Round 1 – Big Buck – Union, SC
The GNCC season normally starts in Florida during Daytona Bike Week. Due to Bike Week being later this year, they opted to kick off at the Big Buck in South Carolina. I’ve always liked Big Buck; I’ve just never done well there! But I was excited to get started all the same. I worked hard this off-season and was eager to get out there and race.
I started off around 6th, but I could see the top guys were not far ahead. I stuck with them and came through the pack up to 2nd by the halfway mark. Kailub Russell, Stew Baylor and I had a good battle going until a lapper was down on the big hill climb. Kailub and I went down and let Stew get away, and we never saw him again. It’s funny how when you lose sight of a guy, it’s hard to catch back up.
A good battle with Kailub ensued for the next lap and a half. I felt good, but ultimately a bad line choice and some lapped traffic held me up, and I went on to finish third. I’m out to win this year, but still happy to be on the podium.
Round 2 – Wild Boar – Palatka, FL
With only a week between our first two rounds, it goes by fast. Before I could turn around we were back on the line getting ready to tackle the sands of the Wild Boar. This track is one of our hardest races with how rough it gets. I was ready to battle though.
My start was better this time, coming out in third place behind Ricky Russell and Kailub Russell. We swapped positions through the mud hole section before I finally took control of second place behind Kailub in the field. All of the sudden it started pouring rain, and almost immediately my goggles were toast. I didn’t wear rain goggles! So for the next few laps, with no goggles on, I battled with Kailub and Thad Duvall for the top spot. Everybody was struggling with vision.
When it finally stopped raining, us three were way ahead of fourth place and really going at it. We took turns leading until just after the two-hour mark, when I got stuck in a mud hole and let them get away. Still with a two-plus minute lead over fourth, I got out of the mud and kept pushing. Then while passing a lapper, I tangled with him and went down. Small crash, but somehow I took a foot peg to the groin. My day was done.
It is really frustrating to be in the battle for the win and have that happen. But I’m feeling better now, and ready to reclaim my spot at the front. Can’t wait until Round Three!
Huge thanks goes out to all my great sponsors, as without them I wouldn’t be able to go racing. These guys are the best!
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