Salminen Takes GNCC Opener

Paul Carruthers | March 7, 2006

Defending GNCC Champion Juha Salminen rode his factory KTM 250 XC to victory today in the opening round of the GNCC Series, held in De Leon Springs, Florida.

Salminen led from start to finish, topping Yamaha’s Charlie Mullins and KTM’s Mike Lafferty. Kawasaki Team Green’s Nathan Woods was fourth ahead of Yamaha’s former GNCC Champion Barry Hawk.

Sixth place went to Kawasaki/FAR’s Fred Andrews, while Suzuki’s Glenn Kearney, Kawasaki’s Ricky Dietrich, Yamaha’s Nathan Kanney and Kawasaki’s Ryan Voase rounded out the top 10 overall.

Yamaha rider Cole Calkins finished 11th, while KTM support rider Shane Watts finished 12th after running second on the first lap. Watts was running strong before crashing and breaking his clutch lever.

Travis Pastrana’s debut in the series didn’t last long as the freestyler crashed with Suzuki’s Rodney Smith and Kearny in the first corner. The former 125cc National Motocross Champion, riding a Cernic’s-backed Suzuki RM250, didn’t finish the first lap as a holed radiator from the crash caused his bike to seize.

Pastrana, however, still plans on competing in the AMA Grand National Flat Track Series opener in Daytona later in the week.

Smith also DNF’ed. After crashing in the first turn with Pastrana, Smith was working his way up through the pack on the first lap when he hit a stump on the sandy and whooped-out course and crashed, leaving him with a sore wrist and a badly bruised thigh. The former GNCC champ will be ready for this weekend’s round two race in Georgia.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.