The Suzuki Grand National Cross Country riders left the deep sand of Florida behind, but the toll that race took on them could still be felt at round two of the series at Aonia Pass MX in Washington, Georgia, March 12. Even GNCC Champion Juha Salminen admitted he felt a little weak, but he barely showed it by leading all day at the Maxxis General GNCC.
“Today, the first two laps I felt really exhausted,” Salminen said. “I felt soft, I felt tired; I think it was from Florida. After those laps, I felt pretty good, and I had to control the race behind me. We had that Florida race, and I think everyone on the track today was still feeling that race.”
In Florida, Salminen won by four minutes. In Georgia, FMF Suzuki’s Glenn Kearney kept him honest hovering around 30 seconds behind most of the day.
“I rode pretty well today,” said Kearney. “I was a bit disappointed in Florida, I felt like I left the team down. I felt good in the first half, and then I heard Rodney [Smith] was coming, so I tried to turn it up a little bit. I closed the gap on Juha a little bit, but not a great deal. I got a little tired on the last lap because I kept pushing.”
Kearney did have pressure from his teammate Rodney Smith, who put in his best GNCC in over a year by coming from a first-turn crash all the way into third. But a big crash later sent Smith reeling back to eighth. Third place went to KTM’s Mike Lafferty, who came from way back and continued to show heart and endurance like he did in Florida. His KTM teammate Robbie Jenks took fourth, and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Fred Andrews was fifth.
Am Pro Yamaha’s rookie Charles Mullins actually crossed the line in third, but he was penalized when he ran out of fuel on the last lap and received a quick fill up outside the pro pit area. Mullins rode well, but unfortunately for him, pro riders can only get gas from GNCC officials or other riders if they run out of fuel, so the penalty stuck and Mullins was relegated back into the pack.
Kawasaki Team Green’s Garrett Edmisten took GNCC top amateur honors with seventh overall and a win in the Four-Stroke A class.