GNCC Racing

The Specialized General GNCC: eMTB Race Report

The Specialized General GNCC: eMTB Race Report

Friday, March 27, 2020 | 2:05 PM
Friday, March 27, 2020 | 2:05 PM

The Specialized General GNCC: eMTB Race Report
Charlie Mullins Overall Winner at Opening Round

WASHINGTON, Ga. (March 27, 2020) – The first round of the 2020 Specialized Turbo eMTB GNCC National Championship took place on Saturday, March 14th . One of the notable features of this venue is the red clay that makes up the bulk of the property. It gets insanely slippery when wet and can also be a bit slippery when dry, when the loose dirt sits on top of hard-packed clay. And that clay does pack down very hard, making a solid and fast surface to ride on.

The Specialized Turbo eMTB GNCC National Championship kicked off at The General GNCC in Washington, Georgia on Saturday, March 14th.
The Specialized Turbo eMTB GNCC National Championship kicked off at The General GNCC in Washington, Georgia on Saturday, March 14th. Ken Hill

The riders couldn’t have asked for a better race day: perfect ground conditions, no rain, with temperatures hovering around the sixties. For the most part the eMTB course was dry, with only one or two minor wet spots. The course featured classic mountain bike single-track and only shared the start and finish with the motorcycle/ATV courses. There were a few slightly technical spots as well, but nothing that would give an average Cat 2 rider any trouble. At roughly the halfway point of the course, there was a sharp hairpin turn into a shallow valley with a hump immediately afterward. The tree roots were a common theme, most were not large, but they made up for their small size with sheer prevalence.

Of the sixty eMTB racers competing at The General GNCC, which is the largest GNCC eBike turnout thus far, Charlie Mullins was the overall winner in the premier XC1 Pro eMTB class.

Former GNCC XC1 Pro and current defending GNCC eMTB National Champion Mullins had to fight hard for that win in Georgia. After the start stretch he was sitting in eighth place out of nine riders. By the end of the first lap he had battled through the field making the pass on William Pregram III, who had taken an early lead. However, Pregram III, Seth Stevens, John Ayers Jr and Jeff McCarren were all close behind, separated by a mere eleven seconds. By the next lap Mullins had twenty seconds on Pregram III, and he continued to put time on the rest of the pack as the race wore on. Mullins would come through the finish line, earning the win by over a minute.

Defending 2019 GNCC eMTB National Champion, Charlie Mullins, clinched the first win of the 2020 season.
Defending 2019 GNCC eMTB National Champion, Charlie Mullins, clinched the first win of the 2020 season. Ken Hill

There was still a good battle going between second, third and fourth. Fifth-place McCarren had dropped off the pace by lap four. However, he still had enough in the tank to fend off a last-lap sprint from sixth place. On the fourth lap, Pregram III dropped to fourth place, allowing Stevens into third and Ayers Jr into second, which he would hold on to until the checkered flag. Pregram stayed in fourth most of the remainder of the race, but passed Stevens on the last lap for the final podium position.

When asked about his race and the event itself, Mullins said “My race went pretty well. I made a couple mistakes in the start and lost a few positions, but by the end of the first lap I was able to get into the lead and ride my own race. The course conditions were perfect and I had a blast. The race production crew did a great job this year on the course. It was also great to see the biggest eBike turnout to date!”

In the Amateur class, James Mayhew held the lead for almost the entire race. Almost, of course, being the key word. Hayden Dillion had fallen into a groove behind him, and never came through the scoring zone more than six seconds away. The race ended in a sprint finish. Dillion passed for the lead on the last lap, though Mayhew wasn’t letting him go easy. The two crossed the finish 1.1 seconds apart. Sam Kemp finished third after working his way up from a fifth place start. He was unable to hang with the lead pack but outdistanced fourth by an equal margin, which meant he rode most of the race by himself.

