GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #17: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #17: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, April 30, 2020 | 4:25 PM
Thursday, April 30, 2020 | 4:25 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill.

This is an exciting week because we’ve got some news to talk about! By now you’ve likely seen the PR stating that we’re TENTATIVELY planning to get back to racing on the weekend of May 16-17 in Georgia. In case you haven’t read the PR, you can view the whole thing HERE, but the big news in the PR states that we’re working with local officials and landowners in Georgia and South Carolina to make a return to racing. There are still some details to finalize, so it’s not 100% set in stone just yet but we’re really hopeful this all comes together.

If this comes together, the Georgia round would see a return to Aonia Pass. We realize that’s not the absolute most ideal scenario, however, Georgia and South Carolina are on the fast track to welcoming group gatherings sooner than other locations. A return to Aonia Pass makes the most sense as it puts us in an area that is familiar with GNCC Racing and the local officials know what to expect. For one, it’s tough to find properties large enough to host a GNCC event, and it’s much easier to make a large event happen when the local officials know what to prepare for, so going to an all-new location isn’t exactly feasible.

The good news is when we left Georgia back in March the track crew did a good bit of work to reclaim the trails. The plan would also see a few changes to the course as well, so don’t expect to head back to Aonia Pass and ride the exact same track we had in March. Of course, as I’ve already mentioned, this is not entirely set in stone just yet but we’re working diligently to make it happen and at this point I’m sure the majority of you are happy to have the opportunity to go racing, even if it’s at a location we’ve already visited.

Obviously it’s still too far out to get a good gauge of weather but as of right now the Weather Channel app calls for good weather through the Thursday prior to that May 16-17 weekend. We hope this leads to drying out a few of the spots that were a little sloppy when we were last in Georgia. Regardless, we would try to avoid as many of those low, wet spots that got difficult last time but a little bit of mud is just the nature of off-road racing! Also, it will likely be pretty warm, so hydration will be key. We’ve had some time off, so jumping right back in and riding in the heat will be tough. It’s best to start now!

Things will be a bit different when we return, as there will be some changes to how everything operates. Social Distancing options and best practices for things such as gate entry, sign up, start procedures and more are all being discussed and we’ll have details on all of that as soon as possible. However, I’m just excited we’re even having this conversation because I, like so many of you, can’t wait to get back to the track.

Now we’ll move onto the other big news of the week. FactoryONE Sherco released a statement earlier this week stating that they have parted ways with Steward Baylor. It was just an incredibly short announcement that simply said “Effective immediately, FactoryONE Sherco and its partners have parted ways with Steward Baylor Jr. FactoryONE Sherco official will not be available for comment.” And that was it! There have been no further details from Sherco, nor Steward, so I really can’t comment on what led to the ending of their relationship. There’s been a lot of speculation online, but until one party releases a statement explaining the situation, we’ll just leave the reasoning alone.

The big question now is what does this mean for Stu? Obviously we’ve still got a couple of weeks before we return to racing and I would expect Stu to put together something but the lingering question is do we see him show up back on a KTM, or does someone else step in to provide support? Regardless of what he shows up riding, a lot of eyes will be on Stu when racing resumes, because this is the exact type of situation where he may pull out one of those epic performances, similar to the 2019 season opener in Florida. If you don’t remember, Stu straight up beat the two riders everyone expected to be battling for the win; Kailub Russell and Thad Duvall. Both Russell and Duvall admitted they waited too long to push and had nothing for Steward at the end.

Steward felt he had something to prove that day because someone who shall remain nameless (yeah, it was me!) didn’t discuss Stu as a rider to watch in 2019 in a pre-season article I wrote for the Racer X website… Sorry again Stu, I still say you got the last laugh. This is a different situation but if Stu is able to show up on a bike he’s comfortable on, he very well put in yet another “beast mode” ride.

FactoryONE Sherco will still be going GNCC Racing though because they’ve still got Grant Baylor on the roster. Obviously this will end up being a bit of a unique situation, but it’s not the first time we’ve seen a rider change brands in the middle of the season. One that stands out is Chris Bach who signed with Factory Beta in 2011, and continued with the brand into 2012. However, after the first four rounds Bach and Beta mutually agreed to part ways and Bach finished out the season on a Yamaha. This situation sounds a bit different, but regardless, I would expect to see Stu on something with two wheels and a motor when we return to racing, it’s just tough to say exactly what color it is, and how much support he’ll have.

This week we put together another Behind the Bars episode, and this time it was the 2009 Big Buck ATV race where Chris Borich and Adam McGill battled down to the wire. These guys were actually the first repeat guests on the show, and it’s a good one. It’s a good race, and as usual Adam McGill always has something entertaining to say. Check it out below!

We’ll do another Behind the Bars episode next week but if we’re able to return to racing the following week, the Behind the Bars series will likely become a little less frequent. We want to keep these rolling, but obviously when there’s an event happening we’re focused on that. So just because there might be a break in seeing those shows every week doesn’t mean they’re done for good. Stay tuned; we’ve still got some really big ideas for future shows as well.

Now, you might think, “so, the race is on the weekend?” and yes, you’re right but the guests we’d have on the show are using that week leading up to the event to train, and the staff that makes these shows happen are swamped! The way these shows typically work is that we’ll actually film them on Tuesday afternoon, Dan from RacerTV will clean it up Tuesday night and through the day Wednesday, and will have it ready to roll on Thursday afternoon. This would be pretty tough on a GNCC week because on my end, Tuesday is a big day as we’re working to get the course figured out and marked. For Dan, Wednesday typically serves as a travel day and they’re hard at work on Thursday getting their TV equipment set up and ready for the weekend.

