GNCC Racing

KR4 Race Report: Nick Davis Heads a String of Podiums

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 | 3:55 PM

The KR4 Arrive-n-Ride Team converged on the ski town of Snowshoe, West Virginia for Round 9 of the 2014 GNCC season. With Snowshoe serving as the last round before the summer break, Mother Nature and the GNCC course crew teamed up to create the gnarliest course on the tour. Snowshoe is considered by many to be the new “Blackwater” race of the GNCC Series, as its dark, slimy soil paired with an abundance of tree roots and slick rock pay homage to “America’s Toughest Race.”

Like the old Blackwater 100, racers start in the center of town in a unique live-engine, five-per-row arrangement.  Rows of competitors quickly leave the pavement in ten-second intervals and spend the rest of their race doing battle with the elements and other racers. The course snakes up and down the picturesque ski slopes filled with West Virginia mountain rocks and roots. Rain showers pummeled the course the week before, but with the sun shining on Sunday afternoon, it was time to go racing!

Nick Davis crashed in the first turn, but was able to re-mount and finish 3rd overall in the XC2 pro lites class
Nick Davis crashed in the first turn, but was able to re-mount and finish 3rd overall in the XC2 pro lites class Photo: Courtesy of KR4

Afternoon Race:

XC2 star Nick Davis was on Row 6 and got a great jump off the start, only to crash in the first turn after a little too much overspray of Silkolene Pro Prep inadvertently oiled the brake rotors. Hundreds of people witnessed his crash, but Nick was up and going quickly with determination to push to the front!

Nick came into through the pits in 11th place on the first lap and had a long road to get a podium finish. Nick’s first lap was right at 45 minutes. KR4 made the call to fuel him on the other side of the ski mountain near the finish line to put him in the window of 1 hour and 10 minutes for his first fuel stop. Nick pitted and said his bike was quitting on the downhill’s but running awesome everywhere else.

By Lap 2, Nick had pushed his way up to 5th, and then to 3rd on Lap 3, only to have his bike quit. He lost some time and few positions before he could get it re-fired and back in the hunt. Nick pitted on Lap 4 and was told to put the hammer down, which is just what he did, passing for 4th and closing in on 3rd as the white flag flew. When Nick came through Pro Pits on the last lap, he was in 3rd position and still pushing hard with a few miles remaining to the finish. Nick crossed the checkered flag with 3rd in XC2 division and a career-best 7th overall!

Nick Davis had his best finish of the season at Snowshoe
Nick Davis had his best finish of the season at Snowshoe Photo: Courtesy of KR4

 When asked about his day, Nick explained, “I moved up to the front only to have my bike keep quitting on the downhill’s. I should have jetted my bike differently for this event; I tested it and thought it was good, but unfortunately it was a little off the mark. It was my fault, but I found a way to keep it going and was able to put KR4 up on the box!!!

Fellow XC2 rider Shane Hufford pulled a good start but had trouble with West Virginia’s slippery rocks. It was a struggle all day for Shane and he never got into his race pace. He came through in 7th position on Lap 1, but fell back to 14th at one point. Shane was able to pass two guys on the last lap to finish 12th in XC2. 

A dejected Hufford confided, “I could not keep myself off the ground today. It was my career-best crash day for sure…”

In 250B racing action, Colin Keegan had a good day, finishing in 5th place. This was not the position Colin was looking for after being a Podium finisher at the last few races, but Snowshoe is not your typical GNCC race. Colin stayed steady all day long and added valuable points to his quest to be a GNCC Champion at the end of the season.

KR4 was very excited to welcome back our friends from Finland for another Arrive-n-Ride experience at the Snowshoe Mountain GNCC.

Returning Finnish rider Henri Petman got off to a good start on the pavement and came around in 6th position on Lap 1. At the fuel stop, Henri was very quiet and said nothing as KR4 fueled and provided water and a fresh pair of goggles; he was focused on the task at hand and took off looking to make some passes. Like countless other riders throughout the day though, Henri got stuck on one of the many rocky uphill’s and lost a few positions on Lap 2 to drop to 9th. During Lap 3, Henri made a few passes and moved into 7th with one lap to go. Henri never gave up and pushed hard to the finish to net 4th for the day.

Henri told us that the course was a lot harder than it looked and exclaimed, “I believe ALL THE ROCKS in West Virginia are on that mountain!” 

Henri’s fellow countryman Eero Nieminen made his first appearance at a GNCC with a hard-fought 9th place finish. Eero came through in 10th on Lap 1 but made a pass on Lap 2 and put in a good result.

KR4 Team Manager Fred Andrews put the day in perspective when he said, “The entire KR4 Crew, both staff and riders did AWESOME today! This was the hardest track we have raced on in years, and just to finish today is a great accomplishment.”

