GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #19: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #19: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, June 6, 2019 | 12:15 PM
Thursday, June 6, 2019 | 12:15 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill. 

Seven rounds are in the books as we’re now over halfway through the 2019 GNCC Racing season. It’s hard to believe that because it seems like just yesterday we were kicking the season off in the sands of Florida. They say time flies when you’re having fun, so there’s no doubt that we’re having fun. Now, if you’re not a big fan of muddy conditions then maybe you haven’t had quite as much fun but we’ve got our fingers crossed that these rainy conditions we’ve been faced with race after race will stay away. Next up is Snowshoe, and due to the numerous springs under the mountain there will always be mud there but here’s to hoping no additional rainfall comes on top of that! 

Before we roll into Snowshoe, the Racer Productions staff will have our hands full with the High Point Pro Motocross National, which is coming up next weekend. As usual, we do need a little extra help for this event and we always like to reach out to the GNCC Racing Nation, so here’s some details on what we need and how you can get involved! 

This is your chance to get up close to the fastest motocross racers in the world and get some great perks for your time and effort. We are looking for capable and hardworking racers that understand the importance of flagging and on-track safety. Must be 18 or older and experience is preferred. 

You will need to arrive to the track and meet at the Announcer's Tower at 6:30am on National race day Saturday. In consideration for your services the following items will be redeemable at the front gate for a total value to you of $250: 

Free weekend admission and pit access for you and two guests. ($140 value for guests)
Free weekend camping. ($60 value)
Free race entry to your next GNCC event. ($50 value) 

Pro Rig Guards
$10 per hour. Multiple shifts available throughout the weekend.
Contact Jessica Coombs at [email protected] or 304.284.0084 for the Flagger and Pro Rig Guard positions detailed above. 

MotoTees is looking for reliable staff to work Saturday. Please see below for more information.

7:30am - 5:30pm
Report to Rider Services/Will Call for ticket and then report to MotoTees trailer in Sponsor Village. Bring ID and a lunch. Contact MotoTees at [email protected] to make arrangements. 

Obviously these are the types of positions that need to be taken seriously. When we host motocross events I hold a meeting with the flaggers and always use a little question I picked up from our own Tim Cotter. I ask the group “did any of you pay to get in today?” and since all the flaggers are there to work, the obvious answer is a resounding “no”, which I follow with “Good. That means you’re not a spectator, and you have a job to do”. So, if you’re interested in helping out as a flagger and being on the track, then that’s great! But if you’re only interested in watching the race, we’ll be glad to sell you an admission ticket. Of course, as racers yourselves you all know how important that position is, especially when carrying the speeds the top professional racers carry. 

Switching gears back to GNCC, once again I summed up a bit on the Tomahawk for our friends at Racer X. Topics include the weather, Kailub Russell becoming the first repeat bike winner at Tomahawk, Steward Baylor’s charge, and a little on the XC2 class including an impressive ride from New York local “Batman” Ben Bouwens. Check it out HERE. If you ever have any suggestions on something to discuss in that article after a particular GNCC event, feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know what you think would make a cool story. 

That’s going to do it for the intro this week. We hope you enjoy your weekend off and whether you’re riding or not, stay safe and we’ll see you back here next week for another edition of Quick Fill. 

2019 GNCC University at Snowshoe (Kayla Bolton)

Racer Productions, producer of the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, is excited to announce the return of Yamaha’s GNCC University at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Yamaha’s top off-road ATV and motorcycle racers, along with select other top riders in the industry, will be on hand as instructors for this riding school, beginning just before the AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC, Round 8 of the 2019 GNCC season.

Led by Dean of Motorcycles, 7-Time AMA National Enduro Champion Randy Hawkins, this year’s bike instructors include 5-Time AMA National Hare Scramble Champion Jason Raines, XC1 rider Ricky Russell and WXC competitors Rachael Archer and Becca Sheets.

Professor of ATVs, XC1 Pro class rider Johnny Gallagher will lead this year’s Yamaha Racing ATV instructors, including 4-Time AMA National GNCC Champion Walker Fowler and 11-Time Women’s Class Champion Traci Pickens.