Hayden Dillon came away with the Amateur class win this season.
Hayden Dillon came away with the Amateur class win this season. Ken Hill

Dillion was pretty excited about the race, saying “My race went great. I got off to a great start, getting third into the woods. I settled into second for the whole race, then made my move on the last lap to get into the lead. I pushed as hard as I could all the way to the finish and took the win. The GNCC crew laid out a great course and I had a blast out there.”

In the Women’s class it was longtime GNCC WXC motorcycle racer, Rachel Gutish, earning the win in her first-ever eMTB race. She faced serious competition from pro downhill racer and Specialized Bicycles own, Emily Oppliger. Oppliger had made the trek from Arizona to give GNCC eMTB racing a try. The two were neck and neck the entire race, separated by less than a second each time they passed through the scoring zone. It looked as though Oppliger would take the win after she outpowered Gutish on a climb halfway through the last lap. However, Gutish was able to make a pass in a tight section with multiple lines near the end of the course, barely taking the win. Ashley Hendershot, 2019 Women’s eMTB National Champion, charged her way onto the podium with a third in the Women’s class.

Rachel Gutish battled throughout the day, bringing home the Women's class win.
Rachel Gutish battled throughout the day, bringing home the Women's class win. Ken Hill

Gutish said she was a little nervous going into the race. “When I line up for a dirt bike race, especially a GNCC, I know what I’m doing, what the course will be like, who I’ll be racing with, and usually have an idea of where I’ll stack up. But in this there were just a lot of unknowns since I’d never raced a bicycle. But I ended up having a fantastic time! Emily Oppliger and I were together the entire race and the battles were epic.”

In the Masters class, Barry Wray took the win after leading from start to finish. He was able to put over twenty seconds a lap on next closest rider, Colin Dierman, and had plenty of breathing room by the end of the race. Dierman was in a similar position, putting serious time on third. John Ayers SR rounded out the podium in third place, after battling back and forth throughout the race with Ian Smith.

Barry Wray earned the Masters (50+) eMTB class win at round one.
Barry Wray earned the Masters (50+) eMTB class win at round one. Ken Hill

Wray was excited about his race, not just because of his race but also because of who he was racing with. “I lined up two bikes to the right from a legend, Dick Burlson [eight-time National Enduro champion for Husqvarna], all I can say is wow!” As for the race itself, Wray told us “I got a good start and just tried to put my head down and ride a consistent race, conserving my battery as much as possible. The course was really good! Mostly single track with lots of tight stuff and a few technical challenges. For anyone who has ever raced a motorcycle and a mountain bike, the eMTB class is the perfect challenge. It is still extremely physically challenging but incredible fun at the same time. I can’t wait for round two!”

In the youth class it was the 2019 Youth eMTB National Champion, Talon Hawk getting off to a promising start. Hawk would lead the pack of youth racers as they came around on lap one. Hawk would eventually ensue in a battle with fellow youth racers, and manage to hold onto a fifth in the class as the checkered flag came out. Mitch Hawkins worked his way into the lead briefly, before getting passed again by Cooper Kuneff. Hawkins passed Kuneff back in one of the open field sections on lap five and this time was able to quickly pull away. Hawkins and Kuneff were the only two riders to stay on the lead lap. Third place finisher Jacob McPherson in all reality was not terribly far off – he was only fifteen seconds down on his last lap, but that fifteen seconds was enough to let the overall leader come between him and the finish line.

Mitch Hawkins battled through the pack to take the lead, and earn the first win of the season in the Youth class.
Mitch Hawkins battled through the pack to take the lead, and earn the first win of the season in the Youth class. Ken Hill

When asked about his race, Hawkins said “Off the start I got into fourth or fifth. Once we got into the woods I made it into the top three. On lap three I got past third, and was now behind Cooper [Kuneff], the leader. I rode behind him and watched his lines. On lap five I passed him in an open straightaway leading into the woods. I was faster than him in the woods, therefore I never saw him again.”

Round two of the Specialized Turbo eMTB GNCC National Championship Series is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 2nd in Somerset, Pennsylvania, at the Mountain Ridge GNCC.

