SEP 19—HAWK SWOOPING IN ON GNCC CHAMPIONSHIP

SEP 19?HAWK SWOOPING IN ON GNCC CHAMPIONSHIP

Press Release

Pennsylvanian could add GNCC bike trophy to his collection this weekend

(Press Release)

Morgantown, WV – Four years ago, seven-time AMA Grand National Cross Country ATV          Champion Barry Hawk parked his four-wheeler for good. Hawk wanted to focus on winning the GNCC motorcycle championship for the factory Am Pro Yamaha Team. When he made the switch, his chances of winning another GNCC title seemed slimmer than the machine he was switching to.

But this weekend, at the Dunlop Spartan GNCC in Sparta, Kentucky, Hawk may land his eighth GNCC championship, his first of the two-wheeled variety. Three races remain in America’s largest off-road racing series, but Hawk, who had won five races this season, will sew up the championship if he wins again.

‘I’m not even thinking about it,’ said the 30-year-old of the championship. ‘In fact, I don’t even know what my championship win bonus is. But I will tell you, if I do win it, the first thing I’m doing is getting off my bike and getting that check.’

Hawk’s miraculous run could land Yamaha’s first GNCC Championship in ten years. His stiffest competition for the crown has come from fellow Yamaha rider Jason Raines, who is one of his Hawk’s best friends.

Raines has been consistent this season, but nagging injuries left over from his ill-fated 2002 campaign have kept him winless. The Washington-native has been on the comeback trail lately, however. After a summer of rehab, Raines has won a National Enduro and a National Hare Scramble round this month. This weekend he returns to Kentucky, the site of his last GNCC win. A healthy Raines may finally get the GNCC win he’s been looking for          this season. A win would stave off Hawk’s title celebration until Ohio in two weeks.

The championship breakdown is as follows: Hawk needs to finish first, second or third in Kentucky and also have Raines finish behind him to wrap the championship.

Spoilers in the field include KTM’s newly-crowned six-time Enduro Champion Mike Lafferty , who is third in points, as well as Defending GNCC Champion Rodney Smith , of Team FMF Suzuki, and former GNCC Champ Shane Watts . Smith and Watts are anxious to prove they can still run with the series’ best, and there’s no better way to do that then spoil          Hawk’s party.

All the racers will compete for three hours over a winding cross-country course consisting of mud, hills, dirt and rocks.

The pro race runs Sunday at 1 p.m., capping a full weekend of racing. ATVs race Saturday, with Troy Racing’s Bill Ballance closing in on his fourth-straight championship.

The AMA Grand National Cross Country series is America’s premier off-road racing series. 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 MSR, Yamaha, Dunlop, Wiseco, Maxxis, FMF, Klotz, and ITP, and riders compete          for over $500,000 in series prizes and contingency money. The 13-round series will air on cable television later in the year. Associate sponsors include Ohlins, Cometic, Scott, Sidi, Boyesen, Twin Air, Pro Armor, Outerwears, Laeger’s, Silent Sport and Morgantown Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and KTM.

 

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