GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #42: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #42: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, October 29, 2015 | 4:20 PM
Thursday, October 29, 2015 | 4:20 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill.

This week’s edition of Quick Fill is brought to you live from the Ironman GNCC in Crawfordsville, Indiana. The course is shaping up and the facility is looking to be in top-notch shape for this weekend’s finale of the 2015 GNCC Racing season. There’s no doubt that the Ironman is a perfect location for a season finale. It stands out to many racers as their favorite event of the year, and who couldn’t love it? With a course that ranges from fast field sections, to flowing trails, tight trails, and some of the most epic hillclimbs all season, the Ironman truly offers up something for everyone. 

I’ll dive into a little more detail on this year’s course a little later but overall we’re looking at an awesome weekend of racing. Now, I know at this point some of you are already thinking “yeah but there’s rain in the forecast”. Well, if there’s one thing we should all know is that no weather forecast is completely accurate, and many different sources forecast things differently. The good news is, most signs point to the fact that we’re not expecting very much rain. Most likely it will be an easy mist like what’s been here the past few days, and that mist really hasn’t hurt anything. In fact, it only helped because it’s been very dry here.

The good news is, the fire ban that we mentioned last week has actually been lifted, however, you’ll still need to keep your campfires contained to a small size. Temperatures may be a little chilly at night, but we’re looking at pretty fair temperatures during the day, so that’s a bonus! All in all, some forecasts are saying we’re only going to get around 3/10ths of an inch of rain, which really isn’t much, so don’t skip out just because you think it’s going to be bad!

We’ve got a number of other fun activities planned throughout the weekend, which Chelsea will tell you all about a little later. Even with the threat of a little rain, we’re still looking at an excellent weekend of racing, including the battle for the ATV National Championship. Don’t miss out because this is going to be an excellent weekend of racing!

The Ironman always draws a huge crowd, and we've got some great racing and fun activities in store for this weekend!
The Ironman always draws a huge crowd, and we've got some great racing and fun activities in store for this weekend! Photo: Ken Hill

Weekly Updates (Chelsea Taylor)

Well this edition of Quick Fill is somewhat bittersweet to write as we head down the interstate to Ironman Raceway for the season finale. I was lucky enough to go to Ironman earlier this year for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross race and had a great time. The facility is absolutely awesome and I know that it’s going to look even better this weekend with everyone decked out in their pink gear in support of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

First off, we’d like to thank everyone who purchased pink backgrounds from In addition to the money raised through graphic sales, Yamaha will also be donating $60 for every ATV class championship won by a Yamaha racer from youth to pro so we should have a hefty amount to donate to Montgomery County Free Clinic (MCCF)! Also, Montgomery County Community Foundation will be matching 50 cents to every dollar that is raised. Make sure to join us on Sunday immediately after the 10am podium for a special check presentation.

Moose will be sponsoring a dinner at 5:30pm on Saturday night for everyone. We will be accepting donations for MCCF, but the dinner is free of charge compliments of Moose! So come hungry and enjoy some free grub!

As most of you know Saturday is Halloween! Trick-or-treating will also take place on Saturday night from 6-7pm. Since campers obviously don’t have porch lights we will be using orange balloons to signify who is open for business! Registration and vendor row will be participating, but if anyone in amateur pits who wants to participate can swing by registration and grab a balloon. 

After you’re done getting all the candy you can, Team Faith’s chapel service starts at 7:30pm. This is a normal change in the schedule and this will be the only one for the whole weekend! One thing I think is really neat about it doing just one service is that both ATV and bike racers will be together and hopefully can make some new friends that they maybe didn’t even know about!

The preferred parking lottery winners have been announced. Due to having such a large amount of entries we upped the amount to 35 lucky recipients. Winners should have received an email, but make sure to double check the list HERE.

The banquet announcement has finally been released and we are looking forward to hosting you at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown, West Virginia on December 18 and 19! Click HERE to find out all the details and to purchase your tickets!

