GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #36: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #36: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, November 16, 2017 | 4:20 PM
Thursday, November 16, 2017 | 4:20 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill. 

The off-season continues to roll along as things begin to wind down and while there’s a lot of the off-season racing going on that I mentioned last week, there’s a lot more guys flying under the radar and just enjoying the off-season before jumping head first into prep for 2018. That’s always a pretty exciting time when it rolls around because it’s always cool to see fresh machines, fresh graphics, fresh gear and a fresh start for many.

Speaking of those races I mentioned last week, one was the NECXC Buddy Race in Brownsville, PA and it turned out to be a pretty good weekend for those folks. Saturday was a bit on the cold side for the Adult/Child, Youth and and Pitbike races but Sunday warmed up a little bit and while there was still a slight chill at times, it was a great day for racing. I actually rode my dual sport up and hung out for a little bit. 

Our own Justin Perkins, who you’ve probably seen waving a blue flag at the starting line or setting up parking for the vendors, and his partner took the win in the B class and finished a solid fifth place overall. Good job Perk! Then it seemed to be an all-out battle between the Coastal crew in the bike race as Layne Michael (and forgive me because I’m not 100% sure who Layne was partnered with!) cruised to the win ahead of the team of Zach Nolan and Dylan Ely in second while Craig Delong and Sean Bogdan took third. Fourth place in the Pro class went to the duo of Barry Hawk and Shawn Remington. 

I even took the dual sport out for a lap to check things out (With Ronnie Paul’s permission and a signed waiver of course!) and the track was pretty fun. The first few miles were a bit slick on a bike, and this was actually my first time taking my Sherco 450 in the woods, so I felt a little timid but the NECXC crew did a great job on the course and it definitely seems like everyone had a good time. 

That’s it for this week’s intro, let’s jump into the Quick Fill goodies!  

As mentioned last week, Steward Baylor was crowned this year's AMA National Enduro Champ! Good job, Stu!
As mentioned last week, Steward Baylor was crowned this year's AMA National Enduro Champ! Good job, Stu! Darrin Chapman

Weekly Updates (Chelsea Taylor)

When will the 2018 schedule be out?! That seems to be the question floating around for everyone, and while we don’t have an exact date to let you know, I can assure you it will be sometime in December when we release it. We have an idea of it, but we are just in the process of fine-tuning everything so that we can make sure the schedule is absolutely 100% final when we release it. We realize that many of you are trying to plan accordingly, but we would rather make sure everything is finalized before releasing the schedule than to put something tentative out that could potentially require significant changes, so thanks for being patient! 

One thing we can give you is the dates and times for the riders meetings at the banquets! This is your time to discuss classes and rules for the upcoming season and voice your opinion. You don’t even have to attend the actual banquet night in order to participate. Please email [email protected] with any proposals you would like to discuss at the meetings. 

The riders meetings schedule is as follows: 

  • Pro ATV: 2 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1      
  • Amateur ATV: 9 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 2
  • Youth ATV: 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 2
  • UTV: 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 2
  • Pro Bike: 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2
  • Amateur Bike: 9 a.m., Sunday Dec. 3
  • Youth Bike: 10 a.m., Sunday, Dec. 3 

As I mentioned last week, the hotel is completely sold out. If you forgot to book your room, don’t panic though! There are plenty of other hotels located in downtown Morgantown all of which are a cheap Uber ride away from the Waterfront Place Convention Center. The deadline to reserve your seat for the banquet is November 29 at midnight. You can register HERE

If you plan on arriving early to the banquet, make sure to check out the Escape Room located just a few blocks away from the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place Hotel. Ranked the #1 Escape Game in West Virginia by Trip Advisor, it makes for a great family-fun activity. The Wharf District is also home to a variety of popular restaurants including Oliverio’s, Table 9 and Mountain State Brewing Company. 

Congratulations to Stu Baylor for adding another National Enduro championship to his resume. It’s been pretty cool to watch our GNCC racers be so close in point in the other series and watch everyone excel! You can get the details on Stu’s NEPG championship HERE

FLY Racing released part two of the “Josh Strang // A Decade of Chasing the Dream” video series. To watch the full video click HERE

Coming into round five, Jack Edmondson had controlled the XC3 class each race.
Coming into round five, Jack Edmondson had controlled the XC3 class each race. Ken Hill

Looking Back on 2017 Part Three (Jared Bolton)

This week we continue the new weekly feature for this winter, where we’ll be taking a look back on the 2017 season. If you missed the first two installments, we’ve been going through the season round by round highlighting both the ATV and bike action, two races at a time. So let’s pick back up where we left off! 

