GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #21: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #21: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, May 31, 2018 | 6:00 PM
Thursday, May 31, 2018 | 6:00 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill. 

Another round of GNCC Racing is in the books and boy was it a tough one! Between the rains that fell late in the day Saturday and a long, grueling course on Sunday, The John Penton GNCC definitely lived up to its reputation as a great event to pay homage to off-road pioneer, John Penton. Sunday’s 1PM race was probably the toughest of the season with a long course at just over 14 miles and an old-school style John Penton Section to make things even more interesting. The downside to that was that the long lap made for a long overall race time, but it seems like folks really enjoyed the extra challenge. 

We’re actually going to keep this week’s edition of Quick Fill a bit on a short side as we’re back at Sunday Creek Raceway (or The John Penton as you all know it!) for this weekend’s regional qualifier for the Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s this summer. We’ll be back next week with a full-length edition of Quick Fill, including the low-down on the course for next weekend’s Tomahawk GNCC. Until then, enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you next week! 

The racing action was as hot as the weather all weekend!
The racing action was as hot as the weather all weekend! Ken Hill

Catching Up With Ken (Ken Hill)

So how about that John Penton GNCC?! This is one of those races that can deal you a hand of cards that can run the table or have you running home empty handed! I reckon that this round and where it is held and actually when its held, all adds to the history that goes down here every racing season. The spring weather is cantankerous and usually shows us all four seasons during the weekend and this year was no exception. I think two words sum up most every discussion I had leading up to, during and after the race and those are “humid and mud”. No one can deny that during the day that sun beat us all up and when combined with high humidity it can be just downright miserable but all in all it was not as bad as it could have been.

The clouds on Saturday helped a ton and even that brief downpour gave everyone a break in some way or another. Weather is an element of the racing and being prepped for everything is just the way of the warrior as it were and I got caught in that rain with no rain gear what so ever, so my own advice from last weeks Quick Fill cost me a lap hiding under a tree trying to keep gear dry and still shoot the race. That rain sure helped a ton of riders who told me that they couldn’t have gone another lap if it had not been for that rain as it helped cool things off, especially the riders who were lucky enough to get a good cool soaking. 

I probably should back up just a smudge and chat about that eMTB bike race. Now I do not really follow bicycles but if you have been to a GNCC in the past few years you can not help but see those mountain bikes and as of late, the pedal assist models that are all the rage and what brought about the inaugural race Friday evening at this round. I have a feeling this can blow up into something pretty stout if marketed right and add something we all want to the races, new faces and new avenues for both revenue and sponsorship. How you connect the dots is up to you, all I know is that if I was racing I would be hard on my local mountain bike shop and outside the motorized world looking to land assistance for 2019. There is such an opening for cross marketing and promotion that one could easily be finding new money and support from areas that we never dreamed possible with just racing an ATV or Bike, so there is something for you to consider. 

Ok, back to the racing of these machines. The e-bikes are quiet, in fact I had several slip up on me like a two wheeled ninja and others, well I could hear them sucking wind long before I laid eyes on them! That is the difference, this is way more about individuals and their readiness to run a scaled down GNCC course and test themselves against others, pretty much the same as we see every round with out the noise, dust and hordes of mud fleas screaming for their favorite racer. There can still be mechanical issues and such. However, the main power plant of this style of racing is the riders themselves and that’s a whole new element! 

Friday evening’s racing faded into the darkness and Saturday dawned with all the controlled chaos that race day brings. Layne McCormick dominated the youth ATV race and he sure is fun to watch ride. He could have a 1/2 lap lead and still ride that thing like he was two laps down and mad! I am pretty sure his go switch is stuck in wide open and I for one am glad I do not have to take care of his ride after the race because he flogs that thing like it owes him money. I did not get a chance to see what his thoughts were after the race because I was in a huge rush to get to the Single Seat race start however I do know he won his class during the eMTB race making his Youth ATV win number two on the weekend. Does anyone else wish they had that youthful energy? 

