GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Cody Collier

Tuesday Toolbox: Cody Collier

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 | 3:15 PM
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 | 3:15 PM

It seems so recent that we heard Cody Collier’s name during the youth ATV race as he diced it up with names like Hunter Hart and Zach Jones. But two years ago, Cody jumped to the morning race and is now in the afternoon XC2 class where he sits 2nd in points to defending champion Cole Richardson! checks in on Cody to find out how he made such a fast transition. Hey Cody! How’s the summer going?
Cody Collier: Pretty good. I’m sitting at home waiting on the wrist to heal.

You were on the XC2 podium at Snowshoe looking healthy! Wrist was fine then, what happened?
I was at a Midwest XC race a few weeks ago. They had a nice size double in the course and I over-jumped it, flat-landed and broke my left wrist. It happens! It’s part of racing. I have a lot to be thankful for; this is my first broken bone! It was a clean break, so the doctor set it, put me in a cast and said I’ll be out in time for Unadilla!

Ouch! This racing thing isn’t easy! And now that you are running a pro class, fitness is key. Are you able to do any training to better prepare for after the break?
Well, I’m not able to lift weights or ride, but I’m still playing soccer 5 nights a week. I’ve been keeping a full soccer schedule in addition to racing ATVs. The coaches are really cool and know that I have racing as a top priority. They let me off when I need, and play me when I’m there!

Cody was able to snag his first ever XC2 Pro-Am class win at the Tomahawk GNCC this year.
Cody was able to snag his first ever XC2 Pro-Am class win at the Tomahawk GNCC this year. Photo: Ken Hill

What position do you play?
Anywhere! I’m kind of a big kid. I’m nearly 200 pounds. Most soccer players are tiny, so they send me in when they need someone mowed over! [Laughs] It’s good fitness. It’s certainly helping me keep fit right now while I can’t ride.

How old are you right now?
I’m 16. I’ll turn 17 in October, just before the Powerline race.

You are young! Your fitness will bounce right back! How old were you when you started riding?
I started riding on my own at 4 years old. However, before I could even walk, my mom used to take the car seat out of her car and strap it to the back of her utility ATV and ride me around! I guess I’ve always been around them! I started racing a Honda 90 when I was 6. My older brother had raced at the county fair, and then my dad and his buddy started racing, and then I started! It was a new thing for my family. We all got into it together, and now here we are! 

So when was your first GNCC?
That was Ironman, 2008. My dad, his friend John, my cousin Zack and I all rode to the race in my mom’s minivan with the quad in the back! We had no clue what we were getting into! I raced the 90 Limited 8-11 on a bone stock Honda 90. I took 11th out of 26 and remember looking at the score sheet and seeing I was the last person to get a plaque! That was cool to go home from a National with some hardware! I look back on it now and just remember all that thick, gooey mud that had to go into my mom’s minivan! But it motivated me and my family to keep coming back. I started racing the series in 2009 and I think I’ve only missed one race when had the flu.

After dominating the morning race from the Schoolboy class, Cody made the move to XC2 in 2015 for an added challenge.
After dominating the morning race from the Schoolboy class, Cody made the move to XC2 in 2015 for an added challenge. Photo: Ken Hill

You’ve really had some success in the series. It was just a few years ago that you ran Youth ATV 90 Open 12-15 and finished 3rd in points with 2 wins. However, instead of sticking around and clinching a championship in 2013, you moved up to the 10am race and ended up DOMINATING the Schoolboy class! You even won 2 overalls! What happened?
Well, I guess that’s just part of my race program. I want to improve and be faster! I’ve always moved up and rode with faster guys. When I won a C race, I moved to B. And so, when I felt competitive in the youth, I moved to the morning. The biggest difference was the bikes. In 2012 I was riding a Raptor 125 against Cobra’s and Apexes, both of which had double the horsepower, and I was competing for wins! So when I went to the morning and we were all on similar machinery, it was easier to adapt to the tougher courses. I was able to pick up speed and grow as a racer. 

No doubt! You had a great 2013. Then came 2014 where you once again dominated the Schoolboy.  You ended up winning 4 overalls in a row and then one more after the break! That’s 40% of overall wins! You jumped to College A 16-21 for Ironman, won that class and finished 20th overall. That was an amazing way to cap the year! 
I treated the jump up to PM just like any other race, so the only option I gave myself was to go out and win the race. It was an emotional battle to even race the PM race because I still had a good shot to win the 201 plate again. Some of the people at GNCC wanted me to ride College A at Ironman to prove that I was ready for XC2 in 2015 and that I meant business. So in order to even have a shot of racing XC2 in 2015, I had to completely give up all hope of defending my title. The race was definitely a struggle and a hard fought battle, but my mechanic, Matt Pierce and I, hooked up for the first half of that race and we pushed ourselves pretty hard. That allowed me to open up a huge lead and take the win. And, I proved my way into the XC2 class!

Cody has put together a stellar 2015 season thus far and currently sits 2nd in the XC2 Pro-Am class points.
Cody has put together a stellar 2015 season thus far and currently sits 2nd in the XC2 Pro-Am class points. Photo: Ken Hill

Yes you did! And here you are, a very competitive XC2 rider! Are you surprised to be doing so well?
I don't want that to come off as cocky to my other competitors, but I know where I stand and where I'm at. This is exactly the year that I thought i would have. I always set very high standards for myself and I'll do whatever it takes to get there. My dad and I talked before the Florida GNCC and we made our predictions. I told him by summer break, I'd be in 2nd in points with at least one win, and 13th overall, which is exactly where I am! I'd be thrilled if I could hold my spot for the remainder of the series, but wouldn't complain about moving up in the overall points at all.

Racers are always their own worst critics. While we see that you are having a great year, you are likely seeing things that you could do different. What do you think it will take for you to run with guys like Cole Richardson, Adam McGill, Walker Fowler and the rest?
I've had the honor of riding with all of those guys at local events and even going to some of the pros' houses like Brycen Neal, and it's just the little things at this point. I'm doing little things wrong, losing seconds here and seconds there, and seconds add up to minutes quickly. My dad has a famous speech before every race: “Seconds, seconds, seconds!” I just need to clean up a few aspects of my riding and I'll be right there. Again, I'm only 16, and I'm not even legally old enough to run that XC1 class yet. I have a little bit of time before I get there and plan to make the most of it.

Great answer! It is all about a ½ second here and a second there. Keep after it! We are looking forward to you getting out of that cast and racing at Unadilla! Who would you like to thank?
HUGE thanks to my mom, dad, and Papa for all of their support and paying for everything. Matt Pierce and everyone over at Pierce Performance. TireBlocks, Custom Axis, Maxxis, DP Brakes, Moose Racing, Spider Graphix, MotoNation, Bell Helmets, 100% Goggles, Cycra, ProTaper, QuadTech, Sparks Racing Exhausts, Houser, IMS, Leatt, BNR Motorsports, Waynesburg Yamaha, Greg's ATV, Outdoor Adventures, all of my friends, family, fans, and everyone at Camp Lazy. Special thanks to my soccer coaches at Bloom-Carroll High School for being so understanding and working with my racing schedule.