The XC1 class in the ATV ranks of GNCC racing often provides some of the closest racing you could ever hope to see. As with many others, Craig Bowman goes head to head with the XC1 competition on a true privateer effort. To make things even more interesting, Bowman competes in his local series not only aboard his ATV but also in a UTV and on a bike as well. We caught up with Craig to talk about his 2012 season, 2013 and more.
GNCCRacing.com: How’s everything going today?
Craig Bowman: It’s going pretty good. Just trying to get everything together and ready to leave for Florida.
So how have you been spending your winter break?
Well, mostly just working. We started an IXCR riding school, so I’ve been doing a lot training with some kids and adults too. I’ve also been hitting the gym a lot whenever I can.
Sounds fun! So what do you do for your regular day job?
We have a little powersports shop and mechanical shop, doing a lot of automotive repair, so that takes up a lot of time.
Yeah, definitely time consuming! So I guess that means you’re ready to get back into the swing of racing again here soon?
(Laughs) Oh yeah, definitely. The riding schools have been fun but I’m definitely ready to get back out there and get back to racing as much as I can.
I think everyone will agree with you there. So with that coming up, what are your goals for Florida?
To finish! (Laughs) I don’t get to ride as much as I’d like to, so I just want to go out, put a solid ride in and go from there. Hopefully pick up where I left off at Ironman and Loretta’s at the end of last year.
Speaking of last year, tell us how your 2012 season went.
It went pretty good. It started off pretty slow because we were changing suspension back and forth. We finally got it dialed in to where I was really comfortable with everything and it was definitely an improvement. Then I actually ended up breaking my arm the first race of the summer break, and it was kind of a slow recovery but luckily I didn’t miss any GNCCs.
How close was the recovery to Unadilla after summer break?
Actually, I got the pins taken out the Tuesday before Unadilla and I think we left on Wednesday night for New York. It was kind of sketchy there and I had originally planned on just running one lap but it ended not feeling too bad. I had a little plastic brace to where I could hold on to the handlebars. I actually had to bring a set of handlebars to the doctor’s office so they could make the brace to where I could sit and grip the bars. So, the race really wasn’t too bad and I ended up finishing. I think I ended up ninth, so overall it wasn’t too bad.
What was the biggest highlight of the season for you?
Probably being on the shirt at Ironman. That was a first for me and I even grabbed the holeshot there too, so that was a great weekend for me. That’s basically a hometown race for me because it’s only about 30 minutes from my house so it turned out really good.
Is there anything you would like to have done differently in 2012?
We ended up playing around with so much different suspension stuff earlier in the season that I wish we could’ve known beforehand what was going work because we spent so long testing stuff in the off-season and then changed it all up in Georgia, so that kind of threw a wrench in everything.
So in the local series you also race a UTV and a bike in addition to the quad, right?
Yeah, I’m out there in all three races and it definitely keeps things interesting and gives me the chance to go out on something besides the quad, so it’s pretty good.
What’s it like getting to race all those machines?
It’s great. Since I don’t get to ride a lot, that’s why I picked up racing the bike and it makes for some good cross-training. It’s all fun and it definitely keeps me busy. The UTV is fun too. My brother raced all the GNCC UTV races last year and I raced the local races in the UTV. It’s a blast running all 3, kind of tiresome but it’s worth it.
Which do you find yourself just having the most fun on?
That’s a tough call! I don’t know. Probably the UTV just for the fact that you’re in a cage, so there’s really not a whole lot that can go wrong, but when it does, you tear the machine up, but on a bike or a quad you tear your body up. I probably have more fun in the UTV because there’s a passenger sitting there screaming as you’re hitting stuff.
So going back and forth between the bike and the quad, how do you think the bike helps you on the quad?
The bike definitely helps you pick lines better. I noticed that once I started racing it I started noticing more lines you could take on a quad whereas before, I just stayed on the trail. On the bike you look for the straightest line, so that will help on the quad. The bike also works a lot of different muscles, so it kind of helped all around for me.
I also understand that truly racing is just about the only seat time you get.
Every once in a while I take a day off and go ride but most of the time when I ride it’s when we’re able to go racing.
Do you ever feel much of a disadvantage with working and not getting to practice?
Yeah, I know there’s other guys who have kind of the same deal. Pickens works a lot, so he’s in a similar situation. Then the guys that do get to train, most of them are already in Florida now riding. I’d like to be able to train more but with having to pay for it all myself, I have to work, so I guess that’s part of it.
They say that racing is the best practice, do you believe that?
Definitely. I can go out and ride by myself and it helps but you don’t get that atmosphere and adrenaline that you get when you’re racing. It’s definitely a little more of an advantage getting to race more.
Alright, before we wrap this up, who would you like to thank?
Axxis Shocks, Precision Stabilizers, Hiper Wheels, Tireballs, Westfield Powersports for the help with UTV and the bikes, Rekluse, Wiseco, IMS, Powermadd, and really anyone else I may have forgot!