New GNCC Round Announced

| May 22, 2002

Racer Productions will introduce AMA Grand National Cross Country motorcycle and all-terrain-vehicle racers to a new environment at the Wisp GNCC at Deep Creek Mountain Resort, round nine of the 2002 series, on June 29 and 30, according to a press release from Racer. Located in McHenry, Maryland, Wisp at Deep Creek Mountain Resort is one of the region’s premier ski and golf areas.

“The Wisp GNCC at Deep Creek Mountain Resort will create a whole new experience in off-road racing,” says Racer Productions’ Tim Cotter. “This race will offer beautiful accommodations and exciting recreational activities for everyone, a race course that sends racers up and down ski trails, and great views of all the action from fully operational chair lifts.”

“Hosting a GNCC is the perfect compliment toward our expansion into new areas of outdoor fun,” says Adrian Spiker, program manager for Wisp at Deep Creek Mountain Resort. “We’re excited about bringing so many people in to see the great things our resort has to offer.”

Wisp at Deep Creek Mountain Resort is Maryland’s largest ski resort. Located just two hours from Pittsburgh and two and a half hours from the Washington/Baltimore area, Wisp rises to an elevation of over 3000 feet, and offers golf, paintball and other activities in the spring and summer. Deep Creek Mountain Resort borders Deep Creek Lake, a 3900-acre freshwater lake that offers fishing, water skiing and other activities.

The Wisp GNCC at Deep Creek Mountain Resort stands as the ninth race in a 13-round circuit that began in Florida and will conclude this fall in Indiana. ATVs will challenge the Wisp on Saturday. Defending GNCC Champion Bill Ballance, from Kentucky, leads the pack, but his bid for a third-straight ATV title is under heavy attack from fellow Kentucky rider William Yokley and Pennsylvania’s Matt Smiley. In addition, Cumberland, Maryland’s Todd Knippenberg lies within the top 10 in the series and hopes to capitalize on the home-state advantage by taking a win.

Motorcycles will attack the track on Sunday, and California’s Rodney Smith will carry the number-one plate as the defending National Champion. The Team FMF/Suzuki rider has won titles all over the world, including South America, Europe and the United States, but two newcomers are threatening to strip him of his championship this year. Washington’s Jason Raines and New Jersey native Mike Lafferty have utilized intense new training programs to boost them to the top of the series standings. Smith, meanwhile, needs to put on a late-season charge to make up for blowing an engine in Georgia several months ago. Shane Watts, the Australian who won the 2000 GNCC Title, will also be gunning for a win after missing several races with a broken wrist.

The AMA Grand National Cross Country Series is generally acknolwdged as America’s premier off-road racing series. One of the most physically demanding sports in the world, the nearly three-hour long cross-country races lead as many as 1000 riders through tracks ranging from eight to 12 miles in length. The best pro racers in the nation compete in the series, as well as hundreds of amateur competitors in classes for all age and skill levels. With varied terrain including hills, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC races are tests of both survival and speed.

This summer, the series will begin airing weekly, one-hour television programs on the Outdoor Life Network, with exact airing dates and times to be determined. Series sponsors include Wiseco, Yamaha, Dunlop, MSR, FMF, Klotz, Sidi, Scott, Ohlins, Maxxis, Laeger, EK Chain and Racer X Illustrated, and GNCC riders compete for more than $500,000 in series prizes and contingency money.

By Chris Jonnum