We are now back from the long summer break! As of this weekend, only three rounds of the 2017 GNCC season remain. Unadilla is well known as a motocross track, with a history stretching clear back to the 1960s. The GNCC here is a little more recent, with the first round taking place in 2005. There isn’t quite as much ground here as there is at some of the other events, so the course is pretty similar year-to-year. Unadilla is consistently one of the most popular races as well, with 700–900 bikes a common sight in the AM race. As far as the course goes, portions of the regular moto track, plus the amateur track are included. Most of the woods tend to be pretty fast-paced as well, with some rocky sections reminiscent of cobblestones that get super slick if the weather turns bad. Although this part of New York got some rain leading up to the event, the course held together well, with few muddy spots on the loop.
Mackenzie Tricker (Bonanza Plumbing KTM), dominated the start with an impressive holeshot. But within the first two miles, points leader Tayla Jones (Rocky Mountain/KR4/Husquvarna Performance) had taken the lead in the race as well, moving up from her third place start. Becca Sheets (Fly/Maxxis/Seat Concepts/KTM) was a ways down from the top two coming through the barrels, but as soon as the WXC riders hit lappers, she was able to regain ground and pass Tricker for second.
Also that same lap, Brooke Cosner (The Motorcycle Shop/Bell Powersports/Kenda/V3 Off-Road/Full Gas Fitness), was able to make a pass on Tricker by being one of only three people in the morning race (and the only WXC rider) who attempted and succeeded at shooting up FMF Power Hill, a nasty climb which is usually only reserved for the PM riders. However, her forward progress was brought to a halt when a large rock kicked backwards from a lapper hit her in the face, causing her left eye to swell almost completely shut. While Cosner definitely suffered a stroke of bad luck, hers was still better than Tricker. After dropping back to fourth, her tire came completely off the rim mid-way through lap three. At this time it is uncertain if the tire was improperly seated prior to the race, there was a bent rim/broken bead/overly worn tire issue, or if she just hit a rock or something similar on the course hard enough to actually dislodge it. This put a premature end to what was a promising race for Tricker, given her motocross skills and background combined with the fast and open nature of the course.
Though Cosner understandably continued to fade back as the race wore on, she was able to hang on to her third place position for the remainder of the race. Sheets and Jones, however, stayed close throughout the remaining laps. Sheets described a “slinky effect” where she was able to make time on Jones in the lappers, but she would begin to lose her when the course was “clear” (less swamped with lappers). At one point Sheets was able to briefly take the lead, but Jones was able to recover it fairly quickly.
This marks Jones’ 9th victory out of the nine races she has competed in. As the WXC riders receive four drops, this means that not only has she won the series in a dominating fashion, she has had the last perfect season since Maria Forsberg’s back in 2012 (depending on your definition of a perfect season: Forsberg competed in and won every round of the GNCC series. So far, Jones has won every race she has competed in, but has not participated in every round). Jones was very excited to accept the national championship and number one plate. She says “It is an amazing feeling [to have won my first GNCC title]. I knew that coming to America this year wasn’t going to be easy, but I have trained really hard this. It has all paid off and I am over the moon right now!” Congrats to Jones on her title and the best of luck to the rest of the WXC riders still fighting for positions.
Unadilla WXC Results:
1st – Tayla Jones 2nd – Becca Sheets 3rd - Brooke Cosner 4th – Shyann Phelps
5th – Sammy Steiner