GNCC Racing

This Week in GNCC .... Quick Fill #44

Thursday, November 8, 2007 | 12:00 AM

Welcome to Quick Fill. Man, it’s hard to get working again.

Land of the Rising Sun.


The off-season has pretty much kicked in for all of us, most of the major racing series are wrapped and now even a cold front is rolling through the Northern States of the GNCC community. I left the country for a week for the Japanese National Cross Country finale, and when I left, it was 65 degrees and October. When I returned, it was 40 degrees, the calendar had flipped to November and the TV is showing all of these “Holiday” commercials.

Time sure flies when you’re, well, flying. Me, my girlfriend and and the Smith’s left Narita airport at about 7 pm Tuesday night, and then we arrived in San Francisco at about”¦7 p.m Tuesday night! Awesome how those time zones work, we were basically outrunning the sun on the flight back. But by the time we had connected our way all the way back to Pittsburgh, it was about midnight, and we rolled into Morgantown very late, and even though I did come in to work yesterday I spent it in a coma and produced nothing except for a few proof reads here and there.

Hence, I’m working from behind on Quick Fill. Luckily, colleagues from all over have produced news so I have plenty to discuss.

First, we made the annual “big announcement” of national numbers for 2008, as well as the final top ten standings in each class. Check the results link to view all of this, and if you have an issue with any of it, send me an email and we’ll double check to make sure everything is accurate. Email is [email protected]. But make sure to check the rulebook first. All adult amateur classes, for example, take the best nine finishes only, class championship tie breakers come down to most wins, but ties for any other positions come down to whoever finishes better at the last race of the year. We’ve studied this and believe everything is up to snuff, but as always we welcome your comments.

Now, if you’re one of our champions, make sure to click this link to make sure you get your order in for gear, jackets and the rest. To the victor goes the spoils, as they say.

Now that the results are complete, national numbers are handed out and everyone knows who is in the final top ten standings, we can begin preparing for the annual GNCC Banquets””and you can, too, by sending in your banquet forms. If you’re still searching and searching and searching for the hotel on the map, try the town of Mars, Pennsylvania instead of Cranberry””it’s right on the line between those two towns.

One of the most important parts of the banquets are the annual rider’s meetings, held on Saturday morning after the ATV banquet and Sunday morning after the bike banquet. At those meetings we determine the rulebook and classes for 2008. We invite everyone to come, and just in case you can’t, you can still let your voice be heard by emailing us. Have an idea, comment or suggestion for GNCC 2008? [email protected]

Here are a few areas we’re looking at right now. First, the Youth ATV ranks may need some new classes since the Cobras have become so dominant. It took a few years for these machines to get to this level, but now that they’re there you may not find a four-stroke machine that can keep up. In motocross circles they move the Cobras to their own class, and we may have to do this here. In the meantime, Cobra is understandably very proud of their success. Here’s a press release we collected today:


Cobra Mini Quads ”“ Led By Dylan Bradford - Sweep GNCC Series’ 90cc 11-15 Modified Class O/A Podium!

Cobra ECX70 racers Josh Merritt (2nd) and Kyle Riley (3rd) join Bradford on overall box in the GNCC Series’ 90cc 11-15 Modified class



Cobra Podium Sweep photo: (L to R) Sam Parr (3rd), Dylan Bradford (1st) and Josh Merritt (2nd) at the John Penton GNCC


HILLSDALE, Mich., (Nov. 8, 2007) ”“ Cobra’s ECX70 mini quads picked up in the finals of the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series, aka the “GNCCs,” right where they left off in Moose Racing ATVA Motocross Series, sweeping the overall podium in the premier 90cc 11-15 Modified class.


Leading the charge on the little red rippin’ Cobra ECX70s was Canton, Ohio’s Dylan Bradford. With five wins, three 2nd place finishes and a 3rd in the 11 GNCC youth ATV races Bradford topped the field with 157 points. Rounding out the 90cc 11-15 Modified class podium on their Cobra ECX70s were Josh Merritt (Akron, Ohio) and Kyle Riley (Elkins, W.Va.) in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.


“We couldn’t have planned it any better on paper to start the season,” said Sean Hilbert, President of Cobra Motorcycles. “Cobra’s mini quads are in their second full year of competition and, as we stated to the press when we first released the mini quads (“showroom floor directly to the podium” ), they’ve backed up our claim in both the quick-sprinting ATVA Motocross Series and now in the demanding endurance test of the GNCCs.”Â


Bradford, much like Cobra’s Walker Fowler last year, was the 90cc 11-15 Modified class’ elite racer. Case-in-point: At one race this summer Bradford was run into a tree as soon as the mini quads hit the woods following the start. He was able to re-fire his wounded ECX70 and came back out of the woods in dead last place. After the next 5.5 mile lap he’d worked his way up to 3rd place and by the end of the next lap he’d put two minutes between himself and the 2nd place quad!


“And he did that on a box stock Cobra 70cc motor, no porting or any other modifications,” added Gary Bradford, Dylan’s father and chief mechanic. “The Cobra ECX70 is the fastest mini quad on the planet. And it stood up in the most horrible conditions you could imagine that these kids race in. Wide open for an hour through mud, sand, dust, rocks and water and we didn’t have a single pit stop or mechanical issue all season long.”Â


Rounding out the top five in overall points in the GNCC 90cc 11-15 Modified class were Cobra ECX70 racers Jerry Welch (Oakland, Md.) in 4th and Seth Mumford (Crooksville, Ohio) in 5th.


Cobra, founded in 1993, produces the most successful line of competition mini cycles and mini quads in the United States with more than 100 national titles in the last decade. Based out of Hillsdale, Mich., Cobra's mission is to build premium products for the serious racer. For more information on Cobra products, please visit our website at


Cool. Other classes to look at include the 4x4 divisions, as we’ve had many requests for production rules in all of them, and some more refinements for what a U2 class machine is and is not. Also, we’ve had tons of great feedback and interest on holding more UTV races next year, so we’ll try to hash that out, too.

Bottom line is we hope to have a draft of the rules up within two weeks of the banquet, and then after another week or two for you folks to comment, we will have them posted and 100 percent official before the beginning of the New Year. And when we post them, read them carefully because it’s really, really hard for us to go back and change or clarify things once we’re racing in March.

How hot are UTVs right now? Check out this letter:


Hi Jason, I thought you might like this picture for one of your columns. It’s Tim Farr picking up his new purchase a Polaris Ranger RZR. Tim was really impressed with the recent side by side Iron Man competition and just had to have one. He thought Brian Barker and his wife were just having too much fun! Hope you can find the time and places to have side by side competition in the coming year.


Brad Cheney

Bair's Polaris Victory

N.Canton OH


P.S. Just a little note on the new RZR, I've been selling recreational products for almost 30 years and have never carried or seen a product sold out so far in advance, and for so long with no end in sight. Way to go Polaris. It’s a Major League Home Run.



Don’t worry about Farr violating his KTM deal here. Polaris and KTM have a partnership going.

Big props out to GNCC Bike Youth Rider AJ Stewart, who completed another great charity ride:


We just wanted to say thank you to Racer Productions for helping us get the word out about AJ’s charity ride for Multiple Sclerosis. It was another success. AJ received donations of over $4,500.00 this year with more pledges to be collected. This will bring his 6-year total to over $24,000.00. A lot of GNCC regulars came out to ride with AJ and show their support. including Barry Hawk, Joe Dirt (Sherer), Jessie Sherer, Nick Wise, Brandon Hilty, Brad Swaney, Brandon Radosevich, Cody and Jim Dice, EJ Petcheny, Mike Myers of Mikes Racing Products, Corey and Russ Williams of DGS Suspension, and Tucker and Brian from Waynesburg Yamaha were among the riders at the MX-4-MS event. One of the highlights of the day was when Barry Hawk decided to try to go up the downhill at AJ’s track. When Barry had a little trouble, we new the other riders would struggle. In the end only a couple riders were able to make it to the top, but not for lack of trying. It made for some excitement for the crowd watching. We would like to send special thanks to Steve Hatch who has donated to the ride from the beginning and Barry Hawk who comes and rides every year. By the way, Barry has donated another autographed MSR riding suit to be auctioned off this year. It should be on Ebay with in the next week. Maybe we can get a little competitive biding going from the GNCC crowd. Last year the person who had the highest bid was from Finland!


 Thanks again to everyone that supported MX-4-MS,

 The Stewarts



Excellent. Hey, I wonder if last year’s winning bidder of the Hawk jersey was Juha Salminen?


Speaking of support, I had an email from Terry Bopp, and he said he’s looking to sponsor GNCC Racers in 2008. Sound good to you? Check it out:


[email protected]


The Red Bull KTM off-road team sure had a great weekend last weekend, as Kurt Caselli finally nailed down that WORCS Championship he had been working on for a long time, and Mike Lafferty delivered his eighth AMA National Enduro Title. We’re proud of both of these riders, who have also laid plenty of tracks down on GNCC Terrain. KTM PR girl Christy “I do work for KTM full-time and do a lot more than just the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge” LaCurelle certainly had a busy week keeping track of these championships.


