Juha Salminen’s mission in the U.S. is nearly complete, as the 10-Time World Enduro Champion from Finland clinched his second-straight Suzuki Grand National Cross Country Championship by winning the Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC in Yadkinville, NC.

The KTM-backed Juha needed to win the lock up the title, and at first it looked like that would be tough, as Am Pro Yamaha’s Barry Hawk and FMF/Suzuki’s Glenn Kearney put a major challenge to him for the first four laps. But with an hour left, Salminen turned up the heat.

"I found another gear," Salminen said. “It wasn’t a plan, I didn’t have one before the race. I just wanted to see what would happen. The second lap I tried to pull away from Barry but I fell down and he was back on to me. Then we got through lappers and I was able to pull away.”

"I was able to charge hard and get up to those guys," said Kearney. "But I think Juha turned it up. He just has that little bit extra."

"I was happy right there just following him and maybe see if he would make a few mistakes," said Hawk. "The first couple laps is when he made them, and I knew I needed to stay there. But I didn't."

"I knew Barry was there and Glenn," said Juha. "I knew I would have to stop for gas one more time. So I had to get the gap up to maybe 20 seconds so the guys couldn’t catch me. So I found another gear. I added 35 seconds in one lap so you can count how fast I go."

"It was perfect conditions today," said the runner-up, Kearney. "Even though I was second, with the way the races were going here lately, to finish second behind Juha feels like a win. It was a great track, it was tight and it was still flowing."

A tremendous battle raged for the positions behind the leaders. At the finish KTM’s Shane Watts busted through for fourth on the 2007 KTM 250 XC-F, his best finish of the season and the best finish ever in a GNCC for a 250 four-stroke. Watts rode so hard that he practically collapsed at the finish.

Fifth went to Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki veteran Fred Andrews.

North Carolina was not kind to Am Pro Yamaha’s Charlie Mullins. He crashed in the second turn and got up nearly last. He mounted a major charge to catch Andrews and Watts, but a stick ripped the fuel line from his petcock and ended his day.

"I'm so frustrated right now," Mullins said. "I caught up to those guys, and I was going a little faster than them, but the trail was so tight that I couldn’t pass them."

The Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC was taped for an airing on the Versus Network (formerly the Outdoor Life Network). Races air every Saturday and Wednesday at 3 pm EST.

The Suzuki GNCC Series continues in two weeks at historic Unadilla Valley Sports Center in New Berlin, NY with the Unadilla GNCC.

Results:

Suzuki Grand National Cross Country Series - Round 10

Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC

September 10, 2006

Bike Top Twenty Overall

1. Juha Salminen

2. Glenn Kearney

3. Barry Hawk, Jr

4. Shane Watts

5. Fred Andrews

6. Robbie Jenks

7. Paul Whibley

8. Jesse Robinson

9. Scott Watkins

10. Travis Green

11. Garrett Edmisten

12. Cole Calkins

13. Justin Williamson

14. Stephen Edmondson

15. Thad Duvall

16. Nathan Kanney

17. Joshua Strang

18. Bryan Henson

19. Justin Monsrud

20. P A Allen

Suzuki GNCC Points Standings (After 10 of 13 rounds)

1. Juha Salminen (290/8 wins)

2. Barry Hawk (199/2 wins)

3. Glenn Kearney (160)

4. Charles Mullins (151)

5. Paul Whibley (132)

6. Jimmy Jarrett (107)

6. Fred Andrews (107)

8. Robbie Jenks (98)

9. Shane Watts (97)

10. Mike Lafferty (90)

GNCC News


By Jason Weingandt

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