GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #25: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #25: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, August 31, 2017 | 1:40 PM
Thursday, August 31, 2017 | 1:40 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill.

The last GNCC off-week of the summer is coming to a close as we prepare to return to racing at Unadilla next weekend. In some ways it seems as if it’s been a long time since we’ve gone GNCC Racing, but at the same time it seems as if the summer break has flown by as well. This time next week the track crew will be knee-deep in making the preparations on the course and a good number of GNCC racers will already be making their way to Unadilla.

It’s exciting to get back into the swing of GNCC Racing but with just four rounds remaining this also means that we’ll be facing the end of the 2017 season before we know it. This is definitely a pretty crazy thought, as it seems like it was just yesterday that things were kicking off at Big Buck. However, what I’m hinting at here is that time flies and we’ll be into the off-season before we know it, and then heading out for the 2018 season in the blink of an eye.

Outside of Unadilla prep, the 92nd annual International Six Days Enduro is taking place this week in France and we’ll have some updates on that coming up a little later. Additionally, we’re also in the heat of planning the 27th annual DC Vet Homecoming at High Point Raceway taking place the weekend after Unadilla, September 16th and 17th. This is a really cool, fun and laid back event. Saturday consists of GP-style Moto X-Country racing. The course for this will be around three-miles in length with about a mile of that being motocross, another mile of grass track and around a mile of fun, flowing woods trails as well. The format will be two 3-minute motos for all classes and riders will be able to contest more than one class as well! 

Sunday will consist of the traditional motocross racing that made the Vet Homecoming famous but there are also a number of fun contests such as Vintage Race Gear, Vintage T-Shirt, Oldest Race Program, Best Old School Trophy and more! We’re still working on finalizing classes and a few other details but in the meantime you can get all the info HERE

Fred Andrews was recognized as the
Fred Andrews was recognized as the "Legends and Heros" inductee at last weekend's Iroman National. Congrats to Fast Freddy! Courtesy Pro Motocross

Weekly Updates (Chelsea Taylor)

Just one week from now we’ll be on the road heading to Unadilla, and while this season seems to be flying by, I can’t help but think it’s been forever since the last GNCC. Things haven’t slowed down since John Penton and we just wrapped up Pro Motocross at Ironman this past weekend. Ironman provides a unique opportunity to introduce the motocross crowd to what GNCC has to offer. Speaking of that, GNCC Racin’ Nation members that were present at Ironman were treated to a special track walk on Godzilla on Saturday if they were wearing a GNCC shirt. It was awesome to see some familiar faces, in addition to some local fans proudly repping their GNCC shirts in the motocross crowd.

The GNCC recognition didn’t stop there. Fred Andrews was the Legends and Heroes recipient and even took a lap around the track on his GasGas during opening ceremonies. It was special to see Fred be awarded this accomplishment at a facility that holds such a rich GNCC history.

As we turn our attention to Unadilla, don’t forget to pre-register. With this being one of our larger events, we encourage everyone to pre-register in an attempt to keep the registration lines at a minimum. Don’t forget that you’ll also receive a $20 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Race Gas gift card that’s redeemable on anything that Rocky Mountain carries. When you factor that in, it makes your race fee only $20!

Rachel Gutish checked in with 250 A rider Cody Barnes in this week’s Tuesday Toolbox. That name may sound familiar to you due to his top amateur finishes this season, but this year is actually Cody’s first year competing in the full GNCC series. With that being said, this article provided some good insight to someone that will be around for many years to come and is definitely a rider to keep an eye on throughout the last four rounds!

Hopefully you’ve made plans for the Monster Energy MXGP of USA in Jacksonville, Florida this weekend. After seeing Jeffrey Herlings race at Ironman, I can assure you it’ll be a great weekend when it comes to the on-track activities, but there’s plenty to do once the racing is over as well. Waka Flocka Flame will be performing live on Saturday night, and there’s amateur racing and an open ride day. If you want more info on the MXGP please call us at 304-284-0084! 

Kailub Russell's 2017 ISDE started out tough but he's been logging solid rides and is looking to simply finish the event healthy!
Kailub Russell's 2017 ISDE started out tough but he's been logging solid rides and is looking to simply finish the event healthy! Jake Miller

ISDE In Full Swing! (Jared Bolton)

The 92nd annual International Six Days Enduro is in full swing this week over in France! By now most everyone has been updated on how things are going but just to refresh, it’s unfortunate that the US ISDE Team’s hopes for another World Trophy victory came to an early close when Thad Duvall suffered a wrist injury in the first test of the first day. Thad is still waiting to hear the full extent of his injury but hopefully he’s able to make a speedy recovery.

