Washington, GA - When Chris Borich won the first two races of the 2005 Suzuki Grand National Cross Country Series, it put five-time GNCC Champ Bill Ballance into a hole he has never been in before. But Ballance climbed out with a determined ride at the Maxxis General GNCC, battling Borich wheel-to-wheel through the final miles of the race before emerging with one of the most important wins of his career.
"Coming into today there was just no other position that was acceptable," said Ballance. "I know from myself you can't let someone else get out there and jump out early in the season. I look for it to be a big battle every time we go out there."
Borich came into the last lap with a gap to make up on Ballance, and he pinned it through a tricky mud-hole that Ballance went around. He close in there, and then the duo passed over and over. It looked like Borich might take the win, but the final mudhole cost him.
"I thought I had it covered," said Borich, who was in the lead and looking to make it three-straight late in the game. "I should have went to the left, but I went to the right. I thought I could make it. I had some spots picked out out there, but it just didn't work out."
Good battle is an understatement. The Killer B's have been pounding on each other race after race, and this time the two-hour event came down to just a few feet in a mud hole on the last lap.
Third went to Four-Stroke Tech's Chris Jenks, who grabbed a huge holeshot and set a blistering, and surprising, pace. Jenks led near the halfway mark, and held on to claim a podium finish. "I didn't think I was ready for this yet," said Jenks. "Just give me a couple more races. But at the end, I knew I wasn't alone, and I wasn't going to give up."
Jenks had pressure from Suzuki's William Yokley, who took fourth for the second weekend in a row. Fifth went to Branden Ballance, another solid ride from Bill's younger brother.
Borich continues to lead the series standings, but Ballance is close. It appears the battle for the 2005 GNCC ATV Title may come down to the wire.
The Suzuki Grand National Cross Country Series continues in three weeks at the Steele Creek GNCC in Morganton, North Carolina.
The AMA-sanctioned Suzuki Grand National Cross Country series is America's premier off-road racing series. The 13-round series is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The nearly three-hour long GNCC races lead as many as 1400 riders through tracks ranging from eight to twelve miles in length. With varied terrain including hills, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. GNCC featured sponsors include Suzuki, Parts Unlimited, Moose, Maxxis, Pirelli, Wiseco, Klotz, FMF and ITP, and riders compete for over $1.3 million in series prizes and contingency money. Associate sponsors include Moose Utility Division, Scott, Alpinestars, Öhlins, Cometic, Outerwears, Race Tools, Twin Air, SFB Racing, Thor, Racer X Illustrated, Motion Pro, Tire Balls, Moto-Tee's, Warrior and Laeger's.