Collecting his fifth win of the ’08 US Grand National Cross Country Series to extend is lead in the Overall series standings to 38 points Red Bull KTM Off Road Race Team rider David Knight put his disappointing recent run of results behind him to dominate The Mountain Ridge GNCC. The last of the opening nine GNCC races before the two-month summer break, Knighter showed his rivals exactly why he sits at the top of the championship standings by claiming a controlled and deserved race win. From a mid-pack start Knighter quickly made his way into third before leading by the end of the first lap – a position he would hold right up until the end of the race.
Determined to get back to his winning ways having made just one podium visit in the previous three GNCC races, Knight was confident that he could top The Mountain Ridge GNCC but was made to work hard for his victory due to his bike developing an unexpected miss-fire from mid-race distance onwards.
Making a reasonable start David was soon third and following Australian Josh Strange and KTM team-mate Nate Kanney before moving past Kanney and shortly after taking the lead. Opening up a 30 second lead by the end of the first lap Knight remained out front and continued to extent his lead.
Half way through the race Knight’s bike started to run a little rich, making it difficult to rev the bike on the faster sections of the track. Still able to make up time on his rivals in the slower more technical sections David made one unscheduled pit stop for fuel at the end of the penultimate lap but still maintained a healthy lead. Crossing the finish line just over one-minute ahead of Strang and Kanney David claimed one of his most important wins of the season.
The US Grand National Cross Country Series starts again on September 14, with The Snowshoe GNCC.
David Knight: “It’s great to have won again, especially right before the summer break, but winning wasn’t as easy as it could have been. From the start things went well – I was about 10th out of the first turn and then moved up to about third or fourth as we headed into the early fields. I followed Josh Strange, who was behind Nate Kanney, and after we’d both past Nate I moved into the lead after a single-track section.
“I managed to pull about 10 seconds in half a lap and was then about one-minute ahead after one-and-a-half laps. I felt good and really enjoyed the track – I reckon it was the best course of the series so far.
“For some reason my bike started popping a little every time I got out of the tight stuff and onto the open sections of track. I think it was too rich. I had to short shift gears because I couldn’t rev the motor out. On the fourth lap I stopped and took the airbox cover off, but it made things worse for a while. It started to clear eventually so I kept pushing hard just in case. I made a stop for fuel on the last lap, just to be sure, and had a good last lap. I extended my points lead, which is good, it’s just a shame I’m not further ahead after my problems at the last few races.”
Results – US GNCC ’08 Rnd 8, XC1 Pro class
1. David Knight (Red Bull KTM Off Road Team) 2:45.29
2. Josh Strang (Suzuki) 2:46.40
3. Nate Kanney (KTM) 2:46.41
4. Paul Whibley (Suzuki) 2:46.48
5. Jason Raines (Yamaha) 2:49.49
6. Barry Hawk (Yamaha) 2:51.35
7. Glenn Kearney (Husqvarna) 2:52.26
8. Charlie Mullins (Suzuki) 2:54.05