GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #26: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #26: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, June 30, 2016 | 2:30 PM
Thursday, June 30, 2016 | 2:30 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill.

Summer break is officially here and while it’s nice to take a little time to relax and get things reset for the final four rounds in the fall, it also feels a little weird to not be looking ahead to the next GNCC event for quite some time. I’m sure there’s some folks out there already counting down the days until Unadilla and while there’s plenty of summer fun to be had, the time will fly by and we’ll be getting ready to head to Unadilla before we know it. 

As always, Snowshoe was the perfect way to put a cap on the first part of the 2016 season. Snowshoe never disappoints and even if the racing isn’t close, it always still seems to be exciting in some way or another. Coming into Snowshoe, one of the biggest storylines was Josh Strang’s one-point lead after Kailub Russell scored zero points at the previous round in New York. Russell would do exactly what many expected as he put his head down, pushed forward and led the race all the way to the end to claim his fourth Snowshoe GNCC overall win as well as reclaim the points lead. Interestingly enough, Adam McGill also claimed his fourth Snowshoe GNCC overall win on Saturday, thus making these two riders to most winning Snowshoe GNCC racers in the ten year history of the event!

Overall, Snowshoe once again proved to be the perfect cap to the first part of the season before going on summer break. We'll keep the intro short this week as there's a lot of summer break time to fill. Let's jump right into this week's Quick Fill!

The Shamrock sign at Snowshoe was taken over the weekend. There's a reward out for its return, no questions asked. Read on to find out more.Photo: Courtesy Snowshoe Mountain
The Shamrock sign at Snowshoe was taken over the weekend. There's a reward out for its return, no questions asked. Read on to find out more.Photo: Courtesy Snowshoe Mountain

Weekly Updates (Chelsea Taylor)

Snowshoe once again was anything but predictable this past weekend. On Thursday majority of the state of West Virginia experienced damaging floodwaters. While many of you are back in your home states now, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to get the state back to normal. Snowshoe Mountain started a fund to raise money and if you would like to donate to relief efforts you can do that HERE. Snowshoe got the ball rolling with a $10k contribution, but anything you can give will be greatly appreciated. The Snowshoe Foundation is accepting donations until next Friday, July 8, and then they will make a lump donation to the American Red Cross of West Virginia.

This weekend the Shamrock sign went missing form Snowshoe. There is a $1000 reward along with a season credential for the sign and no questions will be asked. If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of the sign please send an email to [email protected].

If you are a minor under 18 or a parent of a minor please remember that both the parent and minor are required to come to rider registration.  This is for every GNCC race unless you have an AMA Annual Release. We recommend getting the annual release card to eliminate future hassle. The forms are super easy to fill out and are available at registration, and they will last for the remainder of 2016.

Kailub Russell has signed on for another four years with KTM, then an addition four years after that if he chooses! Congrats, Kailub!Photo: Courtesy KTM
Kailub Russell has signed on for another four years with KTM, then an addition four years after that if he chooses! Congrats, Kailub!Photo: Courtesy KTM

Kailub Russell’s Career Contract (Jared Bolton)

This week it was announced that KTM has inked a deal with Kailub Russell that will carry him through the rest of his professional racing career. Essentially, Kailub signed a four-year contract with KTM with the option of an additional four years on top of that if Kailub decides to continue racing at the end of the first four years. Essentially, this is a “career contract” that means no matter what Kailub decides to do (four years or eight years) he’s with KTM for the duration of his career. 

This is a pretty big deal because this is the first time KTM has ever signed a career contract with an off-road racer, and to my knowledge, I can’t really think of this kind of contract being signed for any off-road racer, ever. It’s really cool to see this kind of support for an off-road racer, but at the same time it’s kind of crazy to look at it as Kailub Russell taking a step in the direction of concluding his career. We’re still several years away from seeing that happen, but that time is coming in the future. 

