GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #24: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #24: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, June 18, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Thursday, June 18, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Welcome to Quick Fill.

This week’s edition comes to you from high atop the Snowshoe Mountain Resort. We’re now just a couple of days away from going racing here at Snowshoe and there’s no doubt that we’re looking to a pretty awesome weekend of racing. The track is coming together pretty well and when the green flag flies, everyone is going to be in for a real treat.

Last week I dove into a little info on what to expect out of this year’s Snowshoe course, and so far we’ve pretty much stuck with that plan. The only major change is now you’ll be heading out onto the western side of the mountain off the start. As far as the course itself goes, we’re basically sticking with the description I gave last week, and what rain we’ve received up here really hasn’t had any major effect on anything. 

One reminder is that the folks here at Snowshoe have asked that everyone that has hotel/condo reservations will please check-in at The Inn at Snowshoe, which is located at the base of the mountain. There’s plenty of room for those of you with trailers to pull through as well, so plan accordingly and make sure you stop there before you make your way to the top of the mountain.

Thad DuVall is looking to earn his first win of the season in front of his home state crowd!
Thad DuVall is looking to earn his first win of the season in front of his home state crowd! Photo: Ken Hill

West Coast Visitors (Jared Bolton)

Snowshoe always attracts a variety of racers, and we typically see some different faces that we don’t normally see at a GNCC event. Well, from the sound of things, this year is going to be no different as KTM riders Taylor Robert and Gary Sutherlin will be giving the GNCC world a try at Snowshoe this weekend.

For those who may not be familiar with those names, Taylor Robert is an Endurocross regular and also one of the USA ISDE team’s top riders. Gary Sutherlin is another super fast west coast rider who is also part of the USA ISDE effort. Robert was actually at the John Penton as a spectator and got a good dose of what to expect. There’s no doubt that he’ll be someone to keep an eye on as he excels in the technical type terrain.

It’s always interesting to see fresh faces like this come and give the GNCC Racing world a try. Over the years there’s been a number of riders to come make their bid in a few different races. Some of them have logged excellent finishes, and some have struggled in terrain that’s a good bit different than what they’re used to. However, both Robert and Sutherlin have experience in technical, woodsy terrain so they very well have a chance to through their names into the mix with the typical GNCC front runners.

However, it’s been a number of years since we’ve seen a non-regular GNCC rider land on the podium. In fact, the last one that comes to mind is Mike Brown’s podium performance at the 2011 River Ranch GNCC in Florida. While there’s been a number of other riders to give GNCC Racing a try since then, none have been able to topple the front runners of the GNCC world. Could that change this weekend? Only time will tell but both of these riders have a pretty good chance to challenge the front runners. 

Snowshoe's start is unlike any other GNCC start during the season.
Snowshoe's start is unlike any other GNCC start during the season. Photo: Ken Hill

Mountainous Mystery (Rodney Tomblin)

The 2015 AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC marks the 9th running of our tribute race to America's Toughest Race, the legendary Blackwater 100. Minus the parades there is still plenty of hoopla as the race has taken on as much a celebration of off-road as it is a race. Much of the industry is in attendance and those that aren't are tuned in from across the world via social media and live streaming on  

The big question as always is who will win? And the same answer as always is, no one knows. This race is possibly the most challenging on the GNCC schedule today even though it has been tamed down immensely from it roots of the Blackwater 100. Snowshoe offers the most unique terrain and obstacles. It is also the longest course utilizing two loops of track with one each on each side of the mountain. The trail can vary from 15 to 25 miles or so depending on expected conditions and lends very little favor to anyone regardless of skills. This place can be really good to you and it can be really hard on you. It's a toss up really.

The momentum of the XC1 ATV is swinging heavy in the favor of Adam McGill and Walker Fowler. Fowler has had some of his best and worst days on this mountain. The same can be said for Adam McGill. Adam, being a native of West Virginia, is the only natural born Mountaineer to win this event. Not only has Adam won this event, he has won it three times. He won it in 2008, 2011 and 2014 and since he won in Masontown a couple of rounds ago, also in West Virginia, and here last year one would have to think the advantage goes to McGill.

The big problem with predicting a winner at Snowshoe lies in the heart of this race. The mountain itself and the many mysteries it carries with it. One can never truly expect the expected for as soon as you do, everything changes. We have seen the best in man and worst in machine as riders have all but clinched the win and only be denied by a mechanical breakdown. Walker Fowler, Brian Wolf, Adam McGill and many others have all fallen victim to this. What is that happens to cause such things? Do riders really push themselves and machines to limits they are not capable of withstanding? Or is it possible the mysterious spirit of competition that lurks in the mountains? 

Mother Nature may be the biggest competitor any rider faces during this race. It is the challenging trails that only gets more so as the race wears on. It is the rocks that grow from the earth to boulder size. It is the roots that protrude from the ground causing traction to be nearly impossible. It is the mud holes that swallow man and machine in an instant and leave them struggling and zapping every ounce of energy it can from you. It is the insanely steep and Rocky hill climb that no man in his right mind would attempt to traverse. It is the moss covered logs that look so deceiving at first glance. And it the weather that can intensify everything ten folds. First one must conquer what Mother Nature has in store, and then he must beat the competitors. 

The beauty of Snowshoe is remarkable. It is a magnificent mountain and holds a history that may never be known. As mysterious as it's history, Snowshoe seems to give us a bit more of her personality with each passing season. The more we get to know her the more she changes. Don't be surprised in either bike or ATV racing this weekend with the forecasted weather conditions there may be a few surprises that bring some of the most lasting memories of this event. And one of the best scenarios for the state is if native Thad Duvall took his first ever win and if native Adam McGill clinched win number 4 here to own the Snowshoe most wins record. A record he currently holds with David Knight at 3.

Whose ready to play some golf?! Well, if you haven't signed up I'd get on that right now
Whose ready to play some golf?! Well, if you haven't signed up I'd get on that right now Photo: Ken Hill

Golf Tournament Is Almost Full! (Jared Bolton)

This year’s ISDE Fundraiser Golf Tournament is almost full! As of right now there’s still a few spaces available, but with the tournament happening tomorrow those spots are going to fill up fast. So, if you still want in, you need to email [email protected] right away to insure that you have a space to play.

The tournament is going to be a good time for everyone, and with some awesome prizes up for grabs, that’s going to make it even more fun. Once again, there’s a couple of holes that have some huge prizes up for grabs if you can step up to the plate (or well, tee) and sink a hole in one.

Just like last year, the folks from Mid-State Chevrolet have stepped up to offer up a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado to whoever can land a hole-in-one on a designated hole and the folks from KTM USA have also stepped up and will be offering up a 2015 KTM 450 XC-F to whoever sinks a hole-in-one on a different hole. With these kind of prizes up for grabs, it’s going to make those holes even more interesting.

The big question is, can anyone step up and defeat the defending tournament champions “Team Baylor”? These guys were on fire at last year’s tournament and word is they’ve been working on their golf game heading into this year’s tournament. They’re going to be tough to be, but just like in racing, anything can happen! 

Walker Fowler is hoping to get another win this weekend
Walker Fowler is hoping to get another win this weekend Photo: Ken Hill

Snowshoe Entertainment (Kayla Olliver)

The fun begins Friday with the House DJ located in the Village Plaza starting at 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. when The Davisson Brothers Band will take the stage! The Davisson Brothers are well-known throughout West Virginia, and teamed up with Owen Schmitt to open up Schmitt's Saloon Davisson Brothers Music hall in Morgantown, West Virginia. As described on their website "The Davisson Brothers Band has a unique style, fusing a blend of country, southern rock, and bluegrass to create a distinctive sound. Brothers Donnie and Chris Davisson, cousin Sammy Davisson, and life-long best friend Aaron Regester are continuing musical pursuits started by the Davisson family long ago."

More information on the band, and their music can be found here!

Saturday night's entertainment will once again start with the House DJ in the Village plaza, but at 8:30 p.m. the Shinobi Ninja band will take the stage! Shinobi Ninja is an American rock band that formed in Brooklyn, New York in 2008. The band is known for high-energy performances and eclectic sound, blending music genres such as Hip Hop, Punk, Funk, Metal,Reggae and Rock. They are sure to put on an exciting show!

Check out more on the Shinobi Ninja here!

Chris Bithell has been great at getting off the line and grabbing the holeshot!
Chris Bithell has been great at getting off the line and grabbing the holeshot! Photo: Ken Hill

That's Interesting (Rodney Tomblin)

Over the course of the last couple of rounds I have dug fairly deep in the archives to find interesting information to talk about. What I find is myself missing deadlines and sitting up, late just cross referencing information and looking for neat facts to pass along. Facts like, did you know that John Ayers (former announcer and Moto Tees guy) was the first to win the Blackwater on a Japanese brand motorcycle? Well he was and he did it 1980 on an RM400cc Suzuki. He was one of only two riders to win Blackwater on the brand. The other was a multi-time ISDE Gold medalist Jeff Fredette in 1981. Jeff did it on a Suzuki PE250 as a part of the factory team.

Other bits of information that may be found interesting are that Husqvarna had the most wins with 7 of all manufacturers.  Honda had 3 while Suzuki, Yamaha and KTM had 2 each. The Mexican brand Ossa motorcycle actually won the Inaugural Blackwater 100. It was it's only time winning, and was ridden by Kevin Lavoie who won the Blackwater 3 different times on 3 different brand machines. Lavoie was also only one of two riders to win on a KTM. Lavoie did it in 1977 and Tommy Horton did it in 1990. As well Lavoie holds honors of being only one of two who won on a Penton brand bike. Another interesting fact is that Kawasaki is the only modern day major brand to never win Blackwater but did win Snowshoe in 2009 with David Knight.