Reservations are on a first-come first-serve basis as there are only 40 spots each for both the bike and ATV disciplines - totaling 80 spots. Students must provide their own equipment and be at least 8 years of age, and machines must be 85cc or larger.

GNCC University is in session from June 19-21, 2019. Tuition, room and board—including meals throughout the school is $500 per student. Itinerary will be posted at a late date. Registration is now open through Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Reserve your spot NOW, call Snowshoe Reservations at 877-441-4386.

ISDE US Trophy Team Golf Tournament

The USA ISDE Trophy Teams are excited to present the Sixth Annual Golf Tournament Team Fundraiser at Snowshoe Mountain Resort’s Raven Golf Club on Friday, June 21. This unique golf tournament will assist in the team’s efforts to represent USA at the 2019 running of the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in Portimao, Portugal on November 11th-16th.

All proceeds from the event will go directly to the USA ISDE Team to help fund the transportation of our athletes to this prestigious event. If you have questions about this event or would like to learn how to donate to the team, please contact Jennifer Leads –[email protected] or Antti Kallonen - [email protected].

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER - If you are unable to attend and still wish to contribute to the USA ISDE Trophy Teams, donations can be made by selecting the “Donate” option on the online registration form.

What a race! 
What a race!  Ken Hill

Catching Up With Ken (Ken Hill)

So there I was, playing mechanic with a bit too much raw gas on my hands and a hot engine and poof! Thankfully we have the weekend “off” and that burn cream can be applied. I am always telling everyone to be careful and look at me go! It could have been far worse; after I put my hand out I put the Ranger out and did not burn down the garage so I have that going for me! Why is it that when we seem to have hit a point where we can really get things done or maybe the opposite, just take a few days and relax, that we get struck by an injury or some form of set back? If you figure out the answer to that please let me know! 

Anyway, was that a race, or was that a race! The weather could have beaten us up far worse than she did and the track itself was pretty good overall. I was pretty excited when Walker Fowler and Brycen Neal came in to view and it looked like a dogfight as they ripped through the field section before disappearing and then reentering the scoring area. It was a bit of a let down when Fowler popped back into view nearing the checkered flag with Cole Richardson on his grab bar after such a performance by Neal but Richardson wasn’t giving Fowler an inch of breathing room! I did not know what happened to Neal but when he came across the finish line I beat feet to see what the scoop was and be there, as emotions seemed to be at full tilt. I rounded the corner to see Neal and Fowler and was like oh my, this might not be good but there were big smiles, handshakes of a race that was off the hook and three competitors that gave it everything they had with no regrets. It seems a lapper and Neal tangled causing him to be taken out of the fight for first, which I’m sure, he’d like a mulligan on. 

What I took away from all this was that we might have rounded a corner. If we can see two or three riders to wear Fowler out they might stand a chance at giving him some competition. Go ahead, read that again. Is that what it is going to take to dethrone the champ, a multi rider effort to exhaust someone who seems all but untouchable? You may not be a Walker fan but if you don’t carry a bucket full of respect for what he has accomplished and continues to accomplish you might need to back up and regroup. It has been a phenomenal career thus far with no end in sight and just like the legends before him, Fowler is carving out his place in racing history and its been a pleasure to watch. 

Now Neal and Richardson showed some serious speed here as well as endurance as they took the fight to Walker and in my humble opinion it may be the tactic that’s needed to change up the way you race him. Are we going to witness something big at Snowshoe? It might not be the best round to call due to its rough and wild side where anything can happen, so time will tell but after that I have a feeling the winds are about to change just a bit. Of course Walker will just double down and seem to find speed and energy so there is that because that boy is a horse, tank, or even super human. 

The Saturday racing seems like a blur with the new format this season, or at least for me anyway. Its not that I don’t like it, hey its racing, but throw in the slightest hiccup and we are delayed or we have virtually no issues and things are at warp speed from the first row of Youth to the final peddle of the eMTB race. Its nutty, in fact chaos at times with no spare wiggle room so if I did not say hello or hang out a bit, you know why. I would say that when you finish the day and have to really think about who won what race, you’ve had a busy day! 

