Welcome to Quick Fill.
This week comes to you from—surprise, surprise—the passenger seat of the Mid-State Chevrolet Official Truck of GNCC as we make our way North for round 2 of racing this weekend. It has been quite the trip so far and we’re only a little more than halfway through! I’m happy to say that we finally got our beloved truck back after a couple days of chaos in southern Florida. We woke up Tuesday morning in Daytona after rounding out the final day of the Ricky Carmichael Amateur Supercross at Daytona and while we were driving toward Westgate River Ranch, the truck began losing power very quickly. We ended up taking it to a Chevy Dealership in Cocoa, Florida only to find out there was a problem with one of the fuel injectors (apparently there are 9 of them in this thing) so they had to hold the truck overnight to order a new part. Needless to say we had a little delay Tuesday morning but luckily we made it to the track literally minutes before the 1 PM race took off.
It was an exciting weekend for the GNCC LIVE webcast on RacerTV.com as we successfully streamed the entire afternoon race on both ATV and bike racedays. The GNCC team did an incredible job making things happen, despite most of us being very green to the whole TV production deal. We did hire a couple really knowledgeable guys to help on the tech side of things and we learned a great deal just in the first weekend from those folks. However, we do know there are a some things we need to work on in order to present a better show experience so just bare with us as we’re all learning this together. I’m predicting that by mid-season we’re going to have things looking pretty dang cool for you GNCC Racers and fans out there. I also wanted to give a huge shout out to Steward Baylor Jr., who rocked the co-hosting duties like a champ all weekend. I would imagine Stu has a whole new respect for what the folks on the other side of the races do after spending a weekend in that trailer with the crew. I give him tons of props for killing the commentating, though! Be sure to tune into RacerTV.com Saturday and Sunday at 1 PM EST to catch coverage of The Maxxis General Pro races.
We’re back to the normal GNCC schedule this weekend in Georgia and thankfully we’ve all got some time to recover before heading to Round 3 in North Carolina after the Easter holiday. People who don’t know about GNCC Racing would probably be shocked to know that our racers hit the course less than a week after putting their bodies through the mental and physical strain that the sandy Florida season opener so brutally demands. Just talking with some of the racers after the weekend I’m impressed that they’re even able to do it after seeing the blistered and torn up hands some of these guys and gals have. Pretty gnarly! Hopefully everyone is getting some rest, refueling and refocusing their attention on this weekend’s race. Unfortunately, the GNCC crew hasn’t really stopped since before Round 1 so when you see a track worker or any of the GNCC staff this weekend be sure to give them a pat on the back and thank them for the hard work and long hours.
Last night a few of us headed out to experience one evening of Daytona Bike Week festivities because well, I don’t think anyone should leave the area without experiencing the whole thing at least once. We met up with Big John, Digital Dave and a few other GNCC-ers including Miss Vickie Fowler, FMF’s Kyle Dangler and Nick “the new guy” Koester before grabbing a bite to eat and cruising around on the motorcycles. It was a little bit chilly out last night but a good time was had by all.
Speaking of “all”, we’re pleased to say that the GNCC holeshot awards are back in action beginning this weekend in Georgia. This season we’re going to have three different sponsors to bring you XC1 and XC2 riders the same exact package that we saw last season. Unfortunately Round 1 holeshotters are out of luck but that’s all the more incentive to get the next 12, right? So a big thanks goes out to All Balls Racing for sponsoring XC1 Bike and XC2 ATV, Digitaloffroad.com for sponsoring the XC2 bike and Team Woodhead/DeRisi Racing for stepping up to sponsor the XC1 ATVs. Tough luck Braden, you’ll have to work that one out with the team.
Well that’s going to be it for me. It’s almost my turn to drive the big rig as we continue our journey north. We’ll see you all soon! Jared Bolton is knee deep in the Georgia woods so we're excusing him from this week's contribution (it's a UTV weekend). You can catch him back here next weekend. Sorry Bolt-On fans..
The long wait finally came and now has gone, as the new AMSOIL GNCC season is underway. As expected, there were a few surprises out there and the racing was as exciting as anyone could have expected, hoped or dreamed it would be.
