GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #39 This Week in GNCC Racing

Wednesday, October 8, 2008 | 12:00 AM

Welcome to Quick Fill. So much new and fun stuff this weekend!

At one time, the ITP Tires Power Line Park GNCC was just another race on the tour. But over the last few years it has really grown into one of the biggest races we hold, from the huge spectator counts to the dramatic on-track happenings. We've seen amazing races, title clinches and plenty of fun and excitement. The track also seems to pack a little of everything, enough to make it fun for amateurs in the morning race, and enough to keep it interesting for the Pro, A and B pack.

We have more great expectations this weekend. First, with Power Line Park comes the return of our GNCC UTV Series, with William Yokley and his factory National Guard/Polaris RZR looking to continue a win streak that has covered our first two rounds of racing. The UTV stuff is fun and we look forward to rolling it out again.

But that UTV Series is tame compared to the craziness happening on bikes and ATVs. New (and previous) GNCC Champion David Knight is going to skip this weekend's race and instead compete at the Weston Beach Race in England. Knight was able to top Stefan Everts the last time he raced there (in 2006), but back then Everts was a Yamaha rider. Now Everts, a 10-Time World Motocross Champion, works for KTM, so Knight wants to beat him head-to-head on the same equipment. Hey, Knighter did his job, winning the GNCC crown. Now he gets to celebrate anyway he wants!

Two years ago, Barry Hawk won a dramatic Power Line Park GNCC. The fans loved it. 
This weekend we have the makings for another unforgettable day.

Ray Gundy Photo

And speaking of equipment, Knight now has his hands on a KTM ATV, and he'll race it during the four-wheeled portion of Weston this Saturday. Then he'll practice and test for two weeks in the woods in preparation for the Ironman GNCC. Yes, Knight is going to race an ATV there! This should be epic.

GNCC rules prohibit a pro bike rider from racing Saturdays' ATV race and then racing again on Sunday (because racing Saturday would allow them to look at the course, which they're not allowed to do until race day). So Knight is going to have to keep the bike parked on Sunday at the Ironman. KTM says that's okay, though. Team Manager Antti Kallonen said he will just put Knight to work pulling stuck teammates out of the mud!

So this means we've seen the last on Knight on a bike in 2008. The pack must be salivating over the chance to fill his considerable shoes in victory lane. Paul Whibley is the only other rider to win more than one race this year, so he's a favorite. Josh Strang has been solid all season and also has a win. But I think this race and this track could be just what the doctor ordered for a few other riders, like Charlie Mullins, Nathan Kanney, Glenn Kearney and Barry Hawk. Mullins hasn't won since the second round of the tour and surely needs a boost as much as anyone after a frustrating season. Kanney has three-straight podiums and appears to be on the rise, but the Suzuki boys will be strong. Kearney says he's doing the same things he was doing when he was a podium guy earlier in the year. He usually does better on the tracks that don't have huge mud and huge rocks, so this should be good for him.

And then there's Barry Hawk, who is really fired up right now. After Unadilla, he said he has something to prove. I think Barry hears people saying that he's the old guy, and he really, really wants to prove to everyone that he still has it.

And then we have Mike Brown, the 2001 AMA 125 National Motocross Champion and basically one of the toughest men to ever swing a leg over a dirt bike. Mike is racing the WORCS Series next year (in place of Kurt Caselli, who is going GNCC Racing) so he's just learning the off-road ropes this year. Mike is obviously fast, but there will be a learning curve to racing in the woods. Still, it will be cool to see him out there.

Also, word is Mike Lafferty is not racing this weekend but will instead race the Ironman GNCC in two weeks. There was a little confusion over Mike's schedule, apparently.

Thad's ditching the headlight and adding 200cc this weekend.
Hooper photo

One more favorite in XC1: Thad DuVall is moving up! Quick Fill tracked Thad down this week, and the kid has to be pumped over his first run on a 450 against the big dogs. For quite some time, Thad's been saying he's more comfortable on a 450 than a 250 (so much so that he had even considered jumping to XC1 for this season). Thad's going to run a YZ450F this weekend, and he's been doing some testing and says he feels comfortable. Sounds good.

And with Thad out, XC2 will be a wide-open affair, too. Cory Buttrick and Jason Thomas have been the stars lately, but I think some of the early-season heroes are ready to get going again, like Dustin Gibson, Kailub Russell and Andrew Matusek. Scotty Watkins is due for a big race, too. And then there's last year's champion, Justin Williamson, who will race his KTM 250XC-F for the last time at these last two races. I'm sure he'd like a win. Thad moving up will be just the shot in the arm these guys need.

Cory B on the EnduroCross podium last weekend.
Buttrick photo

By the way, Cory Buttrick gave EnduroCross racing a shot last weekend when the series' rolled into Columbus, Ohio. Cory B won the Open four-stroke class, and said it was the (new) toughest thing he ever did. His father Dennis said he didn't care to do another one until Cory has a different mechanic other than himself!

Corey didn't make it out of the heat races for the expert main event, but he now has a new hero named Taddy (that's Blasuziak, the Red Bull KTM extreme ace from Poland).

