Grand National Cross Country racing hits High Point Raceway

National

MOUNT MORRIS, Pa. — Rev those engines! This weekend, thousands of bikers rode the dirt course at High Point Raceway. The weekend, hosted by Grand National Cross Country racing, featured every type of off-road racing.

Bikers crossing the finish line.

Races started early Saturday morning, and picked right back up on Sunday, with races kicking off at 8 a.m.

Saturday’s featured race was a youth race, where kids got the chance to take on the track. Sunday featured an amateur race, where 600 amateur bikers saddled up and took on the same course as the pros.

“If you want to see non-stop action, the bikes spend more time in the air than they do on the ground,” said Tim Cotter, the event director at GNCC.

After the amateurs were finished, the pros stepped up to the plate. 400 of the world’s best bikers set off on the three-hour race. While the racers come from all over, some hail from North Central West Virginia.

“It’s really cool to be around all the hometown family and friends,” said Layne Michael, a Fairmont native that races for Yamaha. “I’ve seen a lot of kids I actually went to school with and all that. So, it’s been really cool.”

An overhead look at the fanfare for the event.

The ability to see friends and family was a luxury, not afforded most athletes in 2020. While GNCC picked racing back up three months after the pandemic struck in March 2020, the loosened guidelines and attendance limits were more gradual in its reentry into the sport. With local governments loosening restrictions, fans were out in full force this weekend.

“t’s a long, grueling race,” said Ben Kelley, a racer for Red Bull KTM. “And having the fans out there, yelling and screaming, cheering you on, it keeps you motivated.”

GNCC will return to High Point Raceway on June 20 for the Lucas Oil AMA pro motocross championship. An expected 20,000 fans will be in attendance for that race.

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