Fowler Wins Can-Am
Chris Borich topped the XC1 class at
Walker Fowler took the overall win at
Chris Bithell finished second after
leading on the final lap.
Adam McGill goes big on the Sky Jump.
Nathan Thomas and Patrick McGuire joined
Walker Fowler on the XC2 podium.
Photos By: Shan Moore
New Berlin, NY (September 10, 2011) - Chris
Borich came out on top of a hard-fought battle
with Chris Bithell and Adam McGill to top the
XC1 division at this year's Can-Am Unadilla GNCC
in New Berlin, New York. However, it was XC2
rider Walker Fowler who claimed the overall
victory, edging Borich on adjusted time by just
over six seconds at the end of the two-hour
After getting off to a mid-pack start Borich
moved into the lead midway into the race, the
Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider hooking up with GT
Thunder-backed Brian Wolf at the front as the
two riders pulled away from the rest of the
pack. However, due to the relatively short
length of the course, it wasn't long before the
two front-runners ran into lappers, allowing
Foremost Insurance/Warnert Racing Can-Am
teammates Bithell and McGill to catch up. For
the next few laps, the four front-runners took
turns leading the race.
"It was a good battle once those guys caught
up," explained Borich. "Me, Wolf, Bithell and
McGill were like a train, battling back and
forth for awhile."
On the final lap, Borich passed McGill when
the Can-Am rider took a different line, which
moved Borich into second behind Bithell. With
less than half a mile to go in the race, Borich
made a bold pass on Bithell to take the lead,
jumping one of Unadilla's huge motocross jumps.
"Bithell checked up and I knew I had to make
a move so I thought, 'okay, this is it,' and I
just hit it hammer-down," said Borich.
At the finish, Borich took the checkers with
about two seconds to spare over Bithell, with
McGill finishing third another three seconds
While Borich battled for the XC1 win up
front, Fowler cut loose from the rest of the XC2
pack - which started on row two - and
concentrated on catching the XC1 riders. After
hooking up with Ballance Racing Yamaha teammate
Taylor Kiser at the halfway point of the race,
Fowler was able to gain enough time to pull
ahead of the XC1 riders on adjusted time and
take the overall win.
"I really owe Taylor a whole lot for this
win," said Fowler. "I caught up with him with
three laps to go. I led him a lap and then I
pulled over and let him go and he set a really
good pace and we picked up a lot of time. As
soon as I tapped him he pulled over and started
pushing me as hard as he could. I think the
amount I won by... I owe that amount to Taylor."
The Unadilla race marked the second time this
year that Fowler has clamed the overall win, the
first coming at the Rock Run in Pennsylvania.
However, Borich was still pleased to have gained
valuable points in the XC1 championship
standings, and now leads McGill by a whopping 36
points in the XC1 title chase.
"It's good to get the class win, but in the
overall, I didn't know Walker was that close [in
overall time]," said Borich. "It's so hard to
keep your pace not knowing where someone is at.
I'm looking forward to Walker moving up and
actually having to race us head-to-head."
Fowler also claimed the win in the XC2 class,
making his ninth win in a row in the division,
and wrapping up the 2011 Can-Am Grand National
Cross Series XC2 class championship with four
rounds remaining on the schedule.
Wolf, on the other hand, ran up front for most
of the race, however, an incident on a gnarly
uphill left the Honda rider in fourth at the end
of the day.
"I was pretty consistent in second all day
and then we were coming up the hill before the
white flag lap and I got stuck on the hill
behind Bithell and that's when Borich and McGill
got around me and I just couldn't reel 'em back
in," said Wolf.
Kiser finished fifth after coming back from a
nasty crash in the first turn, finishing almost
nine seconds behind Wolf.
Jarrod McClure put his Honda into sixth,
ahead of FRE KTM's Bryan Cook. Meanwhile, GT
Thunder Yamaha rider Kevin Yoho was eighth after
claiming the $250 Motosport.com Holeshot Award
at the start of the race.
Yamaha riders Jeffrey Pickens and Mark Notman
rounded out the top 10.