Theoretically we could continue to see the same high level of performance out of Kailub for several years to come. In fact, Rodney Smith was 40 years old when he claimed his final GNCC title in 2004, and while the times have changed considerably since then and pushed more towards being a younger man’s sport at the top level, even if Kailub continues for the full eight years, he would still only be 34 years old when he retires.

The big question is, will he continue for the full eight, or just four? I believe it really comes down to the level of up and coming competition that Kailub will have to contend with. After the season he’s had thus far, all eyes point towards Trevor Bollinger to become the next GNCC phenomena. With two overall podium finishes this season, including an impressive second place finish last weekend at Snowshoe, Bollinger sets himself up to be the next in line as a favorite to contend for XC1 wins and championships.

However, when Bollinger makes the move to the XC1 class, the odds are slightly stacked against him to immediately make a big splash. No XC2 racer has ever found immediate success in XC1, it has taken each of them a little while to adjust to the pace and learn what it takes to claim those overall wins. In fact, Kailub Russell is the only XC2 champion to claim an XC1 win in his rookie season and it actually took until the end of that season to put that win together.

As for Kailub’s duration of his career, I’d say more signs point to him taking the option of the additional four years. I don’t believe we see Kailub’s level of competition diminishing any in the coming years, and even since the transition to XC1 becoming more of a younger guy’s game, there have still been others to rise to the challenge of younger riders. Paul Whibley was 31 and 34 years old when he claimed his two GNCC championships, with the second coming in 2012 during the height of the “young guy” transition. Theoretically, Kailub could win out the entire eight remaining years of his career, but even with the incredible success and speed that Kailub has seen in the previous years, the odds are stacked against anyone claiming that many titles in a row. It’s not impossible, but it’s also not likely.

Regardless, Kailub is an incredibly fierce competitor who has a deep desire to win. This kind of desire is a big part of what fuels KR’s performances. With this kind of desire, I really believe we’ll see Russell continue for the entire eight-year duration of his contract and it’s more than likely that he’ll continue to find success throughout those years as well. Only time will tell exactly what will come, and there’s a lot of racing to be done in that time frame but one thing is for sure; it’s going to be exciting to see it happen.

The boys at the front of the XC1 ranks have put together a stellar season thus far. What will happen next with these guys?
The boys at the front of the XC1 ranks have put together a stellar season thus far. What will happen next with these guys? Photo: Ken Hill

Wide Open (Rodney Tomblin)

The 2016 summer break for GNCC is here. It doesn’t feel like we should be getting ready for any of the summertime hoopla, but here we are. There are only four rounds left in the championship and all the hype coming into the year was well warranted as we have seen one of the greatest championship seasons in a long time. And just like we came into the season and through the first nine rounds, we hit the break at full speed with the excitement level pinned at wide open.

A look at most all the classes shows the depth of talent across the board. The green spots denoting wins seems to be scattered amongst the standings in most classes and there is very little total domination as far as the classes go, but there are a handful of riders that are looking at a perfect season. John Glauda Jr. in the Schoolboy Sr. (14-17) ATV, Olivia Judy in the Girls (8-15) and Deshaun Horton from the 200C 16+ class are the only riders left with undefeated. Hayden VanCuren from the 125 B/C class was in that situation until Snowshoe, but these are only a few class dominators this year. The competition level is so high across the board and that may be what is making this season go by so fast. To take everything in at this point is a little hard. There is a lot to process about this year’s championships. Where do you even begin? I imagine the XC1 Pro ATV battle is a good place to start as it like most everything has offered some surprises that are still leaving us wondering.

As the 2016 season began, Walker Fowler carried the weight of a very heavy number one plate. A position he had worked so hard to get into but with all the changes in the program of the Chris Borich, it was truly uncertain what this year would bring. It may have been the fuel that Walker was going to need to step things up to another level. It was apparent he had done this with one glance at his physical appearance when the season started.

Walker Fowler carried a lot of weight from fans that thought the program change for Borich may have given Fowler the advantage in 2015 and when he got back on the familiar Suzuki program it would be a different story. So far that has not proven to be the point and Walker continues on the same pattern he set for himself several years ago to reach this point. Circumstances may have changed but Walker’s plan has never changed. He has positioned himself at the top of the sport and not only has claimed a championship but appears to be defending it with a champions certainty.