As you can imagine, it’s no easy task to pull off a GNCC event. A lot of work goes into putting together the course, plus all the signage, tents and everything else a typical event requires. What I’ve always found amazing is how much of a science we have it down to, and how quick it ends up coming together. There are times where we don’t begin work until the Tuesday morning prior to the race, and it all comes together. Obviously, we’d rather start Monday evening but that doesn’t always happen. Even so, we still make it all come together in a matter of days.

The GNCC staff really isn’t that much different than your own crews. While your goals are to show up and go racing, and our goals are to show up and give you a place to go racing, we’ve all got big responsibilities in making it happen and we all want it to be as successful as possible. That’s exactly why we say GNCC Racing is a family. We’re all there together, and we may not all always get along all the time, there’s still a mutual respect and passion for the sport.

That’s going to do it for this week’s edition of Quick Fill. We hope you enjoy your weekend, and hopefully we see you soon.

Fingers crossed we see these kinds of sights again soon!
Fingers crossed we see these kinds of sights again soon! Ken Hill

Catching Up With Ken (Ken Hill)

So what are we like 6 or 7 weeks into this mess? I should be so plum wore out from traveling that the summer break would be on my mind. However, it appears if we can get cranked back up in mid May, the summer break won’t be quite as long, or non-existent for some folks who chase multiple series. Not to worry I suppose, I cannot do a thing to change it so high speed, low drag is how I will tackle the ever-changing schedules. For me, all this lockdown/shutdown whatever you call it hasn’t been a big deal. Beyond the races, I stay at home so I am not missing town or shopping. Yes, I have a suppressed immune system so I have to be extra careful when things do start rolling again but we all should be doing that within reason. I think the stress piled on to the folks in charge of this steamroller of a season are even more primed to have things sorted out and rolling than the rest of us and I have faith they will take every precaution to make things as safe as they can for all of us.

Ok, the PSA out of the way, what the heck have you folks been up to? Watching everyone this week via social media has me thinking if we don’t get to racing soon we will have some seeking therapy! You could just sense the vibe as frustration is running at an all time high but things do seem positive. I read one comment that they did not care if we had race in a Walmart parking lot as long as we were racing again! Others are merely venting and that needs to be done from time to time and then there are those riders who were injured prior to the opening round, or even during one of the races, that really caught a break with things going sideways but its a long road to recovery coupled with lack of seat time and training many face. When we do get back at it, things should be interesting to say the least!

Now I do have a hard time understanding what the big deal is about being home, although we all have different views on why or does it matter etc. I just do not relate to the average person due to the lifestyle we live here. It is indeed a very strange feeling to have had 7 days to do my work here versus the 2 or 3 I am used to during the race season. Even if we caught a cancellation or a weekend off, those days were just absorbed in the hustle as catching up on chores was job numero uno. My wife tells me it would be like we got a few days of rain or snow and there was no hunting or fishing season and I couldn’t get outside, which drives me nuts so the feeling of being stuck inside or even in one place I can relate to wholeheartedly. Even in these times of insanity, we have to look for the good in it all or so I am told.

I did realize that my wife of 30 years, well I already forgot what it was that I learned about her but hopefully at some point my memory… oh yeah I remember! Ribs, BBQ Ribs! I had fixed some for chow and she made the admission she did not like them due to eating them and getting sick while she was pregnant with our second child. And the movie Mars Attacks; she walks out and starts cleaning or something when it's on TV again, due to her, our kid and being sick while pregnant. So there, after decades of marriage I learned something new and it’s not a bad thing just funny. And here I assumed she was just mad when I make that Mars Attacks alien chatter and now that I know why, I will do my best not to go AK AK AKKK AKK AK AK! She is however on her own when it comes to the ribs, pure pig heaven and she can eat a can of soup! I did ask her if she learned anything about me during all of this and she said “Nope, you are the same pain in the ass I married”. If anything, she is honest! Hard to believe we have never spent this many days together 24/7 and we started dating in 1987, so I guess we are stuck with each other for the next 30!

In any event, that’s about it for me this week as we continue to ride this thing out along with everyone else. Hopefully next week I will be chatting about the fast approaching reboot to the season so say a little prayer things work out. As always, may the good Lord continue to bless us all and be safe in all you do!

Check out David Knight, circa 2007, catching a random bit of air in the woods.
Check out David Knight, circa 2007, catching a random bit of air in the woods. GNCC Archive


Throwback Thursday returns again this week! No real theme this week but rather just a collection of some cool, old photos. Enjoy!

Here's a shot of William Yokley back in the day!
Here's a shot of William Yokley back in the day! GNCC Archive
Remember when Ricky Carmichael showed up for a GNCC? Just kidding! This is Glenn Kearney at Loretta Lynn's in 2007.
Remember when Ricky Carmichael showed up for a GNCC? Just kidding! This is Glenn Kearney at Loretta Lynn's in 2007. GNCC Archive
Bill Ballance works his way through some Florida sand.
Bill Ballance works his way through some Florida sand. GNCC Archive
Here's a random Barry Hawk photo from 2007...
Here's a random Barry Hawk photo from 2007... GNCC Archive
Chris Borich, Bill Ballance and Bryan Cook topped the Steele Creek podium in 2007.
Chris Borich, Bill Ballance and Bryan Cook topped the Steele Creek podium in 2007. GNCC Archive
And last but not least, here's Jason Raines taking the win at the 2004 John Penton GNCC.
And last but not least, here's Jason Raines taking the win at the 2004 John Penton GNCC. GNCC Archive