Hurricane Mills, TN (November 6, 2011) – Charlie Mullins added another page to the GNCC Racing history books by securing the 2011 XC1 Championship title after riding yet another flawless race on day two of the Parts Unlimited Loretta Lynn’s GNCC in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.
After suffering a mechanical issue near the end of Friday’s race, and finishing 14th, Mullins dominated Sunday’s race, taking the win by over two minutes, to claim the 2011 GNCC title.
The FMF/KTM rider is the first American to win the GNCC title since Rodney Smith held it in 2004, and the win was a popular one with the GNCC fans, most of whom have watched the North Carolina rider rise through the ranks since starting his career in the Youth division 10 years ago.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Mullins. “I’m really at a loss for words, right now. I’ve worked so hard and so many people have helped me along the way. There are so many people out there that helped make this happen and it feels really good to finally win it, it’s been a long time coming.”
“It’s been 10 years ago I was in the youth class, and it’s pretty cool to come up and be the champion,” added Mullins. “When I started racing it was just me and my dad and my uncle just coming out on the weekends, just spending time with the family and having a good time. I really never thought it would progress to this, it’s something I’ll always remember.”
Mullins put on an incredible display over the extremely rugged 12.5-mile course, while Kailub Russell, Cory Buttrick, Paul Whibley, and Josh Strang locked up in an intense battle for the runner-up position. Strang washed out on the loose rocky start, sending him to the back of the pack early on but the defending champion pushed his way to fourth, just behind Buttrick and Whibley. Unfortunately, Strang hit a set of tree roots that sent him to the ground and furthermore added to his string of bad luck in 2011, as the Aussie superstar’s day ended abruptly with a leg injury.
Buttrick ran a solid second for the first half of the race after rolling off a season-best second place on Friday, unfortunately Buttrick pulled out of the race with an injured hand.
Russell took over second after his FMF/KTM teammate Buttrick dropped out and after that, the Pro class rookie never looked back – ending the race with nearly two minutes to spare over the seasoned Whibley.
“I was pretty upset on Friday because I threw second away twice,” said Russell. “Today I knew I could turn things around and I started off well, I was right behind Charlie and Paul after the start. Charlie made a little mistake and I got around him and then I hit a root and flipped over the bars and hit my head. It knocked me silly for a minute, but I got going and ended up catching everyone back and making the pass for second.”
Whibley, who won Friday’s round, wasn’t able to put in another win on the weekend, but the Kiwi managed second place in points after an arguably rough start to the 2011 season.
“The track was really rough today and we had a few set-up issues, the bike wasn’t working as good as it was Friday,” said Whibley. “But it’s good to finish the year where we did, considering the problems we had at the start of the season.”
Australian off-road star Toby Price finished fourth in just his second GNCC race of the season, while Jesse Robinson finished fifth, filling in on the factory Beta team for the injured Chris Bach.