On the Single Seat side of things, John Baughman bested Collin Truett for the win and they were joined by Robert Boynton on the podium as he raced to a third place finish. The 10 am start and the pre race info was on the PA system so I did not get to hear any tidbits of info but it looked like a pretty fast paced race for these guys. Trying to keep up with the action on UTV day is rough as we go back-to-back non stop all day. 

The 10 am race went off without anything unexpected and they actually had a pretty decent track to run on. It was a good mix of everything and the days heat had not yet fully risen to scorching levels, affording the racers an enjoyable event. When the dust settled, or mud stopped flying as it were, Kevin Cunningham claimed another overall and his seventh win on this season. Landon Wolfe has been really bringing the fight to Cunningham all season but he just can’t find a way to be in the lead when it counts. That has to be frustrating but his day will come. Dwight Pollard claimed third in the 4x4 Pro and looked to be having a great race going during the two hour event. The WXC class was one to watch this round as Traci Pickens looked like she really wanted the win this round. She was hard on the throttle all day and brought her Yamaha to the checkered flag taking the win and earning more points as she heads for what looks like another WXC championship. Katelyn Osburn took second and it was Megan Shepard landing her Honda on the box with an excellent effort for third. Shepard has several WMX championships in her list of accomplishments in the ATV Motocross world and is doing her best to figure out the tree bashing side of this GNCC thing but once she does I think everyone better look out! 

Now I was pretty eager to get to the pro race and see if Walker Fowler had found some good vibes to bring here at the Penton. I was joking with him prior to the race, I blessed his quad and made him a four-leaf clover for good luck. So I take full credit for vanquishing the bad spirits that have had him by the neck as he put in a commanding performance and ran away with this one from start to finish. That is that, no hype, no game changing to his plan, it just all went his way and when that happens he is pretty much unbeatable. The race behind him was strong, very strong as Chris Borich and Jarrod McClure got locked into a brawl that ended only with the checkered flag telling them it was time to stop! Borich came out on top of this one with McClure taking third as this trio is becoming the norm on the podium. Brycen Neal came up just a bit short with fourth and Cole Richardson battled his way to the fifth spot as these two riders were really wanting a good showing here in Ohio. Adam McGill lives just a stones throw away from this area and suffered an issue early in the race that set him way back, which marks another race this fan favorite was not up front fighting for a podium finish. 

The UTV race was one worth watching as Kyle Chaney broke out his dancing shoes and tapped his way to the overall win, making that two in a row after dismal races in the first two rounds. Just behind him, the Miller brothers were tearing things up, one the track and the other his ride. Hunter Miller and co-pilot Adam McGill raced into scoring, taking home second with Jamie McCoy finding the box for the third time this season by taking away third here at The John Penton. The other half of the Miller Brother’s dynamic duo Cody Miller was a beacon of frustration after the race. He had a good race going until a mechanical issue set him aside and left him out of the race after 4 laps complete. Miller is usually a very upbeat, fun loving go easy kind of guy but this race he couldn’t hide his frustrations. Miller was feeling like so many others who compete at the highest level across so many classes that when things go wrong it lands heavy and really there is no way to just walk it off immediately after the race ends. Remaining professional as always, Millers face showed the world how a fire competitor can fall but we all know these guys will regroup and refocus and be back in the fight.

Hey that is all from me this week as I was preparing to go to Muddy Creek Tennessee for the ATVMX national. Plans changed when they were forced to cancel the event due to heavy rains last weekend and during this week so I have a very unexpected weekend off. For many that follow me on social media know that this time of year is garden season and this weather has been testing my patience. We have August heat in May and the plants are struggling to cope, as am I. Yesterday I spent almost 6 hours push mowing in the rain until it got so bad I had to stop. One thing you all have taught me is to just keep going and while at times my wife thinks I am just nuts, I smile and press on! As always, may God bless you all and please be safe in your journeys until we all meet in New York for another epic round of GNCC racing!

News From RacerTV!  

Don’t miss a full hour of GNCC Racing this Sunday, June 3, on NBC Sports Network!