Walker Fowler's win in the XC2 class was
somewhat anticlimactic, so most of the focus was
on the battle for second place, which boiled
down to part-time GNCC competitor Nathan Thomas
on a Honda and Greg's ATV & Cycle Yamaha rider's
Patrick McGuire. Thomas capitalized on a good
start and settled into second early in the race.
Meanwhile, McGuire worked his way into third
during the later stages of the race and was not
able to catch the New York rider.
Thomas ended up with second overall, his
first-ever podium finish in GNCC competition,
while McGuire rounded out the podium.
Blake Kramer was the lone Suzuki rider in the
XC2 top 10, with a fourth place finish, while
Yamaha-mounted Eric Wilczek grabbed his best
finish of the year with a fifth.
Yamaha rider Matt Hanna took the $100
Motosport.com Holeshot Award to start the race
and then rode to a sixth, with Honda riders
Martin Christofferson, Michael Lancaster, and
Nathan Wallpe finishing seventh, eighth and
Meanwhile, Aarol Bright rounded out the top
10 on a KTM.
Braden Henthorn was the top finishing
"non-Pro" rider, winning the College A (16-21)
class on a Honda with a 15th overall finish.
In the A.M. race, Yamaha rider Dave Simmons
won the $100 GT Thunder Amateur Overall and
topped the Masters (50+) class as well, while
Angel Atwell was the winner in the Women's
Bryan Buckhannon edged fellow Can-Am rider
Michael Swift to win the 4x4 Open race.
Meanwhile Clifton Beasley beat Scott Day and
Danny Jessee to win the U2 class. All three
riders were on Can-Am.
For the second time this year, Ohio rider
Josh Simmons (PIT) claimed the overall win in
the Youth race, also winning the 90 Open (12-15)
class in the process. Blaine Martin was second
overall and second in the 90 Open (12-15) class.
The 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country
Series heads to Somerset, Pennsylvania for the
Mountain Ridge GNCC on September 24 & 25. ATV
racing will take place on Saturday, followed by
bike racing on Sunday. For more information,
1. Chris Borich (Suz)
2. Chris Bithell (CAN)
3. Adam McGill (CAN)
4. Brian Wolf (Hon)
5. Taylor Kiser (Yam)
6. Jarrod McClure (Hon)
7. Bryan Cook (KTM)
8. Kevin Yoho (Yam)
9. Jeffrey Pickens (Yam)
10. Mark Notman (Yam)
1. Chris Borich (230/6 wins)
2. Adam McGill (194/2 wins)
3. Chris Bithell (184)
4. Taylor Kiser (177)
5. Brian Wolf (139)
6. Bryan Cook (132)
7. Jarrod McClure (126)
8. Donnie Ockerman (112)
9. Kevin Yoho (100)
10. Jeffrey Pickens (98)
1. Walker Fowler (Yam)
2. Nathan Thomas (Hon)
3. Patrick McGuire (Yam)
4. Blake Kramer (Suz)
5. Eric Wilczek (Yam)
6. Matt Hanna (Yam)
7. Martin Christofferson (Hon)
8. Michael Lancaster (Hon)
9. Nathan Wallpe (Hon)
10. Aarol Bright (KTM)
1. Walker Fowler (270 points/9
2. Gabe Phillips (176)
3. Patrick McGuire (147)
4. Eric Hoyland (137)
5. Aarol Bright (133)
6. Matt Hanna (117)
7. Blake Kramer (99)
8. Dustin Canipe (98)
9. Parker Jones (96)
10. Richie Brown (89)
Motosport.com $250 XC1 holeshot - Kevin Yoho
Motosport.com $100 XC2 holeshot - Matt Hanna
About GNCC Racing
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series
is America's premier off-road racing series.
Founded in 1979, the 13-round championship is
produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross
country racing is one of the most physically
demanding sports in the world. The grueling
three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 1,800
riders through tracks ranging in length from 10
to 12 miles, competing for more than $3 million
in prizes. With varied terrain, including hills,
woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections,
GNCC events are tests of both survival and
speed. For more information, please visit