Here's a classic #TBT with Rodney Smith at the first-ever Ironman GNCC in 1995.
Here's a classic #TBT with Rodney Smith at the first-ever Ironman GNCC in 1995. Photo: Ken Hill

Two Decades (Rodney Tomblin)

This running of the Amsoil Ironman GNCC will mark the twenty-first race for this prestigious event. It’s hard to believe that in 1995 this quiet little family farm would become one of the most prestigious off road destinations in the world. From its humble beginnings of corn and soybean fields, to now the Ironman Raceway, the Shaver family farm has hosted some of the most historic moments in the history of our sport. Championships have been decided here. Dreams have been lived and broken all in a moment here. But the biggest dream of all is still growing.

As everyone knows the Ironman GNCC was named and ran in honor of one of our sport’s greatest heroes, Bob Sloan. The story is told over and over how he would ride both ATV and motorcycle races to give himself a little extra edge over the competition. This was something that his fiercest competitor, Barry Hawk, would adopt and take to a whole new level by winning pro titles on both two and four wheels. The “Ironman” Bob Sloan’s legacy continues this very day.

The Ironman legacy continues with Walker Fowler who inspired another generation to do the same. Walker was once a top two-wheel racer and reached a point of having to choose one or the other. Ultimately it may have been the best choice as he is about to make history this weekend if he is able to win the championship. It is only fitting he do it here as this is where it all began in 2004 on the national level on four wheels for Fowler. I remember him saying he liked to race both because he could get two trophies each race and this weekend he has the chance to earn the greatest trophy of them all in ATV racing.

Remarkably, over the decades since Bob Sloan’s era there have been only three different ATV champions crowned. Walker could become a member of a prestigious club with few members that earn their way to that spot. Will his marks be as significant as Barry Hawk, Bill Ballance or Chris Borich? That remains to be seen but if you look at the history already I feel it has already written Walker Fowler as one of the sport’s greatest. A championship would mark a crowning achievement from winning the first modern Youth ATV race at Ironman on October 23, 2004 to being crowned XC1 Pro champion on October 31, 2015.

As we celebrate the twenty-year mark of Ironman we will celebrate the twenty first running of this event and the kickoff to the third decade of racing. It is now the second oldest race on the schedule. (John Penton GNCC began in 1990) It holds as much prestige as any modern day race can. It’s historic championships, crowds of fans and number of riders proves it and from the looks of things, two decades is only the beginning.

Will Walker Fowler come away as the 2015 GNCC ATV National Champion this weekend?
Will Walker Fowler come away as the 2015 GNCC ATV National Champion this weekend? Photo: Ken Hill

It All Comes Down to This! (Jared Bolton)

With a good chunk of the 2015 National Champions already crowned, many racers come into Ironman with a chance to sit back and enjoy the rider. However, for some, it’s all coming down to the wire and Ironman promises to be a do or die event. With the 4x4 Pro, UTV and ATV National Championships all up for grabs, Saturday has the chance to be one of the most epic days of 4-wheeled off-road racing in history.

In the 4x4 Pro ranks, the championship battle has come down to the final round between Bryan Buckhannon, Michael Swift and Kevin Trantham. Buckhannon holds a 5-point lead over Swift while Trantham sits third 14-points behind. Essentially, Buckhannon needs to finish in front of, or just behind Swift to secure the 4x4 Pro National Championship. However, a little misfortune for Buckhannon could open the door for Swift or even Trantham to step up and claim the championship.

All season the 4x4 Pro class has been full of close racing and with a champion on the line, the Ironman has potential to be the best of the year. While the 3 aforementioned riders all have a shot at the title, a number of other riders are looking to sneak onto the podium in the final round, or even snag a win to cap off the season. Robert Smith, Zac Zakowski and Jordan Phillips have all shown they have the speed to stay in podium contention, and with the final round upon us, there’s no doubt that each of these guys will want to end the season on a high note.

