GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #15: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #15: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, April 14, 2016 | 10:00 AM
Thursday, April 14, 2016 | 10:00 AM

Welcome to Quick Fill. 

The 2016 season rolls on and this weekend we roll to round four with the 20th annual VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC. In last week’s edition of Quick Fill, I talked a bit about how special it is for this year to mark the 20th edition of the Big Buck GNCC, plus some other fun historical info on the event and a little on how things have, or have not changed since that inaugural Big Buck GNCC event in 1997. We’ve got a little more on that coming up a little later. 

I’m sure many of you are wondering, what about the track? Well, no worries, I’ve got the low-down on that as well coming up in this edition of Quick Fill, so make sure to read on to know what you to expect out of this weekend’s Big Buck racecourse. I’ll keep the intro short so we can jump right into the all the juicy news and info we have for you this week. Hope you enjoy it and hopefully we’ll see you at Big Buck!

Charlie Mullins had a great first half at round three in Steele Creek, can he put together a solid 3 hours this weekend?
Charlie Mullins had a great first half at round three in Steele Creek, can he put together a solid 3 hours this weekend? Photo: Ken Hill

Weekly Updates (Chelsea Taylor) 

Although it will be my first trip to the Big Buck Farm, GNCC Racing is celebrating 20 years at the venue! Bolton has a very special section about the racing history, but I just wanted to touch base on a few quick things. Throughout the years we’ve been able to connect with the surrounding community and every year they understand us better and better. These connections and friendships affect not only the GNCC Racing National, but also the members of the community.

With that being said, we are excited to introduce our sport to two new ladies. On Saturday we will have Miss South Carolina United States, Lindley Mayer, serving as our trophy presenter and on Sunday Miss Boiling Springs, Rebecca Robinson, will be in attendance. 

Also, the local radio station, WBCU, is coming on Saturday morning to do a live remote broadcast. Steward Baylor was able to interview with them yesterday and help promote his hometown event. With the current weather forecast this weekend it’s looking great for not only racing, but also the spectator count. There’s nothing like going to a race and seeing local enthusiasts scattered all over the woods doing their mud flea duties.

Speaking of mud, you can leave the pressure washer behind this weekend and have one less thing to worry about. That’s because Superior Cleaning Service will be in attendance this weekend with their mobile pressure washing service. Don’t take the dirt home with you… leave it at the track for next year!

Team Faith will be conducting their regular Saturday night activities with youth games at 6 p.m. and the chapel service at 7 p.m. Following church will be the Stuk MX Pit Party at 7:30 p.m. DJ Elo, also known as Eddie Lojak, will be there spinning records, or should I say “selecting songs”. At Steele Creek Ryan Sipes and Jason Thomas stopped by to sign some autographs, and I’m sure there will be more guest riders this weekend and you don’t want to miss it! 

That’s all for the updates this week. If anything else comes up that you need to know we’ll post it on social media. Safe travels to South Carolina! 

Throwback Thursday to Barry Hawk in 2007 at the Big Buck GNCC.
Throwback Thursday to Barry Hawk in 2007 at the Big Buck GNCC. Photo: GNCC Archives

A Big, Big Buck (Rodney Tomblin)

The 2016 VP Fuels Big Buck GNCC will be the 20th running of what many feel may be one of the best GNCC events on the schedule. One thing is certain; it often times brings the warm weather and sunshine that sometimes eludes us the first few rounds of the season. As far as that goes this weekend, we are still at the mercy of nature but regardless it may be one of the best Big Buck events to date.

There are a number of interesting memories that come to mind when I think of Big Buck, but one thing that always stands out is the fact that Big Buck was one of the last events that Big Dave himself helped to find and bring into being. Although he passed shortly following the second running, it still holds a number of his signatures that make Big Buck what it is. And for whatever reason is one of my favorite stops of any race I go to.

Some may recall a story I once wrote about Big Buck in Quick Fill, about a starry night ride after the races in South Carolina. It is one of my most vivid memories ever, as I can still remember the warm spring breeze, smell of the fresh night air and nearly as many stars as I have ever seen in a night sky. I fell in love that night and that will forever be a happy place in my heart. The racing memories are numerous as well, and for some reason my most vivid of those involve Barry Hawk battling Juha Salminen and beating him in one of the very few times that Juha was beat straight up during his two title runs. It also involves Barry Hawk and one of his most serious crashes when he clipped a tree, which nearly ended his career and could be said to have been the one that may have take the wind out of the sails.

