GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Jarrod McClure

Tuesday Toolbox: Jarrod McClure

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 | 3:30 PM
Tuesday, September 22, 2015 | 3:30 PM

Jarrod McClure is having the best season of his career. He went into the summer break after taking his first career win at Snowshoe. That momentum continued with a podium when we returned to racing at Unadilla this past weekend. caught up with Jarrod to find the secret formula. Hey Jarrod! Did we catch you with time to talk?
Jarrod McClure: Sure. Now is a good time. I’m taking it easy for lunch.

I take it we caught you at work?
Yes. Helping out around Bowers Motorcycle Supplies here in New Philadelphia, PA. John (the owner) gave me my first job back when I was a freshman in High School and was instrumental in getting me started racing. Now all these years later, I still help out. Between racing, practicing, working here and doing stuff out of my own shop at home, I stay pretty busy!

I’d say! What kind of work do you do there?
I’m pretty handy at service work. I can do suspension, motors, pretty much anything to do with a sport quad. I do the same out of my house, but for select guys. John is okay with that and I’ve enjoyed helping out some local people. Landon Wolfe came to me over the summer break and asked me to help him set up a Honda. I was able to help him get it dialed. We’ve been riding together quite a bit and so it was easy to get him set up. He did well this past weekend and pulled off a top 5 in class!

That’s pretty cool! Although I’m sure you don’t want him to get too fast!
Exactly! I told him this is only going to last until he starts beating me, then it’s over! [laughs]

Jarrod has put together his best GNCC season yet landing on the podium a total of 5 times. 
Jarrod has put together his best GNCC season yet landing on the podium a total of 5 times.  Photo: Ken Hill

I was recruited to do podium interviews this past weekend, and Randy Hamilton mentioned your name from the XC2 podium.
Yeah, he and I have teamed up this year. He’s a really good mechanic on his own and so he mostly wrenches on his own bike, but I help point him in the right direction with suspension. He’ll come down to my house a couple days before the GNCCs and he’ll race prep his bike. He and I are riding mirror image bikes; they’re set up almost identical. He’s a good guy and I enjoy hanging out with him. We travel to the races together and split costs. He’s having a great year in XC2 and I’m really happy for him! Like you said, he got third at Unadilla and sits a solid 4th in points in the XC2 row.

So you are working, wrenching, helping people out, and having the best season of your career so far! How does that all come together?
Well, it’s a lot of hard work, I guess! It’s just the way things are right now. I’m not pulling any kind of salary for racing, so I have to do it all on my own. I need flexible hours. Look at Chris Bithell, he’s working on the pipeline and can’t get off to go race. (We interviewed Chris a couple weeks ago and his job was so busy that he mentioned he might not make Unadilla. And unfortunately, he didn’t!) So I’m really grateful to John Bowers for working with me. Of course, he’s a huge enthusiast himself and has raced the series!

You said he was a big part of getting you into racing. How so?
I started working at the shop because I loved ATVs. I had tried riding a mini bike when I was a kid and crashed my brains out, so my parents wouldn’t let me have a dirt bike! My uncle had an old, clapped out Blaster that he sold to my dad. My dad fixed it up and I started riding it. Then dad got a four-wheeler for himself and a little group of us started riding on the weekends. I loved it and started racing some local District 6 stuff. Got the job at the shop and John started doing the Nationals. He rode the stock class on a 400EX. Because of him, I finally went to my first GNCC in 2005. I had a brand new TRX450R, the first year Honda made them, and ended up doing the whole series that year.

The highlight of Jarrod's season was claiming his first XC1 Pro win at Snowshoe.
The highlight of Jarrod's season was claiming his first XC1 Pro win at Snowshoe. Photo: Ken Hill

You jumped in with both feet!
Yep, and I made the overall podium a lot that year. I rode the stock class and most of my battles were with Chris Neal, Bryson’s dad. It’s funny that I used to battle with Chris, and now I battle with his son! But, we battled it out. I lost the championship to Billy Good that year, but I earned the #201 plate!

You won the overall #1, but lost your class? Poor Billy got robbed!
[laughs] I think it had to do with throw-aways. Back then, we got 4 drops but all races counted for the overall.

