GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #23: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #23: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, June 12, 2014 | 3:40 PM
Thursday, June 12, 2014 | 3:40 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill.

It’s pretty crazy to think that we’re only one race away from the GNCC summer break. Just in talking to everyone at the last round, I’m certain that I’m not the only person who feels like this season has flown by. Eight rounds down and the championship hunts are more intense than ever. It’s pretty fitting to end the first half of the season with Snowshoe, because as we all know, anything can happen at that one. Before I look into the future too much, let’s talk about a few things from the last round.

I wanted to begin by giving a big thanks to Brandon and Eryca Sommers, along with many of their closest friends and family members, as they made the trip over to the John Penton last Saturday to support their friends and fellow GNCC Racing family members at the eighth round. While I know each and every racer who knew Laz and Mary Ann Sommers most likely does one thing or another to pay tribute to them at each race, it as only fitting to celebrate the wonderful lives of those two people and pay tribute to their family and their passion for racing. On the 10 a.m. start, Rodney Tomblin said a few touching words and we let off a couple hundred (well, close to a couple hundred after a big bunch of them flew away by accident) balloons into the sky in memory of Laz and Mary Ann. It was nice to have such camaraderie on the start, and of course it reminded us all that there’s more to it than just the finishes we get each weekend.

Photo: Hill

Speaking of the 10 a.m. race, it was pretty funny that on Friday afternoon I saw Cody Collier and Hunter Hart cruising through the pits (riding double, mind you) on a Zuma or something like it. Anyway, I told them I found an old photo of them from 2012 at the Penton when they were both on the Youth overall podium, Zach Jones took the win that day, but I said they better do a repeat of that photo this year atop the AM podium. They both said yes of course, and zoomed away after I snapped their picture once again (see @gncc_racing for the photo). And what do you know, both boys joined the AM podium in an impressive Schoolboy A/B SWEEP! I thought that was pretty cool considering they’ve all been on the podium this year but never all at once. I think it’s signifying that the new wave of riders is finally surfacing through the ranks, which we’re also starting to see on the bike side as well. The only difference is that Youth ATV riders can’t hop on a 450 until they’re 16, which keeps them in the morning class a little longer than the bike guys. GNCC airs on the side of caution with that rule, coinciding their rules with those of the OEM, which says they don’t want anyone under the age of 16 riding a 450 machine. I know it’s not ideal for those who are advanced and even tall for their age, but it’s the safer route in the long run.

The point is: guys, you’re welcome. For predicting the podium!

Photo: Ken Hill

Mark your calendars for next Friday at Snowshoe Mountain as the USA ISDE Trophy Team riders are holding a golf tournament fundraiser to assist in their efforts to represent USA at the 2014 running of the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE). The golf tournament will have a shotgun start at 9:00 a.m. and run until approximately 3:30 p.m. Participants will get to play 18 holes of golf with USA's ISDE Team Trophy riders, along with many other GNCC pros and top industry people. Each ISDE trophy rider has three available spots open on their team and participants will be assigned to them on a first come first serve basis.

After the USA Trophy teams are filled there are 30 teams remaining. Each team can have 4 players. The cost is $100.00 per person, which includes a meal at the end of the round of golf. Participants can register for their team by filling out the attached registration form. Participants can also sign-up as an individual and will be placed randomly on a team. All proceeds from the event will go direct to the USA ISDE Team to help fund the transportation of our athletes to this prestigious event. If you have questions about this event or would like to learn how to donate to the team, please contact [email protected]. To download and view the PDF registration sheet, please click HERE. It’s going to be a lot of fun and a nice relaxing way to kick off the crazy weekend at Snowshoe Mountain!

Scott Kiger and William Yokley battled it out until the very end at Saturday's fourth round of SxS racing
Scott Kiger and William Yokley battled it out until the very end at Saturday's fourth round of SxS racing Photo: Ken Hill

Also, to up the stakes a little more, our friends at Mid-State Chevrolet in Flatwoods, West Virginia are offering up a FREE truck at one of the holes for anyone who can score a hole in one! That sounds like a pretty sweet deal; I think I might actually play because of this alone. But don’t try to pull anything fast, they will have a person keeping an eye on the hole-in-one situation, but hey, anyone can get lucky once in a while!

