressed with 18th overall. Tasmanian Matt Fish finished just outside the top 20 (23rd) but took home the Open A class win. "The race was really difficult for me", said Kearney. "I had a pretty ordinary start and was a caught in a first turn pile up and rounded the first lap in 29th. I struggled the first two laps in the mud before I began to get a rhythm going and move forward. I hooked up with Wattsy towards the end of the race and he helped me keep up the pace to the finish. I think I was riding so tight in the first two laps I used a lot of energy and that made me super tired towards the end of the race. I am disappointed with the result but happy that I didn‰Ûªt lose any points to 4th in the championship." The next round of the Suzuki Grand National Cross Country Series takes place in two weeks with the Power Line Park GNCC in St. Clairsville, Ohio.
Unadilla, NY - Round 11
Place Racer Brand Laps
Elapsed
1
Juha Salminen KTM 8
02:58:34
2
Nathan Kanney YAM 8
02:59:53
3
Barry Hawk, Jr YAM 8
03:00:26
4
Robbie Jenks KTM 8
03:01:19
5
Michael Lafferty KTM 8
03:02:55
6
Rodney Smith SUZ 8
03:06:06
7
Shane Watts KTM 8
03:07:57
8
Glenn Kearney SUZ 8
03:08:33
9
Charles Mullins YAM 8
03:09:41
10
Brian Garrahan SUZ 8
03:11:21
11
Jesse Robinson KAW 8
03:11:22
12
Justin Williamson YAM 8
03:11:23
13
Mark Eastwood HON 8
03:12:46
14
Paul Carpenter KAW 8
03:12:53
15
Stephen Edmondson KTM 8
03:12:57
16
Travis Green KAW 8
03:13:01
17
Robert Kiniry HON 8
03:13:11
18
Jehi Wills SUZ 8
03:13:56
19
Scott Watkins KAW 8
03:14:02
20
Chris Gallt KAW 8
03:14:03

Points after Round 11
Place Name Make
Points
1
Juha Salminen KTM
284
2
Barry Hawk, Jr YAM
229
3
Glenn Kearney SUZ
166
4
Charles Mullins YAM
141
5
Robbie Jenks KTM
140
6
Michael Lafferty KTM
117
7
Steve Hatch KAW
106
8
Jason Raines YAM
102
9
Brian Garrahan SUZ
102
10
Shane Watts KTM
92
11
Fred Andrews SUZ
70
12
Justin Williamson YAM
70
13
Nathan Kanney YAM
68
14
Stephen Edmondson KTM
62
15
Chuck Woodford KAW
61
16
Travis Green KAW
61
17
Doug Blackwell SUZ
58
18
Scott Summers HON
54
19
P A Allen KAW
51
20
Scott Watkins KAW
46

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