The one rider that kind of got left out of the conversations leading into the season was possibly Walker’s truest threat for the championship. That rider is Adam McGill and was the number two guy last year and again due to “circumstances” with Borich switching back to his program was overlooked as a threat for the title. The first couple of rounds McGill had some subpar finishes of fifth and fourth but at round three found his stride to a three race win streak that had even Walker Fowler a little shaken. Hard work and good luck for Fowler at the Penton set McGill back there and some relief came to the battle for the defending champ. However, McGill showed some major dominance at Snowshoe and if he can stay as hungry as he is now the final rounds will get very interesting.

The big surprise this year other than Borich not being the threat we thought he would be at this point is Brycen Neal. Neal coming in is still young and impressionable. The first part of the season he was on fire and seems to have continued that but a few little set backs have taken him back a little the last couple of rounds. A lot of this I feel may be from the pressure coming outside the races. When someone new comes into the ring and does it a little different than everyone else they don’t know how to react. I feel this may be what’s going on here. Brycen is a “bulldog” so to speak and a big boy. If you get in shoving match with him you best expect him to shove back and maybe a little harder than you shoved him. He’s young but not intimidated by the more seasoned veterans, which will continue to make him a threat.

I would like to interject here before I go much further and remind anyone that says “rider such and such is going fast but he bumps into you when he passes you or he whatever….” It is something that I have heard with the rise of every rider each time he finds speed and a faster level. It seems then that every move they make is magnified and all eyes are on them waiting for them to do anything remotely close to out of the ordinary. I have seen it with every rider so far. Yes, it happened with Chris Borich, Adam McGill, Walker Fowler, Brian Wolf and even Jarrod McClure. I have the old “he’s fast but out on the trail he…..” which usually translates into “I’m butt hurt, I almost or did get beat by someone I don’t think should beat me.” Honestly, that is usually it and sometimes it will mess with an up and coming riders mind, cause them to back down and not be the threat they were which is exactly what the folks being beaten want. This happens in all divisions in all classes and even disciplines.

The one rider I have not spoken a lot about has been Cole Richardson. Cole has been flying rather stealth with all the health issues but Snowshoe may have been a big indicator for the Cole. He has been getting more and more healthy since his illness early this year and with the podium at Snowshoe he may be heralding his coming in the last part of the season.

Ben Wright suffered a last lap crash at Snowshoe resulting in a lacerated liver. Amazingly, Ben remounted his machine and claimed the Youth Overall win! Great job and get well soon, Ben! 
Ben Wright suffered a last lap crash at Snowshoe resulting in a lacerated liver. Amazingly, Ben remounted his machine and claimed the Youth Overall win! Great job and get well soon, Ben!  Photo: "Digital" Dave Smith

Upcoming Star (Chelsea Taylor)

After getting off to an unfavorable start at the first two rounds, Benjamin Wright quickly turned his season around at Steele Creek where he hasn’t finished outside of the top five. With a total of four podium finishes behind him, Ben was eager to add a win to his resume this past weekend.

The rough and rugged track conditions at the Snowshoe GNCC provided little trouble for Ben where he was already sitting in a podium position as they checked through timing and scoring for the first time. By the second lap Ben was in second and had his eyes set on the lead position. As the race wore on Ben found himself in the lead at the halfway point. However, Hunter Reimer wasn’t ready to give up just yet and the two battled back and forth for the latter half of the race. Once the white flag was out Ben was sitting in a comfortable lead position where he took home his first-ever youth overall win. 

When it came time for the podium celebration, Ben was nowhere to be found. Eventually we found out that he was being attended to by the medics. After speaking with his father, Ben suffered from a crash on the last lap where he lacerated his liver. Somehow he managed to get up and finish the last half of the lap. Family members and medical experts are still trying to figure out how Ben was able to recover from the crash to not only finish the race, but cross the line victorious. 

