GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Ashley Copeland

Tuesday Toolbox: Ashley Copeland

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 | 5:00 PM
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 | 5:00 PM

Ashley Copeland is yet another name on the long list of WXC contenders. Although 2014 has had its ups and downs for Ashley, she’s still made it on the WXC podium twice in 2014, including a 2nd place this past weekend at The John Penton. We caught up with Ashley to talk about her 2014 season and more! How's everything going today?
Ashley Copeland: Pretty good so far! I just got off work, so I’m about to work out and head to a baseball game!

Sounds like a good day! So it's been about 2 years since we had you on Tuesday Toolbox, what have you been up to?

About the same thing I was two years ago! (Laughs) I’ve just been working and racing. I’m trying out new forms of racing and new riding spots so I don’t get burnt out.

Ashley had a great finish at the John Penton GNCC this past weekend
Ashley had a great finish at the John Penton GNCC this past weekend Photo: Ken Hill

So tell us about work. What do you do for your day job?

My dad has a refrigeration/HVAC company called Eclipse Mechanical Services Inc., and I run the office. Occasionally, when I’m needed, I’ll also work out in the field. I work from 8AM to at least 3PM five days a week.

You work, ride when you can, work on bikes, and then come race. Do you ever feel like you might have a disadvantage to some of the WXC competitors who have someone else do all their bike work and get a good bit of practice time?

Sometimes I do feel like I might be at a disadvantage because I work full time during the week, but at the same time it makes me want to work that much harder so that hopefully one day I’ll have that same advantage.  Sarah Baldwin lives really close to me, so we train and work on bikes together. She helps me out a lot between keeping my bike ready and being my personal trainer. My other mechanic is my dad. He’s really supportive of my racing; whenever I need help or time off he’s always there to lend a hand.

2014 has been an up and down season for Ashley
2014 has been an up and down season for Ashley Photo: Facebook Keith Basil

You've had a bit of an up and down 2014 season, tell us how it's been going.

It definitely has not gone the way I had planned. I was hoping to be a podium contender at every race, and so far I’ve only been able to get on the box at two races.  The first few rounds I wasn’t even able to break the top five, which was very disappointing. In South Carolina I was finally able to get my first podium of the year. After that I missed the next two rounds and went into West Virginia hoping to get another podium. Unfortunately my rear brakes went out on the last lap and I lost a lot of ground. This past weekend though I was able to get my best finish of the year with a second at the John Penton.

The 2nd place at The John Penton was awesome! How'd that feel?

It felt great. I was extremely excited about it, but at the same time Kacy won by about 5.5 minutes so that was a little disappointing. It’s motivation for me for the rest of the season to work even harder and try to get a win!

What's it going to take to make that happen again at Snowshoe?

I’m going to have to work harder on and off the bike. I want to be in better shape than I was going in to the Penton and ride a little more to be more comfortable on the bike. This past weekend, I don’t think I had any wrecks, which is something I definitely want to carry over into Snowshoe.

Ashley has dealt with some bike issues this season, but she is getting things back in order
Ashley has dealt with some bike issues this season, but she is getting things back in order Photo: Ken Hill

You've also kind of flip flopped around a few times this season between your personal bike and a loaner machine. How's that been treating you?

It has been pretty good so far. Going in to South Carolina I was on Sarah’s ‘09 KTM XC200, because I ran in to some problems with my ‘08 KTM XC300 that I couldn’t fix before the race. Since I got my first podium on the 200, I also raced it in West Virginia and the Virginia National Enduro. I felt really comfortable on it that bike, but I was missing the power of my 300. I finally got it all back together before the John Penton and it seems to have worked out pretty well for me.

Obviously the 200 and 300 both have their perks in different spots but which do you feel stronger on overall?

I’d have to say I feel stronger on the 300 overall because it has so much more power. I can almost ride it like a 4-stroke. The last two years I’ve been on a 4-stroke and I find it easier to lug the 300 around like that.

Missing a couple of rounds put a little hurt on your points position but you're making up ground and when the drops go into effect at the end of the season, you'll climb a little higher, but where do you hope to be in the final point standings?

Right now I’m not really looking at points because I’m so far back. I just want to put in some good finishes and finish the year strong. Something has to make up for my terrible start to the year!

 What's it going to take to make that happen?

You know, Sarah really has her work cut out for her on that one. I got pretty burnt out last year and lost all desire towards anything racing. This summer we have to be able to have fun while putting in the work so I don’t lose interest again. The way things have been going so far, however, I don’t think we will have any issues getting that done. Even though I absolutely hate her when she texts me our workouts, we find a way to joke around and make things more bearable. It’s also great to have that support system;  someone who won’t let you give up no matter how bad you want to.

 What do you hope to accomplish through the final 5 rounds of the 2014 season?

I want to get a win! After getting on the podium, it’s only made me want a win more. Mostly though, I want to be consistent. While it’s never been one of my strong suites, I want to work on my consistency and be one the podium through the final rounds.

Great starts are always a plus to contending for a podium finish
Great starts are always a plus to contending for a podium finish Photo: Ken Hill

Everyone always wants to come back stronger the following season, what do you hope to do in 2015?

In 2015 I would like to be more consistent and a better overall rider. My main goal will be to get a GNCC championship though. I know I can I do it, it’s just a matter of getting everything together at the beginning of the season and staying consistent all year.

 What kind of advice would you give to aspiring WXC racers?

Work hard and never give up. Racing is a lot of work, and you’re going to want to give up sometimes. If it is something that you want to do you have to put the work in.

Alright, before we wrap this up, who would you like to thank?

I’d like to thank my mom and dad for supporting me, Sarah for helping me train, and all of my sponsors Fly Racing, AllBalls, Fasst Co/Flexx Bars, FMF, Sunstar, PanicRev, Twin Air, Powersport Grafx, 100%, IMS, and Leatt.