GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #13: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #13: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, March 31, 2016 | 1:30 PM
Thursday, March 31, 2016 | 1:30 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill.

Once again it’s time to go GNCC Racing and we’re back in familiar territory with the FMF Steele Creek GNCC. This year marks the 17th running of Steele Creek and promises to be one of the best to date. Last week we discussed a few of the most epic moments from the history of Steele Creek and it leaves a big question; will this year be another for the history books? The storyline of the 2016 GNCC Racing season has built up through the first two rounds and round three at Steele Creek is already shaping up to be one of the best Steele Creek races in history, and there’s not even any racing going on yet.

With some contenders hungry to extend their points leads, others looking to trim down the lead, and some looking to turn things around after tough opening rounds, Steele Creek is always a race that provides some excellent racing. It’s almost time to kick this year’s Steele Creek event off, are you ready? We are and hopefully you’re not missing out because it’s going to be a good one!

The woods are coming together quite nicely in North Carolina.
The woods are coming together quite nicely in North Carolina. Photo: Jared Bolton

Update From the Woods of Steele Creek! (Jared Bolton)

Where does one begin to describe Steele Creek? Each year the Steele Creek course stands out as a classic cross-country racecourse. The hills, going both up and down, are long and steep. This makes for big fun, but can also present a big challenge because you have to keep your momentum going or you could find yourself rolling back to the bottom to give it another shot.

This year’s track is no different. Once again we’ll be starting in the field across the creek. This was new a couple of years ago and while it’s a little bit of a hike to get there on foot, it freed up a lot of space for parking. Steele Creek has grown into it’s own over the past few years and has become a popular weekend destination for local racers and fans. The start being moved across the creek allows for extra room to park and it’s also a unique start with a little hillclimb just a few turns in.

After the start you’ll come across a pipe bridge and over the creek to just past the one mile mark, so you’re starting pretty early in the lap. Once you cross the bridge you will start working your way up to the top of the furthest ridge in the back right corner of the main parking field. You’ll work your way back down off the ridge to the edge of the field, then turn and go back up to the top of the next ridge. From there you’ll head out to the back side of the property where you have a few more sections where you’ll go uphill, across the top of a ridge and back down. 

These uphills are steep but are all doable. They’ve been used on and off since Steele Creek was added to the series back in 2000 and they’ve seen everything from bone dry, dusty tracks to wet, slick, muddy tracks. After a few up and down sections, you’ll work your way back into the big grass track section that is always in the main parking field. After the grass track field, you’ll go back up in the woods, to the top of the ridgeline again, then back down to more trackside pitting before going back on the ridge another time.

When you come back off the hill, you’ll make your way over to the famous Steele Creek bridge. Once you go under the bridge, you have a few more hilly up and down sections before crossing the wooden bridge beside the front gate, then into the finish line. The track is right at 11 miles for the 1PM races and 10 miles from the 10AM races. We’ve got all the fun favorite Steele Creek sections, and there’s even a fresh downhill on the course that will prove to be a lot of fun.

Steele Creek is always a popular race for many reason and the fun, flowing course is always a big attraction here. I think everyone is going to enjoy the track, and I wouldn’t worry about the threat of rain before the race! The percent chance has dropped a lot and the course could really use a bit of rain. The past few days it’s been a bit dusty out there, so a good rain shower would only make the track better. Don’t miss out, it’s going to be a good time!

This weekend's traffic map for the FMF Steele Creek GNCC. 
This weekend's traffic map for the FMF Steele Creek GNCC. 

Weekly Updates (Chelsea Taylor)

Since we hit the road after the Cannonball GNCC, I’ve been patiently counting down the days until we were on our way to North Carolina. The time is finally here, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for a race and that’s because my parents will be coming to their first ever GNCC! Growing up I just raced strictly motocross so we never ventured off to race in the woods, which I’m already regretting! Anyways, I’m determined for them to have the best weekend ever so if you see them walking around with me make sure to say hi and welcome them to the GNCC Racing Nation!