The last winner of Blackwater bike race was Fred Andrews who also won his one and only championship that year. Also in 1993 Barry Hawk won his only Blackwater on an ATV but still lost the championship in the final round that year to Bob Sloan whom he actually beat in the race but not in overall points for the title. 

Other interesting facts about ATV Blackwater include:

The first ATC/3 Wheeler race was held in 1983 and ATV form was only ran 11 times. Donnie "Skud" Huggins was the first ATV Blackwater Champ winning on a Honda ATC. The first ATV/quad/4 wheeler win was in 1985 by Jeff Bernard. Jeff Bernard also won again in 1986. There are 3 multi-time winners of Blackwater on an ATV and they are Bob Sloan '90, '91, '92 / Jeff Benard '85, '86 / Roy Dains '87, '89. Honda band won Blackwater 9 times on an ATC/ATV and Suzuki won Blackwater 2 times on an ATV. Barry Hawk was the last ATV racer to win Blackwater and was his 4th of 68 total OA wins.

If you want more interesting facts about Blackwater and Snowshoe, be sure and tune into GNCCLIVE on

#ThrowbackThursday to last year's Snowshoe GNCC where Andrew DeLong finished third overall!
#ThrowbackThursday to last year's Snowshoe GNCC where Andrew DeLong finished third overall! Photo: Ken Hill

#ThrowbackThursday (Jared Bolton)

This weekend we head to the infamous Snowshoe GNCC, which pays a big tribute to the original GNCC event, the Blackwater 100. While it’s been 22 years since the last Blackwater 100, it still survives in stories, videos and photos. It’s not hard to find a long-time GNCC racer that has some epic Blackwater stories and while many experiences are different, they all boil down to a rough and rugged ride.

When the track crew first made their way to Snowshoe 8 years ago, they knew that they had discovered something special that bears many similarities to Blackwater. The first year we made our way to Snowshoe, it was a lot of unknown territory. There were a lot of technical sections, but they were connected with a lot of fast, open road sections.

The next year, sections were pieced together with way less road sections, and the course was shortened from an overly long 25 mile loop and resemble the type of loop we see now that’s still slightly longer than a normal GNCC course. The course has seemed to change over the years and some have come to think that the wet areas have gotten easier. This is due in part to digging down to more of a hard bottom. However, there’s still deep spots that never seem to find a hard bottom, and those are undoubtedly some of the most challenging spot on the course.

The same could be said for Blackwater as well. Many of the areas seemed to improve as the years wore on but at the same time, there were many more spots that remained deep, wet mud bogs throughout the race’s history. There’s no doubt that Snowshoe will be the same way as well. Some spots may develop a hard bottom, but by and far the course will remain a tough challenge for most riders. 

The mud isn’t the only thing challenging about both of these events. The rocks can be an even bigger challenge and both Blackwater and Snowshoe both have their incredibly rocky areas that provide a pretty solid challenge for riders, especially as the race weekend wears on. No matter what, both of these races remain as legendary events in their respective times, and we’re pretty lucky to head to Snowshoe this weekend to pay tribute to the race that started it all.


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Tuesday Toolbox: Brandon Sommers

Video - Ryan Sipes Chapter 2: Season 2 - Episode 3

Second Annual Golf Tournament USA ISDE Team Fundraiser at Snowshoe


What's New on

#GNCCLIVE returns this weekend on for the AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC. The LIVE action begins Saturday at 1 p.m. featuring the Pro ATV race, and then again on Sunday at 1 p.m. for the Pro Bike race. Don't miss all the action from America's Toughest race this weekend, just tune into! Also, don't forget to use the #GNCCLIVE on social media.

This week The Racer X Show with Greg White features highlights from round five of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at High Point Raceway where Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen would exchange moto wins in the 450 class. The 250 class saw exciting action as Marvin Musquin would claim both moto wins, while the remaining podium finishes would be shaken up among several riders in both motos.

The 2015 Mtn. Dew ATV Motocross National Championship took place at Sunset Ridge MX in Walnut, Illinois for round seven of the series. Chad Wienen would once again claim the overall win in front of his hometown crowd, while Thomas Brown and Joel Hetrick would round out the podium finishers.

Also featured on this week’s show will be highlights from the second round of AMA Pro Hillclimb in Jefferson, Pennsylvania. This week’s Yoshimura Road Racing segment features highlights from round five of the 2015 MotoAmerica season held at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama and the latest MotoGP news.

News from GNCC, Sponsors and Riders

Reminder to anyone making their way to Snowshoe: please check into your rooms at The Inn at Snowshoe located at the base of the mountain.