GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #4: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #4: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, January 28, 2016 | 2:00 PM
Thursday, January 28, 2016 | 2:00 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill.

Hopefully those of you who were impacted by Winter Storm Jonas over the weekend have been able to dig yourselves out and get back to the grind! There were a number of people who made the best of the snow over the weekend and had some fun with it. I even saw a few social media posts where some got out and rode in it, and I have to say, hats off to you because that was a lot of snow to ride through!

For those who didn’t get out in ride in it, hopefully you made the best of it. Or for those down south that weren’t affected at all, well, you guys are pretty lucky. Growing up in North Carolina, I never really experienced the cycle of “snow is here until it melts but then it snows again” until I moved to Morgantown to work with the series full-time. Yes, it can snow a foot in North Carolina, but it’s pretty rare and two feet like we had over the weekend is just about unheard of. So, it was a bit of a new experience for me… And I know, those of you who are used to multiple feet of snow are sitting back laughing and saying “that’s nothing!”

Anyway, hopefully that’s the last of any major snow for a while because we’re still getting closer and closer to the beginning of the 2016 season. I’ve mentioned for several weeks now that there’s a lot of off-season racing taking place down south, and that will continue over the next few weeks; more on that later. But the more races that tick by, the closer we get to round one of the 2016 GNCC season, and as I’ve said before, this season promises to be a good one.

Hopefully you’re almost ready to go because we’re getting some of our finishing touches put on everything. Don’t miss out, 2016 is going to be one for the record books!

We're inching closer and closer to the beginning of the 2016 season, are you ready?
We're inching closer and closer to the beginning of the 2016 season, are you ready? Photo: Ken Hill

Weekly Updates (Chelsea Taylor)

The 2016 race season is actually starting to become a reality for those of us here in Morgantown as we had our conference call yesterday and realized we are just about a month away from the first round. A lot of people ask, “What do you actually do all winter?” Well, that’s a simple question, we get ready for the upcoming season! We’ve spent these past few months doing various projects such as making changes to the website, creating the souvenir program, updating equipment and making sales pitches to potential sponsors. One of the projects I’ve been working on just landed itself on the website.

Chances are if you’re reading this you are probably a GNCC regular, but if not check out our new GNCC101 feature. This webpage is the ultimate guide to your first GNCC race, so if you have any buddies that you’ve been trying to talk into racing a GNCC event, then forward them to this page! At first thought, a GNCC race may seem daunting, but hopefully this page will help explain the process of event weekend.

Also, we recently updated our Get Press section of the website. You don’t have to be like Walker Fowler or Kailub Russell to get the spotlight, and majority of the time local newspapers and news stations care more about their local racers. This webpage provides a simple fill-in-the-blank press release and steps on how to get an article published on you.

The season credential application just opened up as well. For the first time ever these credentials are available to anyone. If you plan on coming to all 13 rounds, we highly recommend that you purchase a credential. Not only are they super cool to have because they are customized for ATVs, bikes and other things, but they also save time and money! With your hard card you’ll sign an annual release so when you pull up to the gate at the event you don’t have to sign the release every weekend. Also, you won’t have to wear an armband all weekend and instead you’ll just wear your lanyard with the hard card. That may be the biggest deal to the racers, because a lot of people don’t like wearing armbands while racing. Click HERE for more information and the application form.

There’s just a few days left to request your trophy and contingency if you weren’t able to make it to the banquet. You’ll be responsible for shipping, which has been running about $15-$20. Just click HERE to submit your information before February 1.

Don’t forget to keep us updated on what your plans are for the upcoming season. Please send any updates to my direct email [email protected]. We’ll make sure to include them in Quick Fill and possibly the website!

