NEW BERLIN, NY, SEPT 12 - After an exciting and hard-fought battle, Jimmy Jarrett edged out Nate Kanney to win the Can-Am Unadilla GNCC in New Berlin, New York - round 10 of the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series.
Jarrett's win was somewhat of a surprise since the GEICO/JG Off Road/ Monster Energy Kawasaki rider suffered a shoulder injury early in the season and has spent most of the year trying to return to form. The fact that he beat Kanney at Unadilla was even more impressive, since the New York course is well known as Kanney's favorite.
"I surprised myself," said Jarrett. "I've been off for so long and I haven't been able to ride at that pace since Florida, but I think the adrenaline kept me going for most of the race."
Jarrett got a good jump at the start and took the lead within the first mile of the race.
"I got in the lead early on and then Nate passed me and the battle began," said Jarrett. "We went back and forth and then I tipped over with two laps to go and he got away from me and I thought it was over with. But he got into some lappers and I was able to catch up to him. Then on the last lap, not far from the end, he just lost the front end on some slippery rocks and I knew that was my shot and I just pinned it."
Kanney crossed the finish line less than five seconds behind Jarrett to take second.
"I had the lead for a while and Jimmy was right on me and we were having a good race," said Kanney. "He kept the pressure on and I had to push on the last lap and I crashed trying to get around a lapper and unfortunately I didn't have enough time to make it up. I didn't get the win but I'm really happy for Jimmy. He's had a lot of bad luck this year and he really rode good today so I'm happy for him."
Chris Bach made a late race charge to finish third. The Clockwork/Ride PG/KTM rider got off to a mediocre start and made a few passes to move up with the frontrunners. However, at the midway point of the race the Indiana rider crashed and dropped outside of the top six. In the end, Bach was able to work his way back into third, giving him his fourth podium finish of the year.
"The track was really blown out and there are a lot of lines everywhere so it was easy to make some moves," said Bach. "I got up to the front and I slipped in behind Kanney and I thought I would just track him, but I went down and lost a lot of ground. But I just put my head down and was determined to get back to the front."
Josh Strang came into the race hoping to add to his 17-point lead in the series standings, and after finishing a solid fourth the FMF/Makita Suzuki rider left town with a 24-point cushion after his closest challenger, Charlie Mullins, struggled to finish 10th.
"I was a little off the pace today and I got a pretty bad start, but I was pretty happy overall," said Strang. "I actually picked up a few points and my bike was awesome. The testing we did the last few weeks - we got the thing dialed in, so I'm pretty stoked about that. It's a bummer not to get on the podium but I'm still in good shape for the championship."
Thad DuVall ran in second during the early stages of the race before giving way to Kanney and Bach. DuVall eventually edged out FMF/KTM factory rider Cory Buttrick for fifth. In the meantime, DuVall's Am Pro/FMF Yamaha teammate Barry Hawk Jr. finished seventh, ahead of Glenn Kearney on the 250 Husqvarna. Ninth and 10th went to Am Pro/FMF Yamaha riders Paul Whibley and Mullins.
Mullins came into the race hoping to make a dent in Strang's points lead, however he went down on the first lap and damaged his throttle body. The Ohio native eventually had to make a trip to the pits to get it fixed and was never able to recover the lost time.
Like the XC1 race, the XC2 race as a two-man battle, with class rivals Kailub Russell and Jason Thomas going at it for most of the race. Over the summer break, Thomas' team, Monster Energy Andrews Cycles, made the switch to Husqvarna machinery and Thomas was making his first start on the new TXC 250 and he was hoping to get a win.
After battling during the early stages with KTM rider Jesse Robinson and GEICO/JG Off Road/ Monster Energy Kawasaki's Scotty Watkins, Thomas and Russell broke away and spent the rest of the race swapping the lead. The race was finally decided on the final lap, within sight of the finish line, when Russell and Thomas came together and Thomas ended up going down. In end end, Russell put his FMF/KTM across the finish line three seconds sooner than Thomas to claim his sixth win of the series.
"I had a couple of crashes today, but I was able to catch back up each time," said Russell. "There at the end, me and Jason were both going for the same line and we came together and he got the bad end of the deal."
Thomas was disappointed at the way the race ended but he was pleased with his new bike and his team.
"I just wanted to win it was all the people who supported me today," said Thomas.
Watkins rounded out the podium, beating out KTM's Steward Baylor Jr. for the position by just over two minutes.
Zach Nolan made his XC2 debut a good one by finishing fifth, while fellow KTM rider Nick Davis rode a solid race to finish sixth.
Nicholas Hunter (KTM), Morgan Moss (Yam), Jason Klammer (KTM) and Brian Lawson (Yam) rounded out the top 10.
1. Jimmy Jarrett (Kaw)
2. Nate Kanney (KTM)
3. Chris Bach (KTM)
4. Josh Strang (Suz)
5. Thad DuVall (Yam)
6. Cory Buttrick (KTM)
7. Barry Hawk Jr. (Yam)
8. Glenn Kearney (Hus)
9. Paul Whibley (Yam)
10. Charlie Mullins (Yam)
1. Kailub Russell (KTM)
2. Jason Thomas (Hus)
3. Scott Watkins (Kaw)
4. Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)
5. Zach Nolan (KTM)
6. Nick Davis (KTM)
7. Nicholas Hunter (KTM)
8. Morgan Moss (Yam)
9. Jason Klammer (KTM)
10. Brian Lawson (Yam)