In the UTV ranks, it looked as if Kyle Chaney would have been able to secure his second straight UTV National Championship at Powerline Park. Unfortunately for Kyle, a break down late in the race would end his hopes of wrapping up the title early. However, his 2 top contenders, Larry Hendershot and Mouse Pratt also experienced mechanical issues at Powerline Park, so the good news for Kyle is that he still holds a good lead. However, he’ll definitely have to keep everything together at Ironman in order to wrap up the title. Don’t skip out on watching these guys because it could get interesting!

Of course the main focus will be on that oh so sought after ATV National Championship. While Walker Fowler has pulled away with the lead in the previous 3 rounds, it’s still not over. Walker will definitely still have to put together a solid ride in order to secure the championship. While the points say he holds a fair lead, it’s still his to lose if anything goes wrong, and the thing about GNCC Racing is, anything can happen. Of course, the same can be said for Adam McGill! He’ll also have to keep his machine intact and running to keep his hopes of a championship alive.

It’s been a heck of a season for these guys, and it all comes down to this. Who’s ready to watch it all unfold?!

Kendall Lafollette earned her first GNCC podium at Powerline Park. Can she do it again at the Ironman?
Kendall Lafollette earned her first GNCC podium at Powerline Park. Can she do it again at the Ironman? Photo: Ken Hill

New Faces (Chelsea Taylor)

At Powerline Park we saw a few new faces on the podium in the WXC classes or maybe ones that we just haven’t saw in a while. It’s her first full season racing GNCCs, and Kendall Lafollette stood in the third place position on Sunday for the very first time this year! Although we haven’t seen her on the podium much, Kendall has been putting forth good finishes the whole season with 8 top ten finishes so far. Her main going this season was to focus on figuring out each track so that she can be better prepared for 2016! If the last round was any indication about how her next season will go I think we are all in for a treat!

Although started riding back at the age of four, Kendall ventured away from racing to try out ball sports… which she figured out weren’t as great as racing so she started back in 2011. From there on out she’s been hooked and is even homeschooled to fully focus on racing. She originally raced local woods races with the NCHSA and occasionally showing up at Steele Creek, but decided get more serious about it recently.

As far as off time, Kendall doesn’t really have much because her life is consumed by racing. Although the GNCC series is winding down she’s recently started racing the SETRA series that goes throughout the winter. But she does like to fish and mountain bike in the little free time she has.

Kendall requested we do a special shoutout for her dad Mike otherwise known as “Lollipop” and her mom Lorna who she forgot to thank on the podium at Powerline Park! Hopefully Kendall will have the opportunity to fix her mistake either this weekend at Ironman or in 2016!

We're going old school Ironman this weekend! Across the creek and up Ironman Hill. Who's ready?
We're going old school Ironman this weekend! Across the creek and up Ironman Hill. Who's ready? Photo: Jared Bolton

Ironman Course Preview (Jared Bolton)

This weekend’s Ironman GNCC course is shaping up to deliver the usual amount of awesomeness that everyone has come to expect from the Ironman. The course is a bit on the long side, with the 10am and 1pm races doing a little over 12.5 miles. The course consists of everything you’d expect out of the Ironman as well. Fun, flowing trails with some fast field sections thrown in make for a great course for all.

Off the start you’ll make you way into the woods where you’ll have some of the usual terrain typical of the Ironman. A few hills, some flowing trails and a few tight sections will make up the first three miles. At the 3-mile mark you’ll actually pop back out into the big Ironman field section for a bit. You’ll work your way around the field and back into the woods before making your way down to the bridge by Ironman hill.

Now, here’s where we’ve got a little bit of change. The 10am races will continue under the bridge and across the creek like years past, however, the 1pm races will actually make a left turn before the bridge, cross the creek and go straight up Ironman Hill. It’s been a number of years since the course has done this, so it will definitely mix things up a little bit and make for some different line choices up Ironman Hill. From there, the courses will eventually work their way back together and wind around into the sections of woods that were new for last year’s Ironman.