Please keep Ben in your thoughts and prayers within the next few weeks as he begins his healing process. If this incident is any indication of the future of GNCC Racing we are in for not only some excellent battles, but will also be full of competitors who all love the sport and are willing to challenge themselves to achieve greatness.

Thad Duvall has seen an up and down 2016 GNCC season thus far. Will things turn around for the best in the final four rounds this fall?
Thad Duvall has seen an up and down 2016 GNCC season thus far. Will things turn around for the best in the final four rounds this fall? Photo: Ken Hill

Ain’t No Cure For The Summertime Blues (Jared Bolton)

For some, the end of the first part of the 2016 GNCC season can be a little frustrating. Some may have experienced a tough beginning to the season, or tough middle section, while others may be looking at a tough ending to the season. These can all lead anyone to feeling a little bit of the “summertime blues” and make many wish that we had more racing to take care of now so they could try their best to regain the form they’re looking for.

There’s a number of riders who will be looking to put the first part of the season behind them and push ahead to find success in the latter part of the season. Thad Duvall has landed three podium finishes in 2016, but has struggled in the other rounds with various issues. While the successful races have been great, Thad ultimately be looking to return to the center step of the podium. Lets not forget that Thad claimed a win in one of the final four rounds of 2015, so he knows how to get things done when returning from summer break. Ryan Sipes will also be looking to put the first part of the season behind him. A hand injury kept Sipes sidelined for part of the season, and while Sipes has found great success since transitioning to the off-road world, he’s yet to claim a GNCC overall win. His time is due, and if he can put it together later this year, there’s no doubt that he can claim his first win.

Andrew Delong is another rider who will be looking to return to racing in the final four rounds. While Delong has seen a bit of success throughout the past few years, he’s also suffered a bit of bad luck but Delong always keeps a positive outlook on everything. Hopefully we see Andrew back to 100% in the final rounds of the season and contending for podium finishes like everyone knows he’s capable of. Grant Baylor’s season started off a little tough after finishing runner-up in 2015. However, Grant has already begun his quest to flip his season around by landing on the podium in the previous two rounds. With four rounds remaining this fall, Grant will ultimately be hoping to return to his successful ways and hope to contend for his first-ever GNCC overall win.

There’s also Daniel Milner who suffered an injury of his own and has missed the past few rounds. Milner started the season strong with a second place finish in Florida, but has struggled at times since. Clearly he has the speed to be a podium contender, but a bit of bad luck here and there has hindered his results. There’s always the possibility later this year to see him return to the successful speed he found in Florida, so stay tuned! 

Outside of these guys, there’s also a number of riders who will be looking to continue their success. Kailub Russell and Josh Strang are in an all-out battle to the finish for the 2016 GNCC National Championship. While Russell holds a 15-point lead, his back luck at Tomahawk goes to show that anything can happen in the world of GNCC Racing. Of course, that goes both ways as Josh Strang also needs to stay on top of his game because the exact same thing could happen to him and he could find himself in a bigger points deficit.

Then there’s Trevor Bollinger who holds an incredibly impressive third place overall while also controlling the XC2 class points lead. While XC2 riders have landed podium finishes before, no XC2 rider has ever sat as high as Bollinger in the overall point standings. Bollinger will look to continue his success as the season wears on and the big question is; how far can he take it? Only time will tell! 


Kailub Russell Tops AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC

Adam McGill Scores Big at the AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC

AMSOIL Snowshoe Photo Galleries

AMSOIL Snowshoe Industry Press Releases

Multi-Time Off-Road Champion Kailub Russell Signs Unprecedented Contract Extension with FMF KTM Factory Racing Team

What's New on

2016 AMSOIL Snowhoe ATV Highlights

News from GNCC, Riders and Sponsors

Congratulations to ISDE Junior Trophy member Grant Baylor and his team Garrett Ward, Jonathan Sabo and Jared Sabo for winning the 2016 USA ISDE Team Fundraiser Golf Tournament at the 2016 AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC.