As you would expect in a rough-and-tumble series like the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country tour, the Red Bull KTM factory off-road team has experienced ups and downs through the season. But with the grand finale looming this weekend in Indiana, the team can clinch both the XC1 and XC2 pro titles thanks to the determined efforts of David Knight and Justin Williamson.
Knight has run through the bad luck this year, scoring zero overall points twice due to nagging injuries and strange mechanical glitches, but the two-time World Enduro Champion has overcome it with amazing speed and skill. He needs a 12th-place finish at the Klotz Ironman GNCC this weekend to lock up the title.
Knight and the KTM team will take no chances on this championship. The Isle of Man native cancelled his entry at the popular Weston Beach Race last weekend to make sure he would stay healthy and ready for the final GNCC this weekend. Knight doesn’t need to win in Indiana, and you can expect him to play it safe against the man who has a mathematical shot at the crown, Am-Pro Yamaha’s Barry Hawk. Hawk’s teammate Charlie Mullins is always a contender as well, and he leads a four-rider battle for third in the final standings, with FMF Suzuki teammates Jimmy Jarrett and Glenn Kearney and Kawasaki privateer Garrett Edmisten all with a shot at number three for the season.
It’s much different in the all-new XC2 Lites class. Knight’s young teammate, 20-year-old Justin Williamson, already has that title clinched, so he will just be out on a ride to grab his fourth win of the season, and then celebrate with his teammate if Knight is able to reel in the XC1 title. Williamson has a determined pack behind him, including Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/FAR/Kawasaki riders Scott Watkins and Josh Weisenfels, Am-Pro Yamaha’s Thad DuVall and Powersports GrafX KTM’s Dustin Gibson. And you can never count out five-time GNCC Champion Rodney Smith at the Ironman, which is one of his favorite tracks.
Throwing a surprise in the mix is a variety of international riders who will compete, including veteran World Enduro Championship contenders Samuli Aro and Mika Ahola, as well as Simo Kirssi, who will pilot the prototype BMW 450 Enduro machine through its maiden voyage in the U.S. Australian National Enduro Champion AJ Roberts will compete as well.
The Klotz Ironman GNCC serves as a great proving ground for the best off-road racers in the world. The course features the widest variety of terrain of anything in the series, from huge hills, to mud, high-speed field sections and technical trails. A full ATV program competes on Saturday, as well. Tickets for the event cost $12 for the full weekend. The track is located south of Crawfordsville off of Route 47.
The address for Tom’s Marine is 1317 W Offield Rd. For more information, log on to www.gnccracing.com or call 304-284-0084.