RAINES RULES THE GENERAL GNCC–MARCH 8
Washington, GA – Jason Raines needs to get injured more often. The Am-Pro Yamaha rider broke his shoulder blade at the opening GNCC round in Texas, and he was supposed to miss a few rounds of racing. But he recovered in record time to top over 1486 riders at the Maxxis General GNCC.
‘I came into these two races looking to have fun,’ said Raines. ‘When I was injured I had a lot of time to think about my racing. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to win and I wasn’t having a good time. Rodney (Smith) always told me if you have fun with this you can race forever. I’m trying to relax and have more fun at the races.’
Raines pulled out a huge lead, enjoying ‘one of those days where you just can’t do anything wrong.’ Even losing his rear brake on the last lap couldn’t slow him down.
A tremendous battle raged for the other podium positions. After three-hours of racing, five-time GNCC champion Scott Summers and SCR Yamaha rider Robbie Jenks emerged from the woods side-by-side. The crowd roared as Jenks and Summers cut inside and outside of each other in the final grass-track section. They collided in the last turn, and Jenks ended up on the ground and Summers took second.
‘I’ve never been excited about just getting on the podium before, but this is a real personal victory,’ said the Parts Unlimited/Moose-backed Summers. ‘I’ve been through a lot over the last four years, and I’m happy to reward all the companies who had faith in me to get back up here.’
Jenks collected his first podium in over a year with third. ‘I don’t know what it was today,’ said Jenks. ‘I didn’t even have a good start, but I was able to get to the front.’
Fourth place was another surprise, as new FMF Suzuki recruit Doug Blackwell turned it up and blazed to the front. ‘The whole package is working for me,’ said the former privateer. ‘Having this Suzuki team behind me helps so much. I think I had second in me today, but I lost the pin out of my rear brakes.’
Brake problems plagued many riders on the rough, high-speed layout. Raines lost his rear brake on the last lap, but his lead was large enough for him to hold on. FMF Suzuki’s Rodney Smith bent his brake pedal just a few miles into the race. He tried to bend it back, but the pedal eventually snapped off.
Defending series champ Barry Hawk struggled with an illness. He ran with the leaders early but struggled to eighth.
FMF Suzuki’s Fred Andrews and Throttlehead.com/Kawasaki Team Green’s Steve Hatch battled all day and carded sixth and seventh overall, respectively.
After the back-to-back weekend stretch in Florida and Georgia, the GNCC Series takes a weekend off before heading to the Steele Creek Campground Morganton, North Carolina.
The AMA Grand National Cross Country series is America’s premier off-road racing series. The 14-round series is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. One of the most physically demanding sports in the world, the nearly three-hour long cross-country races lead as many as 1300 riders through tracks ranging from eight to twelve miles in length. With varied terrain including hills, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC races are tests of both survival and speed. GNCC featured sponsors include Parts Unlimited, Moose, Maxxis, Yamaha, Wiseco, Klotz, FMF, Dunlop and ITP, and riders compete for over $500,000 in series prizes and contingency money. The 2003 series aired weekly on Speed Channel. Associate sponsors include Moose Utility Division, Scott, Alpinestars, Cometic, Outerwears, Pro Armor, Race Tools, Twin Air, SFB Racing, Thor, Racer X Illustrated, EFM, Motion Pro, Tire Balls, GPR Stabilizer. Moto-Tee’s, Warrior and Laeger’s.
1. Jason Raines (Yam)