While that ended the team’s hopes early it hasn’t stopped the US riders from making the best of the event. Ryan Sipes won the day two overall but some issues on day three kept him back around seventh place in the progressive standings. It’s been an impressive week for west coast racer Taylor Robert though as Taylor sits second overall in the progressive individual overall standings. The day four results are just being posted as I’m typing this but Taylor is now just a mere 8.40 seconds out of the individual overall lead behind. Taylor was last year’s individual overall, so he knows what it takes to make it happen. Good luck the rest of the week!

Kailub Russell made some early mistakes in the week that dropped him out of contention for the individual overall but he’s still been putting in solid rides but more importantly conserving himself to make it through the week. He sat 20th overall out of 110 World and Junior Trophy riders after three days of competition. 

The US Junior Trophy Team consisting of Josh Toth, Grant Baylor and Layne Michael have seen an up and down week. They had taken over the lead in the Junior Trophy division but unfortunately Toth incurred a one-minute penalty after arrive early to one of the checks on day three. A Junior Trophy win is not completely out of reach at this point, but they have some work to do to catch up and regain the lead.

As for the Women’s Trophy team, they’ve also seen their struggles as Becca Sheets suffered some mechanical issues on day one. Luckily she was able to get those fixed and stay in contention. She, along with teammates Kacy Martinez and Brandy Richards moved into second place in the Women’s Trophy division at the end of day three. The Australian Women’s team leads the way by more than five minutes over USA but with three more days of racing to go, anything can happen!

While the 2017 ISDE may not be going the way the US riders had hoped, it’s still a great honor to return to the event as the defending champions and they’ve all done an excellent job of representing the USA in a positive manner. It’s hard to sum up how special this event truly is to those involved and the history of the event is even more impressive. Some of the world’s greatest two-wheeled racers have contested this event, and even a mega-star once competed, as Steve McQueen was part of the first official US effort in 1964. While this year may not be one for the record books, we hope to see the US teams back in contention in 2018.

Team UXC had a strong showing at the Heartland Challenge in Iowa! Read on to find out more!
Team UXC had a strong showing at the Heartland Challenge in Iowa! Read on to find out more! Digital Dave Smith

Rappin’ Rodney Checks In (Rodney Tomblin)

Editors note: Rodney didn’t give his contribution a title, so I picked one for him!

The summer break finally feels like a summer break to me and though I finally get a little bit of time at home, I see that everyone else has been busy. There is a lot going on to say the least. I feel almost ashamed not being at a race somewhere but the keyword to that statement is “almost.”

As everyone now knows, Thad Duvall’s unfortunate wrist injury has halted the US ISDE Team in reclaiming the title and the latest standings are keeping us on the edge of our seats to see if some miracle can happen to keep the US Team on top in some way. Regardless, in a few days all attention turns to GNCC and the return to racing at the Unadilla GNCC. The questions now loom as to what is the fate of the championship now that Thad has the injury. Will he be able to compete? Will he compete at 100 percent? Unfortunately for race fans enjoying the competitive battle for the title, we may have to wait till next season. Hopefully not and we pick up where we left off. Kailub Russell is obviously in a tight situation to claim title number five so we know things were/are about to get really good there. 

No matter what the next four rounds of this season brings, the one thing that cannot be denied is that Kailub Russell is without a doubt a living legend in our sport. He is positioned to become a five-time champion, which only two others have been able to accomplish this feat on two wheels. He is inching his way to breaking the all-time wins record and is truly one of the greatest if he were to never race again. I guess what I am trying to say is revel in these times as a fan. You are witnessing one of the greatest times in our sport.

The quad side of our racing world has been even busier. Adam McGill a.k.a. Gator and Billy “Goat” Wood teamed up with Alex Kollitz on the Team KYMCO KEP (KYMCO Extended Protection) WARP Offroad Factory Racing sponsored team. The mission was the notorious and challenging Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno race held last week. Adam McGill did a fabulous job of capturing the event through his Facebook Live posts and it was a hoot to watch. The team was doing great but an incident nearing the midway point of the race took them out of contention. From what I read in the official release from Kymco, “Kollitz and another racer collided. Kollitz suffered numerous injuries but, thankfully, none of them of permanent consequences. The machine was damaged beyond rideable, so the Team KYMCO KEP WARP Offroad Factory Racing’s day ended just short of the race’s halfway mark.” You can read the full article from their Facebook page.

