GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox with Adam McGill

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 | 12:00 AM

Adam McGill roared back into victory lane with a big win at the Moose Racing Snowshoe GNCC in his native West Virginia over the weekend. Unfortunately for Adam’s title hopes, the win followed some sub-par finishes at the last few rounds, which have put him way back in points. But the 21-year-old has learned a lot this year, and he thinks he is back to the form that pushed him to the front of the pack earlier in the season.

Photos by Jason Hooper

That's the Adam McGill
attitude were remember!

Okay so are you back?
Back? I don’t think I was ever gone! Maybe I was though. I'm not sure.

Well what happened after that three-race win streak?
I don’t know, I was making dumb mistakes. This race I had a good start and got out front on the first lap. I just tried to stay smooth. The track was really tough and technical, and that’s the way I like it.

Well I know in Georgia, when the track got real deep and rutted, you really seemed to thrive. Are those types of technical conditions best for you?
Yeah I felt good. I had a lot of faith in my mechanic and everybody on the team. I knew it would be a good day. Before the race, I asked (Team Manager) Tim (Farr) if I should just lay back and be smart, because I knew it would be tough. He said “Adam, you’ve had success just going for it in the past, so just go for it.” And I didn’t have any troubles all day. And hey, it was in West Virginia, so it was like riding in my back yard.

Did you have an advantage racing in your home state?
Yeah, it kind of reminded me of some of the outlaw races I run close to home. Just dealing with rocks and mud and roots and bottlenecks, stuff like that. And I had people cheering for me, that always helps. So I ran it like I did at some of the other races this year, I just held it on and went for it. It was weird, though. I was back on the 525. My friends were telling me “Man, you’re not running it!” So I asked them what they meant, and I guess I just wasn’t revving it out like I used to, or like some of the other guys were doing. But that’s just wasted energy trying to ride like that. I would rather just keep my momentum up and roll through some of those sections.

Is that something you’ve tried to develop with this KTM? More low-end power so you can just lug it?
Yeah, the bike, it’s not made to be high strung and super revved out. It’s more of a mid to low end motor, and Mark Baldwin has worked with us a lot. But it’s a 525, so it just has tons of torque anyway.

But didn’t you ride a 450 at some races?
Yeah I started on a 450 at Millfield, I like it a lot, I really do. It’s a smaller bore so you need to rev it hard to get it to run. I like it, but next year the rules aren’t going to let us run the 525, so I figured I might as well just race it while I can. The 450 is going to be fine though if we have to race it. That’s if I get picked up by KTM again. I haven’t seen any paperwork or anything, but I hope to be back.

Well, the team had to be thrilled with four wins. Did they expect this? Did you?
I don’t think the team expected it, but I expected to win at least one this year. I have the full support behind me, and I can ride and train full time. That’s the big difference. Before, I worked a job and it was hard. With the factory ride, I have just trained and trained, and that’s what it takes to compete with guys like Bill Ballance and Chris Borich.

Did a little of that fire go out at mid-season? When you had a few bad races?
Yeah I got down pretty bad after my second DNF in Kentucky. I was down on myself, and I started saying “maybe it’s not meant to be, maybe I’m not meant to be the champion.” My girlfriend and my dad heard me say that, and I got scolded pretty good. They lit me up for saying that, and I guess it was pretty dumb to think that way. So then I was all fired up, and I was ready to just run the hell out of it, and that didn’t work, I just broke more stuff. So then I really put myself in a hole. People were saying I didn’t look as fast as I did in the beginning of the year. At the beginning of the year, I was just smooth and carrying momentum, but at Somerset, I was just all over the place.

McGill rode the West Virginia track like it was his own backyard, which it kind of was.

Well, I can tell you from doing the TV shows this year and watching the footage, when you were on that win streak, every time it looked like you were about to make a big mistake and crash, you would actually end up doing something better. Like you would hit something too hard, but end up jumping over some rough stuff and actually saving time.

Oh yeah it was obvious. It looked like you were on fast forward.
Well the bike worked really good. Then I tried to make some changes and make things better and better after Loretta’s. And you know what? You don’t change what’s not broken. It was just making me work harder to go the same speed. I was running so much new stuff that I didn’t have time to get used to it. I was just changing it from race to race. It got to the point where Tim told me, “You’re thinking too much, just relax and go out there and ride it.” And then my dad said, “Why are you always changing things? Just go back to what you were running.” So now I’m back to everything exactly the way it was. Same tire pressure, same shock settings, same skid plates, everything.

I know you’re bummed that a few bad races knocked you way back in points, but honestly, four wins and third in points, isn’t that something to be proud of?
Yeah it’s good. But I want a championship, Jason. I know what I got to do to do it. After this year, I’ve beaten Bill, I’ve beaten Chris, I know what I need to do. I just need to do it. After this Snowshoe race, I know I can do it again.

Now Adam's girlfriend won't yell at him.

So you must be really pumped on Unadilla.
Oh dude, I’m retarded pumped.

Last time we talked, when you were on a win streak, you said the competition wasn’t talking to you anymore. Are they talking to you again?
Yeah it’s back to the way it was. I think people just didn’t expect me to come out and do that. They just wanted me to be the fun guy and maybe the “could be kid” but never win races like that. But even when they weren’t talking to me, I wasn’t getting dirty looks or anything. And some of my competitors seem to support me. I mean, Bill, he’s always been cool to me and I think he’s happy for me.

So you were in Paris for a race a few weeks ago. What was that like?
Very, very French.

(Laughs) I’m shocked!
I really got to thinking, you know why they bead us over there? All they eat is bread cheese and that’s giving them lots of calories to burn. My butt looked like the back of a Mack truck when I got back from over there.

Very nice. Good luck at Unadilla, Adam.
Thanks, Jason.