GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Drew Landers

Tuesday Toolbox: Drew Landers

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 | 11:15 AM
Wednesday, March 30, 2016 | 11:15 AM

ATV Racer Drew Landers turned some heads in Georgia a couple weeks ago when he took Top Amateur in the afternoon race. This is Drew’s first year in the 1pm race and he’s off to a great start. spoke with Drew regarding his success and what it’s taken to get here. 

Drew Landers earned the Top Amateur Award at round 2 in Georgia on March 12. 
Drew Landers earned the Top Amateur Award at round 2 in Georgia on March 12.  Photo: Ken Hill Hi Drew! Congrats on the College A win and Top Amateur last weekend!
Drew Landers: Thank you. A lot of hard work was put into it and I hope to be up for some more!   

You’ve been a part of this series for several years. We’ve seen you come through the youth ranks and then into the 10am race. It seems like you’ve had some obstacles along the way?
Yeah, on the 250’s we had a lot of mechanicals. There was a season, 2014, where I raced 8 times and didn’t finish a single race because of mechanical problems. I was out with injury for the other 5. 

That’s a tough road. What kept you going?
It was definitely a struggle to stay motivated. But I was hooked so I kept pushing! My dad was there to support we and we just kept giving it our best effort. Last year, things turned around a bit. We were still struggling at the beginning of the year, but by midway, I won the Schoolboy Sr (14-17) class at Tomahawk and got 6th overall. I turned 16 in July so after the summer break, I did a Sportsman race just to get used to the 450. Then for the last 3 rounds, I raced College A which is what I’m racing this season.

The record shows you got three Top 5 finishes in that class at the end of last year. That’s pretty stellar! But there’s a big difference between a 4th place finish and a 1st place with Top Amateur! What did you do over the winter?
I’ve been pretty serious about my training for a while now and I don’t guess I quit after Ironman. I just kept training, going to the gym, doing my cardio. In February, I was able to go down to the Coastal Ranch in Florida and do some riding and training with Brycen Neal. That was a fun experience but taught me a lot, too. 

The No. 217 of Drew Landers didn't get off to start he wanted in Florida, nor did he earn the finish he wanted. He did come back at round 2 and earn the win along with the Top Amateur Award. 
The No. 217 of Drew Landers didn't get off to start he wanted in Florida, nor did he earn the finish he wanted. He did come back at round 2 and earn the win along with the Top Amateur Award.  Photo: Ken Hill

So at 16 years old, how did you manage to keep up with school while training in Florida?
I have good grades so when I asked, my school arranged for me to take 6 weeks and take some work with me and then do make up work when I got back. I’ve always been a good student, not a trouble-maker, I’ve had good attendance and straight “A’s” so the school was willing to work with me. 

That’s pretty awesome and congratulations on the good grades and positive reputation within your school! Many people overlook that excellence in education opens doors…even within the racing community!  
Well I am blessed. I know that nothing lasts forever. I want to make this my career. I know it will take a lot of hard work. And when it’s over, or if it doesn’t work out like I want, I’ll have other choices. 

Wise words! So now that you’ve been hanging out with some fast pros and training with them, what is the best advice you’ve been offered?
Brycen [Neal] really encouraged me to do my best and work hard. He gave me some tips on my riding style and his dad showed me some things on bike set-up and bike prep. It was a really helpful time down there at the Coastal Ranch and I want to say “thanks” to Scott Kiger and Barry Hawk for letting me come down! 

I’m sure they were happy for you. I’m sure your hometown was, too! You come from the Racing Capital of Tennessee, don’t you?
[laughs] I don’t know about all that! I live in Monterey which is about 15 minutes outside Cookeville. Jordan Ashburn is from there. Aarol Bright is a fast ATV racer from here. My family was friends with the Bishops back when Chase Bishop was racing. That’s actually what got me into the sport! 

How so?
We used to travel with them to the GNCCs. Then I started racing some local stuff on a KTM 50. Once I was old enough, I started racing GNCCs on a dirt bike. I guess I did that for a couple years. Then in 2010 I raced both the dirt bike and my Pitster Pro 125 ATV. I loved the ATV and started to dedicate more time to that. I kept racing both for a while and even last year I ran a couple Schoolboy races on the bike. But I feel more confident on an ATV and that’s what I’m focused on now.

You and a few other guys! It has been fun to watch several of you move from the youth to the morning to the  afternoon.
Yeah, John Glauda, Hunter Hart and I have been racing each other for a long time now. John is still racing Schoolboy 14-17 because he’s not old enough for the afternoon, yet. And Hunter is a great competitor and good rider. I think it’s going to be a good season as we all keep getting faster. 

I know you have a younger brother, Chase, who really looks up to you and cheers you on. There are a lot of other kids who want to be like you and John and Hunter. So what advice would you have for those kids in the youth ranks right now?
Work hard. If you want it, then set goals. Don’t let things stand in your way. You’re going to face adversity and breakdowns but don’t let it get you down. Be thankful for what you have no matter how you are doing because not everybody gets to do it! Work hard in school, at the gym, everywhere! One way or another, it will pay off.

Great advice Drew! Thanks for taking time with us today. Who would you like to thank?
My mom and dad, for sure. My little brother Chase. Brycen Neal, Logan Henderson, LanMills XC, Jones Wrecker Service, RJR, Graphic Worx, Maxxis, Fourwerx, IMS, Scott Goggles, Pro Taper, MSR, Leatt, Uni Filter, Works Connection, Bell Helmets, Gaerne and Mid-State Motorsports.