This weekend we will honor the memory of Ty Kesten. Team Faith’s Chuck Lemaster will host a pizza party Saturday night at 6 p.m. for youth and teenagers in memory of Ty, followed by Chapel service at 7 p.m. Then Sunday morning we will have a ceremonial balloon launch at the start of the 10 a.m. race. Whether you knew him or not, the loss of a friend like Ty has a profound impact on all of us. Thank you for sharing these moments with us. 

Due to the unexpected rider turnout in Florida and Georgia we were short plaques. If you did not receive your plaque you can pick it up this weekend at rider registration. If you’re not going to be in North Carolina this weekend, don’t worry you can still get your plaque! Simply email [email protected] and she will be able to coordinate with you to get it shipped. 

Steele Creek is infamously known for not having cell phone service, but we wanted to take a second to remind you of the MagicJack landline emergency phone at rider registration. The number is (304) 581-8587. Please share this number with your loved ones to call in during the event of an emergency. This phone is available at every round and the number stays the same. 

Don’t forget that Steele Creek is a campground facility and that means that full-hookup campsites are available. They are first-come-first-served with the race of $40 per night, with primitive camping being $20 a night. These fees are in addition to the gate fee you pay upon your arrival to the track. 

Next week is an off-week for GNCC and many of you may be making an appearance at the Indy Supercross. If so, make sure to check out the annual supercross party downtown at the Pan Am Pavilion on Friday night from 4-8 p.m. GNCC sponsor, Westfield Powersports, will be in attendance so make sure you stop and support them!

If you’re not going to Supercross and want to get a little ride time in for yourself don’t forget about the DirtWise riding school on April 9 and 10 in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. The two-day school is made to accommodate any level of rider and is guaranteed to come in handy at your next GNCC race. 

That’s all for the updates this week. Safe travels and we’ll see you in North Carolina!

Can Strang earn his third straight overall win this weekend?
Can Strang earn his third straight overall win this weekend? Photo: Ken Hill

XC1 Bike Teaser (Jared Bolton)

As the 2016 GNCC Racing season kicks off round three this weekend, the race for the championship is already beginning to heat up. With two rounds under their belts, the competitors in the XC1 class are already beginning to mold an impressive battle for the 2016 GNCC National Championship. Coming into this weekend, all eyes are on Josh Strang as he not only has two wins in a row in 2016, but if you go back to 2015, Strang actually has four wins in a row. 

This sets Strang up as the current top dog, and that spot comes with its perks. A solid early points lead, and the momentum from the opening round wins will ultimately lead to a big level of confidence for Strang. Of course, he still has a long way to go and a number of challengers standing in his way. The biggest is obviously Kailub Russell. It’s no secret that KR hates to lose more than he enjoys winning, and being handed two losses in two rounds doesn’t sit well with Kailub.

These losses will definitely serve as motivation and fuel to the Kailub Russell fire coming into this weekend. Don’t count out the three-time champ yet, he’s going to prove to be the biggest thorn in Josh Strang’s side all season long and even though Strang is on top of his game now, Russell is looking to return to the “top dog” position.

Strang and Russell aren’t alone either. In the opening rounds we saw a number of others who were riding very strong in portions of the race. Daniel Milner kicked the season off with an impressive second place finish in Florida, but had some struggles in Georgia. Thad Duvall rode very strong in both of the opening rounds but ran into a few problems of his own. There’s no doubt that Thad knows how to put together a win, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find him in the center of the podium at some point this season.

Chris Bach is another rider to keep an eye on. Chris has shown that he can strike at any time with an excellent ride, and even put in the upset of the early season last year by claiming the first win against Kailub Russell in 2015. Keep an eye on Bach this weekend as well, he knows his way around the Steele Creek track pretty well and I wouldn’t be surprised to find him on the podium.

There’s also guys like Ryan Sipes, Jordan Ashburn, Grant Baylor, Steward Baylor and more who have all shown that they can land on the podium. Any of these guys can step up at any time to work their way into podium contention and each have even contended for race wins at some point or another. Who will step up next to win? Only time will tell. What will Steele Creek bring for all of these guys? It’s hard to say, but one thing is for sure; with a field of talent this deep, Steele Creek 2016 could be one of the best Steele Creek races of all time. Stay tuned!

