GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #48: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #48: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, December 10, 2015 | 2:05 AM
Thursday, December 10, 2015 | 2:05 AM

Welcome to Quick Fill.

Time continues to tick away this off-season, and while things still seem to be a bit on the quiet side, we’re not far off from seeing some off-season racing action start taking place. The good news for most folks though is, so far there’s been slightly above average temperatures up north, so there’s still plenty of riding going on. There’s also some riders already beginning to start prepping their new machines, and more will be coming before we know it.

I’ll dive a little more into some of the cool info on “who’s been riding what” a little later, so make sure to keep reading ahead for that. Chelsea will have some extra info on the banquet, speaking of which, is coming up next weekend! As we’ve said for a while now, the banquet is always a great time for racers to come together, hang out, and recognize those who excelled in their respective classes this past season. 

If you’ve never been to the banquet and are on the fence about coming, don’t skip out! Coming together with your fellow racers and enjoying some time away from the track is always a blast. It’s definitely a good, laid back time and you’re sure to enjoy yourself, so don’t miss it. 

Want to race without the hassle of hauling a bike? KR4 can help you out with their rental program!
Want to race without the hassle of hauling a bike? KR4 can help you out with their rental program! Photo: Ken Hill

Weekly Updates (Chelsea Taylor)

Christmas is right around the corner, and that only means one thing… The banquets are too! In less than a week registration will close, so make sure to reserve your ticket by Wednesday, December 16 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

As previously mentioned, the Waterfront Place Hotel is completely sold out on Friday night, and now the deadline to receive the group discount for Saturday night has passed as well. We have made two extra room blocks that are available until Friday, December 14.

The first is at the Holiday Inn- University Area (Across Town) for a discounted rate of $119 + tax. Just call (304) 241-6649 by December 14 as say the code “GNC” for the discount. The second option is the Ramada and it’s just five minutes away from the Waterfront Place. Call (304) 296-3431 and mention “GNCC” to get the special rate of $65 + tax. 

ATVs and UTVs kick off the celebration on Friday, December 18, and then bikes will be on Saturday, December 19. The earlier your reserve your banquet tickets, the better, so don’t wait until the last minute!

It seems that majority of the updates that have been coming out are about the banquet, but KR4 has recently announced that the Arrive-N-Ride program will be returning in 2016. If you’ve never looked into the KR4 program in the past, essentially they give you the opportunity to make your way to the race however you choose. Fly, drive, jog, walk; however you want, and they take care of a rental bike for you. They prep it for the race, transport it, pit you, the whole nine yards!  If you want to know a little more about the program, or you are interested in participating, just click HERE for all the details.

The start of the 2016 season will be here before we know it. Who's ready to get back into the woods?!
The start of the 2016 season will be here before we know it. Who's ready to get back into the woods?! Photo: Ken Hill

The Changing Times (Rodney Tomblin)

A few weeks ago I mentioned this thing I call #racehole (The long time between the end of the season and the start of the a new). I knew with coming times, things were going to slow down. Fortunately for me, my #racehole has not been so empty. I have had a couple of weekends to try and occupy my time away from the track but for the most part it has been a busy time for me.

This past weekend I visited Pikeville, Kentucky for the Pikeville Indoor Motocross Championship and was the first time I had been in that area in 30 years. I was born only a few miles away in Mingo County, West Virginia where I lived in a coal mining community called Ragland, West Virginia until I was nearly five years old. It’s located outside of Delbarton, which is a small town in Mingo County.

My son and I took a drive over the mountains through Williamson into Delbarton and as we crossed over the final mountain and began to wind down the side of the hill. (Literally there is one point in the decline you pass the same spot three times.) I started telling him how I recalled getting my first haircut sometime in 1971 at this little old barbershop. As we went by the street I said, “That’s it! That’s the street and that’s the shop! Let’s go check it out!” As we walked in I felt like I walked right back into 1971. Though the barbers had changed it was as if nothing else had. It had the same paneling, the same barber chairs, the same mirrors, sinks, windows, doors and trim. It was as if for a moment time stood still and I recalled the feeling of nervousness the first time I ever walked through the door.

I took a moment to soak it all in and as I felt my eyes began to water a little I thought about my dad and the time we spent there as well it opened up so many more memories. I just looked at the barber with a big smile and chuckled. I told him my story and he told me how things have changed and what not. I met some of the locals in for their regular haircuts and listened to a few stories of theirs. It was actually a really nice experience and I got a much-needed haircut just like the first time I walked through that door.