That’s still how it is for amateur classes. But at the pro level, a couple drops would be nice! You could get rid of that John Penton race where you got 10th! 
That would be nice! Yeah. That was a tough race. I ate it pretty hard there. There was dust along the fencerow and I didn’t see a kicker. I went tumbling and bent my steering stem. I was able to come into the pits and Chris Neal helped me bend it back so I could go out and keep racing. But by then, I was back with the XC2 guys and the front pack was long gone.

That’s pretty cool that the guy you used to race, who’s son you now race against…is the guy who helped fix your bike so you could go back racing!
I’m competing against his son and it didn’t stop him a bit! It’s a pretty common story for GNCC. We are all competitors, but we’re in it together. The Neals would help anyone out.

You came back after Penton and took your first career win at Snowshoe! That was exciting for the fans, and I’m sure exciting for you as well.
Oh man! That was awesome! I got the start off my row and Adam McGill was behind me. My goal was to be with the lead pack. You can’t let those guys get out of your sight. They’ll be gone! So Adam was on me and he ended up around me. I kept with him, but then other guys caught up. Fowler was right there and it was just an all day battle. It started raining, the track got slick, but I still felt fast. We came to that last mudhole and I saw Adam try to take the right line, but he wedged into a tree. I was able to make the line, sneak around him and Fowler and then charge to the finish. I knew Walker was right on me coming up that ski slope. One little spin out would cost the whole thing. But I hung on, took the win, and it felt great! Definitely gave me a lot of confidence going into the summer break. I was motivated to keep training and working hard.

With 3 rounds remaining, Jarrod hopes to continue finding his way onto the overall podium.
With 3 rounds remaining, Jarrod hopes to continue finding his way onto the overall podium. Photo: Ken Hill

That hard work paid off! You were right back on the podium at Unadilla.
I was really thankful to be there. My goal for these last three races was to make the podium. That race didn’t actually go the way I planned. I wanted to do like Snowshoe and be there with the lead pack. But I didn’t get the start. I was behind Bryson and Chris [Borich] and I could see Walker get going. I thought, “Don’t let him out of your sight!” He and Adam are pushing each other so hard that once their gone, you just can’t catch them. But Walker got going and it took me some time to get around. Then there was the battle with Chris. So yeah, to be on the podium, I’m pretty thankful.

I think everybody at that race was disappointed for Adam (who’s machine broke on the last lap).
Yeah, I always go back and watch Racer TV. He and Fowler put a whole minute on the rest of us during the second lap. That’s unbelievable! But part of racing is getting these machines to last the whole two hours. It’s so demanding on the equipment. Adam’s running a privateer program just like I am. Heck, I don’t even have a practice bike right now. The motor grenaded on me last week; the crank came through the cases! My buddy said I had to go to Unadilla and do well so I’d have money to put it back together.

No kidding?! A pro rider and no practice bike?
I do have an ’05 TRX450 that’s stock. It’s actually, pretty much just like the bike I raced in ’05 when this whole thing started. Back to my roots, I guess! It’s “Old Reliable” and I’ll keep doing what I’m doing: riding 3 days a week, working and racing. I’m looking forward to the last three races. There’s a huge battle going for the championship. I’m sitting in 3rd with a comfortable lead on Borich. But it’s racing and anything can happen! With Borich behind you, there was a day you KNEW he was going to come by. So, there’s still some pressure and I plan to keep working hard to maintain my 3rd place standing!

Congratulations on a fantastic year! Who would you like to say “Thank You” to?
Big thanks to John Bowers for all his help and helping to get me started in this. My mom and dad too. My girlfriend, Sierra. Harlan Foley; he’s a big part of my program. And then, I have great sponsors that make it possible: DWT, DWT Tires, JMR, Elka Suspension, Teixeira-Tech, HMF, IQ defense, KG power sports, Bowers Motorcycle,, Powermadd, Sunstar, Moose Racing, Fourwerx, Spider Graphix, Bell Helmets, Precision, DP Brakes, Moto Pro Training, Gorilla Off Road Company, Glann Innovations, Matto Cycle, Py Racing, Baldwin Motorsports, Bel Ray, Impact Solutions, Wiseco, Santor Design Co, Dirtworks Motorsports, Hot Rods, Pivot Works, Works Connection, Rockwell Watches and IMS.