GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #29: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #29: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, September 28, 2017 | 7:30 PM
Thursday, September 28, 2017 | 7:30 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill. 

The season rolls on as there are now just two rounds remaining before we close the book on the 2017 GNCC Racing season. I feel like I say this almost every week, but it’s hard to believe that the year has flown by this quickly. It seems like we were just kicking things off in South Carolina and now we’re already looking to our penultimate round at Powerline Park next weekend. 

We’re also less than a month away from the final round of the season at Ironman and we’ll have all the special Ironman info coming up in a few weeks. What we do know now is that both of these final two rounds always seem to bring out a good number of racers and spectators alike and hopefully this year is no different. We hope to end 2017 on a high note and I think that’s what we’re looking ahead to.

We’ll keep the intro short this week and roll right into all the Quick Fill goodies. Of course, be sure to check back next week for the latest from the woods of Powerline Park!

Kevin Trantham broke through to claim his first-ever UTV overall win last weekend!
Kevin Trantham broke through to claim his first-ever UTV overall win last weekend! Ken Hill

Weekly Updates (Chelsea Taylor)

Despite the dust, we had a great weekend of racing at Masontown! On Saturday morning it was great to have Layne McCormick wrap up the youth overall title. It’s truly been a pleasure witnessing Layne put in the hard work needed to accomplish the championship, and Layne already displays many traits needed to become the next Walker Fowler. Then on Saturday afternoon, Kevin Trantham made his second podium appearance of the day, but this time he was standing in the middle of the box for his first career UTV overall win! Anyone who knows Kevin knows how humble he is and I think everyone was over the moon excited for him. Kevin makes the fourth different winner we have had in the four UTV rounds this season!

Sunday morning witnessed another first when Ryder Leblond secured his first-ever bike youth overall win, but the icing on the cake was Ryan Sipes leading every lap from start to finish to win his first career overall win! It’s been four years since Ryan decided to convert to off-road racing and while he’s been close multiple times before, this past Sunday was the first time he’s been able to put it all together. When I was reading Ryan’s personal race report he mentioned that he has now won a Pro Supercross, individual ISDE overall, National Enduro, and now a GNCC. Unfortunately I think a lot of people don’t recognize everything that Ryan has accomplished in his career, so it was great to see it come full circle on Sunday. Racer X actually caught up with Ryan about his win and you can read that HERE. We will have a special Tuesday Toolbox with him next week.

I’ve been noticing more and more pedal assist bikes at the races and it totally makes sense because they are the perfect way to get around the track and pits without wasting all your energy. After all, you’re in an endurance race so you need all the energy you can get. I was lucky enough to get a bike courtesy of Fantic and highly recommend you check them out. They have some of the same components as the other bikes, for half the price! Plus you can get an additional $200 off your online purchase of a bike using the code “GNCC.” You are more than welcome to try out my bike at the next race if you are considering purchasing one, and even if you aren’t you can try it out and you may change your mind. They actually just won the shootout at the Vegas Interbike, so if you want a bike made by an actual motorcycle company make sure to check out Fantic Bicycles. 

We are working on organizing a pit bike race with Fuel Ministries and Team Faith for Powerline Park like we had in Florida earlier this year, so I’ll have more details on that for you next week. In the meantime don’t forget to pre-register for Powerline Park so you can get your $20 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC gift card!

Congratulations to Walker Fowler for tying the record for most wins in a season. The question now is, can he break it?
Congratulations to Walker Fowler for tying the record for most wins in a season. The question now is, can he break it? Ken Hill

Rappin’ Rodney’s Weekly Beats (Rodney Tomblin)

The Mountaineer Run GNCC was set to be a race of historic proportions. As the weekend began the hype was on record-breaking opportunities in both quad and bike racing. On four wheels, Walker Fowler was looking at tying the most wins in a single season record and looked to have promising chances in the UTV race later that same day. On two wheels the XC1, XC2 and the FMF XC3 classes were looking at the possibility of crowning champions in each class and Kailub Russell was on the verge of tying Scott Summers all time win record.

On Saturday, Walker Fowler performed to maximum ability and took his tenth win of 2017, which ties the most wins record in a single season held by Chris Borich and Kailub Russell. He is now likely to break the record with two races left if he continues doing what he has been doing. Even he realizes there is the possibility of a challenge and Walker seems to be really watching out for Brycen Neal. Walker has mentioned his name several times this season and if the race this past weekend is any indication, then Walker will have his hands full out of the youngster in the final rounds. Add to that Jarrod McClure, Adam McGill and of course Chris Borich and Walker will have his hands full. The biggest question though is “ will anyone be able to stop him?”

The late afternoon racing brought Walker to the UTV race only minutes after his win on the ATV. Walker was very competitive as had been expected and was starting to show signs of being a factor for the overall when troubles struck and he was unable to complete the full task. He says it was another great learning experience and feels he is getting better each race and stronger. If Walker can keep it together the next couple of rounds we may see him becoming a factor in his new form of racing.

Sunday’s racing brought a lot of hype with Kailub Russell’s possibility of tying the all-time bike wins record tie and claim his fifth championship. In the XC2 Pro and FMF XC3 classes, championships were on the line for Josh Toth and Jason Thomas. Jason Thomas also announced it would be his last professional GNCC race and that he was moving on to other arenas in his life.

