GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Cory Buttrick

Tuesday Toolbox: Cory Buttrick

Tuesday, June 2, 2015 | 11:15 AM
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 | 11:15 AM

Cory Buttrick is a familiar face in the GNCC paddock. A former factory racer and podium contender, he seemed to disappear for a couple years after injuring, healing and then re-inuring his knee. Cory has re-emerged this year with an all new XC2 program. caught up with Cory to find out the details! Good morning, Cory! Sounds like you are staying busy?
Cory Buttrick: Oh man! Doing two series full time will keep you busy. Seems like you can’t get a day to go long enough, but you keep digging!

That’s right, you’re doing the National Enduros and GNCCs on a Factory backed Beta. Let me be the first to publicly welcome you back to the GNCC Racin’ Nation! 
Thank you! I appreciate that. It seems it’s been longer than just a couple years. I grew up here. I started racing GNCCs when I was 8 years old in 2001 and from then on, it was just what you did every two weeks. Mom, dad, my sister, we would all load up in the motorhome. It’s a good way to grow up and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

You were always a serious contender and fighting for podiums in the youth ranks all the way to the pro ranks. 
From the time my family and I decided to pursue the national level races, I was focused. The way this sport is today, you have to know that this is what you want for your life at a young age and then you must have the level of support that it takes to make it. You can’t just decide one day when you’re 16 that you want to race at the pro level. It really starts in the youth ranks and GNCC provides the proving grounds for that.

After sitting out 2 years with knee injuries, Cory returned to racing in 2014.
After sitting out 2 years with knee injuries, Cory returned to racing in 2014. Photo: Ken Hill

We’re coming in to the John Penton this weekend, which so far, has been the pinnacle of your career. You overalled this race in 2010.
It’s hard to believe that was 5 years ago! It was my rookie year and it came together so quickly. The whole season, it just seemed everything was progressing. That race, everything just worked. Of course, it came to a grinding halt in 2012.

Yeah, it did. Take us through 2012. What actually happened?
Well, it started in 2011 at Unadilla. Josh Strang accidentally landed on me in the motocross section and I got a pretty bad concussion. I nearly took the rest of the season off because I needed to heal. But I did go on and do the remaining three rounds. Then, in 2012, I crashed again at the Big Buck and got another huge concussion. I probably shouldn’t have ridden the next couple races, but I wanted to salvage points. I knew the GNCC season wasn’t going to turn out great, but I had a legitimate shot at the National Enduro title. So I went to Louisiana and in one of the sections, I was railing a rut. I don’t know what I hit, but I shredded my knee. And that was the end of both series for that year! It’s the way it goes.

You seem to have a pretty good attitude about it all.
You have to. What else are you going to do? You have to keep looking ahead and driving forward, and I knew I still had 2013 ahead of me. I was cleared to ride in October 2012. I didn’t have a dirt bike in the garage at the time because I had been off for so long. But, I had a trials bike I liked to play around on. There was a trials event near my home here in Ohio, so I entered the Sportsman class. I zeroed every section, so I was basically sandbagging. There was another event two weeks later in Kentucky. I went down and entered the A class. That was a little different! There was one section with a log that just had my name. You needed to jump up on it, land on your rear wheel and then wheelie off. On the last attempt, I thought I had it dialed, but framed it instead. I jumped off and when I did, I hyper-extended that same knee.

Oh wow! I’m sure that was painful!
You know, I don’t think the physical pain was as bad as the heart pain. Even before I came to a stop, I was telling myself, “If you tore this up again, you won’t have a factory ride.” And once I stopped flopping around and the physical pain set in, I knew it was bad. As it turned out, I actually cracked the tips of the tib/fib and femur, tore the anchor screws out of the last ACL repair and tore the meniscus. It was a definite low point. I came so close to quitting. I knew exactly what it took to be at the top because I’d been there. And, I knew exactly what rehab was going to be because I’d been there, too! It just seemed impossible.

Cory inked a deal with Beta USA at the end of 2013 to join their Factory Race Team in 2014.
Cory inked a deal with Beta USA at the end of 2013 to join their Factory Race Team in 2014. Photo: Ken Hill

So how did you rally? How do you stare down the barrel of a year’s rehab and tell yourself to go out and do it, knowing that the whole time your fitness will decrease and you’ll be further behind than ever before?
I don’t know! I’ve just always been a competitive guy. I want to be the best. It hurts to see other people doing good and knowing that you should be right there with them. Nothing against Paul Whibley, but it hurt to see him go back to New Zealand. I wanted to beat him!

Now you’re back! How’s it going?
It’s harder than I thought. Being off for two years, there’s a lot of physical decline that PT doesn’t address. Even starting out in amazing shape, these three-hour races are grueling. I was talking with Ryan Sipes. He came into the GNCCs with an excellent level of fitness, but even he said it’s taken him two years to get into GNCC shape and now he’s starting to get results. I just have to keep after it. I’m actually at the gym right now. My trainer, Shaun, is getting ready to abuse me for about two hours, then I’ll go home and ride my dirt bike and about 3 or 4:00, some buddies will come over and we’ll pedal for a couple hours. I actually dread that. These guys are so fit that they just pedal me into the ground, whether mountain bikes or road bikes! I hope to be that fit, but I know it takes time and consistency.

You are riding a Factory Beta and running the XC2 class. How did that come about?
I spent all of 2013 doing rehab. Toward the end, when I felt like I could almost throw a leg over a bike, I knew there were no offers. I was still pretty discouraged, because again, I knew what level of support it would take to run where I knew I belonged. I was talking with Justin Sode and he said, “The Beta 2-strokes are strong.” I went to the St. Clairesville GNCC just to hang out and was looking at them and thought, “You know, he’s right! These things do look pretty good!” I gave them a call. We ironed things out and by December, I had a contract. The first bike arrived in January and we went racing January 31st! That first year was an “Enduro Only” effort. I knew I didn’t have what it took to compete at the GNCC level. Mentally, sure, but physically, I needed time and Beta was willing to work with me. This year, just before Florida, they threw it out there, “Would you consider a run at the XC2 class?” I felt I had progressed enough and said I was down with it! I’m still a little disappointed with my results. That last one in West Virginia, when Ricky gave us the two-lap board, I was ready for the checkered flag. But I’m going to stay positive and keep digging.

There’s no doubt with your attitude and work ethic that you’ll be back on the box. Welcome back to the Racin’ Nation! Who would you like to thank?
Thank you! I am excited to be back. I’m back to my roots. I’m still doing the National Enduro Series and know that both of these series are making me a better rider. I couldn’t do it without the support of family and friends, especially my fiancé, Mackenzie. She’s always there to encourage and spur me on. Thank you Beta USA Team for taking me on and giving me the opportunity and the resources. SPR, Moose, Scott Goggles, Bell, Kenda Tires, FMF, Asterisks, Shaun North and Dr. Steve Thaxon all help me out. Thanks a ton!

Sounds great, Cory. Thanks for your time. We’ll see you this weekend at the Penton!
For sure!

Cory claimed the 2010 John Penton GNCC win. What kind of performance will he put in this year?
Cory claimed the 2010 John Penton GNCC win. What kind of performance will he put in this year? Photo: Ken Hill