GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Ronnie Rusch

Tuesday Toolbox: Ronnie Rusch

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 | 10:35 AM
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 | 10:35 AM

"Little Ronnie Rusch" was renamed this weekend to "Rocket Ronnie" as he finished his sixth overall Youth ATV win! We caught up with him to find out how he goes so fast and consistent. Alright Ronnie! 6 overall Youth ATV wins in a row! How'd you do it?
Ronnie Rusch: Well, just a lot of training, working out. It all comes into play.

Hold on, hold on! That sounds serious. How old are you, anyway?
Thirteen years old! I turned 13 on March 3rd, just before the start of the season.

Ok. So this working out that you're doing, what does that look like?
I do a lot of cardio to get my muscles in shape. In between, I'll do some light lifting. Mostly looking for endurance. I want my conditioning to last through the race! I have a trainer that I work with. He pushes me but also teaches me what I need to be doing. It's really helped this season.

That's impressive for a 13 year old! That's dedication. How do you manage your time with school and all?
My family is a big part of it. I'm homeschooled and that way we can work around the race schedule and training schedule. I try to practice every day. My mom and dad are always helping me and my sisters come to all the races. We have a lot of fun!

Ronnie is 6-for-6 on Youth ATV Overall wins this season!
Ronnie is 6-for-6 on Youth ATV Overall wins this season! Photo: Ken Hill

I think what all the other kids are going to want to know is, "What do you eat for breakfast?" Is it something magical that gives you the extra edge on raceday?
With the Youth ATV races being first thing in the morning, I don't want to eat anything too heavy. I usually have a couple power bars. That sugar gives a boost of energy.

Uh-huh. These "power bars"... Do they say "Pop Tarts" on the packaging?
No! They're natural ingredients!

Now, last year, you were on the second row and if memory serves, you managed to make the overall podium two or three times.
Correct! I actually made it up there three times, and I won my class championship. This year, I've moved to the front row and it's all going well so far.

No doubt! What did you do over the winter break?
We live in Pennsylvania and it gets cold and snowy and there aren't many options for riding. But, we do have a local indoor track called Switchback Raceway and I rode there quite a bit. I do have a 65 dirt bike, so I did some cross training as well.

Ronnie says part of his success is owed to power bars, and not Pop Tarts for breakfast on race day.
Ronnie says part of his success is owed to power bars, and not Pop Tarts for breakfast on race day. Photo: Ken Hill

So what got you into this whole racing business? Are you from a racing family? How old were you when you started?
My dad used to race. He ran some local AWRCS races and competed against Brandon Sommers. He also ran some GNCCs. I started riding when I was 3 or 4. I was 4 for my first race and got 2nd place. Been riding ever since. I love it and want to be good at it.

You're off to a great start! Are there any GNCC racers that you look up to and want be like?
I always like Chris Borich, Chris Bithell, Brian Wolf, and Walker Fowler. But, I would have to say Jay Shadron is my favorite racer.  He is always helping me in the woods and encouraging me.

I know right now you are 6 for 6. So all these tracks are your favorites! But, is there any kind of terrain that you excel in better than others? Do you like mud? Dry, hardpack, fast stuff? What suits your style?
My dad always told me that whatever the track is, you have to deal with it.  So, I have learned to like all the terrains and conditions, but I always did like getting muddy as a young kid.

Much like many other riders, Ronnie was introduced to the sport by his dad.
Much like many other riders, Ronnie was introduced to the sport by his dad. Photo: Ken Hill

Anything you do at the racetrack Friday night that gets you pumped and motivated for Saturday?
Yeah! Come over to Team Faith and have fun. We played Dodge Ball this weekend and everyone was saying I had glue on my hands.

Yes Ronnie, that's true! Not only are you a fierce ATV competitor, but you have a competitive streak that makes you a first round draft pick for Dodge Ball and Kick Ball!
It's fun to win. My sisters, Kimmie and Ella, come over with me and they are pretty competitive, too. We all have fun and are glad you do this.

Ronnie, thank you for talking to us! We love watching you on Saturday mornings. Who would you like to thank?
First, my dad for working on my quad. My mom, Jay Shadron and my sisters Maura and Kim for always being in the woods for me. Bullet Proof Doorz, Senge Graphics, 311 Performance, Pat McGuire and Off Road Motorsports, Tire Balls, Kenda Tires, Bentley's Motorsports, Mosites Motorsports, Fancy Fox, my other sister Ella who stays at scoring with my mom, God for keeping me safe and Team Faith for letting us have fun on Fridays.

Great. And just to clarify. Your secret for going fast is hard work and Pop Tarts?
They're not Pop Tarts!