That about sums up Saturday as the racing clicked off and I could type some nonsense about each race but I couldn’t follow it. I know Landon Wolfe grabbed another win and wouldn’t you know that Megan Shepard took her first WXC win! In fact, two cross over racers found the podium this weekend as Haedyn Mickelson took third in 4x4 Pro after having a few rounds where he suffered mechanical issues so it was a great weekend for most! And Charlie Mullins cleaned house again during the eMTB race and let me tell you that race deserves some attention. 

The eMTB is quiet for sure and right off the bat here I am going to put this out there, keep your kids off the track and be mindful that these guys are indeed racing so when you are biking or walking, pay attention. I saw several racers nearly taken out by people not paying any attention while they horsed around on the track itself! This race is as important to them as your race is to you so tighten up and parents, know where your kids are. 

So, back to the racing. Well its not blazing fast downhill for sure but you have to look past that to see the endurance it takes be it a top athlete or just a guy/gal who enjoys competition and that form of racing. I mean its tough and seeing it play out and the demands it puts on a racer is really pretty intense. I got a chance to talk with a few top guys Sunday morning briefly and they were explaining how the things we usually don’t think about on the track can affect them. A small cut off sapling, a rut that destroys a derailleur, just another part of offload racing for sure. 

No complaining, they just have things to overcome seeing this is really the first of its kind unfolding round after round. I have no clue if it will lead to better product development but it sure makes for one evil test bed for a product that was not designed or purpose built to be brutalized in the conditions we all call normal. So if you get a chance at an upcoming round, grab a drink and burger and walk out and cheer these racers on, they would appreciate it and maybe you might get the urge to try it. 

Well that’s it for me this week. I did not think my crispy hand would allow me to type more than an email saying I had to sit this one out but I made it to the end! With a weekend off I forgot I had, I will get to be home for my oldest son’s birthday and we are going to do something we haven’t been able to do in quite some time, we are going racing! I am not taking a camera, just a pitboard and get back to what started this all. As always, be safe in all you do, remember that fire hurts and may the good Lord continue to bless us all! See you on the mountain! 

Graduation is happening again at Snowshoe!
Graduation is happening again at Snowshoe! Ken Hill

GNCC Graduation at Snowshoe

Racer Productions is calling all members of the Class of 2019. Whether you have graduated from elementary school, middle school, high school, college or a technical school, GNCC Racing wants to recognize you for your prestigious academic accomplishment.

The 2019 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, will be hosting the fourth annual Graduation Commencement Ceremony at the AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC Saturday evening beginning at 6 p.m. on the podium located in the center of the Village.

GNCC Racing recognizes the importance of education and would like to encourage all of our riders and families to come out and enjoy a night of celebration with our GNCC graduates. We also would like to urge our graduates to wear their cap and gown to the ceremony. If that is not possible, red or black caps will be available from GNCC Racing.

As a bonus, during the day a crafting station will be setup (location to be determined) where you can decorate the top of your cap. You may bring your own supplies or use what we have on site.


Want to see the checkered flag at Snowshoe? Here's some decent tips to make your race as successful as possible!
Want to see the checkered flag at Snowshoe? Here's some decent tips to make your race as successful as possible! Ken Hill

Snowshoe Survival Guide (Jared Bolton)

The toughest and most unique event of the season is coming up in just a couple of weeks and I thought it would be cool to go back to my roots and give a quick survival guide on Snowshoe. Back in 2010 off-road filmmaker Rob Mitchell, former Open-A/XC2 competitor Charkie Huegel and myself were behind the very unserious and lighthearted Offroad Junkies website. One of the coolest things we did were occasional articles that were ‘survival guides’ to particular events. They had some good advice, some decent advice, and some bad jokes but were pretty entertaining, so to pay tribute to those days, here is a quick survival guide to the Snowshoe GNCC. 

1 – Prepare Your Machine
One mistake that many folks make coming into Snowshoe is that they don’t prepare for the rugged terrain. They treat it like any other race and the rocky terrain ultimately causes some sort of mechanical issue. For the ATV crowd, big tires to climb over the big rocks and a good skid plate will help out big time. Also making sure your tie-rods and ball joints are in tip-top shape will keep you from ending your day early. For bike racers, simply having mousse tubes or at least heavy-duty inner tubes is huge. Just like ATV racers, a good skid plate will help a bike racer as well, and for those spots with spectators to lend a hand, some sort of strap on the front forks will be good just in case you get stuck. 

