Five Can-Am 4×4 ATV racers won their class at the opening round of the 2013 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series in River Ranch, Fla. Robert Smith, who won the U2 class aboard his Can-Am Renegade 4×4, was the top finishing Can-Am racer and also took second overall on the morning podium. Reigning 4×4 Open class champion Bryan Buckhannon notched a victory on his Outlander 800R. XC1 ATV Pro class racer Jarrod McClure earned fifth in his first GNCC race competing on his Can-Am DS 450 ATV.
“We had a good opening round of GNCC racing, earning five class victories, a top five in the Pro class and having Can-Am racers Robert Smith and Bryan Buckhannon reach the overall morning podium,” said Jimmie O’Dell, Race Manager, Can-Am. “We’re excited to be back racing in the GNCC series and are already looking ahead to this weekend in Georgia. Not only will be looking to notch more victories with Can-am ATVs, but we will debut the exceptional Can-Am Maverick 1000R in GNCC side-by-side action.”
The Florida course lived up to its reputation as being one of the most difficult races of the season, as the extremely dusty 10.5-mile track was very rough, sandy and full of palmetto tree roots and stumps. In morning action, Smith not only won the competitive U2 class aboard his Can-AM Renegade, but also surprised himself in the process. Smith, who overcame a somewhat serious arm injury suffered a month prior to the race, outran every 4×4 in the field to earn second overall in the morning session. Renegade ATV racers Jordan Phillips and Corry Savage rounded out the U2 class podium.
“It’s big to win the opening round. I never thought it would happen because I’ve been off the quad for a month. To go out there and get a win was unbelievable,” said Smith. “The track was rough with lots of roots and rough edges. It was a lot of fun to be on a four-wheel drive Renegade and stay on top of everything.”
ATV Parts Plus / Can-Am X-Team racer Buckhannon won the 4×4 Open class by more than two minutes and stood on the overall morning podium (third) and the 4×4 podium (second). It was his second straight year winning the 4×4 Open class at the Florida opener. Earning his first GNCC podium finish, Bo Jones rode his Can-Am Outlander to second place in the 4×4 Open class, followed closely by JB Racing / Can-Am pilot Sam Williams.
“It got a little bit tough at the end of the day, but I was able to pull off the class win,” said Buckhannon. “All I want to do it have fun and try to win my class this year.”
In the 4×4 Lites class, Michael Edwards raced his Can-Am Outlander 500 to his first GNCC class victory. Defending class champion Kevin Trantham took second aboard his Outlander 500.
Other Can-Am 4×4 racers who earned wins in Florida were defending 4×4 Senior (40+) class champion Forrest Whorton and Jeff Marinko, who rode his Can-Am ATV to an impressive class victory In the 4×4 Novice class.
McClure (JB Racing / Can-Am) earned a top five finish in the afternoon XC1 Pro ATV race. He came out of the first turn in seventh, but was already up to fourth by the end of the first lap. He later lost a position when he had to stop to fix a damaged oil line and change his gloves due to blisters on his hands. Once the repairs were made, McClure rejoined the race without losing a spot. He ended his inaugural Can-Am DS 450 GNCC race with a top five finish, more than 3 minutes ahead of sixth.
“I am happy to get Florida behind me and come out with a top five finish,” said McClure. “I am really looking forward to Georgia. My pit crew was great. The DS has a lot more power than I am used to, so it was awesome in the sand. I think we’ll have a good year.”
Image courtesy Bombardier Recreational Products