And unfortunately, Josh Weisenfels looks to be out for the rest of the season with shoulder problems. Josh spent the whole summer working tirelessly through rehab, but the shoulder still gave out at Snowshoe, and he might have to get surgery.

Ballance with last year's number-one plate.
Hooper photo

Onto the ATVs. Bill Ballance has a 32-point lead in the ATV XC1 class (which determines the GNCC Championship), and 30 points are available for a race win. If Ballance finishes in front of Adam McGill this weekend, and holds Bryan Cook, Chris Borich and Brandon Sommers at bay, then Ballance wins the title.

The other day we were having a meeting in the office to plan this weekend's race, and ATVA MX Series Coordinator Stephani McIntyre said, “Wow, that guy is going to win it again? When is someone going to beat him?” That's a good question! It's crazy, really. Nine in a row! And the last four years have been absolute dogfights, and Bill has been up against the ropes time and time again. He's so good, I think we take it for granted. This stuff isn't automatic, it's amazing. Bill is the King of Quads.

Now, if Bill does win the title this weekend, will he bust out the '09 YFZ450R for the Ironman?

How about Bryan Cook's season? He still has a mathematical shot at the championship, and he's been solid just about every time the boys roll up for a race. But Bryan is still looking for some sort of factory help for next season. Someone hook this guy up!

In our morning race, Angel Atwell and Traci Cecco are still in a knockdown drag out for the Women's Championship. Both riders have five wins and should be able to fill out the rest of their nine races with second-place finishes. So it all comes down to getting wins at these last two rounds. Should be an amazing battle.

Next year the 4x4 Open and 4x4 Limited classes should have some new competition, as Polaris is planning a factory effort and contingency program around their new Sportsman 850 XP. The current 4x4 displacement limit is 840cc, and the Polaris overshoots the mark by 9cc. So, for 2009, we are going to raise the displacement limit to 850cc. Can-Am has won all three 4x4 Championships this year, and they were more than happy to see the displacement limit raised because they welcome the competition. Let us be clear here, though: 850 is the absolute limit for GNCC Racing. If Can-Am or anyone else comes out with a 900 in 2009, they're not racing it. Arctic Cat already makes a 1000cc machine that's not legal for competition, and we are going to stick with this 850cc limit. Anyway, we welcome Polaris to the fold, and if this results in more rides and more contingency for more GNCC racers, we're glad to have allowed that extra 9cc.

Championships Championships Championships! A couple of GNCC racers have nailed down titles in other off-road series, and we're proud of our boys. Paul Whibley just notched his seventh-straight OMA Series win over the weekend, and in the process wrapped up the OMA Title. Multi-time OMA Champ Jimmy Jarrett battled Whibz hard to retain the crown but will have to settle for second this year.

Paul Whibley is the new OMA Champion.
Photo courtesy Whibley.

This year the AMA divided their Hare Scramble Series into East and West divisions. Brian Garrahan went out and notched the first-ever AMA West Hare Scrambles Championship, and then over the weekend Jason Raines collected the East Title. That's four AMA Hare Scramble Championships for Mr. Raines. Well done boys!

A local racer got some love in his paper before Unadilla. This is great proof that all of you can do this type of thing, too. So be sure to check our "get press" releases. Then read this story and see what you can do. Click here.

Also, a paper did a story on Thad DuVall's XC2 Championship. Check it out here.

As our year comes to a close, we're proud to be sending two GNCC Racers to Japan again this year for the finale of the JNCC Series at the Sugo Circuit. The race takes place the weekend after the Ironman GNCC, which leads to some travel jam ups for some of our racers. This year, Nathan Kanney and Thad DuVall will represent the GNCC Series. The Japanese folks are very proud of our racers. Here's a letter.

Thank you for your co-operation.  I cannot show my appreciate enough for the way you gladly accepted my various requests.
You also chosen great racers from GNCC for AAGP, so in Japanese Enduro is rising by the topic.  Nate Kanney and Thad Duvall are great racers.

Japanese racer, who ran with Nate at ISDE in Greek, says that he is so exciting to run with Nate at AAGP, again.
Level of Japanese Enduro racers will improve rapidly in these 3 years. This is a favor of your cooperation and GNCC racers' wonderful running, we think.

Finally, there is a report, it was decided the champion and 2nd place Japanese racers of this year's JNCC will send to GNCC Kick-Off and 2nd race in next year.Racers and their mechanics will go to there, and their motorcycles will take from Japan.  I also will go with them.  Moreover, I look forward to see you.

AAGP will come soon; we are so exciting from now.

Thank you for your co-operation, again.

- Masami Hoshino
President, JNCC

Hey, it's a little early to start talking Ironman GNCC, but this year the Shaver family, who owns the track, is busting out two monster trucks for the event! The websites for info on the trucks is below:

Stone Crusher - Driver Steve Sims

Mopar Magic - Driver Carl Van Horn

Okay well this monstrous edition of Quick Fill is complete. Good luck to everyone this weekend at Power Line Park!

Somebody get Bryan Cook a ride!
Hooper photo

The locals would like to see Scott Watkins back on the Power Line podium.
Hooper photo