GNCC Racing

Jesse Ansley Race Report: FMF Steele Creek

Monday, April 6, 2015 | 10:20 AM

Wow! What a cold weekend. With temperatures around the low 20’s at sun break it was an interesting weekend at the Steele Creek GNCC in Morganton, NC.

The morning started out good, nice and warm in the camper! I got all my gear on and had two very large jackets on before heading outside. I felt super warm and very comfortable, but that only lasted about ten minutes before my hand, feet, and face were frozen and everything went downhill from there. With the temperatures that cold and me running a carbureted two-stroke engine we had to re-prep the bike for it to last in very chilly conditions.  My job was just to make sure I kept the bike warm and myself before the start of the race.

Sitting on the starting line was not my favorite of the weekend that’s for sure! I need to move around and keep my body temperature up. So when the green flag flew I was very excited to say the least. One thing is for sure, my starts suck, plain and simple!  It definitely makes my work harder having to come through the pack while the top guys are getting good starts. I managed to get into second and right on top of the leader about a mile in. I made a stupid mistake and messed up my rhythm.  Before I knew it Conner was out of my sight.  I was charging really hard but just couldn’t seem to catch him.

It wasn’t long before we started catching lappers. Pour kids, they didn’t look like they were having any fun. It was a struggle for me to pass them this race for some reason. I just could not seem to get a break from either getting pinched off or getting stuck behind them. Lappers are something I will definitely have to work on before Big Buck.

About lap three is when my hands started to try to unfreeze and I could actually feel my levers. I felt like I could ride and handle the bike better because I wasn’t frozen.  But also around that time is when Chase was right on my rear end pushing me up the trail. Every time there was a switch back I would see him each lap getting closer. About two laps later I made a mistake and he went from being five seconds back to zero. He picked a better line than me in one section and passed for second. I had my eyes on him the whole time. We were passing lappers like crazy fast. We were on rails when we were battling. It basically came down to who made the mistake. On the white flag lap he was one second behind me coming into the chicane. I knew I had to dig deep and push 100% for this second place position.  About a half mile in I make contact with a lapper and go off into the trees. Luckily I managed to jump right in front of Chase and stay in the second place position. But not long after that I ran into a problem with another lapper causing me to almost go down and sit sideways in the trail. Chase plowed me but I didn’t move. He kind of sat there and was waiting for me to turn around but he slid by me.I got turned around and was riding my best ever. I was slowly catching him but it wasn’t fast enough. Luckily for me he ran into a problem with a lapper and crashed. I witnessed the after math when I came by. I knew I had to push as hard as I could so he couldn’t see me. It’s a lot harder to catch someone sight unseen. I just tried to give it my all and make zero mistakes. I came across the finish line with a big sigh of relief.

Even though it’s a second I was still relieved that I was able to podium out of that interesting race. Sometimes you have off days and you can’t find the rhythm. I believe this weekend was on those days but every winner learns to conquer those types of days. 

My grandmother did some research and she figured out that last year 2014 GNCC youth rider participation was an average of 123 riders with Unadilla and Ironman having the highs of 180’s. This year with only three rounds, the average in participation is 144. Last weekend at Steele Creek there were 164 entrees in the Youth division.  It’s great to see the increase and I’m glad to be able to race this great series and be a part of this sport. The competition is great!

In the Pro race it was yet again Kailub Russell going three for three so far this season. Josh Strang had a get off at the start but worked his way up to second.  However, along the way though he had an intense battle with KR4’s Thad Duvall.  Duvall said he didn’t feel comfortable running the pace they were battling at so he decided to back it down a notch and ride to the finish taking home a third. The podium was a repeat of last race in GA. XC-2 was interesting with Jason Thomas making contact with Nick Davis. Nick unfortunately had an issue and Jason rode to his second first place finish this year. Top amateur was 250 A’s Mark L Heresco JR.  I wish everyone a Happy Easter and I’ll see you at Big Buck!

I would like to give a shout out to my Great Aunt Paula and her family for coming out and watching me race at Steel Creek. And as always I would like to give big thanks to all my supporters.  Thank you to TF Racing, Action KTM, Seat Concepts, HBD MotoGrafx, MSR gear, Nihilo, IMS Products, FMF Pipes, Steve Thomson Homes, DirtWise Riding Schools, Rekluse, Shoei Helmets, Cannon Racecraft, DekDef Photos, Total Building Solutions, Mike Hall, George Pollard, Randy Faul, my Mom and Dad, and my Grandma and Grandpa. Thanks for all the support.