Brycen Neal has been putting in plenty of seat time this off-season and is excited about his new ride with the Coastal Racing Team!
Brycen Neal has been putting in plenty of seat time this off-season and is excited about his new ride with the Coastal Racing Team! Photo: Ken Hill

Randomness With Rodney! (Rodney Tomblin)

The days speed by and we are yet another step closer to the new season and what can be viewed as a new era in GNCC. The excitement continues to build on all fronts from the youth and amateur to the pro ranks on both two and four wheels. The upcoming season holds so many possibilities that I personally am in overload. You may call it hype and it may be just that, but the truth is that the realm of possibility is so big right now that it may take an entire season to sort it all out.

The realm includes everything from Kailub Russell’s return from last season’s knee injury to Charlie Mullins’ return from his long road of recovery of multiple wrist injuries and surgeries, to the rise in confidence and speed of Josh Strang, Thad Duvall, Chris Bach and the truly unknown variables of the young Grant Baylor and one of off-road’s fastest rising stars. Ryan Sipes.

The four-wheeled side has its own set of possibilities starting from Chris Borich and his inevitable return with a fury to try to slow Fowler’s fire from waging on, and Adam McGill’s continued dedication and passion to winning a championship. Add to that mixture the recent and solid rise of Jarrod McClure as well as the advancement of Brycen Neal who is making another big step to work under the “Quad God” himself, Barry Hawk. Also Cole Richardson, who proved to be a big threat in his early debut to the XC1 class and you find yourself imagining what could happen. At this point it can be anything so expect nothing and enjoy show.

One of the expected factors in 2016 we mentioned was Brycen Neal. If you recall the big news was out a year ago about his move to work with Broc Booth on a Yamaha with not only a totally different bike, but totally different program. A program instrumented by Booth and similarly successful like his early days with Walker Fowler. If that is any indication, then Booth may be a bit of talent prophet as well as coach and guide. It also may be an indication that Neal is (at the risk of sounding cliché) the “real deal!” Neal has made another move this off-season and again he steps up. This time to Team Coastal, who has been a big player in the UTV side of things but now branching out with a full GNCC effort in bikes, quads and UTVs. It will feature Barry Hawk as the team manager, Ryan Sipes on motorcycles and Brycen Neal on the quad. There is plenty of other talent going to be a part of the team but in a nutshell that is the front line of this new team.

Last week I had a chance to catch up with Brycen and he told me training is going great and he is on the Coastal Ranch and training is going great. Brycen said “As of now I'm alone. The team is really starting to come together nicely and the program we have is getting stronger every day.” Of course one the biggest things you may wonder about is what it would be like working under Barry Hawk and he told me “I think it's a privilege to work with a legend, this past weekend we went riding and it's pretty awesome when your team manager jumps in there with you, pounds some laps, shares his knowledge and his years of experience are worth more than money can buy.”  Brycen said that he was counting down to the opening round and “Barry, Eli, TK, and I on the quad side talk almost every single day and we've all developed a great relationship. Six weeks and counting! We'll be ready for 2016." 

Also, last week I had a chance to attend the WNYOA awards banquet in Auburn, New York and I must say a thank you to all those there. It was my third year hosting the awards presentation and it was a true honor. There were many names there you would recognize as a fellow GNCC competitors and with the numbers in attendance the hotel and banquet hall were at full capacity. If the number of riders that were in attendance is any indication of the state of our sport, then we should not be worried except about running out of room when events are held.

That’s it for now from me. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.

In honor of this weekend's Burnt Gin Hare Scramble in South Carolina, here's a video still from 2013 with Mike Lafferty, Russell Bobbitt and Charlie Mullins leading the way!
In honor of this weekend's Burnt Gin Hare Scramble in South Carolina, here's a video still from 2013 with Mike Lafferty, Russell Bobbitt and Charlie Mullins leading the way! Photo: Jared Bolton

Off-Season Racing in Full-Swing! (Jared Bolton)

I’ve talked for weeks now on some of the off-season races that have been happening down south. Well, the action continues this weekend with the ever-popular Burnt Gin Hare Scramble in Wedgefield, SC. I’ve mentioned this event a few times over the past few weeks as it always stands out as one of the more popular events of the winter.

