GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #24: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #24: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, June 19, 2014 | 1:30 PM
Thursday, June 19, 2014 | 1:30 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill. 

It’s SNOWSHOE WEEKEND! This is a big event in the world of GNCC Racing, and for many different reasons. Let’s begin with the obvious; we’re NOT having a race in the middle of a field! We’re actually in the middle of civilization, which just happens to be the largest ski resort in West Virginia. Snowshoe Mountain is one of the most beautiful places around and it’s definitely one you bring the family to as there is so much more going on than just the racing. Just a quick reminder, the gate fee for this event is $25 for adults and $15 kids 6-11, which includes sales tax and your ski lift ticket. We are also very pleased to be joined by Mrs. West Virginia, Tacy Kelly, this weekend at Snowshoe. If you see Mrs. Kelly around, be sure to say hello and maybe even get your picture taken by her!

Friday morning kicks off the schedule of GNCC-related activities on the mountain with the USA ISDE Team’s Golf Tournament, which serves as a fundraiser for the 2014 team. There are nearly 100 participants already signed up for the tournament, including Kailub Russell, Steward Baylor, Thad DuVall, Grant Baylor, Ryan Sipes, Josh Strang, Kacy Martinez, Travis Coy, Walker Fowler and Becca Sheets. There are still a few spots left so if you’re looking for a nice relaxing time (or maybe you’re looking for a fun and rowdy time), you can sign up at the Raven Golf Course Club on Friday morning from 8 – 9 a.m. The rider’s meeting, err, golfer’s meeting, will begin at 9 a.m. for those who are already signed up and they have a 9:30 tee time.

Catch Kacy Martinez in the USA ISDE Team's Golf Tournament Friday morning
Catch Kacy Martinez in the USA ISDE Team's Golf Tournament Friday morning Photo: Ken Hill

A drink cart will be driving around throughout the tournament to supply players with beverages and the cost of $100 per person includes lunch at 2 p.m. There will be contests for the closest to the pin and longest drive for both men and women categories. In addition, Mid-State Chevrolet and KTM will have a Hole-in-One prize giveaway at two different holes. If a player makes a hole-in-one on the 12th hole, they will win a 2014 KTM 250 XC-F motorcycle! If they make it on the 14th hole, they will be the proud winner of a 2014 Chevy Silverado pick-up truck!

All golfers must bring their own clubs. If you need to rent clubs they will be available for a $20 rental fee at sign-up. All players must wear the appropriate golf attire. The course is 18 holes and will be played in a scramble format. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Christy at [email protected]. I – Jen – will not be able to help you with anything pertaining to this golf tourney, you must contact Christy! Good luck to all!

Chris Borich has an 8 point lead over Walker Fowler, and this Friday evening Borich will be receiving his 2013 Championship ring in the middle of the village
Chris Borich has an 8 point lead over Walker Fowler, and this Friday evening Borich will be receiving his 2013 Championship ring in the middle of the village Photo: Ken Hill 

Each year the GNCC XC1 Pro Champion receives a really nice championship ring, kind of like a Super Bowl ring, and it usually gets presented at the opening round of the following season. Well, they changed up the design on this year’s ring and it took a little bit longer than expected so we have decided to have a little ring ceremony this weekend at Snowshoe to present 2013 ATV Champ Chris Borich and Bike Champ Kailub Russell with their hardware. If you’re interested in watching this take place, come on down to the middle of the village Friday evening at 7 p.m. and be a part of it.  The House DJ will also kick off the evening’s entertainment at that time, followed by “The Hackensaw Boys” playing at 8:30 p.m. Quick side note, personal coolers are now allowed inside the village.

Saturday evening’s entertainment will follow the same schedule as Friday with the House DJ kicking things off at 7, followed by the band “Strung Like a Horse” at 8:30. The evening isn’t complete without a fireworks show, which begins at 10:15 on Saturday. The inside scoop is that you can see them the best if you’re standing between Skidder Slope and Ballhooter, whatever “Ballhooter” may be.

Kailub Russell looks to continue his winning streak at Snowshoe this weekend
Kailub Russell looks to continue his winning streak at Snowshoe this weekend Photo: Ken Hill

Last November I was lucky enough to make the trip to Japan, along with Rory Mead and Josh Strang, for a round of the Japanese Cross Country Series and we had an amazing time. The president of JNCC, Masami Hoshino, who is actually Takeshi Koikeda’s father in law, was the most gracious host and we’re excited to have him join us this weekend for Snowshoe. Every year, the JNCC usually invites a GNCC pro racer to come over and compete in Japan, while also sending one of their riders over here to race a GNCC. This year the XC1 Pro Class will have the addition of Manabu Watanabe, the #2 rider in the JNCC Series. Manabu is fast! He kept with Strang for a long time at the JNCC race and ultimately finished second behind Josh so I am interested to see how he fares here at GNCC. We can’t wait to welcome Manabu, Masami and of course our friend Yoshi, who took care of us the entire time we were in Japan. If you see these guys around the race, please say hello and welcome them to GNCC Racing, they are awesome people!