2 – Prepare Your Mind
It’s Snowshoe! It’s the modern-day tribute to the Blackwater 100. Yes, we know there are no river crossings and it’s not quite as tough as Blackwater was but it’s the closest you’ll come in a season of GNCC Racing. Because of this, a large following of fans flock to Snowshoe each year and what better place to watch an ATV and motorcycle race? The mountain has just about every amenity you could ask for, including restaurants and bars. Don’t let this atmosphere ruin your race! Remember, if you’re here to race, then you’re here to race and not to party. Or at least save that until after the race.

On top of that, Snowshoe is a mentally tough event as well. The challenging terrain may take its toll on you both physically and mentally, so don’t let the mountain get the best of you. For some folks, simply finishing the event is an accomplishment all in itself, so remember that you’re here for fun and making it to the checkered flag is your top priority.

3 –Prepare For Anything
Snowshoe sits at a peak elevation of 4,848 feet. This is actually West Virginia’s second highest point just behind Spruce Knob, which sits at 4,863. Snowshoe is also within the 40 highest points east of the Mississippi River, which means the weather can be unpredictable. Pack for temperatures that could hit the mid-70s, but also be prepared for temperatures that could drop into the 40s. Snowshoe’s record high for the month of June was 82 degrees, while the record low was 29.

This also applies to the racetrack. Not just with the weather but the unpredictability of what you may encounter during the race. Snowshoe is littered with rocks, roots, natural springs, and mud. There are areas where the track is tough and slow going, but there are other areas where you’ll have to pop out onto a fast road or ski slope for a bit. Some guys tend to be a bit critical of these fast areas, but unfortunately due to the lay of the land at Snowshoe, you have to get on these fast trails just to get back and forth. Those have always been part of the course, and actually if you ever watch some of the old Blackwater 100 videos, there were even some fast roads at Blackwater as well.

Pitstops for fuel are a perfect time to get fresh goggles and fresh gloves. New goggles and new gloves after being covered in mud can make even the toughest racer feel like a new man (or woman!)

4 – Prepare Your Technology
If your cell carrier is AT&T, then you can expect to find cell service at Snowshoe. If not, then you’re out of luck. There are a lot of areas where you can find free Wi-Fi but due to the geographic location of Snowshoe, cell service is extremely limited. This is because Snowshoe is located within the United States National Radio Quiet Zone. In a nutshell, the Radio Quiet Zone is a pretty large area in West Virginia, Virginia and a small piece of Maryland where radio transmissions are restricted due to scientific research and military intelligence. The area around Snowshoe is even more restricted as just eight miles away is the Green Bank Observatory. This is home of the world’s largest steerable radio telescope.

So, given these large and important scientific areas, cell service is very limited at Snowshoe. Coming from the south, the last area you’ll have good cell service would be somewhere around Marlinton, WV on highway 219. If you’re coming from the north and pass through Elkins, WV on your way, then your last spot of good cell service will be around Huttonsville, WV just as you turn onto Highway 219. Like I mentioned, once you make it to Snowshoe there are areas where Wi-Fi is available but if you’re glued to your phone 24/7, then be prepared to lose service in areas. 

5 – Prepare A Wicked Awesome Playlist
Remember when I said these survival guides contain some bad jokes? Well, here it is. If you stream music on your phone, then be prepared to lose cell service on your way to Snowshoe. This means you should be prepared with a wicked awesome playlist available offline that you can still enjoy. Make sure to add some rockin’ tunes that should get any racer pumped up. Kenny Rogers, Sam and Dave, Squeeze, and Conway Twitty should get anyone pumped. I’m kidding, but make sure you put Baba O’Riley on any playlist you make… That’s the “real” name of ‘Teenage Wasteland’ in case you’re unfamiliar. 

So there you have it! Five little tips that will help make your weekend at Snowshoe as successful as possible. You’ve still got some time to prepare, but it will sneak up on you before you know it. So don’t waste time, get ready to go GNCC Racing at Snowshoe!