Actually, it’s been pretty fun looking through old social media posts and seeing where I’ve been at that same event for multiple years, and there’s always been some pretty tight racing going on with some big names. The folks from the Sumter Enduro Riders always do a great job with this event, and between the fun course and a good pro purse they’re offering up this weekend, it should be another great year of racing at Burnt Gin.

I’m heading down this weekend to catch the AMA Arenacross race in Greensboro, NC and then head down to the Burnt Gin on Sunday. The plan is to ride around and catch the racing action on video for some special GNCC pre-season features, so stay tuned to see what kind of goodies come from the weekend. Oh, and if you’re thinking about heading down to race, I’d definitely recommend it, it’s always a fun course! If you’re looking for more info on the race check out or for any piece of information you could possibly need on this event or next weekend’s Sumter National Enduro, check out the SERMA website at

Now, next weekend the same folks will be hosting round one of the 2016 AMA National Enduro Series, so that should be a great event as well. It always gives a pretty good teaser of who to keep an eye on throughout the 2016 season and a lot of times can give a first look at everyone’s new bikes and graphics for the new season. However, that’s not the only race happening next weekend!

I’ve mentioned this one as well for several weeks but the SORCS Winter Series will be in action in Sparta, Georgia at the same venue we’ll be racing for round two. This is a pretty unique chance to get a sneak peek at one of the new GNCC venues for 2016. BUT! Don’t expect to gain much advantage because our GNCC course will be a bit different than the SORCS course. Regardless, it’s still a great chance to get down and check out the new track.

These SORCS Winter Series events have become a pretty popular stop for racers who may not be able to travel all the way to Florida for a weekend. There’s been a good crop of talent to race these events in the past and each week continues to deliver. Last weekend’s race in Sparta, Georgia was just a few miles down the road from where we’ll be racing and it seems like it was a great race as well.

Jesse Groemm jumped out to the early lead but Georgia natives Russell Bobbitt and Evan Smith were hot on his heels in the opening laps. Bobbitt would work his way into the lead on lap three and control the rest of the race to take the win. However, it didn’t come easy! When the checkered flag flew, Bobbitt’s win came just one second ahead of Groemm. It’s always great to see a battle down to the wire, and hopefully the next races coming up are equally as awesome!

GNCC racers came away with some great honors at last weekend's AMA Championship Banquet, including Ryan Sipes who earned Athlete of the Year honors!
GNCC racers came away with some great honors at last weekend's AMA Championship Banquet, including Ryan Sipes who earned Athlete of the Year honors! Photo: Courtesy AMA

GNCC Racers Wins Big (Chelsea Taylor)

In last week’s edition of Quick Fill we talked about the various GNCC racers who were nominated for the prestigious AMA Racer of the Year Awards. You can get all the details HERE, but if you don’t feel like reading the official press release I’ll break it down here.

Kailub Russell and Ryan Sipes were both nominated for the most esteemed award, the Athlete of the Year Award: National Championship Series. One of the coolest things about this banquet is that the AMA staff nominates the different racers for each category, but actual AMA members have the final say when voting.

In the end, AMA members voted Sipes as the 2015 AMA Athlete of the Year Award: National Championship Series. The 2015 season has served as a stepping stone for Sipes, he’s learned a lot whether it be from racing the entire GNCC series or heading to Slovakia for the ISDE where he became the first American to win the individual overall. And of course we can’t forget about the infamous Sipes double header where he raced a Pro Motocross National and then headed to the GNCC the very next day. With all that being said and now the added Athlete of the Year Award, Sipes just may have the added confidence to make it happen and be a top contender in 2016.

The ATV Overall National Champion, Walker Fowler added another piece of hardware to his collection, as he was selected as the AMA ATV Athlete of the Year. But Walker wasn’t the only Fowler up on the stage. His mom, Vickie, was also recognized for her third place finish in the UTV Amateur Modified class. Now if that’s just not cool, then I don’t know what is! If you have ever talked to Vickie, then you know you’ll feel like a much better person just from your conversation. It’s just neat to witness a mother son bond like Walker and Vickie have.