JNCC Rider, Manabu Watanabe, will be joining the GNCC Racin' Nation this weekend
JNCC Rider, Manabu Watanabe, will be joining the GNCC Racin' Nation this weekend Photo: Courtesy of JNCC.JP 

Things are heating up in the championship points battle on the XC1 Pro ATV side of things as Walker Fowler closed the gap on Chris Borich to only eight points heading into this weekend. You can read more about that battle HERE.

And of course the bike action is just as exciting, you can read about that HERE

That’ll do it for me this week. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone on the mountain this weekend!

Here’s @JaredBolton: 

It's hard to believe but there's now just this weekend's Snowshoe GNCC before we head into summer break. While some may be ready for a little bit of a break, my guess is, it won't take long before everyone is jonesing to get back to racing. I know I'll be ready to get back at it in no time and seeing everyone else's various social media posts will make me feel better about it for sure.

But, we've still got a whole weekend of racing to get through and it's going to be a tough one. Of course, we're back at Snowshoe this weekend. I actually got here yesterday and I've been around a majority of the track. Barry Hawk and the boys filled me in on the rest, so I can assure you that this year's Snowshoe racecourse definitely won't disappoint!

Youth Rider, Kevin Johnson, finishes the John Penton GNCC after some rainfall made it very slick. 
Youth Rider, Kevin Johnson, finishes the John Penton GNCC after some rainfall made it very slick.  Photo: Ken Hill

Everything here is doable but the degree of difficulty, well, there's some pretty gnarly stuff out there this year. The afternoon racers will have their work cut out for them, for sure. There's a downhill section that I went through this morning and to be honest, I don't really want to go back down on a utility quad, but I'll have to eventually. Basically, if I’m missing some Saturday, you know where to find me.

Yesterday evening Buren Hamrick was telling me about an afternoon-bike-only section he's been working on. I haven't been through it yet but he told me about a downhill section there as well. He said he walked it and still hasn't taken a quad down it. So, come ready for a challenge this weekend. It's going to be a lot of fun!

Our youth bike riders were ripping around the John Penton before the quick rain showers came down on Sunday
Our youth bike riders were ripping around the John Penton before the quick rain showers came down on Sunday Photo: Ken Hill

As Jen mentioned, you can't forget about the golf tournament tomorrow! Christy from KTM has put in a lot of work making this happen so make sure you give her a big pat on the back. And if you want to see something really funny, just watch me on the golf course. I'm playing but I haven't played golf in at least 8 years and was never very good to begin with so hopefully they put me in the back where I don't really hold anyone up.

Well, I hate to cut myself short but there's more work to be done in the woods so I'm heading back out there. Until next time, Bolt-On out!


 The Amsoil GNCC presented by Maxxis has become such a prestigious championship in 40 plus years. It is, for some, the pinnacle of our sport. Each venue holds a special value and place in the schedule which creates the perfect championship series. Some venues are held in premier locations and others simply in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere. Each location somehow holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the GNCC Racin’ Nation. Each location nearly as beautiful as the next in its own way and each location seems to hold something unique to separate it from the rest. And if you have ever been to The Amsoil Snowshoe GNCC you know this one is as special as they get. It’s our tribute to the roots of our series and what has been deemed “America’s Toughest Race”, it’s our tribute to “The Blackwater 100”.

"America's Toughest Race" the Blackwater 100 Photo: Courtesy of Racer Productions

The year 2007 began a tradition in GNCC that many folks had thirsted for since 1993 and the last running of the infamous “Blackwater”. A handful of events would sometimes refer to sections of the track that would for a brief moment take some riders back to that day but none truly paid homage until we climbed to the top of Snowshoe Mountain. A venue literally only a few mountain peaks away from the humble beginnings in Davis, West Virginia, Snowshoe offered the perfect atmosphere and terrain. It also offered the perfect setting with amenities that has made it nearly a festival. It is a true celebration of where our sport has come from and where it is today. It is “America’s New Toughest Race” with a twist good fun.

Many come from all around the world to get glimpse of what it may have been like or a reminder of what it really was like. I have witnessed many pulling off the track after only one lap of racing saying “I did it! I made one lap at Snowshoe”. While many others could only make one lap before the checkers some didn’t make around at all. Each person has their story and each person has their own goal. It is what makes it what it is. Some years are tough and some years aren’t so tough. One things for certain though, there will be that moment when things just slow down a little and you take a moment to soak it all in and say “Wow!”

Some "Wow" moment photographs from the Blackwater 100 races Photo: Courtesy of Racer Productions

One of the first “Wow” moments I recall at Snowshoe was the first year the race ran. It was the “Blackwater Style Start” where everyone started on the street in front of the village. I was blown away to say the least. I had never seen it done in real life and to witness it was an amazing moment for me.