For more information on the GNCC Series, visit the official website at or call (304) 284-0084. Join the conversation and be sure to always hashtag #GNCC.

The General GNCC eMTB
Washington, GA
Round 1 of 7
Saturday, March 14th

XC1 Pro Race Results

  1. Charlie Mullins   (SPE)
  2. John Ayers   (SPE)
  3. William Pregram IV   (SPE)
  4. Seth Stevens   (SPE)
  5. Jeff McCarren   (SPE)

XC1 Pro Points Standings

  1. Charlie Mullins   (SPE) 20
  2. John Ayers   (SPE) 19
  3. William Pregram IV   (SPE) 18
  4. Seth Stevens   (SPE) 17
  5. Jeff McCarren   (SPE) 16

Amateur Race Results

  1. Hayden Dillon   (SPE)
  2. James Mayhew   (SPE)
  3. Sam Kemp   (SPE)
  4. Alex Metz   (SPE)
  5. Isacc Rowland   (OTH)

Amateur Points Standings

  1. Hayden Dillon   (SPE) 20
  2. James Mayhew   (SPE) 19
  3. Sam Kemp   (SPE) 18
  4. Alex Metz   (SPE) 17
  5. Isacc Rowland   (OTH) 16

Women Race Results

  1. Rachel Gutish   (SPE)
  2. Emily Opplinger   (SPE)
  3. Ashley Hendershot   (SPE)
  4. Ashley Licari   (FAN)
  5. Jessica Haftl   (SPE)

Women Points Standings

  1. Rachel Gutish   (SPE) 20
  2. Emily Opplinger   (SPE) 19
  3. Ashley Hendershot   (SPE) 18
  4. Ashley Licari   (FAN) 17
  5. Jessica Haftl   (SPE) 16


Masters Race Results

  1. Barry Wray   (SPE)
  2. Colin Dierman   (SPE)
  3. John Ayers   (SPE)
  4. Ian Smith   (SCO)
  5. Brad Myers   (SPE)

Masters Points Standings

  1. Barry Wray   (SPE) 20
  2. Colin Dierman   (SPE) 19
  3. John Ayers   (SPE) 18
  4. Ian Smith   (SCO) 17
  5. Brad Myers   (SPE) 16

Youth Race Results

  1. Mitch Hawkins   (SPE)
  2. Cooper Kuneff   (SPE)
  3. Jacob McPherson   (SPE)
  4. Nathan Edens   (SPE)
  5. Talon Hawk   (HAI)

Youth Points Standings

  1. Mitch Hawkins   (SPE) 20
  2. Cooper Kuneff   (SPE) 19
  3. Jacob McPherson   (SPE) 18
  4. Nathan Edens   (SPE) 17
  5. Talon Hawk   (HAI) 16

How to Watch

Racer TV and MAVTV are the official homes for broadcast coverage of the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) events. All 13 rounds, from the season opening Big Buck GNCC in South Carolina to the finale at Ironman Raceway in Indiana, will air in taped-delayed telecasts on MAVTV, while Racer TV provides live streaming coverage of the 2 p.m. ATV and 1 p.m. motorcycle pro races from each event. Catch all the action at and

About GNCC Racing

The Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Specialized is the World’s premier off-road racing series for motorcycles, ATV’s and eMTB’s. Founded in 1975, the 13-round championship is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross-country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The grueling two and three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 2,400 riders through racetracks ranging in length from eight to 12 miles. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks, and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. The series draws talent from all over the U.S., Central America, South America, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Visit

About eMTB Racing

The Specialized Turbo eMTB GNCC National Championship brings off-road racing and pedal-assist or electric bicycles together for an eight-round championship produced by Racer Productions. Much like a typical cross-country racing event, these races feature varied terrain including hills, rocks, roots, and more. Limited to electric or pedal assist model mountain bikes only, the championship was added to the GNCC Series in 2019. Visit

About the American Motorcyclist Association

Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world's largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders' interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. Visit Not a member? Join the AMA today: