JOHN PENTON GNCC RESULTS–JUNE 2
Woodford and Andrews Take Over in Ohio GNCC
Ohio-based Team Kawasaki riders win, points leader Barry Hawk third
Millfield, OH – For Team Kawasaki’s factory off-road team, the AMA Grand National Cross Country Series seems to be split into two circuits: the races run in Ohio, and the races that aren’t. After struggling through the first six rounds of the series, the green team came alive when newcomer Chuck Woodford, of St. Clairsville, and veteran Fred Andrews, of Salem, rode their KX250s to first and second at the Wiseco John Penton GNCC.
‘This one was tough,’ said Woodford. ‘There were just two ruts everywhere, and things happen in a hurry. I wasn’t thinking about Freddy being behind me. I’ve lost a lot of races late in the race, so I just tried to stay smart and ride hard until the finish.’
Andrews put on a strong late charge to try to pass his young teammate, but he came up short. ‘I saw him hit a root and stand the bike on its nose,’ said Andrews. ‘His feet where up in the air, and I thought Well, he’s giving it to me. So instead of passing him, I just watched him to see the crash. But next thing I knew he saved it and cut back in front of me.’
The Kawasaki riders made it look easy on a track that had been drenched in rain the day before the race. The thick Ohio clay developed huge ruts and stuck to bikes like glue. ‘Today was a day where it would be easy to just give up,’ said Andrews. ‘Your bike feels like it weighs 35,000 pounds. But we have a lot of fans out here cheering, they keep us going.’
Series’ points leader Barry Hawk was also a contender for much of the race, but he choose to play it smart on a tough race track. ‘I was right there, but a lapper hit me a few miles before the white flag,’ said Hawk. ‘After that I tried to charge and catch back up, but it seemed like nothing was going right. It was a snowball effect. I felt like my boots where 80 pound concrete blocks. It was one of the toughest races I’ve been in.’
Hawk finished third to further extend his series’ lead over his teammate Jason Raines, who finished a disappointing 15th overall in the mud. Defending series champion Rodney Smith DNFed the race when the chain guide bent on his FMF Suzuki and jammed his chain, and his teammate Mike Kiedrowski also dropped out with a broken clutch and over heating problems.
1. Chuck Woodford – Kaw