Spring is rapidly approaching and so is a brand new ATV racing season. This is the time a year where all riders dreams are still fresh, equipment is new and ready and riders’ bodies are healthy. In a few short weeks some dreams will be dashed and others realized.

If you are new to ATV/UTV racing, The Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) is one of ATV’s premiere racing series and shouldn’t be missed.

The 2012 GNCC begins its season March 10-13 in River Ranch, Florida at Westgate River Ranch Resort. River Ranch GNCC, round one of the 13-stop Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series. This race is the only stop the tour makes in Florida. The video below shows the excitement of racing via helmet camera views and race coverage from last year.

httpv://youtu.be/M1se-ALwZoI

Over 1,500 racers are expected to race over the weekend, in an event that includes ATV racing on Sunday and dirt bikes on Tuesday, and are all part of the popular Daytona Bike Week event. Classes range from riders as young as six and as old as the 50-plus division.

“We expect racers from all over the world to compete in Florida,” said GNCC Trail Boss Jeff Russell. “The TV crew will be there, the sponsors will be there, the press will be there. There’s a lot of competition and pressure, but a local rider will definitely feel more comfortable on this terrain.”

The GNCC PRO Class features some of the world’s best riders. The series’ champion is Bill Ballance, who races for the factory Yamaha team. Ballance has won nine consecutive GNCC titles, making him the most dominant ATV woods racer ever. But the sandy Florida terrain makes for a great equalizer. Riders will start together in an open field, and then rush into trails consisting of trees, sand, jumps and mud. There’s a point where determination can overcome equipment. Fitness, too, is a major factor in the two-hour event. Any one of the riders could bring home the trophy.

2011 Winners

Bike: Charlie Mullins
ATV: Chris Borich

Special Info: This opening GNCC round is held in conjunction with the world famous “Daytona Bike Week” and features a modified event schedule for practice and racing. The practice fee is $20/person. Non hook-up camping is FREE at River Ranch and Daytona Bike Week spectators are welcome to camp throughout the weekend!

Gates open at 9 a.m. on Friday for sponsors and vendors, and noon Friday for racers and spectators. The gate fee is $20 for a Friday/Sat/Sun pass, and $20 for a Monday/Tuesday pass.

Schedule

SaturdayYouth ATV Registration10 a.m. – Noon
ATV RegistrationNoon
XC1 Pro & XC2 Pro Am ATV Practice12-1 p.m.
Youth ATV Practice1-2:30 p.m.
Amateur ATV Practice2:30-5 p.m.
Rodeo7:30 p.m.
SundayYouth ATV Registration7 a.m.
Youth ATV Race – 1 hrAmateur ATV Registration8 a.m.
Amateur ATV Race – 2 hrPro ATV Registration10 a.m.
Pro ATV Race – 2 hr1 p.m.
MondayYouth Bike Registration10 a.m.-Noon
Bike RegistrationNoon
XC1 Pro & XC2 Pro Lites Bike Practice12-1 p.m.
Youth Bike Practice1-2:30 p.m.
Amateur Bike Practice2:30-5 p.m.
TuesdayYouth Registration7 a.m.
Youth Bike Race – 90 min
Amateur Bike Registration
8a.m.
Amateur Bike Race – 2 hr
Pro Bike Registration
10a.m.
Pro Bike Race – 3 hr1p.m.

Directions:

Westgate River Ranch
3200 River Ranch Blvd.
River Ranch, FL 33867

From the Orlando Airport:

Take the 528 (Beeline) west to I-4 west. Exit at U.S. 27 and go south. At S.R. 60 (Lake Wales exit), make a left and head east. Travel east approximately 25 miles. Westgate River Ranch will be on the right.

From Tampa:

Take S.R. 60 east. Continue east approximately 25 miles past U.S. 27. Westgate River Ranch will be on the right.

About GNCC Racing: The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series is America’s premier off-road racing series. Founded in 1973, 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 1,500 riders through tracks ranging in length from eight to 12 miles. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. Riders compete for more than $3 million in prize money, which draws talent from all over the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand. GNCC Racing is televised and airs every Saturday and Thursday on the Versus Network. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.

Sources:

http://www.gnccracing.com/pages/gncc-event-information/westgate-river-ranch

http://www.gnccracing.com/pages/get-gncc-press

http://www.gnccracing.com/pages/gncc-series-profile

Photo: Shan Moore

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