The Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series is anything but your typical weekend race. With 13 rounds traversing eight states, it’s not unusual to see as many as 2,400 riders hit the tracks that range from eight to 12 miles, with terrain ranging from hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections.
“This weekend was a new experience for us. Our District 17 race family all went and gave it their all at GNCC,” said Alison Lentz, whose son, Travis, was one of the area racers to compete at Ironman Raceway on Oct. 24-25 in Crawfordsville, IN. “A typical race has around 30 to 50 total in it. The kids raced with 214 bikes. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Despite the challenges, the local riders proved they were up to the task. Travis Lentz would take first in his division, the 65cc bike class for 7-to-9 year olds. His friend and riding partner, Cooper Duff, would also run well, placing 11th in the same division out of 29 riders.
Morrisonville’s Jhak Walker would also run in youth bikes, taking fifth in Senior Super Mini (14-and-15 year-old). Zachary Duff, Cooper’s older brother, would also race in Super Mini and placed 15th out of 27 riders.
Of the 217 riders in the youth bike division, Walker would finish an impressive 13th, while Lentz was 72nd. The Duff brothers would also do well, with Zachary finishing 95th overall and Cooper coming in 138th.
Jhak’s older brother, Jhadyn, a senior at Morrisonville High School, would have some momentum going into the PM Bike division after winning the Pit Bike race on Oct. 23, but ran into some trouble in the Open A race and settled for 22nd place after a DNF.
One of the younger members of the Walker clan joined his older brothers and dad, Jeremy, for the trip as Jhenner Walker competed in the 50cc Senior (6-7 year-old) class. Walker would finish fifth in his class and 24th out of 106 riders in the Micro division.
While the youngsters were still learning the ropes, veterans like Dave Suslee of Nokomis showed that they still have what it takes as well. Suslee finished sixth overall in the Elite Masters (65+) class and 794th out of 887 riders in the AM Bikes division.
While the next GNCC race is further away, in Newburg, WV, on Nov. 7-8, the Cahokia Creek Dirt Riders will be hosting a charity hare scramble that same weekend much closer to home that same weekend in White City.
On Nov. 8, the club will be accepting canned goods for the local food pantry and will have 65cc, 85cc, Super Mini, Women’s, 50cc-65cc Beginner races. There will also be A,B and C Team, 50+ Team, Father-Son and Ironman races. The race fee is $20 plus a $10 toy. Teams can be mixed with A, B and C racers, and will race in the highest racer’s class.
Gates will open at 7 a.m., with no gate fee. Sign-up also starts at 7 p.m. For more information call Jeremy Walker at 217-561-6039 or Bob Marfell at 217-414-4867 or go to www.cahokiacreekdirtriders.com