It was a bittersweet day for one of the most storied riders of the present day. Jason Thomas came to the US. and GNCC with a bang and left with a bang in a sense. From his first-ever win at the Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC in 2008, to his closing win at the Mountaineer Run GNCC, Jason Thomas brought more to GNCC than many may ever realize. He was certainly controversial at times and very colorful with each step of the way. Standing back up each time he was knocked down, stronger and more determined than before. Jason’s colorful personality brought more attention than any single other rider in the last twelve years combined of racing. Like, love or hate him, Jason Thomas weathered every storm and forever etched his name as one GNCC’s greats. Jason brought the attention of the rest of the world and kept them interested. Thank you Jason for bringing everything you brought when you came to GNCC. Farewell friend and we hope things bode well for you in the future. Something tells me though that you will accomplish whatever you set out to do. If for no other reason than to just tick everyone off. That’s what we love about you.

Josh Toth was in a situation that if he could take the win in the XC2 class he would seal the title. As much weight as that carried, Josh rode as if there was no pressure. It’s almost as if he was destined to have the season he had. There was nothing that could stop him. Even the exceptional rides of Layne Michael could not stop Toth. He was slowed down only for a moment but found his flow again and will prove to be a major factor in racing in the future regardless if he stays XC2 for another year or moves up to XC1. I haven’t heard but would think he will defend the title in that class before make the step up but who really knows at this point? Congratulations again Josh!

Kailub Russell’s day may not have ended the way it was expected to but you cannot take anything away from the soon to be crowned five-time champ. It’s not a matter of if at this point but more when he will secure the necessary points to make it a done deal. So even though Kailub may not have set the records in West Virginia, one has to wonder if maybe fate had another plan.

In 2011 Kailub took his first ever overall win at the Powerline Park GNCC. How cool would it be for him to end an era and start a new one at the place where it all kind of began? I feel it would be really cool personally. I mean it is where the climb to the top really started and with the possibility of this being his 46th win there, it would be somewhat of a full circle tour. Then every win after would set a new record until he wins his final event. Where and when that final race for Kailub will be is not even on the minds of anyone at this point but the big picture is that the record could climb for a few more years and it may be a long time before anyone ever comes close to touching it. It took a long time for anyone special enough like Kailub to reach this point so it could be a long while before we see the next great prodigy of GNCC.

That’s it for me for now. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.

Ryan Sipes was another first-time winner last weekend as he claimed his first overall win!
Ryan Sipes was another first-time winner last weekend as he claimed his first overall win! Ken Hill

Mountaineer Run Rocked! (Jared Bolton)

Okay, the title is definitely a bit of a pun but there’s no doubt that last weekend’s Mountaineer Run GNCC was a rocking good time, and I’m not just saying that for the fun, rocky, technical course. Rodney already hit a lot of the key points of the weekend, including the historical occurrences and possibilities but beyond that, there were a few more really cool things to happen last weekend.

I had a lot of people tell me this was one of the best layouts we’ve ever had at the Mountaineer Run. I think I would agree with that, as even though the dust made for challenging conditions, the technical and tough rock sections were actually loads of fun. What was actually unique about it was the fact that we changed the course up a good bit from last year, but some of the mile markers were in the same location. For example, the 2017 one-mile mark was in the same location as 2016. Things got a good bit different from there, but as you got further along the course things got a little more interesting.

The 2017 eight-mile mark was just a few hundred yards from the 2016 seven-mile mark, but the 2017 nine and ten mile marks were in the exact same location as 2016. The changes came due to some areas of the property that have been logged since last year and while it was a bit of a bummer to see those areas go, we also got into some cool new stuff we may not have been able to make work otherwise. 

Then there was Sunday’s bike race. All eyes turned to Kailub Russell as many expected him to claim the win thus tying Scott Summers’ all-time bike wins record, while also claiming his fifth consecutive title. Well, as we all know by now that wasn’t exactly the case as Ryan Sipes came out swinging and would come away with his first-ever GNCC overall win. Since Sipes came to the series in 2014, he’s had a number of solid performances and led a good number of laps but just hadn’t been able to seal the deal.

However, that all changed Sunday as Sipes rode a nearly flawless race and came away with the win. Of course, it was actually a great day for the entire Coastal team as Sipes teammates Craig Delong and Layne Michael rounded out the XC2 podium in second and third, respectively. On top of that, Coastal’s XC3 pilot, Jack Edmondson, also notched a podium finish as well. Team Manager Barry Hawk said he was the team’s only disappointment of the day as he only rode three laps in the Sportsman A class during the 10AM race and pulled off. However, he’s Barry Hawk so there’s no being a disappointment there, even if he hadn’t finished a single lap. By the way, I got behind Barry while riding sweep in the 10AM race and tried to follow him for a little bit. I lasted about ½ mile, ate a lot of dust and backed off because I’m crazy for trying to run a Barry Hawk pace to begin with!

Going back to the topic of Sipes win though, this has other historical significance as he now joins a list of a few former Pro Motocross race winners to also hold a GNCC overall win. Other names include Ty Davis, Guy Cooper, and Doug Henry. Obviously there are other riders who have scored points or podium finishes in both Pro Motocross/Supercross and GNCC, but it looks as if these are the only guys to score overall race wins in both. Of course, in the years to come there could be others who come along and add their names to that list.

Overall, last weekend’s Mountaineer Run GNCC was one of the best events we’ve had at Marvin’s Mountaintop and really sets the bar high when we roll into Powerline Park in a few weeks. Only time will tell what happens there but if it’s anything like Mountaineer Run, then we’re in for a real treat. Stay tuned!