GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Joseph Cunningham

Tuesday Toolbox: Joseph Cunningham

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 | 1:00 PM
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 | 1:00 PM

Joseph Cunningham has had an incredible season! Not only did he wrap up the YXC1 title and win every single GNCC so far, he also beat Steward Baylor’s record for consecutive overall wins! Cunningham is 15 years old from Murray City, Ohio. He rides for Tely Energy on a KTM, and will be moving up to the afternoon race next season. Keep an eye on this young rider, as it looks like he has a bright future in racing.

Ken Hill Congrats on wrapping up the YXC1 title with a perfect season so far! What does it mean to you to earn this title?

Joseph Cunningham: Thank you! It means everything to me; this is something we worked really hard for. It really raises my confidence too, and I’m looking forward to the last couple rounds of the season.

You also broke a record for consecutive youth wins, right?

Yes, the record for the most consecutive overall wins. High Voltage was my ninth win. Stu Baylor previously had the record with eight overalls. The record itself doesn’t mean much, it’s just bragging rights really, but knowing that I did something better than Stu did as a youth rider reminds me that he was once in my shoes and I could climb up to the pro ranks just like he did!

Tell me a little bit about how this all started for you.

My dad was racing local hare scrambles back when I was just a baby, so I grew up around it. I started riding on a PW 50 when I was about four years old. I started off doing local hare scrambles like he did and some local motocross races also.

When was your first GNCC?

It was in 2011 at the John Penton on my mini adventure. We decided to do that first one just because I wanted to try something new, and we’ve been doing them ever since.

Ken Hill

How did your first few years of GNCC racing go?

I wasn’t very consistent or competitive at first. I might grab a podium here or there, but that was about it. We were mostly just there to have fun.

Obviously you are a very consistent and competitive rider now – what changed?

As time went by I started to get faster, and I thought if I focused on this more I would have a shot ruing with the top guys. So, I quit playing all school sports so I could ride all the time and be as competitive as possible.

What is your training regimen like?

Honestly, I keep it simple. I run and I ride as much as I can, and really try to get my heart rate up as high as possible.

Ken Hill

What are your plans for next season?

I will be riding one of the A classes in the three-hour race. I’m not sure which class Tely Energy wants me in yet though. I’m thinking probably 200 A, but we aren’t certain yet.

Do you have any longer-term goals for the future?

I want to be racing dirt bikes for a living as soon as I graduate high school. That will be in 2022.

Why are you passionate about racing?

It’s just something I really enjoy doing. I like being on the bike no matter where I’m at or what the conditions are like.

Ken Hill

What are some things you like to do when you aren’t riding?

I enjoy working on my bikes and simply having friends come over and having a good time doing stuff with them.

And who would you like to thank?

Todd Ely, my mechanic Kevin Ganoe, Levi Kilbarger for doing my suspension, Antti Kallonen, Tely Energy Racing, Garrett Ward, Motion Pro, Evans Coolant, Moose Racing, Alpinestars, Scott Motorsports, the whole XC Gear crew, Bell Helmets, Kenda Tire, Morgantown Powersports, IMS Products, Spectro Oil, Cometic Gaskets, Twin Air, G2 Ergonomics, ODI Grips and Senge Graphics. But most of all I want to thank my Dad! The guy does anything and everything for me and my brothers. He works all day only to come how and help out with bikes and replace parts. He could be doing whatever he wanted to in life, but he sticks by my side and spends his money so I am able to do what I love to do. I hope someday I can be half the man that he is!