After we left my son listened intently, hanging on every word to the stories I told from all the memories that came flooding in. We drove to my old house which as they often times say are not what you remember. It made me grateful for the sacrifices my parents made and the hard work they did to provide a rich and positive life for me. As heartwarming as it was for me it made me remember one thing that is inevitable and that is change.

Change is looming everywhere in our lives. Sometimes we implement change. Sometimes we resist change. Sometimes we are against change and sometimes we are for a change.  Sometimes we are a part of change and don’t even realize until it is all over which is often times the case and one of those sometimes may be now.

The recent announcement of Barry Hawk “changing” his position in the industry from the promotion side to the race side is a huge change. Not only does that mean a change for Barry but a change for everyone in the GNCC Racin’ Nation. Barry’s new role as team manager will be a good change and I think a fresh eye in the woods for helping in course layout and design will also be a good change. As upsetting as it may seem for some this is a good change and one you may or may not even recognize on the trail.

There are changes in the schedule for 2016. We have seen a few events moved around on the traditional schedule and a couple of new venues added as well. As much as we may or may not love the places we will be missing this season the change of a fresh venue is always exciting. It brings in new faces and allows new fans to be made which always changes things in a good way.

Look for more changes to be coming in the new season. Riders and teams will see change, sponsorship and support will see change and many faces will change. There will be new riders, new team members, girlfriends, wives, fans and even a few new employees. There will be changes all around.

The fortunate thing for us as a GNCC Racin’ Nation is that change has always meant moving forward and has always resulted in positive. And I know what you’re thinking because I’m thinking the same thing, “It can’t get any better!” But hold on, it’s all about to change and it will be even better.

Brycen Neal will have a new look for 2016 as part of the new Coastal Racing team!
Brycen Neal will have a new look for 2016 as part of the new Coastal Racing team! Photo: Ken Hill

Who Is Riding What? (Jared Bolton)

So far the off-season has been exactly what it implies, some time off. It seems like the flow of silly season information gets later and later year after year, or it seems like everyone has begun to hold onto their secrets for longer and longer. Last week I discussed the new Coastal Racing team made up of Ryan Sipes, Layne Michael, and Craig Delong on the bike side, with Brycen Neal and Eli Kiger on the ATV side.

So far, this has been the biggest news of the off-season. It was also a fairly well kept secret until it’s official announcement. While it seemed like a number of people knew of a new team on the rise in the final four rounds, it seemed like the majority of people who asked me about it didn’t know who would be on the team.

We do know that they will be Husqvarna mounted on the bike side, with Yamaha on the ATV side. For Sipes and Craig Delong, it’s business as usual aboard the Husqvarna as both of these riders were on Husky machines in the 2015 season. The same can be said for Neal and Kiger on the ATV side, both are experience on the Yamaha. While it’s a new team and a big effort, the changes are fairly minimal on the machinery side for these riders.

Layne Michael is the only member of the team making a significant switch as he makes the transition from Honda to Husqvarna. For some, making the transition to a Japanese to European made machine, or vice-versa, can be tough. However, it should be a cakewalk for Layne as he spent multiple seasons racing aboard KTMs. His European bike background will be a big help in making the Husqvarna transition.

Another rider who will be making a change in 2016 will be Ricky Russell. Ricky will be aboard a Suzuki in 2016 with a little extra support. I’ve yet to see an official press release but Ricky did post a photo a little over a month ago of a fresh new RMZ450. It will be interesting to see how Ricky makes the Suzuki transition and into the XC1 class. That means we’ll see 2 yellow machines in XC1 in 2016 as Chris Douglas made the switch to an Obermeyer backed Suzuki for the final four rounds in 2015.

Other than this, it’s been fairly quiet on the silly season front! With Christmas just around the corner, hopefully we’ll be seeing Santa deliver some fresh rides to everyone. Oh, and just in case Santa is reading, I like 2-strokes.

Ronnie Rusch had a stellar 2015 season claiming the Youth ATV National Championship!
Ronnie Rusch had a stellar 2015 season claiming the Youth ATV National Championship! Photo: Ken Hill

Moving Up (Chelsea Taylor)

The off-season can be what you make it, but for some people they continue to work hard, if not harder than they do during the season, in order to improve for the next season. This is especially true when it comes to the youth riders who will be moving up to big bikes or quads.

Ronnie Rusch has a near perfect season capturing 12 overall wins in the 8 a.m. race. The only race that he didn’t finish on the top spot was at Unadilla where he still managed to finish in a podium position.