When the series rolled into the sands of South Carolina’s Camp Coker Bullet GNCC, this event still marked a bit of unfamiliar territory for many riders. 2017 would mark just the second time that the series had visited this venue, and while some riders may have been a bit familiar with the facility as it previously hosted a number of motocross events in the past, it was still relatively virgin terrain in terms of off-road racing. 

Saturday’s ATV race would see an incredible performance out of Walker Fowler as he simply jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Walker would lead wire to wire to claim the overall win with Adam McGill holding down second place for the day. The excitement would come from eventual third place finisher, Brycen Neal, who worked his way into third from sixth place on the opening lap. Chris Borich would be in podium contention early but unfortunately a mechanical issue would end his day early. 

This round would also mark the second round of UTV racing for the 2017 season. When they took to the track, it was a similar story to the ATVs as Kyle Chaney led the entire race to claim his first overall win of the 2017 season with Hunter Miller and mult-time UTV National Champion William Yokley rounding out the podium in third. 

On Sunday, temperatures seemed to drop and the place felt like the North Pole in comparison to Saturday. This strange drop was almost like a sign of the strange race that was bound to unfold that day. Things started out seemingly normal enough as Thad Duvall took off to an early lead and would have a close battle with Kailub Russell. The opening laps of the race weren’t quite as close a battle as we had seen but as the race wore on, Kailub began to slowly reel Thad in. When the white flag flew, the duo were less than one second apart, setting the stage for an incredible battle to the finish. 

Unfortunately, that close battle was cut a bit short. With just a few miles to go, Thad would run out of gas on the motocross track. He was able to lean the bike over and get some gas to the fuel pump, and also received a bit of gas from the Husqvarna team. This is all completely legal as Pro riders are allowed to receive gas outside the pro pits if they run completely out. However, Thad stopped again with just around a mile to go and with gas still in the tank and the bike still running, he received gas from the Husqvarna team once again. 

This ended up being an unfortunate misinterpretation of the rules, but it was a violation of that rule, as you cannot receive gas outside of the pro pit area unless your machine is completely out of gas. Kailub was able to ride on for the overall win and Thad would finish the race second, but due to the gas stop error, a penalty would drop him to third place. 

In the XC2 ranks, Josh Toth would take his fifth win of the season at this point with Jesse Groemm and Craig Delong rounding out the podium. As for the XC3 class, Jason Thomas would finally break through to claim his first XC3 class win en route to the 2017 XC3 class championship. Jack Edmondson and Mark Heresco rounded out the podium in second and third, respectively. 

Wow, that one was full of so much action that I’m actually going to break this one up into another part. However, instead of saving it for next week, we’ll actually roll right into it after Rodney’s weekly contribution. So keep reading as things only get more exciting from here! 

While Brycen Neal has yet to claim his first-ever GNCC overall win, he still put together a solid 2017 season to finish a career best second place.
While Brycen Neal has yet to claim his first-ever GNCC overall win, he still put together a solid 2017 season to finish a career best second place. Ken Hill

Rappin’ With Rodney (Rodney Tomblin)

It’s another great day in the GNCC Racing Nation, and it’s hard to believe another week has passed and the season is over. Aside from the upcoming awards banquet, there is nothing to really look forward to as far as this season is concerned. We are left to reel in the memories of a very exciting and at times unusual season. 

The first thing we can say is that the start of the season at Big Buck made for a little different feeling. The traditional kickoff in Florida was thwarted to try and accommodate a later starting Bike Week and with the fact we have two South Carolina rounds now, there was an idea of putting some separation between those dates. It seemed to work on that end and it also gave us one of the biggest surprises we could have asked for to start the season. 

The fact that the season started a little out of the ordinary and a surprise win by Steward Baylor set the stage for a very interesting season. Though Stu never found the center of the box again this season he proved so much to so many people about his physical condition and mental fortitude. If there was ever any doubt as to whether Baylor has what it takes to be on top again was answered this season with his GNCC win and capping off the season with the National Enduro title proves he has more than enough heart to overcome the doubt and the doubters. Congratulations Steward Baylor on your National Enduro Championship. 

Another thing on my mind this morning as I write this contribution is the fact that Kailub Russell rewrote history this season, breaking records and setting new ones. I feel the fact that Kailub saw some struggles this season and met the challenges may make this championship one of the sweetest of his five titles accumulated so far. Had this season gone as smoothly as Kailub would have liked, we as race fans would not have been treated to the spectacles we witnessed this season. The struggle, controversy and rising above it all was like watching a movie that ends happily. 

