| July 1, 2002

Round 9 of the Grand National Cross Country Series was held yesterday at the beautiful Wisp Ski Resort in northwestern Maryland, and to no one’s surprise, large hills and plenty of rocks were the order of the day at the Deep Creek event, where FMF Suzuki’s Rodney Smith (pictured) pulled off the overall win, while series points-leader Jason Raines broke his leg.

According to a press release from Michael Lafferty’s mechanic Alan Randt, the sun was bright and the temperature was in the high 80s as the Pro class started up the ski slope. Chuck Woodford was setting the pace, closely followed by Raines, Smith and Michael Lafferty. Woodford slipped back quickly as Smith, Raines and Lafferty set a brutal pace, and the trio had a 45-second lead after the first of six laps. Lap after lap, the trio swapped the lead while continuing to pull away from the Woodford/Fred Andrews/Robbie Jenks battle, and by the fifth lap, they had over a three-minute lead.

When the white flag came out, Smith had about a 10-second lead over Lafferty and Raines. Then at about the two-mile mark, Raines slipped past Lafferty but then crashed hard and broke his lower leg. That allowed Smith to cruise to a hard-fought victory, and Lafferty was all by himself in second, but the battle ragged on for the final podium spot. Woodford fell, and then Andrews and Jenks diced to the end, with Andrews coming out on top.

The unfortunate Raines retains the series points lead, but Lafferty now is just six points behind as the series takes a summer break of just over two months.

Results: 1. Rodney Smith (Suz); 2. Mike Lafferty (KTM); 3. Fred Andrews (Kaw); 4. Robbie Jenks (Yam); 5. Mike Kiedrowski (Suz); 6. Chuck Woodford (Kaw); 7. Steve Hatch (Suz); 8. Brian Garrahan (KTM); 9. Andy Shea (KTM); 10. Josh McLeavy (Hon).

By Jason Weingandt