JUNE 28?SMITH WINS THE WISP
McHenry, MD ? Over 1000 riders showed up and challenged The Parts Unlimited Wisp GNCC at Deep Creek Mountain Resort, but only two of them really had a shot at the overall win. FMF Suzuki?s Rodney Smith and Am Pro Yamaha?s Jason Raines continued their amazing run with perhaps their best race yet: a wheel-to-wheel three hour classic that ultimately went to Smith.
“I told Jason on the start ?Hey, its going to be me and you today?, and it was,” said Smith. “Jason rode awesome. I got a bad start and moved up early, and we passed each other a few times on the last lap. The fans were really pushing us today.”
“The fans are unbelievable out there,” said Raines. “This is one of the few races where there are fans everywhere on the track. I want to win this race so bad, but I know Rodney wanted to too. On the last lap I passed him and he passed me back. We were pushing it so hard, I know we were swapping bad. We both saw the sides of our bikes a few times out there.”
Raines passed Smith for the lead early on the final lap, but Smith found a new line on a downhill and the following corner to get the spot back with just a few miles to go. The two riders were never more than a few seconds apart throughout the entire three-hour race.
Third place on the day went to a very happy Steve Hatch, who made his podium debut with his new Throttlehead.com Kawasaki team.
“It?s been a long time coming,” said Hatch. “The team never gave up on me and I never gave up on them. I had some arm pump early, so it was just one of those things. Then I snapped the end off of my brake pedal, and it was hard to get stopped on those downhills.”
Smith and Raines hold a big points lead over the rest of the field, and with the win Smith doubles his points lead from five to ten over Raines.
“I told him it?s better this way, to have a close fight,” said Smith. “If either of us were not out here, the other guy would have a huge lead. Now, whoever wins the championship will know they earned it, and it will feel a lot better.”
The Wisp challenged the racers with its infamous boulder collection. The lush, grassy ski-slopes looked fun, but the majority of the course was covered in huge rocks, making for one of the toughest races of the year.
Raines grabbed the holeshot on his YZ250, while Smith and his teammate Mike Kiedrowski worked their way forward immediately. From there the race was on, as the trio challenged each other at every turn. Eventually Kiedrowski fell off the pace when he built up air in his forks on the very rough track, leaving Smith and Raines to pass and repass each other over and over, the sixth race in a row that they have battled down to the last lap.
The GNCC Series continues with The John Penton GNCC in Millfield, Ohio, in two weeks.
Results: Parts Unlimited Wisp GNCC