Head over and give Mid-State Chevy a follow on Facebook. They are huge supporters of this sport!

Get a hole in one and win this!
Get a hole in one and win this! Photo: Mid-State Chevy

If you live in the area, then I probably don’t have to tell you that the 38th annual High Point National is coming to Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania this Saturday. You can still buy tickets or purchase them at the front gate as you come in. I’ll be out there all weekend, doing the pit announcing on Saturday and in and out of the media center so stop by and say hello if you’re out!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! 


There’s another one in the books. I often (ok, very often) speak of how time flies by and the reason I speak so much about it is because, well, it’s true! I feel like we just started the 2014 season and now we’ve only got 1 race standing between summer break, and us and the mack daddy of them all, Snowshoe. However, that’s still a week away, so I’ll save the really good pre-Snowshoe stuff until next week.

Line choices were key right before the finish line at the John Penton GNCC after some rain fell
Line choices were key right before the finish line at the John Penton GNCC after some rain fell Photo: Ken Hill

The John Penton definitely didn’t disappoint! Everyone knows that the Ohio clay is slicker than ice when it gets wet, and after a couple of brief showers before and during the afternoon bike race things definitely got interesting. I’m sure nobody was surprised to see Kailub Russell come away with the win. With Charlie Mullins out with a wrist injury, it has left the door wide open for Kailub. However, we saw a pretty close race for second place.

Jordan Ashburn and Paul Whibley battled for the 3rd position until the last second 
Jordan Ashburn and Paul Whibley battled for the 3rd position until the last second  Photo: Ken Hill

Jordan Ashburn and Chris Bach battled throughout most of the race for the 2nd place spot while Josh Strang took a slightly similar approach to what he did at the Mountaineer. He hung around in 4th place for the opening laps of the race and then turned it up and worked his way into 2nd place leaving Ashburn, Bach, Stu Baylor and Andrew Delong all keeping each other in sight for third place. In the end, Strang came away with 3rd overall, while Grant Baylor was able to claim the 2nd overall spot via the XC2 class. What else was interesting is that Strang, Ashburn, and Whibley all finished within 2 seconds of each other, while Stu Baylor and Chris Bach were just another few seconds behind them. Awesome racing down to the wire always makes for a good end to a weekend!

Mandi Mastin finished 4th overall in the WXC class
Mandi Mastin finished 4th overall in the WXC class Photo: Ken Hill

The WXC class saw some pretty good racing as well. As expected, Kacy Martinez jumped out front with the early lead. While she was charging up front, Sarah Baldwin, Becca Sheets, Mandi Mastin, and Ashley Copeland all battled for the 2nd place spot with Sarah Baldwin holding onto that spot early. We’ve seen Sarah contending for podium finishes the past couple of seasons and she even snagged the win at Snowshoe last year. As the race wore on Becca Sheets worked her way into the 2nd place spot before Baldwin, Copeland and Mastin all 3 battled back. With the 2 lap card out, Ashley Copeland had worked her way into the 2nd place spot and had to put her head down and charge to hold off the rest of the pack.

Unfortunately, Baldwin would end up with a rear flat but she toughed it out and rode the entire last lap with the tire wanting to spin off the rim. She lost a couple of positions to Sheets and Mastin but still managed to finish the race, which is a pretty impressive feat in itself. When it was all said and done, Martinez came away with the win with Ashley Copeland taking her best finish of the season in 2nd, and Becca Sheets rounding out the podium. I actually caught up with Ashley for Tuesday Toolbox this week and talked about the race, and a good bit more! Check it out here: Tuesday Toolbox: Ashley Copeland

If you’re looking to do some racing down south this weekend, the Mid-East Hare Scramble Series is back in action at Welborn Farms in Boonville, NC. This is a pretty sweet piece of property just a couple of miles up the road from where the Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC was held from 2005-2010 and is actually owned by the same family. This particular piece of property is actually a good bit different than the old Yadkinville track. It’s hosted its fair share of races over the years and has a little of everything from tight woods, to open woods, fast field sections and more.