Around the 7-mile mark you’ll pop out into another big cornfield, and the ATVs will go straight across into another section of woods while the bikes will go to the right and make their way through a special bike-only section. The bike section has a few tight, technical spots in it that should be a lot of fun. It will work it’s way back to the ATV track and the course will make it’s way back down behind the motocross track, through the creek for the last time, and up Twin Hills.

Once you’re up Twin Hills, you’ll come out to the top of “Godzilla” (the giant uphill on the motocross track). You’ll actually be going down Godzilla, around a bit of the motocross and then work your way around to the other side of the property. From there, it’s typical Ironman flowing trails, and a couple of creek runs making up the last few miles of the course before heading back onto the motocross track and into the finish line.

All-in-all, everyone who comes out to race is definitely in for a treat as this year’s course is a lot of fun, and definitely rideable wet or dry. So, if you’re on the fence about coming out and racing, don’t skip out because it’s going to be a lot of fun!

Chris Borich holds the record for most Ironman wins with 7. Can he grab his first win of the season and make it 8 Ironman wins?
Chris Borich holds the record for most Ironman wins with 7. Can he grab his first win of the season and make it 8 Ironman wins? Photo: Ken Hill

Ironman Facts (Rodney Tomblin)

Former top GNCC ATV Pro Steve Holbert won the first ATV GNCC race at Ironman. Steve is a member of the High Point Raceway Holbert clan and in the early day’s was one of the fast guys. Steve on occasion will attend a GNCC but has family that are at the races every week. Steve’s cousin Mike Holbert is a RacerTV cameraman for NBCSports and former GNCC racer himself, who still attends each round and helps to bring us shots that not many others are able to get.

Scott Plessinger won the first Ironman on a motorcycle. This was made especially significant earlier this summer when Scott’s son Aaron won his first AMA 250 Pro Motocross overall with a 2-1 finish on the new Ironman MX track. Aaron may have had the biggest advantage growing up racing the soils of Ironman as a top GNCC talent. Aaron is remarkably talented in both disciplines and don’t be surprised to see him back home and possibly winning an overall GNCC here someday.

As far as most wins at Ironman GNCC is concerned Chris Borich gets top honors in this department. He has won the event seven times so far. His first win came in 2006 followed by wins in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Perhaps the most significant of all those was last season’s win when he took the race win in the closing moments to capture his sixth GNCC ATV championship and record setting 73rd overall win.

As successful as Borich has been he had to earn that title away from former ATV great William Yokely. William had won the event five times on an ATV. His first was in 1998 followed then by wins in 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005. As I recall William also won the first UTV race here in 2008 so the win totals for him could technically be on the rise still.

As far as most wins on two wheels go here the honor goes to the great Rodney Smith. Smith captured five wins at Ironman throughout his career. He won in 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2003. During the time in between Shane Watts won 1999, 2000 and 2001. As Shane enjoys three overall wins here there is another who has posted three wins here. Nathan Kanney who is quite possibly one the greatest off road racers that never truly showed us his full potential won the event in 2006, 2008 and 2009. The only other multiple time race winners are Kailub Russell and Charlie Mullins who have each won twice.

Another interesting fact about the Ironman is that Ryan Sipes got his first GNCC podium here last year and as well finished his best ever AMA Pro Motocross here last year as well. Ryan may have won the ISDE but another big feather in his cap would be to win this weekend and if you look at the big picture this may be exactly where it happens.

Thad Duvall may be on a roll at a good time. Thad had been a threat for podiums and wins as of late and a win here would be a rather special place for it to happen because this is one of the few tracks Thad will have a chance to win on that his dad Chad Duvall has. Chad won this event on the ATV in 1999 when he was helping revolution the sport racing untested and unproven production based Yamahas in the early days of the four-stroke development.

