Walker Fowler has already come a long way, but according to him he still has a lot further to go. Last weekend’s Tomahawk GNCC marked his 50th overall ATV win, an impressive number by any standards! It moves him into third place on the all-time ATV wins leaderboard as well. I talked with Walker about how he got here and where he wants to go with the rest of his career.
GNCCRacing.com: Congrats on earning your 50th GNCC win! What does this accomplishment mean to you?
Walker Fowler: It honestly doesn’t feel real… It’s making me feel old if anything! (laughs) To imagine 50 career wins at 26 years old, it’s just such an eye-opening experience. Especially thinking about all of the racers before me and when and how they did it, it truly doesn’t seem possible that I’m in the same playing field.
Fifty wins is a lot, so I’m guessing you probably don’t remember every single one in exact detail. Are there any that really stand out in your memory though?
I remember the first 3 very vividly. My first overall win at Rock Run in 2011 was incredible! It was a perfect storm of a weird track, weird rider position, and me having a really good day. No way around it, I showed up to race the best and lucked into the best. It was luck. But I got a taste of winning and to this day it’s never felt right any other way. I went on to win Unadilla in 2011 by 6 seconds and I was one of few riders to do the sky shot jump all 6 laps. Number 3 came from Ironman in 2012 where I expected to win several overalls my rookie pro year, but up until that didn’t win. It was a great race. And that same track [Ironman] was the home of the infamous Fowler/Borich duel where we went head to head all day and swapped leads over 10 times. To this day that’s still one of the most dramatic races, even though Borich would ultimately win in the final 6 turns. It’s a race I will never forget, and until a rider does the same to me, it’s a race that will never be beaten as far as challenge and difficulty goes. I think Chris will always win my “best defeat” race award, but time will tell.
What are some of the things you think have enabled you to be so successful and consistent over I’ll your pro career?
My team and my family are the backbone to my success. I’m a terrible mechanic. I’m awful at time management. But my family, my girlfriend, and my team have made me become one of GNCC’s most successful GNCC ATV racers and I cannot repay them for that. It’s 100% a team effort and I have the best and strongest core of a team to date; I would put them against anyone.
Are there any particular types of terrain or specific races that you excel at? Any you aren’t really a fan of?
I prefer a dry and fast track. I get great starts, and I prefer to run away and hide. It’s getting more difficult to do that as more riders figure out the speed of a typical GNCC, but when I find an opportunity to run I take it!
Can you tell us a little about your race at Tomahawk on Saturday?
It’s #2 so far on my list of unforgettable races. Neal and Richardson both rode fantastic races, and made my day hell. Every move I made it seemed like they had a counter for it. If I went left, they went right and it was better and so on. BUT, in the last 3 miles, Neal was leading and I sensed a lapped rider was going to make an error and in one case that day I was correct. I made a hard right into a slower line and Neal tangled with said lapped rider which allowed Richardson and myself by. I practice a lot of field turns and felt prepared to hold my place in the final miles.
Was there a little extra pressure given that this win would make number fifty?
The more a milestone is talked about the more everyone feeds on it. I’m sure the competition was as hungry to stop said milestone as I was to achieve it. It’s nature.
With your win at Tomahawk, you’ve passed Barry Hawk to take over the third spot on the career win leaderboard. How does that feel?
What a cool guy and even cooler family. Even though I have more ATV wins now, I will never get the 19 dirt bike wins he’s won. No racer today will ever do it again. It’s literally impossible. So, to Barry and family, know that you’ve done something that will never, ever, be done again and that’s coming from a guy who had the opportunity to do so with my background [having raced both bikes and ATVs]. I don’t know how you did it, sir!
Right now, Borich leads with I believe 75 total wins. Do you think you have another 25 in you? That’s nearly two full seasons worth of wins...
I think I can reach it, that’s the racer mentality in all of us. And Chris isn’t done winning, so that number is only going to continue to grow. I believe 100 wins are possible. If or when I do that, and win the championships I want to win, it will likely be the end of Walker Fowler, the racer. There’s more to life than racing, and frankly if I ever get to that mark, I truly believe I will retire and it will be the next racer in line to achieve the unthinkable. Even just at 26, I hate how I feel when I wake up every morning after training or racing, and I want to enjoy the other things in life before my body won’t let me. BUT, I wouldn’t trade this life or these opportunities for anything, and I would do it exactly the same if I had the opportunity to do it over! This will be one of the greatest chapters of my life. Racing is a sick addiction, and when I see the same fire that I have in the eyes of the young racers out there I can only smile and know that the future is good.
Do you have any other major career goals that you’re shooting for right now?
10 championships, in addition to those 100 career wins. I have a feeling they might happen around the same time if my math is correct and I continue winning the way I know how to.
Who would you like to thank?
My family. It’s impossible to describe the sacrifices they’ve made so I could live my dream. I know it sounds like a fairy tale, but we almost didn’t make it. I cannot describe my profound love for my mom and dad who believed a career in ATV racing was actually possible. My mechanic Mark Notman is my older brother from another mother, and we click so well together. He knows me better than I know me, it’s scary. Yamaha has been with me since 2009, so all 50 wins have been aboard a Yamaha YFZ450R. Without Yamaha, and their incredible machines, we wouldn’t be nearly as far as we’ve made it. Aside from that I have such a long list of sponsors, most of which have been with me since the beginning of my career.
GBC tires, FLY Racing, Lonestar Racing, MXP, Fox, FMF, Hill International Truck, Fasst Goldspeed Wheels, Hinson Racing, Alpinestars, Atlas Brace, SSI Decals, Tireballs, Precision, AntiGravity Batteries, WebCams, WorksConnection, Fuel Customs, Vortex Ignition, Scott Goggles, Intense fabrication , Waynesburg Yamaha, Cycra, Cometic Gasket, CV4, IMS, ODI grips, DP brakes, Gytr, Maxima, CryoHeat, D&V, VP racing fuels, BNR, Grenade Coatings and RCP
All the kids and all the fans too