Frazier (center) was again on top of the podium in the Youth ATV class, followed by Sroka (left) and Kerens (right)
Frazier (center) was again on top of the podium in the Youth ATV class, followed by Sroka (left) and Kerens (right) Photo: Ken Hill

What’s interesting is it also has some sections that are a bit on the rocky side, which was something you never really expected to see at Yadkinville. I’ve raced there quite a few times over the years, rode sweep there last year and have really enjoyed it every time, so if you’re in the area, check it out! I’ve been riding sweep at most of the Mid-East races this year but it looks like I’m going to have to sit this one out thanks to a little shoulder injury I suffered earlier this week. Bummer but that happens!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this week. Until next time, Bolt-On out!


The John Penton GNCC marked its 25th running last week and wow what a weekend of racing. A swing in the results in many classes has made for an interesting look to the rest of the season. As far as the weather was concerned, we saw perfection with a little variety that made for an interesting end to the weekend. And to top it all off we were treated to a visit from the great John Penton himself.

The legend himself, John Penton, was present at the races this weekend!
The legend himself, John Penton, was present at the races this weekend! Photo: Ken Hill

Myself, I felt honored to be in the presence of such greatness of a man more impressive than anything was his humbleness. I saw him walking to the start of the youth race and I was amazed at how quickly he was moving and literally bounced with every step. This was a surprise because the last I knew of John was a little under the weather and even the last time I saw him he was little sluggish. Not this weekend though. If I am not mistaken he told me he was 89 years old. I about fell down and said, “You get around better than me!” He laughed and said he does feel pretty good for his age but nothing like he used to feel.

It was nice to see John and to know that the premier of his life story The John Penton Story will be released to the world soon was also a special feeling. There was a screening on Monday in Cleveland that I unfortunately did not get to go see but was very envious of those that did. It will be released June 20th and for more details on showings in your area just go to the You can watch the trailer on this site also and don’t forget there is a showing coming up in Vienna, WV on June 24th. You can find all the details on the Penton movie site also.

As we look at the racing end of the weekend it was without a doubt surprising and maybe a little shake up with what we know as GNCC ATV racing. Coming into round 8 there was a 38-point deficit for Walker Fowler behind Chris Borich. Walker was feeling good and strong after his second win of the season going heads up to this finish with Borich at the Mountaineer Run. A good start and jumping out to the lead early on was the key to the big win this weekend. Borich seemed a little off pace all day however and late in the race when we expected to see the champ start his patented move to the front of the pack late in the race, we were otherwise given the news that he was in trouble with an oil problem.

Chris Bithell was having an impressive ride, until mechanical problems struck again
Chris Bithell was having an impressive ride, until mechanical problems struck again Photo: Ken Hill

Mechanical problems are far and few between for Chris Borich and to everyone’s surprise, Borich had to pull out. Another surprise was that Chris Bithell who also runs a Suzuki had the near identical problem with the oil cap getting so hot it melted. Certainly a surprise for both but more of a surprise is all of a sudden, Chris Borich may be up against a wall.

According to records, Chris Borich stood to beat a personal John Penton record of most wins. He is currently tied with Bill Ballance and a win this year would have made him the King of The Penton. Chris also had not been beaten two times in a row by the same person since his championship reign began and Walker Fowler is now the only other rider with back to back wins other than Chris Borich since the reign of Bill Ballance.

And now the big kicker to it all is that the championship all of a sudden is a true battle. Walker Fowler now has some momentum and heading into Snowshoe, he is even more confident having won there before and the fact that he now has three wins on the season and a real chance to gain the points lead heading into the summer break if things go as well for him again. He also knows that had it not been for a 15th place finish at Steel Creek, he would be the point leader now and that may be inspiration enough to make keep him on top heading to West Virginia.

Walker Fowler and Cole Richardson took the XC1 and XC2 ATV wins
Walker Fowler and Cole Richardson took the XC1 and XC2 ATV wins Photo: Ken Hill

Speaking of West Virginia, Adam McGill is another rider who has a race scoring no points and he theoretically is back in the hunt for the title now if problems persist for the champ and if he lets the situation weigh too heavily on his mind. Even though Borich has shown nerves of steel in the past, most recently with the “Most Wins Records” looming Chris really seemed to be bothered by all the talk and admitted to it getting a little into his mind. Just think what having the championship point lead at risk may do to him. I for one feel he is more than capable of rising to the challenge but then again, are the winds of change blowing?

That’s it for now. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.