GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Bryan Cook

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | 3:00 PM

Bryan Cook had up and down results in his first few years racing in the GNCC pro ranks, but now, as a privateer riding for Houser Racing, he's moving up in the ranks - winning the weekend's Steele Creek GNCC and moving into fourth overall in the early-season standings. Cook doesn't have factory support, or the recognition, of other factory riders that he beat this weekend. He also works a full time job. How does he manage it all? And why doesn't he get more attention?

So how does your first 1st place win of the season feel?
It feels great. It feels good to get it out of the way early. I just need to get some more.

It was a pretty good day for you all-around- first finding out you're going to be a dad and then winning the race. What was going through your mind as you were rounding out that last lap?
I was just trying to hold on. It's going to be a good day, either way, even if we still would have held on for second. I still would have been excited. I was just trying to keep my composure. It was tough the last lap. We were battling pretty hard and there were a lot of lappers in there and you just really had to pay attention to your lines and where you were going or you were going to get yourself somewhere you didn't want to be.

You said you made a mistake in the mud hole. Did you find that to be a bigger challenge than usual. Yes it did. In years past it didn't seem like it got that bad and the bottom stayed pretty solid. It was wet and muddy but there were no problems getting through. This year, it got pretty tore up down there.  I guess all the water was dragged out of the mud hole. It got pretty soupy.

You're a privateer and Santo Derisi got you started at the GNCC's in 2000- How did you meet him?
He lives just right beside me. Our property actually joins. We've known each other pretty much all our lives. We went to school together here, in North Carolina. We grew up together, around each other riding.

Do you face any certain challenges since you aren't a factory supported rider?
I'm sure there are things that would be easier with the factory involvement. It is what it is. With the ways things are, it's tough. We do the best we can and have hopes of things improving next year and then maybe we can be in the situation those guys are. Just training would be easier and the level of support you have when you have problems to work through. I'm sure it's easier. I've never had it, so it's sort of speculation.

I'm sure it's easier to work through problems when you have the support of a factory. If you didn't have a day job it would be easier to train and get prepared for the race. You have to factor in the maintenance on the bike- the mechanic would be one less that I'd have to do. I wouldn't have anything to worry but showing up, getting on and go. Just focus on riding.

So not only do you not have factory support but you also have a full time job?
Yeah, I work for a construction company here in North Carolina laying brick.

I imagine it gets hard juggling work and racing, doesn't it?
It's frustrating sometimes. I work 40 hours a week.  It's tough to find time to train. One thing about my job is that it is physical- so it aids in the training. I don't have to do quite as much as I would. Usually when I get home I train. I'm not wild about getting up too early. It's tough sometimes- training sometimes turns out to be riding a stationary bike in front of the T.V. at night. I try to mountain bike some when I can. We've got Moto X nutrition that helps us with stuff a lot. That helps us out.

You're fourth right now in the points standings and you were fifth overall last year, you don't seem to get as much recognition as the other guys like McGill and Ballance, why do you think that is?
I had a rough first few years in the pro class. I struggled with some injuries and I couldn't get things right in my mind and get stuff where I needed it. I'm sure that probably affected it.

You still beat out the factory supported riders at Steele Creek so what do you think went right for you?
We struggled with starting all year and we just got a good start and put ourselves in that position. I knew we had it in us and we just needed to get a good start. We were dead last in Florida and we worked up to fourth.  In Georgia we had some problems, but it all worked out now.

Since Ballance is having some problems this year, do you think you can win the championship?
I sure hope so. That's what our goal was coming in anyways. That's what we're shooting for.  It's going pretty well so far. We're probably in the same level we were in Florida and Georgia- really dusty in Florida and we had problems coming through. I think we're pretty much the same level. Probably a little better shape than we were.

What are you doing to get ready for Big Buck?It's the normal routine really. Not trying to change anything. Just try to go in there like we did in Steele Creek- ready to go and try to pull off another win. With what happened in Georgia, we kind of put ourselves in a hole. We kind of need to win a few more just to build back some points.

So this is your first child? Did that make you pretty excited going into the race?She's probably a month along or something like that. We are excited. It's something we've been looking forward to for awhile.

Well congratulations! We will see you at Big Buck.