The second “Wow” moment came in 2008 when Thad Duvall as an XC2 Pro Lites rider nearly beat David Knight, falling only 4.5 seconds short of doing so. The drama that race held was certainly one that helped make Snowshoe what it is today. The possibility of the unknown and underdog winning here is so much greater with the way everything goes at this race.

Blackwater 100 memorable photos
Blackwater 100 memorable photos Photo: Courtesy of Racer Productions

The third “Wow” moment came for me in 2009 when Brian Wolfe stunned the world with his near annihilation of the field with a near 1:30 win over Chris Borich. Then he backed it up the following year becoming the first ATV rider to win back to back at Snowshoe. David Knight was the first on the bike side of the coin winning in 2007 and 2008. David Knight is also won again in 2009 making him the only rider to win three times and three years in a row.

The “Wow” moments are countless now as Snowshoe has given some of the best spectating a race may ever give. The many variables and stories that come from here are at times overwhelming, but it is something we look forward to each year. 2014 is no different other that it may be a little more anticipated with the way the championship is breaking down. It could be the big turning point for some that they have been looking for.

One last memorable photo from Blackwater 100
One last memorable photo from Blackwater 100 Photo: Courtesy of Racer Productions

And speaking of “looking”, a quick glimpse of what this weekend holds is something special for any racing enthusiast. Whether you are an ATV fan or Bike fan, you have a stage set for some very unpredictable circumstances. There are many angles to approach the race this week but the things that stick out most to me are the following:

Walker Fowler comes into Snowshoe in my opinion a favorite. The reason is that he has won the past two rounds which made him three for the year. He has that confidence as well the confidence of knowing he won here last year convincingly over the rest of the field. His advantage is that Borich knows the same thing.

Chris Borich knows that he has only won once at Snowshoe and each time he thinks he has it, he don’t. He also has the pressure of knowing that Fowler has the confidence and he knows now is the time to stop it before the summer break. So don’t be surprised to see the champ let it rip this weekend to try and make a statement. It may also be his downfall if he pushes too hard because mechanical failure coupled with rider error pushing things too hard have taken some of the best out before the end.  

Brian Wolf has already won twice in Snowshoe, and is always considered a threat at this track
Brian Wolf has already won twice in Snowshoe, and is always considered a threat at this track Photo: Ken Hill

Brian Wolf having won here twice is also considered a favorite heading into this one. As it has been put, Wolf could go all year and not race and be considered a threat in this race. It is not a matter of whether Brian will lead the Snowshoe race at some point, the question is when and then for how long and will he break down. He has a tendency to be leading and literally destroy his bike riding it so hard through the terrain. Usually broken chains and things like that do it, but if he happens to get it all together you better watch out because will be hard for anyone to deny him the win.

As exciting as the bike races always seem to be, they do not seem to ever offer the drama the quads do, but they have had their moments. Possibly this year may be the moment of all moments when this weekend of racing is complete. It all boils down again to the “unforeseen”.

Josh Strang could be one of Russell's biggest threats in the XC1 class at Snowshoe
Josh Strang could be one of Russell's biggest threats in the XC1 class at Snowshoe Photo: Ken Hill

We know Kailub is going to be hard to beat. Quite possibly harder than ever before simply because of the level he is riding on is one that no one has seen since the David Knight and Juha Salminin days. Like any man, Russell is more than capable of being beat. He knows as well as anyone and he knows he will have to be extremely conscious of everything happening at this race.

The known/expected threats are obviously Josh Strang, Paul Whibley (who has never won Snowshoe) as they are the known strong style riders that accelerate in this terrain. Not meaning to take anything away from Jordan Ashburn who is capable of winning, but he hasn’t convinced himself yet so I expect that he will run a smart and safe race which is the smart and safe thing to do at this point. Whibs will have his issues as he is still trying to get to 100% after a sternum injury. Paul has seemed strong as of late and this may be the test to see if he is back to strength.

The ones to watch this weekend in my opinion though will be XC2 Lites riders Grant Baylor (coming off 2d overall in Ohio) and “Ruff & Rowdy” Ricky Russell. Simply the speeds these two carry convince me and both riders appear to be strong in all circumstances. So I won’t be surprised if they both hit the overall podium or if either one of them actually win.

In his XC1 Pro Rookie season Andrew Delong has posted solid results
In his XC1 Pro Rookie season Andrew Delong has posted solid results Photo: Ken Hill

I will also be watching Andrew Delong. Delong is possibly the biggest mystery heading into Snowshoe. Andrew has seemed to post some solid results this season as an XC1 Pro Rookie but I am not sure we have seen all he is capable of this season. He always seems to excel in the technical rocky track and Snowshoe may be where Andrew finds his flow.

The great thing about the build up to the race is the hype. What will really happen? No one knows but we can all have fun speculating until the checkers finally fall on it all this weekend. Until then have fun with your predications and don’t forget Tweet your predictions and hashtag them #GNCCLive for a chance to win Amsoil product. Also if you can’t make it, be sure and tune in at 1:00pm Eastern to catch the action live on You don’t want to miss this one.

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