Hawk Wins at the Knight/Salminen GNCC ShowdownSunday, October 8, 2006 | 7:30 PM
As expected, this weekend's Power Line Park GNCC was the race of the year. But it was a not a race between the expected, as KTM's off-road domination 1-2 punch of Juha Salminen and David Knight could only notch fourth and fifth on a high-speed track in Eastern Ohio. The big battle turned out to be just in front of the KTM duo, with the other regular GNCC front-runners, Barry Hawk, and Charlie Mullins on Yamahas and Glenn Kearney on his FMF/Suzuki battling hard all day long. Kearney appeared headed to his first-ever GNCC win until Hawk pounced on him with just moments to go to win a thriller. Kearney and Mullins rounded out the podium. "Everyone was talking about Knight and Juha, and I don't know who finished ahead of who, but I know they're not up here on the podium," said Hawk with a smile. The race was intense all day long. Ohio's own Fred Andrews snared the Racer X Holeshot award and put in his best ride in years, holding the field back and leading for nearly half of the race. Knight was struggling just a bit on his 450XC, stalling his machine a few times and dropping way back, but then he turned in some blistering laps to catch back up. Salminen was also having problems, riding the 250XC-F four-stroke machine for the first time. The 250F was just a bit out gunned on the fast track. But Kearney and Hawk were firing on all cylinders, and they battled to the final inches after six 12-mile laps. Kearney, in fact, thought there would be one more lap, as he missed the white flag and then didn't see his pit boards on the last lap. He was saving something for the end when Hawk knifed underneath in a corner, got on the gas and raced for the finish. "I feel like the stupidest person on Earth right now," said a dejected Kearney. For full results, check out www.gnccracing.com
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