Stop by the Honda pits this weekend and say a special farewill to Takeshi Koikeda!
Stop by the Honda pits this weekend and say a special farewill to Takeshi Koikeda! Photo: Ken Hill

Stop By and Give Thanks! (Jared Bolton)

This weekend’s Ironman GNCC will mark the final full-time GNCC race for Honda rider Takeshi Koikeda. After paying multiple visits to GNCC rounds throughout the years, Takeshi made his way to the US to race full-time in 2012, where he turned heads leading a portion of the Loretta Lynn’s GNCC. However, it wasn’t Takeshi’s first stint of US racing.

TK had previously contested Pro Motocross and Supercross here in the US back in the late 90s and early 2000s. He actually lived with former Pro Motocross/Supercross racer, Jim Holley, who has helped numerous foreign riders over the years. TK would end up landing a career best 6th place finish at the Steel City National in 1998, in addition to several other top 10 finishes.

When the Japan National Cross Country Series took off in the mid-2000s, Takeshi stood out as the man to beat. His success in the JNCC series would lead him to the USA once again to give the GNCC Racing world a try. He, his wife, and daughter have all worked hard through his GNCC Racing career and anyone who has talked to them for more than 1 second will tell you that they’re some of the nicest people you will ever meet.

Takeshi’s wife and daughter actually went home to Japan back over the summer, while Takeshi stayed to finish out the GNCC Racing season. After their house sold, Takeshi has actually been staying with former GNCC Lieutenant Trail Boss, Buren Hamrick. This is just another example of how the off-road racing world is a big family. Takeshi is the defending champion of Buren’s Mid-East Hare Scramble Series, and when Takeshi needed a place to stay, Buren not only stepped up to give him a place to stay, but he’ll be driving his motorhome to Ironman this weekend and supporting Takeshi in his final GNCC event.

So when you’re milling around the pro pits this weekend, be sure to stop by the Honda pits and give Takeshi a big thanks for his years of racing, and wish him the best of luck on his return to Japan.  



Congratulations to the 2015 AMSOIL Ironman Preferred Parking Winners

Fowler and McGill Go Head-to-Head for GNCC National Championship This Saturday at Ironman Season Finale 

Strang, Duvall and Baylor Look to Fill the Podium Heading into Season Finale at AMSOIL Ironman GNCC

Tuesday Toolbox: Zac Zakowski 

KTM Video: Kailub Russell Crowned National Enduro Champion

Stop by the Honda pits this weekend and say a special farewill to Takeshi Koikeda!
Stop by the Honda pits this weekend and say a special farewill to Takeshi Koikeda! Photo: Ken Hill

What's New on RacerTV?

Don't miss the online coverage from Round 13 of the 2015 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship this Saturday at 1 and 4:30 p.m. EST and Sunday at 1 p.m. EST.

If you miss a race, full replays will be archived on throughout the season. 

Saturday, October 31
ATV Racing

Online: 1 p.m. EST, (LIVE)
UTV Racing
Online: 4:30 p.m. EST, (LIVE)

Sunday, November 1
Bike Racing

Online: 1 p.m. EST, (LIVE)

News from GNCC, Riders and Sponsors

Chris Bach - The #BetheDifference project aims to help children chase their dreams by providing funding and scholarships to those who dare to be different! 

Zac Zakowski - PHOTO CONTEST: We want to remind everyone to enter into out Breast Cancer Awareness Photo Contest. If you are pinking out your machine for the Ironman GNCC or any other race, post a picture of your beast to our timeline or message us the picture to enter. Hint: There will be more than one winner! 

A Facebook post from Jacob Schiefer - I'm sure most of you have seen this bike at some point or another. From being at the races or to seeing it at my house. My bike was stolen from my house recently and I just want it back. I don't know who would have the nerve to just come and take it but it's gone. This bike means a lot to me and I just want it back. The police have already been notified so any information will help. Everyone please share this so I can get my bike back.