Per GNCC rules a youth racer is allowed to race both races if they plan to move up the following year, but only at the season finale. This way they can justify where they stand against their new class. Ronnie took full advantage of this at the Ironman GNCC where he raced both the 8 a.m. youth race, and then turned around to compete in the 10 a.m. race in the Schoolboy Sr. (14-17) division.

Ronnie ended up grabbing his last ever youth overall and class win in Super Mini (12-15), and was running fifth in Schoolboy Sr. (14-17) when his steering stem locked up. Just like when we talked about Jesse Ansley last week, the future of off-road racing seems to be looking up with the skill level of the riders in addition to more sponsors and OEM support.

#ThrowbackThursday returns with Barry Hawk on his way to winning the 2007 Steele Creek GNCC!
#ThrowbackThursday returns with Barry Hawk on his way to winning the 2007 Steele Creek GNCC! Photo: GNCC Archives

#ThrowbackThursday (Jared Bolton)

This week we’ll get back into the swing of things with a weekly #ThrowbackThursday update. However, I want to switch things up a little bit moving forward. Instead of pulling 4 photos at random, I want to feature a specific race from GNCC history and include the winners, and any cool story that may go along with it. So, if you have some cool throwback stories to share, drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know what you’ve got!

To kick it off, we may not be going back very far but it’s a memorable race no matter what! We go back to the 2007 Steele Creek GNCC where Barry Hawk and Glenn Kearney would battle to the wire for the win. Shane Watts, David Knight and Charlie Mullins would control the majority of the opening laps of the race. However, each would begin to experience some sort of issue of their own.

The win wouldn't come easy for Hawk as he would have to due battle with this guy, Glenn Kearney, through the final turns of the race.
The win wouldn't come easy for Hawk as he would have to due battle with this guy, Glenn Kearney, through the final turns of the race. Photo: GNCC Archives

Knight would run out of gas, while Mullins and Watts would suffer fatigue issues. Hawk and Kearney would work their way through the pack to challenge Watts for the lead, eventually getting around him. Then it would all come down to the final field section where Hawk and Kearney would swap the lead multiple times. There was a small ditch just before the final turn, Kearney would roll through it, going high in the turn. Hawk found an opportunity, jumped the ditch and snuck to the inside of Kearney, making the pass for the win in the final turn.

After leading much of the race, 2000 GNCC champ Shane Watts would round out the podium in third.
After leading much of the race, 2000 GNCC champ Shane Watts would round out the podium in third. Photo: GNCC Archives

It was ultimately one of the most incredible finishes in the history of GNCC Racing, and still stands out in many people’s minds. Watts would hold on to finish third with Garrett Edmisten and David Knight rounding out the top five. If you want to see the awesome finish unfold, here it is!

"The Sandman" Garrett Edmisten would also put in a stellar ride at Steele Creek that year for fourth. Photo: GNCC Archives
Photo: GNCC Archives


What's New on

Don’t miss the GNCC Bike feature show on NBCSN this Sunday, December 13 at 4:30 p.m. ET from the ITP Powerline Park, Round 12 of the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis. 

If you miss a show, full replays will be archived on throughout the year.

Sunday, December 13
Bike Feature Show 
Television: 4:30 pm ET; NBCSN

News from GNCC, Riders and Sponsors

Dunlop Holiday Offer: 

'Twas the month of December, awaiting your order, 
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Team Dunlop T-shirts and hoodies and stickers galore,
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Geomax's were scattered all under the tree,
How excited and happy your loved ones will be.
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Hooking up, hitting doubles, and ruts without fright,
Happy Holidays to all, and all a good night! 

This month we are hooking you up with FREE Dunlop gifts when you purchase two or more Geomax MX32 or MX52 tires! Here's your chance to get exclusive Team Dunlop apparel and even the coveted Dunlop tire stickers that are typically only reserved for the Pros. Here's your chance to make your friends jealous and have your bike look race ready next time you're at the local track.

*This offer is only valid on purchases between 12/1/15 and 12/31/2015 

More info at

Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/KR4/FAR Team Announces 2016 Arrive-N-Ride Program Details:

The Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/KR4/FAR team is pleased to announce details for its Arrive-N-Ride program, available at all 13 rounds of the 2016 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series. The KR4 Arrive-N-Ride program offers the unprecedented opportunity to rent a fully-prepped Husqvarna race bike without the hassle of transportation, race prep or cleanup, read more...