KR4 PM Bike Results:

  • Nick Davis: XC2 Pro Lites.  – 3rd
  • Henri Petman: Vet 30+ B   - 4th
  • Colin Keegan: 250B   - 5th
  • Eero Nieminen: 4 Stroke Lites B    - 9th
  • Shane Hufford: XC2 Pro Lites   - 12th

Morning Race:

By far the most exciting performance of the weekend’s AM race was Brooke Cosner finishing 2nd in the women’s pro WXC class! Brooke started the race in the first row but slid out in the first turn. Undeterred, she quickly remounted and promptly worked her way forward to finish the first lap in 4th place. At that point, Brooke really unleashed her riding skills, and on the third lap, her lap time was faster than class leader Kacy Martinez! For the rest of the race, the gap between the two was very low - so much so that the team was hoping for a possible win for Brooke! Kacy pulled away slightly on Laps 4, 5, and 6, but on her final lap Brooke again dropped the hammer and her elapsed time was around 1.5 minutes faster than Kacy’s last lap. At the end of the two-hour race, only three minutes separated the pair. Great job Brooke!

Brooke Cosner finished 2nd in the WXC class at Snowshoe
Brooke Cosner finished 2nd in the WXC class at Snowshoe Photo: Courtesy of KR4

Conner Keegan had an excellent come-from-behind race in the 200C Schoolboy 12-15 division. Unfortunately, Conner endured a dismal first lap after getting stuck in a huge mud hole. He had major problems freeing his bike from the muck and came through at the end of Lap 1 in 7th position. Once free of the murky prison, however, Conner produced the 2nd fastest lap times in his class and motored his way back to 4th place at the finish!

KR4 was also pleased for the return of Masters 50+ A competitor Brad Myers to the team for Snowshoe. We missed Brad and his supportive wife as they were not with our program for the previous round, but they were both glad to be back under the KR4 tent! Brad had an exciting back-and-forth battle raging with another rider for the third place spot. During the final two laps, the combat intensified and you could almost throw a blanket over the two. Brad finished the day in a season-best 4th position, only 16 seconds behind his nemesis. After finishing the race, he immediately praised the bike we had setup for him, commenting that it seemed even more dialed-in than it was during the last race he did with KR4. We can’t wait to have Brad back with us again soon!

KR4 AM Bike Results:

  • Brooke Cosner: WXC   - 2nd 
  • Conner Keegan: 200C Schoolboy (12-15)   - 4th
  • Brad Myers: Masters 50+ A  - 4th
  • Karlynn Beam: WXC   - 9th
  • Albert Chuppa: Elite Masters (65+)   - DNF

Youth Race:

During every race throughout a GNCC weekend, KR4 team personnel uses simple but effective radios to relay pertinent information in a timely manner. KR4 spotters are positioned at key points along the race course to point out “hot lines” on hills and mud holes and to pass along important information back to the pit area.

Grant Davis finished 2nd at Snowshoe in the 65cc 7-9 class
Grant Davis finished 2nd at Snowshoe in the 65cc 7-9 class Photo: Courtesy of KR4

Our team radio strategy proved invaluable for Jamie Baskerville, who suffered a flat rear tire on the third lap of his eight-lap race. A KR4 crewmember positioned before the pit area noticed right away and informed the team of Jamie’s flat tire. Quickly, the KR4 Arrive-n-Ride pit crew jumped into action and was ready and waiting to perform a wheel change when Jamie arrived at the pits. Thanks to this coordinated effort, only a couple of minutes were lost! Jamie’s exceptional riding skills handled the rest, and he was still able to pull off a 3rd place finish in the 85cc 12-13 class.

Grant Davis delivered an additional fantastic performance in the Youth Race. Just like his big brother Nick, Grant earned another podium finish, carding 2nd in the 65cc 7-9 class. On the second-to-last lap, Grant lowered his lap time by almost a minute and was able to move into the lead as the white flag flew. Unfortunately, Grant ran into some trouble on the last lap and the leader barely got back around, with Grant finishing just nine seconds behind!

Brian Keegan in the 85cc 7-11 class got off to a 5th place start on the first lap. Brian’s lap times were very consistent and it looked like a top-five was in the cards. On Lap 4 of 5, though, Brian ran into some difficulties with the course, causing a two-minute delay. Brian forged on and recovered to finish the race in 6th position.

Also of notable mention is Brandon Keegan in the Supermini 12-13 class, where he finished 7th after an up-and-down day. Brandon rounded the first turn as the leader of his row, but as it did for many other competitors, the mountainous Snowshoe course dished out some punishment. Brandon fell back to 13th position at one point, then worked his way up to 5th on the sixth lap, only to have problems during the final two laps that forced him back to 7th

KR4 Youth Results: 

  • Grant Davis: 65cc (7-9)   - 2nd
  • Jamie Baskerville: 85cc (12-13)   - 3rd
  • Peyton Whipkey: 65cc (10-11)   - 3rd
  • Brian Keegan: 85cc (7-11)   - 6th
  • Brandon Keegan: Supermini (12-13)   - 7th
  • Logan Theakston: 85cc (7-11)   - 14th