Here is the story on Lafferty:


KTM’s Mike Lafferty Wins his Eighth National Enduro Title

Valley Grande, AL - The National Enduro Championship was already secured to KTM before the last round of the National Enduro Series, but to which KTM rider was yet to be determined.  Red Bull KTM riders Mike Lafferty and Russell Bobbitt went into the eighth and final round of the National Enduro Series with Lafferty only 16 points ahead of teammate Bobbitt.


Bobbitt rode to the best of his ability and won the race, but it was not enough to take home the championship as Lafferty remained close behind in the second place position.  Lafferty knew that second place was enough for the championship win and choose to ride a safe race to secure the championship.  With this championship, Lafferty now ties the all-time Enduro Championship record with Dick Burleson for eight championship wins.  Lafferty will now set his goal on next season’s championship in order to break the existing record and become the new record holder.


“I couldn’t be more pleased with both riders.  KTM’s roots are in off-road and it shows with both team riders finishing 1st and 2nd,” stated Team Manager Antti Kallonen after the event.



The Kings of American Enduro.


Also want to give a shout to Garrett Edmisten, who finished third overall at the Enduro.

Here’s the KTM word on WORCS:


Kurt Caselli Wins WORCS Championship at Taft

Taft, CA- Red Bull KTM’s Kurt Caselli won the WORCS Championship after a tight points chase all season long.


Caselli had a nine point lead over Nathan Woods going into the last round at Taft.  In order to win the championship Caselli knew he had to be first or second to stay ahead of Woods.


As the gate dropped for the final race, Caselli’s teammate Justin Soulè grabbed the holeshot with Caselli inside the top ten.  Soulè lost the lead but managed to stay in second place until half way into the first lap when he crashed and dropped into 9th.  Near the same point Caselli crashed and dropped from his then 5th place position into 8th.  At the end of the first lap Caselli remained in 8th position four spots back from his main rival, Woods.


It was not long before Caselli began his charge and moved his KTM quickly into the 3rd position.  Woods was in second place and made the pass for the lead.  Caselli stayed close behind and at the half way point managed to pass into 2nd place right before the gas stop.  Caselli knew that a second place finish would be enough to secure the championship.  Therefore, he played it safe and rode a solid race through the finish earning his first WORCS Championship.  “This championship means a lot to me.  I have been working very hard the past couple of years to win and with the support of a great team it’s finally happened.  I head over to Chile for the ISDE this coming week and I hope to carry this momentum with me to do well for the USA Team,” remarked Caselli after his championship win.


Soulè rode a commendable race, but made a few mistakes early on that kept him out of the top five.  He finished 7th overall which ranked him 6th in overall season points.


Congratulations to the Red Bull KTM WORCS Racing Team for their endless hours of hard work which paid off with their first championship win.


 Okay, now on to Japan. If you want all the dirt, check out www.blogandt.comfor plenty of stories and photos on attending the final round of the JNCC Series. It was an amazing experience for two very different reasons. For one, the racing in Japan was much closer to what we see in the U.S. than I expected. Yes, Japan is a crowded country, but did you know it’s mostly crowded because so much of the land is too rugged to even live on? I got this from Wikipedia: About 70% to 80% of the country is forested, mountainous, and unsuitable for agricultural, industrial, or residential use. This is because of the generally steep elevations, climate and risk of landslides caused by earthquakes, soft ground and heavy rain.


So as you can see, Japan isn’t so bad a place to hold an off-road race after all! The JNCC was held at Sugo, a huge Motorsports complex featuring a road race course and a motocross track, and enough woods to build a four-mile JNCC loop. Surprisingly, we drove a good 20 minutes to the track and saw nothing but steep, forested land, kind of like driving to the Snowshoe GNCC. And once you were in the woods, it didn’t feel much different than what we saw a few weeks ago at the Ironman GNCC in Indiana.

There are key differences, of course, the largest one being that the JNCC Series doesn’t feature any ATV racing at all. I told Masami Hoshino, our host for the weekend and the man behind the JNCC Series, that we routinely have 600 ATV Racers. His eyes bugged out of his head and he let off a series of “ooooooooooooooo” s to stress his amazement. Most ATVs may be built in Japan, but most aren’t raced over there.