Bryan Hulsey (center) earned the morning ATV overall win in Georgia, and will look to earn another one this weekend.
Bryan Hulsey (center) earned the morning ATV overall win in Georgia, and will look to earn another one this weekend. Photo: Ken Hill

The Rest of The Story (Rodney Tomblin)

Last week in my contribution I talked about Bryan Hulsey and Traci Pickens as the “not so new kids in town.” We all may be pretty familiar with Traci’s story, but you may not be with as familiar with Bryan Hulsey’s story. You may wonder why I titled it what I did, and the reason is because even though I did not go into detail about Bryan, he has a history with GNCC racing. It took me some time to catch up to him but late last week I was finally able to chat with him. I also received a friendly message from Johnny G reminding me that last season in the 4x4 A/B class was not his first year. So then I figured that maybe some more information out there about the morning Super Senior 45+ class and Maxxis Cannonball overall morning race winner that we did not know.

Bryan’s story actually begins as far back as 1993 when he and some buddies from Missouri checked out a few GNCC events. Loretta Lynn’s and Brownsville were two in particular that he remembers. He said in 1995 he jumped straight into the Pro class. He raced against some of the era’s greats like Barry Hawk, Kim Kuhnle, Chad Duvall, William Yokely and all the names you can basically think of from that time.

Bryan told me that he was never a podium contender, but he did score several top 15 overall finishes during his time. “I went right into the Pro class in 1995 and I earned number 14 my first year, then I earned number 11 the next year” he said. Bryan added, “I never earned a pro podium, but got I a 4th place finish and a couple 5th place overall finishes.” He went on to tell me that he had a streak of 4 years in a row where he had multiple injuries. Bryan said, “I broke both wrists and one leg along with multiple collarbones and only made a couple races per year because of that.”

After a few years Bryan went to race the Missouri State Harescrambles and some OMA races, but in 2005 he made a comeback to GNCC and raced the Pro-Am class. Bryan stated, “I actually caught and passed Dwayne Johnson and Adam McGill to get second in my first Pro-Am race.” He then added that he never beat either one of them again that year.

In 2012 Bryan and his dad started taking his nephew to the GNCC’s to race in the Schoolboy (13-15) class on 300ex. He said, “I had not really planned on racing again for a while, but I got to see everybody again and last year I decided since I was going anyway I was going to dust off the old KFX-700 and race the 4x4 A/B class. I chose that class so I could race in the morning, because my nephew Jeremy Hill was in the College B class which races in the afternoon.” He said, “I was 44 last year and I knew that was the only class I could race in the morning. I knew all along as soon as I turned 45 I wanted to race against Dave Simmons, but now he’s retired so I guess I'm by myself. Now I'm just going to try to see how high in the overall I can finish.”

Bryan started his new adventure back on a sport quad this year in Florida and then in Georgia. He said, “I really expected to do a lot better in Florida and I was very disappointed with my overall finish. Those dar 4x4 guys are fast so I never let up in Georgia and gave it everything I had. Luckily my pit kept me informed of where I was in the overall.”

Bryan Hulsey has some deep roots in the GNCC Racin’ Nation and his sudden rise to fame doesn’t seem so sudden. He certainly has a good story and honestly we only touched on the things he has done. If you want to listen to his story, Bryan was a guest on Quad Radio and you can check the Facebook page. It is certainly worth a listen.


Fowler Looks to Continue His Success at the FMF Steele Creek GNCC This Saturday

Tuesday Toolbox: Drew Landers

Quad Radio with Brycen Neal

Steele Creek Traffic Pattern Map

Bryan Hulsey (center) earned the morning ATV overall win in Georgia, and will look to earn another one this weekend.
Bryan Hulsey (center) earned the morning ATV overall win in Georgia, and will look to earn another one this weekend. Photo: Ken Hill

What's New on

Don't miss the online coverage from Round 3 of the 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship this Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. EST.

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

Saturday, April 2
ATV Racing

Online: 1 p.m. EST, (LIVE)

Sunday, April 3
Bike Racing
Online: 1 p.m. EST, (LIVE)

News from GNCC, Riders and Sponsors

Check out the latest episode of Walker Fowler's The Road To Repeat by LB Films.