This year the racing actually began on Saturday just before practice for the ATVs. The all-new 50cc Micro ATV and motorcycle classes brought out the new blood and quite possibly a new generation of champions. Lucas Grounds from the Micro 7-9 class battled not only his classmates for an overall win, but also had to ride hard to stay ahead of Micro 4-6 class winner Andrew Segars from Samter, South Carolina for the time adjusted lead.
Shortly after the start of the race, radio reports started coming in from the track saying, "This little kid from the second row is flying. He might have them on time adjustment!" However in the end, Grounds held his and Segars enjoyed a class win and second overall. Zarek Corbett took second in the 7-9 and third overall. The post race podium interviews were without a doubt classic and I am looking forward to watching these young men and gals make their mark in GNCC.
The Micro ATV classes took off shortly after the bikes completed and again another great battle ensued with these youngsters. Here two 4-6-year-old riders showed signs of greatness. David Hawkins from Bear Branch, Kentucky took the overall win while second in the class ended up third overall. Not bad for these little guys. Hayden Hunter from Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania put together a spectacular ride taking the 7-11 class win and second overall. Then we saw another fast 4-6 year old rider that took second behind Hawkins in the class and third overall. Dayton Hickey from Middleton, Delaware amazed the crowd with his riding as well and made a mark in GNCC history being a part of the first-ever Micro 50 ATV classes run in GNCC. This should be a good series championship battle.
As far as the racing on the big machines goes, it was all we had hoped for in both the ATV and bike divisions. The players were all the players and even though some may have had their struggles, what we saw in Florida may be what we are going to see in the future - with only a few twists here and there. Rookie racing in the ATV class will be the unknown variable in this year's racing. There are some fast guys that have moved up and it will only be a matter of time before they get things figured out and start to inch their way into the picture.
I do have to say though that biggest thing I witnessed other than the Micro racing was the Women’s motorcycle class on Tuesday. It was stacked with the biggest names in Women’s off-road history. Maria Forsberg, Mandi Mastin, Ashely Copeland and Samantha Steiner had their hands full when the relative “who's who” of Women motorcycle racers showed up at River Ranch.
Jessica "JP Money" Patterson who is a multi-time WMX/WMA champ, X-Games Gold and countless other titles, has set her sights on GNCC. The sands of Florida are Jessica's home and that is exactly where she was as she wowed the crowd in her first GNCC with not only a class win, but also the morning overall win as well. Jessica will be racing the entire season with Randy Hawkins and AmPro Yamaha. Patterson said that working with Randy has helped her transition from MX to off-road very smooth.
The Women’s class also welcomed WORCS Women's Champ Kacy Martinez. Martinez actually ran the GNCC series a few years ago before heading west to conquer that coast. Martinez finished second behind Patterson and just out of the overall third on adjusted time. Martinez has plans and support for challenging the whole season. All I can say is grab a seat and hold on, this is going to be a great season to watch the 10 AM classes race.
Also in attendance for the season opener in the Women’s class were Tarah Geiger, Sarah Whitmore and Brinsley Dyess, who are all top Women motocross racers. I am not sure that we will see much more of those ladies but regardless it made for an exciting opener to the season and the key players are all where they want to be.
Another note to think about for the morning bike racing is that the unstoppable Randall Riggs may see some bigger competition this season for the #201 plate. (Which is like the #1 Plate) It seems Vance Earl from Blacksburg, South Carolina has set his sights on racing the 2013 season all the way through. Vance took second overall behind Patterson and said that he was planning on hitting them all. He recently retired from his real job to make more time for racing and this could be good news for any GNCC racing fan who loves to watch a good race. Vance will compete head to head with Riggs not only for the overall this year but in class as well as we will see them lining up on the Masters A 50+ class. Riggs will ride the 201 and Earl will be riding the #438.
One last thing before I go. I wanted to mention the RacerTV webcast and not only how great addition it is to get the races to the world but also how great of a job that KTM racer and XC1 Rookie Steward Baylor did co-hosting the shows. Stew is out till probably June or so and will be helping out in the booth till then and it is appreciated. He has some great insight and knows the other racers like no one else can. Be sure and tune in this week if you can't make it.
Also if you do make it, Team Faith will be having the "GNCC Amazing Race" for youth and the entire family on Saturday night. Be sure and stay tuned to your radio and the PA announcements for more information or just stop by the Team Faith pits on Vendor Row. And don't forget chapel services each morning at 8:30 AM.
That's it for now! Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.