Things are quiet in the GNCC Racin’ Nation this week unless you are a hunter. If you have been following Thad Duvall, you may have noticed his wife is becoming quite the hunter herself. I saw on social media this week that Maggie bagged her biggest buck since she started hunting. It was a nice one and if she keeps it up she may reach “Bridgette Hill” status. (Bridgette is the wife of Ken Hill) I am envious of the trophy and hope to get a little of the jerky that comes from that ole boy. 

As far as anything else goes, all seems pretty quiet. I will note that Johnny Gallagher may be showing his age after this season though. It appears he is starting to sleep a lot more getting ready for bed before seven o’clock in evening. That’s how it all starts Johnny as I speak from experience my old friend. 

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

Johnny Gallagher has been in the XC1 ATV game longer than anyone but an overall win had always eluded him... Until 2017.
Johnny Gallagher has been in the XC1 ATV game longer than anyone but an overall win had always eluded him... Until 2017. Ken Hill

Looking Back on 2017 Part Four (Jared Bolton)

After discussing Camp Coker, I realized that there was so much to talk about there, that two rounds in a single part three of this series would make for some long reading. So to help ease your pain, I decided to give the next round its own section as part four of this series and it’s a deserving of it’s own section for sure. 

After Camp Coker, the series would roll north for the first time in 2017 with the first-ever X-Factor GNCC in Peru, Indiana. Just simply saying that will send chills down the spine of just about anyone who raced there as this turned out to be one of the muddiest, nastiest, toughest GNCCs of all-time, and quite possibly the muddiest of this decade and only rivaled by 2013’s Mammoth GNCC. 

The course started out extremely fun. In fact, had it never rained there this would’ve been an instantly popular event as the course was pretty darn fun before the rain fell. But once it fell, it seemed like it didn’t want to stop. Then when it did finally stop, well, it just started back up. After a brutal morning ATV race, there was a good bit of rerouting that needed to be done for the 1PM race. Even with these changes, the 1PM race would be slated as a two-lap affair. 

When the green flag flew, well, it was hard to tell who was who by the time they got to the second turn. Johnny Gallagher actually spun through the banners in turn two and cleaned out Big John, which is still a running joke amongst our crew. What happened next was literally the ride of a lifetime. Johnny put his head down and began picking riders off one by one. 

I was out around the seven-mile mark waiting at an area that merged to make sure the leaders made it through with no issues. When Johnny came around the corner and got to me he slows up just a little and says “Am I leading?!” and I shout back “Yeah! Go!!!”. It was a pretty funny little moment and Johnny was able to keep that lead together, even staying ahead of a charging Walker Fowler to take the win. Now, this was a pretty monumental win. 

Anyone who has followed GNCC for a number of years knows who Johnny Gallagher is and knows that he’s been in the game for longer than anyone else in the XC1 ATV ranks. In all these years, Johnny had never claimed an overall win. He’s claimed a few podiums over the years, but an overall win had always eluded him. That would change at X-Factor that day and Johnny was able to claim his first-ever GNCC overall win. They say mud is the great equalizer and Johnny showed that he truly is one of the best mud riders in the game by claiming the win in one of the nastiest races the series has ever seen. 

It would also prove to be an interesting race for the bike guys as well. Ricky Russell would control the early portions of the race but at the halfway mark, Thad Duvall would take control of the lead. Thad is another strong mud rider as the two previous wins to his credit at that point came at the 2015 Mountain Ridge GNCC, which was a little on the wet side, and prior to that was the 2013 Mammoth GNCC which nearly mirrored the conditions of X-Factor. 

Once Thad controlled the lead, that was all she wrote. He stayed there for the rest of the race to claim the overall win ahead of Josh Strang, who slipped by Ricky Russell on the final lap. Ricky finished the day in third for his first podium of the season while another strong mud rider, Chris Bach, took fourth. Fifth place went to Jordan Ashburn, who many expected to be up front because Jordan likes the mud. However, some slight issues throughout the day thwarted his hopes for a podium finish. 

It would also be an interesting day in the XC2 class. Zach Nolan would come away with the win, leading wire to wire and actually working his way to a time adjusted overall lead at one point! The similarities to The Mammoth were eerie that day as Nolan put in the same performance back in 2013 to claim his previous XC2 class win. Craig Delong and Mike Witkowski would round out the XC2 podium in second and third respectively. The XC3 class would see a change as early points leader Jack Edmondson would miss this round and the next three rounds with a wrist injury. With Edmondson’s absence, Jason Thomas would work his way to the win ahead of Mark Heresco and local favorite DQ David Quillen in third. 

At this point we were less than halfway through the 2017 season and had already experienced one of the most exciting seasons in quite some time. Interestingly enough, things continue to get exciting and a little odd at times from here. We’ll discuss the rest in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!