The AMA Female Racer of the Year went to bike WXC racer and three-time GNCC champion Kacy Martinez. Kacy will be participating not only in the GNCC series this year, but will also be competing in the full AMA National Enduro Series, proving that she is the ultimate female racer and living up to her award title.

In addition to these select names, there were numerous GNCC racers in attendance at the banquet. The top three finishers in each class were recognized and the class champion received their National AMA No. 1 plates. Mark Batson, Logan and Lucas Grounds, Ayden Konkler, Ronnie Rusch and Robert Kirchner were just a few of the familiar faces at the AMA Championship Banquet.

We're seeing more info on new bikes coming in! Check out Chris Bach's JCR/Honda ride for 2016!
We're seeing more info on new bikes coming in! Check out Chris Bach's JCR/Honda ride for 2016! Photo: @jcrhonda on Instagram

Silly Season is Getting Less Silly (Jared Bolton)

It seems like the entire winter saw a little bit of a lack in silly season info going around. The other wild thing to consider is that we’re now just a little over a month away from round one and there’s been very few “official” announcements on who is riding what. There’s been a lot that can be figured out via social media, so is that a sign that Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have become the spot to make it known as to what you’re riding? Maybe so! No matter what, it keeps things exciting.

Here’s a few things we do know… The FMF/KTM team is all set with familiar faces in the form of Kacy Martinez, Kailub Russell and Charlie Mullins returns after sitting out all of 2015 with a wrist injury. They also will have a bit of a new look as they’re sporting Troy Lee Designs gear in 2015 and Red Bull also returns as an off-road team sponsor for the first time in a number of years.

The Rockstar Energy Factory Husqvarna team also returns with Josh Strang and Andrew Delong. They’re also sporting a new look as the team will be wearing Fly Racing gear in 2016, much like their Motocross/Supercross counterparts. While there’s not really been any official announcements out of the N-Fab Am-Pro Yamaha team just yet, it does look as if they’ve got a little bit of a change on their hands for 2016. Grant Baylor looks to return to the team but judging by the Instagram posts, it looks a new face will join the team in the form of Nick Davis who debuted his new Yamaha a few weeks ago.

With Davis making the switch to the Yamaha that leaves a question as to who will be taking his spot on the KR4 squad. Thad Duvall returns to the KR4 team this year, who will still be riding aboard Husqvarna’s, but will be sporting Moose Racing gear in 2016. The other? Well, over the weekend a photo surfaced of former A-class standout Luke Parsons aboard a KR4 Husqvarna, so it looks like Luke will make the move to XC2 with the KR4 folks.

The JCR/Honda squad returns with Chris Bach at the helm of their program, but they will also add a new rider in 2016. Trevor Bollinger makes the move to work with the JCR/Honda team as he looks to put together a run at the XC2 championship. The new rig on bike Pro Row will be the Coastal Racing Husqvarna team, which will consist of Ryan Sipes, Craig Delong and Layne Michael. We’ve mentioned this team prior and it promises to be a pretty cool addition as it’s a true combined effort of bike, ATV and UTV racing!

Another new but not new addition for 2016 will be the Obermeyer/MCS Suzuki Racing team. The MCS team is no new addition but with the addition of Obermeyer Suzuki to their program, they definitely have the feel of a new team for 2016. Ricky Russell and Chris Douglas will contest the XC1 class for the Obermeyer/MCS squad and they always have a number of amateur riders they support as well.

Jason Thomas will make the move to the XC1 class with support from Lojak’s Yamaha, while Steward Baylor joins the SRT Off-Road team as their first GNCC supported rider. Now, this still leaves a few questions. One of the big ones is, “what about Jordan Ashburn?”  Well, that’s a very good question. Jordan has posted a little bit on social media and it sounds like he’s still working on getting thing settled for the 2016 season, so stay tuned to see what develops there!


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