JCR Honda’s Chris Bach won the opening round of the AMA MAXC Series in Indiana. Photography by Jeff M. Vanasdal
CANAAN, IN, APR. 20 - The AMA Mid-America Cross Country Racing Series hosted its season opener at the Circle W Ranch in Canaan, Indiana, April 20. After having to postpone the original date, racers were treated with near perfect racing conditions, and defending AMA MAXC Champion Chris Bach earned the first Pro Bike win of the season followed by Austin Lee and Mike Witkowski.
Bach started the 2014 season where he left off in the 2013 - with a win. The Lucas Oil/Rockstar/JCR Honda Team rider rode a smart race, conserving his energy until the final laps to take over the lead from Lee.
“These guys got out front and they made some mistakes, and I got into the lead,” Bach said from the podium. “I really wasn’t comfortable going that fast that early. The track was a little bit scary the first lap with the leaves and roots and stuff, so theses guys got back around me, and I was comfortable riding behind them. Austin got up front and he was riding a crazy pace and I settled into his speed. We checked out on everybody else. I just knew that if I stayed close some experience would set in.”
Lee got off to a great start, rounding the first corner top three on his Husqvarna. Lee soon took over the number-one spot and charged ahead until he felt pressure from Bach. The two would ride together until Lee would fall back to second after pitting.
“I’m pretty pumped how I rode today being on a brand-new bike,” Lee said. “We just took off and I wanted to ride smart all day and get out there and ride with Chris. We kind of checked out and rode smart and smooth all day and then he turned it up there at the end and pulled away from me. I was happy with the way I rode and I am looking forward to round two.”
KTM-mounted Witkowski was able to match his best AMA MAXC Pro career finish. Working his way up through the pro field, Witkowski climbed from fifth place at the end of lap one to third place on lap four, where he would remain until the checkered flag came out after lap seven.
“I just made some passes in the beginning,” Mitkowski said. “I got behind Squire for a little while and I passed him. I tried to charge as fast as I could then I had to deal with some lapped riders. The track was awesome and the conditions were perfect in my opinion, I loved it!”
AMA Mid-America Cross-Country Series
Circle W Ranch
April 20, 2014
1. Chris Bach (Hon)
2. Austin Lee (Hus)
3. Mike Witkowski (KTM)
4. Chris Douglas (KTM)
5. Sam Mattingly (Yam)