Lafayette, TN (April 28,2009) - Bill Ballance made his way back into first place two weeks ago at the Acerbis Loretta Lynn GNCC, but the road to that first win of the season was tough. Ballance was diagnosed with cancer just weeks before the season began, and after surgery to remove it and a rib, was not able to finish the first two rounds. He then carded two third-place finishes before his emotional win at the previous race. Going into round 6 of the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series at the Weekend Warrior Titan GNCC, many are wondering if he can pull off a comeback again.
While Ballance has been recovering, young guns have been vying for the lead position. FRE KTM's Adam McGill has consistently been on the podium, and although he has yet to win a race, he is the current point leader, with eight points on Yamaha's Taylor Kiser.
Kiser and Chris Borich are within one point of each other for second. Kiser won the season-opener in Florida and has looked strong on his Yamaha all season. Borich has won two races and threatened to run away with the points lead until he broke a chain at the last race-just the kind of break Ballance needs. Houser Racing's Bryan Cook is also in fighting contention for the championship, and needs a win this weekend to get in the top three. Cook won at Steele Creek and has been at the front of the pack ever since. If Ballance wins the next few rounds, though, it lead to a repeat of last year's competition between McGill and Ballance, when McGill controlled the beginning of the season but Ballance overtook him down the stretch.
If Ballance, the nine-time GNCC Champion, pulls it off again this year, after fighting cancer and failing to finish the first two races, it will go down as one of the all-time great comebacks in sport. If he wins the title, he also plans to retire at the end of the season.
In the XC2 class, a familiar trio has dominated the podium. Brian Wolf, Josh Kirkland and Eric Hoyland have been the three to watch since the second round. Wolf and Kirkland have traded in and out of the first and second place positions on the podium, with Kirkland holding on to the points lead by four points. Wolf, who started out the season with a 5th place win at River Ranch, has won the last two rounds and is just four points behind Kirkland. Hoyland has consistently placed 3rd the last four rounds.
AT the Weekend Warrior Titan GNCC, spectator passes run $15 for the full weekend, with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge. On both Saturday and Sunday, youth riders race at 8 a.m., beginner riders race at 10 a.m., and the top amateurs and the pros race at 1 p.m. For more information, check out the official series website at www.GNCCRacing.com or call 304-284-0084.
To get to the track, from Interstate 65, take exit 117 to Hwy 52 east 20 miles through Portland and Westmoreland. Left on Leath Branch Rd and straight across Old Hwy 52. Leath Branch becomes Rocky Mound Rd. and it's 3 miles to the track on the left.
About GNCC Racing
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series is America's premier off-road racing series. Founded in 1973, the 13-round championship is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The grueling three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 1,800 riders through tracks ranging in length from eight to 12 miles, competing for more than $3 million in prizes. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.