Big Buck has often leant itself to some monumental youth races. Watching Thad Duvall and Kailub Russell, as well as the Baylor boys was always a special treat here. I’m not sure what it is about this place, but it somehow brings out the best in nearly everyone.

If you scan the record books all the way back to the first ever Big Buck you will recognize some of the greatest names our sport knows. Scott Summers, Scott Plessinger, Steve Hatch, Rodney Smith, Fred Andrews as well as a young Robbie Jenks and Jimmy Jarrett all graced the field that first day in Union on the two wheeled side of things. Names still stand out on the roster of 258 entries that first race like Al Chuppa, Mike Grizzle, Vance Earl, Ricki McAtee and so many more that to this day still attend on a regular or occasional basis.

The four wheeled side of things saw names like Matt Smiley, Kim Kuhnle, Curtis Crump, William Yokely, Tim Farr Bill Ballance and even Johnny Gallagher lined up in the Pro class that first day. Another Pro class riders name you may recognize from a recent GNCC resurgence is Bryan Hulsey, who finished 11th. There’s others that I see still on and around the track today including Santo Derisi, Chad Duvall, Dave Simmons, Jay Condon, Dave Hogg, Jim Pinkston and the great Mike Penland.

Aside from the event holding so much history as being one of the oldest stops on the tour, it brings a crowd of racers and fans that are ready to tackle all that South Carolina has to offer. Riders will see a mixture of clay, rocks, mud, tight trees and open fields that make GNCC what it is today. This is one of the last dream tracks that Big Dave left us, and certainly still remains as one of the favorites of everyone in the GNCC Racin’ Nation.

The woods are coming together and looking great for this weekend!
The woods are coming together and looking great for this weekend! Photo: Jared Bolton

Updated from the Woods of Big Buck! (Jared Bolton)

With this year marking this 20th annual running of the Big Buck GNCC, Ryan Echols and myself knew going into this event that we wanted to have one of the best Big Buck tracks to date. Now, we all know that there’s no such thing as a track that every single person is going to like. Different people like different types of tracks, but this year’s Big Buck GNCC will definitely have a little of something for everyone. From the fun flowing trails, to slow tight trails, and of course some fast field sections, Big Buck has it all.

The Big Buck hillclimb that was a popular addition several years ago and of course is back again, along with that famous Big Buck Creek Jump. Of course, these will be reserved for the 1PM races only as the technical portions of the track can become a bigger challenge for the larger number of riders in the 10AM races. The hill climb is just before the one-mile mark, so it’s early in the lap. However, the start will be just before the two-mile mark, so you won’t see the hillclimb until you start out on your second lap.

When you take off from the start and make your way into the woods, you’re heading into some open woods that have had some trees cut out of it since last year’s Big Buck event. It’s not clear cut, but rather “select cut” (which means exactly what it sounds like, certain trees have been cut) This has opened up the course a little bit, so it’ll be a little bit fast and have some opportunities for some passing. You’ll make your way past the two mile mark, and out to a couple of sections of trackside pitting and grass track. 

After the field section, you’ll head back into the woods and there’s a nice medium speed section to the three mile mark. From the three to the four is a mix of some medium speed and slower sections over to the five. Just past the five will be the Big Buck Creek Jump and with this year being the 20th Big Buck, we thought it would be perfect to do the original Big Buck Creek Jump, so that’s what we’re doing! It’s been a number of years since we hit this jump and it’s in great shape to make a return this year.

From there you’ll work back to the six mile mark, which will be another short grass track section beside the finish. This will be really cool for spectators at the finish to catch everyone come past several miles before the finish. Once you go back into the woods after the six, there’s some of the slower pine tree sections we’ve used for several years now as you work your way back over to the hardwoods and to the seven mile mark. Everything from the seven to ten mile marks is all the standard Big Buck stuff you would expect… A few up and down hill sections, and some fun flowing trails.

When you get to the ten, you’ll actually have another section through another area of select cut. We dozed a good trail through it, which took out some of the stumps that were left behind, but still pay attention as you make your way through there! At the 11 you’ll pop out into another section of trackside pitting and some grass track, which will bring you over to the finish line. All together its going to end up being around 12 miles for the 1PM races and right around 11 for 10AM. Remember, be safe, have fun, and pay attention to the arrows… I was actually going to save that last line for the rider’s meeting like normal, but it doesn’t hurt to throw that out there more often!