Team UXC had a pretty good week at the 10th Heartland Challenge in Iowa as well. They had a huge team and took several podiums and an overall or two. The complete race report is here on Michael Swift and Kevin Trantham won the 10 hour 4x4 ATV race as Becky Widdicombe took a second in the 1.5 hour long single seat race. That is a little longer than a GNCC race so these guys showed some stuff. Be sure and read the full report as it is very detailed and exciting to read.

Also at the Heartland Challenge, Walker Fowler and his friend/mechanic and former GNCC XC1 Pro Mark Notman teamed up in the UTV portion in the Yamaha and actually won. They bested everyone including Kyle Chaney, who finished second. Sounds like it was a great battle even with Team UXC getting in the mix from what I understand. Then Walker, along with Mark Notman and Johnny Gallagher took on the ATV portion winning and retaining the coveted number one plate in that competition. It works perfect for the schedule and keeps these competitors sharp heading into the final four rounds.

As the dust settles on these events the attention begins to move back to GNCC. The ATV title is all but locked up. There are a few things to cheer on, as Adam McGill in second place is tight with only 22 points back to Chris Borich in third. One has to think that Chris might be looking at this like climbing a mountain to get back on top and taking it one plateau at a time. We have already seen a steady and consistent ride by him and don’t be surprised to see a new Borich in the latter part of the season. Another way to look at is that Adam may be saying, “don’t tread on me” and will fight to keep Chris from the number two spot.

That’s it for me for now. Remember to pray and help in anyway you can the victims of Hurricane Harvey. The total damage is still not known and it’s not completely over yet. These people need all the positive energy we can send. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.

"Jimmy John" would almost be a fitting name for Josh Toth this year as he's been "freaky fast"! Digital Dave Smith

What If’s (Jared Bolton)

Coming back from summer break always brings up a lot of “what if” questions from many people. This year looks to be no different. If anything, this year brings up more what if questions than usual. The bulk of those will likely coming from the two-wheeled side of things, especially now that Thad Duvall has suffered a wrist injury. So lets take a look at some of those “what if” as well as some of the “could be” and “maybe” scenarios.

What if Thad Duvall’s injury will definitely sideline him the rest of the season? Well unfortunately that means that barring any unforeseen issues Kailub Russell may suffer, he would essentially just need to play it smart and finish in order claim title number five. However, what if Thad’s wrist injury isn’t as severe as originally fear and he’s still able to fight through some slight pain and race? Well, it’s hard to say exactly what could happen there! If he were to take it easy, and simply score points it could bring the title down to the final round at Ironman.

Who would be next to step up and challenge for race wins? Well, Steward Baylor sits third place in the overall point standings and has one win to his name so far this year. That places him as one of the favorites to challenge for the win. However, Grant Baylor also has a win to his credit this season. On top of that, after a good break we very well could see the likes of Josh Strang coming back strong after a tough, up and down first part of the season.

It doesn’t end there! Ricky Russell is also a race winner this season and will be hungry for more. Plus there’s the likes of Trevor Bollinger, Jordan Ashburn and Chris Bach who have all seen flashes of brilliance. Bach has been solid at Unadilla before, and claimed the win at our other New York round, Tomahawk, in 2015 and he’s another rider who likely would rather put the first part of 2017 behind him and work towards making improvements in the final rounds.

Another question on people’s minds will be, “can anyone topple Josh Toth in the XC2 class?”. There’s no doubt that Toth has been on fire this year, claiming seven of nine wins in the XC2 class. The only riders to beat Toth this season have been Zach Nolan (who is freakishly fast when conditions get tough!) and Layne Michael. Mr. Consistent Craig Delong has been a threat but hasn’t been able to break through for a win yet this season. Between these guys and other top XC2 talent such as Mike Witkowski and Jesse Groemm, it’s going to be interesting to watch it all unfold. 

It also looks like Jack Edmondson will be returning to the XC3 class at Unadilla after missing a few rounds due to a wrist injury he suffered racing back home in England. While this year’s title is out of reach, he’ll ultimately be looking to end the season on a high note, hoping to pick up where he left off. As for the rest of the XC3 class, well, Jason Thomas just needs to keep playing it smart, score points and he’ll be able to finish the season as the first-ever XC3 class champion. However, guys like Mark Heresco and Hunter Neuwirth will be looking to claim some race wins of their own.

With all of these scenarios on the table, it could very well make for one of the most exciting returns from summer break we’ve had in a long time. Only time will tell what will happen but that time is coming pretty soon. Stay tuned, it’s about to get good!