Loretta Lynn’s, Hurricane Mills, TN 2005

photos by Bonnie Hamrick

Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch GNCC
Hurricane Mills, TN
April 29, 2005

Story and photos by Bonnie Hamrick

This used to be the track, but Racer Productions was forced to move to higher elevation and lay out a new course in just a matter of hours.

This used to be the track, but Racer Productions was forced to move to higher elevation and lay out a new course in just a matter of hours.

GNCC racing has had some inclement weather so far this 2005 season, so why not heavy rain fall? With over a foot of rain fall hitting the Loretta Lynn’s track during the week and Friday night, the river flooded, making track conditions next to impossible. The starting line field, the motocross, the Pro Pits, and the rocky parking area next to the river were all standing water come Saturday morning. The water was so deep that many quads couldn’t pass the deep water, and some trucks and trailers were drowned or swept away. The Racer Productions staff was forced to move the track first thing Saturday morning, delaying the morning race an hour, putting the races behind schedule. Racer Productions laid out an 11 mile track on the other side of the paved road, consisting of logging roads, dried creek beds, and rocky hills and ravines. They decided on a three lap shoot-out. Since none of the race would come through the pitting area, everyone had to pick up what would be needed and carry it to the other side of the road – where pitting would be tight.
With the morning race complete, riders were checking out some last minute sections, noting that the track still looked rideable in many areas. It was time to head to the starting line down the paved road to get Round Six under way.

 

No, this isn't the river, this rider is just heading back to his pits. Many of the pitting areas became flooded after the down fall of rain Friday night.

No, this isn’t the river, this rider is just heading back to his pits. Many of the pitting areas became flooded after the down fall of rain Friday night.

When the green flag went up, over two hundred and fifty quads roared to life as the twenty Pro riders took off around turn number one and crossed the road. Greg Trew took the early lead with William Yokley, Chris Jenks, and Bill Ballance ready for action. As the Pro worked their way around the ten mile course, they encountered ravines with water gushing down them, making small creeks all over the course. The sun tried to peek through the gray, rain-threatening clouds, as lap one almost came to an end.

With Lap One in the books, none other than, Yokley had moved into the lead, and looked fairly clean, so he didn’t pull into the Yoshimura Suzuki pits for new goggles. Second place was Bill Ballance as he pulled into the Yamaha pits for new goggles, and off he went as Chris Borich pulled into Team Alba’s pits for fresh goggles and gloves. As Borich was in the pits, Team Polaris rider, Matt Smiley held on the throttle past the pits and moved into third place. Johnny Gallagher and Jeremy Rice were battling for fifth place, as Gallagher was putting in his best ride of the 2005 season. For some reason, Gallagher is like a mud flea and loves the tracks when they are mud infested and nearly impassable. Greg Trew had dropped back to seventh as Brad Page made his GNCC return here at Loretta’s and was holding onto eighth aboard his Duncan Honda. Seven seconds back was Todd Knippenberg and rounding out the top ten was Chris Jenks.

Many of the Pro Am riders had worked their way into the top ten overall by this point; Scott Barron held the Pro Am Class lead by twenty seconds over Josh Ribley. Adam Mcgill, the Pro Am Class point’s leader was just seconds behind Ribley but battling the mud. All of these riders held onto top ten overall positions as they made their way around for lap two.

 Here Greg Trew and Wiliam Yokley already get past the camera as Chris Jenks and Brad Page battle for third and Chris Borich and Bill Ballance battle for fifth.

Here Greg Trew and Wiliam Yokley already get past the camera as Chris Jenks and Brad Page battle for third and Chris Borich and Bill Ballance battle for fifth.

With the white flag coming out on lap two of the three lap shoot-out, Ballance and Yokley were wheel to wheel as they came down the hill and battled into their pits for fresh goggles. Both riders left neck and neck and took off for their last lap charge. Nearly ten seconds back in third was Chris Borich; moving up to striking distance was Rice aboard his number eight Honda, taking over fourth place. Just twenty seconds back was Todd Knippenberg moving into fifth place with Johnny Gallagher pressing down on him for sixth. Nearly thirty seconds back was Matt Smiley aboard the Polaris in seventh, not his best ride for 2005. Also moving up through the pack was Chris Jenks, only fifteen seconds back for eighth, as the Four Stroke Tech rider put his head down and was poised for action. Bryan Baker and Brad Page rounded out the top ten as they made their way for the last lap of racing action.

Some Pro riders that hadn’t made a lap of Loretta’s action were Kim Kuhnle, who had trouble with his Polaris off the start, pulling out of the race within the first mile. Also missing in action was Thomas Barrett and Santo DeRisi. Barrett was pulled in on the final lap after breaking and DeRisi was stuck on a ravine.

Once again in the top ten overall were the top Pro Am riders – Scott Barron and now Adam Mcgill moving into second with Barron in his sight. When the checkered flag went out, William Yokley crossed the line and started his celebration early, causing him to wreck just before getting scanned in the small mudhole at the finish line. Yokley continued celebrating while second place, Jeremy Rice came across the finish with Bill Ballance in close pursuit of third. Meanwhile, the GNCC score keeper hadn’t scanned Yokley yet and ran down to scan him first then Rice and Ballance. Thirty-six seconds later, Chris Borich just missed out on the podium by taking fourth place with Chris Jenks taking fifth place right on his rear tires. Just over a minute behind Ballance’s finish time, Scott Barron crossed the finish line for first place in the Pro Am Class. With this close time, Barron moved into fourth overall, his first top five overall for the 2005 season. Just less than a minute behind Barron’s time was second place in the Pro Am Class, Adam Mcgill, who has been taking the Pro Am class by storm this year, giving Mcgill, yet another top ten overall finish. With eighth overall was Johnny Gallagher, giving him his first top ten of the 2005 season. A minute and ten seconds later was ninth overall, Andris Lagzdins, who has been riding great all year, firmly putting him in the top ten overall for points so far after six rounds of GNCC action. Rounding out the top ten, with his worst finish for 2005, was Matt Smiley with Team Polaris.

Pitting was where they made it happen. Here Ballance stops for fresh goggles and off he goes.

Pitting was where they made it happen. Here Ballance stops for fresh goggles and off he goes.

On the podium, the celebration continued for William Yokley as he was pumped over his first 2005 win. “I knew it was time for this Yoshimura, IMS, Roll Suzuki to be up here and what better than a mud win.” William Yokley moved into third overall for the points standings and was excited to be moving closer to his chances on a Championship.
Taking second overall was Jeremy Rice. No stranger to the podium, Rice had a podium finish at Petersburg, VA in 2004 and several near misses in fourth overall, but today, Rice was pumped for his second overall between Yokley and Ballance.

With third overall, at first Racer Productions had awarded Scott Barron the third overall position, but Bill Ballance had them review the video footage of the fans, where they saw that Ballance had to wait several crucial seconds to get scanned, giving him the time where he actually did take third overall. Ballance thus tied up the point’s race with Chris Borich when Borich crossed the finish line for fifth overall.

So, the mud fest is over. Round Seven of GNCC racing is just two weeks away. The John Penton in Ohio is notorious for various weather conditions. One year it was so dusty, the Pro riders were wearing masks under the helmets to keep from choking on the dust, the next year, a torrential downpour comes while the Pro riders are listening to the National Anthem and causes heavy rainfall to practically wash the track away! SO, what will it be in 2005? Be there to see it for yourself as Bill Ballance and Chris Borich race to break the tie-breaker yet again!

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