Charlie Mullins lived up to the high expectations placed on him in the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series by winning round two of the 2008 tour, the Maxxis General GNCC in Washington, Georgia. The FMF Suzuki rider took the race lead at the halfway point from Red Bull KTM's Nathan Kanney and held it to the end, with Kanney taking second and defending GNCC Champion David Knight taking third.
"I felt good all day," said the Ohio-based Mullins, who struggled when he smashed an exhaust pipe at the season-opener a few days ago in Florida. "Nate rode good and he kept me pushing the whole time. I would look over on the motocross track and he would be in the same spot every lap, so I needed to keep pushing. Everything worked great, though, so I'm really happy."
Kanney, the New Yorker who moved back to the U.S. this season after a year in the World Enduro Series, was happy to get back into bar-to-bar racing mode after a year of special tests in Europe. "For the last year and a half all I've wanted to do is have someone stick a front wheel in on me," said Kanney. "So it was good to race with Charlie, he rode well. I saved enough energy for the last lap to do what I needed to do, and I was ready to make it a special test and just sprint after him. But I couldn't reel him in."
Knight got off to a bad start and climbed to third, but he admitted he didn't have the speed on this day to catch the lead pair. "I really don't think I would have done any better with a better start," said Knight. "I was trying to push harder, but I would get stuck in these bogs, stuff the front wheel and almost go over the bars. The guys rode great, no excuses."
Fourth went to FMF Suzuki's New Zealander Paul Whibley and fifth to his teammate Jimmy Jarrett.
In the XC2 Lites class, Am-Pro Yamaha's Thad DuVall romped to his second-straight win. "I had a big crash early on, I thought for sure that I was done," said West Virginia's DuVall. "I don't know, I was on the ground hurt, and I was ready to pull off. But I started to get better and I made my way back up." Second went to XC2 rookie Andrew Matusek, riding with the Monster Energy Kawasaki team. "I really didn't know where I would fit in here," said Matusek, a Georgia native. "A fourth and a second in the first two races, I'm pretty happy with that."
Monster Energy/Andrews' Kawasaki's Dustin Gibson clawed his way to third after crashing in the first turn. "I'll never give up," said Gibson. "I just kept chopping away at it. I think my conditioning is good, it carried me through."
KTM rider John Barber collected the Thumpertalk.com holeshot award and held on for fourth. Fifth went to last week's XC2 runner up, Josh Weisenfels, who was suffering from the flu. Also suffering was last week's XC1 third overall racer, Garrett Edmisten, who failed to finish.