Adam McGill hasn't won at Big Buck since 2008, but after earning a second place finish at the last round McGill is looking to finish at the center of the podium this weekend.
Adam McGill hasn't won at Big Buck since 2008, but after earning a second place finish at the last round McGill is looking to finish at the center of the podium this weekend. Photo: Ken Hill

VP Racing Fuels (Chelsea Taylor)

VP Racing Fuels is once again returning as the title sponsor for this weekend's Big Buck GNCC. Santo DeRisi, of DeRisi Racing, will be present all weekend to answer any questions you may have about the products and he will also have merchandise for sale. DeRisi Racing makes an appearance at all of our events setting up as a vendor, but just this year they have partnered with VP Racing Fuels. Overall, it’s pretty neat that two of our sponsors can work together to provide our racers with the best customer service around.

Throwback Thursday to the first Big Buck GNCC in 1997 where No. 8 Matt Smiley got the holeshot and the win in the Pro ATV class.
Throwback Thursday to the first Big Buck GNCC in 1997 where No. 8 Matt Smiley got the holeshot and the win in the Pro ATV class. Photo: GNCC Archives

20 Events Later, A Lot Has Changed and Not Much Has Changed… (Jared Bolton)

Yes, I realize that title is completely contradictory but if you think about it, it makes sense. What exactly do I mean? In case you haven’t heard yet, this year is the 20th Big Buck GNCC. The sport of GNCC Racing has come incredibly far since 1997, and while a lot has changed in that time, there’s also a lot that hasn’t changed. When you look back at the huge difference in equipment, riders, level of competition and everything else, it’s very different. However, the challenge, the camaraderie and the good times haven’t changed one bit. 

In these 20 events, Big Buck has changed from a single Saturday ATV race and a single Sunday bike race, to split races on both sides and also the addition of youth and UTV racing along the way as well. The first UTV race I ever saw in person was at Big Buck and I was blown away at how those guys were able to pilot those machines the way they do. While that was only a mere eight years ago, the level of competition, machinery and technology on that side of GNCC Racing has changed a lot in a short period of time.

In 1997, both the ATV and Bike sides were ruled in majority by two-stroke machines. This was a time where racing ATVs were hand-built machines, often derived from the infamous Honda 250R and Bikes were making huge strides in the technology department, fast becoming the current race bikes we know today. However, the first three Big Buck GNCC bike races were dominated by a 4-stroke, which was unheard of in that time except for one name. That of course, was Scott Summers and his mighty XR600 claiming the 1997, 1998 and 1999 Big Buck wins. 

In 2000, Shane Watts would claim his only Big Buck win en route to the 2000 GNCC National Championship and also hand KTM their first ever Big Buck win. Since then, KTM has gone on to win Big Buck seven more times with the likes of Mike Lafferty, Juha Salminen, David Knight, Charlie Mullins and Kailub Russell making KTM the winningest bike brand at the Big Buck GNCC. 

In 2005, Barry Hawk claimed a hard-fought Big Buck GNCC win against Juha Salminen. This was Barry’s only Big Buck win on a bike, but Barry also claimed a Big Buck ATV win. These two wins place Barry in the Big Buck history books as the only rider to claim an overall win on both a bike and a quad. Can anyone ever repeat that? It’s not impossible, but it’s not likely!

With this history, and the ever-evolving sport of GNCC Racing, it leaves one to wonder what’s next for Big Buck. While times, faces, and other things do change, the fact that thousands of racers have enjoyed the Big Buck course over the years, challenging themselves against the terrain as well as other races, will never change. The core of the sport; challenging yourself against the terrain and physically pushing yourself to do something that average, ordinary, everyday humans could likely never do, that will never change. That’s what GNCC Racing is all about. Always has been, and always will be.


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Throwback Thursday to the first Big Buck GNCC in 1997 where No. 8 Matt Smiley got the holeshot and the win in the Pro ATV class.
Throwback Thursday to the first Big Buck GNCC in 1997 where No. 8 Matt Smiley got the holeshot and the win in the Pro ATV class. Photo: GNCC Archives

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