The other difference is in the rigs people use to get to the track. Not surprisingly, full-sized V8 American pickups could not be found anywhere. But neither could our monster campers or RVs. The weapon of choice in Japan is the small, all-wheel drive minivan that can fit a bike inside. None of these machines are available in the U.S., and no one would probably buy one since they’re not the coolest looking machine out there. But think about it. These machines are about the same size as a small pickup, you can fit two bikes and your gear in a lockable, weather proof space, they have four-wheel drive to deal with muddy pit areas, and diesel engines so they only sip gas. It’s not a bad concept, really. The only thing I could not believe was that most of the riders slept in these vans without any heat whatsoever, and fall in Japan isn’t much different than, say, Fall in Pennsylvania. Can’t they hook up some sort of generator?

With only 200 riders on hand and the much smaller rigs, the pits in Japan were comparatively tiny compared to what we have here. But once the racing began””hand on helmet, instead of dead-engine style””and the Pro, A and B classes took off for a three-hour tour, it was very much like watching a GNCC. One of the only differences was watching Mullins on a Suzuki, but we’ll get used to that next year. The big question is, will we also get used to the winning part?

One sweet ride if you live in Japan.

Props to 2005 All-Japan National MX Champion Takeshi Koikeda on snagging second overall after a race-long battle with Jason Raines. Takesh picked up Jason at the air port on Friday, which Jason remarked is probably not something he and Rodney Smith would have done when they were battling back in 2004, for example. But Takesh is a great guy and he’s picking up his off-road game. A few years ago at this race he would only be good for a few laps, but Jason said it looked like he has really picked up his endurance, enough to hold Jason off when they battled on the last lap. Takeshi wants to race some GNCCs now. He usually hangs out in California during the winter months to do some training, and Rodney Smith quickly offered to take him in for some woods riding. Look for Takeshi in Florida and Georgia next year””he will be especially tough in Georgia, which looked very much like Sugo.

After the race, the Americans took to the podium and achieved full rock star status. The media was all over them for photos and video, the crowd applauded everything they said even though they couldn’t understand them, and once the autograph table opened (after the race!) the lines were long. The Japanese fans are very, very respectful. After the race is over, they all line up on the side of the finish line so they can hi five every rider coming off the track. Can you imagine hanging out at the finish of the Ironman to high five all 500 morning race riders who come off of the track? In Japan, it’s expected.

And that leads me to the part of Japan that was not like life over here. The racing was actually quite similar, but the culture is totally different. Everyone in Japan was incredibly nice and incredibly polite, they seemed to take major pride in whatever their job was, and they do not go out of their way to get attention, make a scene or steal anyone’s thunder. I saw not one tricked out car or any dubs on any vehicles (even if they would fit). In Tokyo, men worse suits, but they all wore almost exactly the same suit. And everyone we met, from workers at tiny restaurants on the street, to hotel managers, seemed very happy to be doing what they’re doing.

On Monday night in Tokyo, Rodney Smith and I were wondering why the city was so quiet even though it was jammed with people. The citizens we saw weren’t talking to each other, they were minding their own business. Rodney noted that you don’t hear any loud Harley’s or motorcycles, and I wondered why no one there runs a Harley, because you would obviously be making a major, major fashion statement if you had one. Rodney’s guess is that the culture doesn’t embrace making a statement with your car, motorcycle or anything else. Then I remembered the bikes I saw at the JNCC””many were beat old bikes, not even close to the stuff you see at the GNCCs. But everyone sure seemed happy to have what they had and do what they do. It was really all very nice.

And by the way, on Monday Masami took us to an Italian restaurant in Tokyo. Our waitress took a glimpse at Rodney and promptly flipped out, beyond words excited that she was getting to meet the famous American motorcycle racer. Rodney took pictures, signed an autograph and gave her some stickers. The young girl was shaking. Yes, GNCC has a big impact over there.

The whole week had a big impact on me, too, and I’m sure it did for the rest of our gang. Charlie Mullins went from someone who could only twirl his odd-tasting Japanese spaghetti on Friday night to someone who downed about 18 pounds of meat, fish and vegetables on Sunday. Rodney Smith got to see, one more time, how much he has accomplished in this sport the world over (this was Rodney’s fifth trip to the Land of the Rising Sun). And Jason Raines finally got to return to one of his favorite races as a racer””injuries prevented him from coming back here for three long years.

Everyone got to take the racing gloves off and have a good time together in a much lower pressure environment than at a GNCC track. It was great to break down so many barriers between ourselves and our cultures. Big thanks to Mr. Masami Hoshino for having us. It was an honor for us, too.