GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Brewer Cawley

Tuesday Toolbox: Brewer Cawley

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 | 4:10 PM
Tuesday, February 19, 2019 | 4:10 PM

This year’s winner of the Bike Amateur Rider of the Year award is Brewer Cawley. This 18 year-old from Lexington, SC raced the 250 A class last year and will be making his pro debut in the XC2 class this weekend at Big Buck. Brewer graduated from his local high school last season, and was accepted to USC Upstate for college, before his championship and before he realized he would be starting a pro racing career this season. So, he is currently balancing racing and school. We look forward to seeing what he accomplishes both on and off the bike over the next several years!

Brewer Cawley earned the 2018 Amateur Rider of the Year Award and the 250 A National Championship.
Brewer Cawley earned the 2018 Amateur Rider of the Year Award and the 250 A National Championship. Ken Hill Congrats on your Amateur Rider of the Year award! How does it feel to win it?

Brewer Cawley: Oh, it feels great! It was a year of events – I had a lot of good rides, and really just tried to stay consistent and be as smart as I could. Winning this really motivates me to work hard for XC2, honestly.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Well, I’m 18 years old, from Lexington, SC. I grew up going to public school while racing, we never did homeschool or anything. Before I graduated high school last year, I was accepted to USC upstate. All this happened before I won my championship. So, right now I’m in my freshman year of  college and will be racing XC2 this upcoming season. I feel like I’m managing it pretty well, but we’ll see how it goes.

Believe me, I know how that balancing act feels! What are some of your strategies for managing both racing and college?

My biggest thing that helps me focus on racing is keeping to myself. The biggest distraction in college is hanging out with friends. It’s easier for me if I hang out with myself (laughs). I spend that time going to the gym – there’s always something you can be doing, even if it’s just stretching for an extra ten minutes.

Cawley earned the 250 A class win at Big Buck last season, which is also his home state race.
Cawley earned the 250 A class win at Big Buck last season, which is also his home state race. Ken Hill

Are you able to ride much during the week, or are you pretty much restricted to the gym?

With school, I only get to ride one day during the week. So, I make sure that every time I get on the bike I take advantage of it and make it count!

How did you get started riding in the first place?

When I was four years old, my dad and I loved to watch supercross. This was back in the days of Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart, when they were battling. I told him I wanted a bike, but he would never actually do it. Then a good friend of ours got one for his fifth birthday. After that I just went crazy, and finally he got me a bike for Christmas that year. It was a little PW 50 with training wheels. He told my mom that the wheels should stay on there for at least three months, but I think that they only lasted three days (laughs). I had the time of my life on that thing! I raced motocross from 2005 up until 2013, and then I’ve been in the woods ever since.

What made you want to switch from moto to woods racing?

The woods was something new… I didn’t really get burnt out on moto, but I did want to try something new. We started of with SETRA, and then moved to racing the Mid-East. In 2014 I did my first GNCC, racing in the Schoolboy class. I love woods racing, it’s just so much fun!

Cawley earned three class wins, and never finished outside of the top 10 in his class.
Cawley earned three class wins, and never finished outside of the top 10 in his class. Ken Hill

For sure! Can you tell me a little bit about how your season went?

At Big Buck, I started of the year with my first ever 250 A win and top amateur win! It felt really good and was a great way to begin the season. We went down to Florida – I was still feeling good and won my class, but Bryce Koster beat me for the top amateur. Really, the first six rounds were pretty much the same thing: I stayed on the amateur overall podium at all of them, just focusing on being smart and consistent. John Penton was a rough one. I struggled a little bit because of the conditions. I still was third in class but didn’t make the amateur overall podium. To be honest though, I’m just glad that I made it through. Tomahawk also wasn’t great. I screwed up. I was trying to time the flag and ended up jumping it and starting my bike early. My first lap through the barrels I was black-flagged and pulled aside to wait out my time penalty of somewhere between 30 seconds to a minute. There was a lot of drama there and it was really stressful. But I was able to pull myself together and charge my way back up to third in class and fifth in the amateur overall. Snowshoe, I usually struggle hard there. But this year I was riding well and passed for the lead at about the halfway point. That FMF Powerline hill got me good there at the end though and I ended up 6th. At Mason-Dixon things started to turn around again. I placed second both in class and overall, in addition to wrapping up the 250 A championship there. Powerline and Ironman I was third and second in the overall, and the consistency of being on the overall podium so much was enough for me to take home the Amateur Overall!

I’m sure it was a relief to wrap up your class championship early, but since you were still fighting for that amateur overall, so you were probably still pushing pretty hard ….

I don’t think I really changed anything in how I went into the races after Mason-Dixon. I still had to do well to wrap up the Top Amateur. The big thing is trying to avoid dumb mistakes, because there’s nothing more frustrating than knowing you have the speed to win but then almost beating yourself when mistakes push you back.  

Cawley looks to take on the XC2 class this season.
Cawley looks to take on the XC2 class this season. Ken Hill

Based on your overall finishes this season versus last season, it looks like you made some serious improvement! What do you think changed?

The biggest thing I changed was training off the bike. The previous season I wasn’t training even half of what I needed to be. Now, I’ve been training hard since the start of last off-season, and I haven’t really stopped since then. You really just have to keep going and keep your body on a good program.

What are you plans for this season?

My goal is to continue to show improvement. Being a rookie in the XC2 class, I am coming in with high expectations, but I’m not going to let it get to me. I want to focus on building off of each race and continuing to get better.

What is one interesting, non-motorsports related thing about you?

I like to cook! I’ll whip up pretty much anything for anyone. My mom got me started cooking. I’ve been cooking with her since I was little.

And who would you like to thank?

I want to thank my dad for being an awesome mechanic – thanks to him I didn’t have any bike problems all last year! I want to thank my mom for her support as well. Thanks to all my sponsors as well: Raines Racing, Columbia Powersports, Chad Davis Racing, Fly Racing, Factory Connection Suspension, Enduro Engineering, DP Brakes, FMF, IMS, WPS, HBD Motografix, Yamalube, Dunlop, Acerbis, Fuel Clothing, TM Designworks, GYTR, Rekluse, GPR Stabilizers, Seat Concepts and Weisco Pistons.