Quick Fill #24: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #24: This Week in GNCC

TimeFriday, June 19, 2020 | 7:45 PM
by:
TimeFriday, June 19, 2020 | 7:45 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill.

First off, sorry for the delay in getting this week’s edition of Quick Fill live for your viewing pleasure. We’re running the Mid-East Amateur Regional for Loretta Lynn’s this weekend at Ironman, so we’ve all been wide open getting the place up and going the past couple of days and had a full day of practice on Friday. So, this week’s Quick Fill came a little late, but I always say better late than never!

How about High Point? Last weekend’s race turned out to be a blast and while it was definitely on the dry side, it was nowhere near as dusty and dry as last year’s Mason-Dixon. I personally had a good bit of fun riding sweep all weekend long, and the course definitely turned out to be a good one. Hopefully this is a sign of things we may expect when we return in the fall for the Mason-Dixon GNCC. Of course, there’s still a lot of racing to do before then, including our next two events before summer break.

Next week we head to The John Penton, which is actually the oldest event on the schedule right now, and is only a few events off of surpassing Loretta Lynn’s for hosting the most GNCC events of all-time. The Penton has stuck around this long because it’s a really cool event. It’s usually not very easy as the Ohio clay is extremely slick when wet, and when it’s dry it’s really dusty. Throw in some rolling terrain, and the infamous bike-only Penton Section and you’ve got a great event. 

Last year saw heavy rains for several weeks leading up to the event and we actually skipped the Penton Section for the first time in a long time. I tried to salvage something for the PM bikes but there was literally deep silt deposits just laying on top of the ground in many places around the Penton Section, so we made the difficult decision to skip it but the plan is to head back in there this year and make it tough again! No promises yet, but check back next week for all the details. 

Overall, the Penton always seems to produce some great racing. Not everyone loves the Penton, but there are definitely more people who like it versus those who dislike it. Actually, I’ve never heard anyone say they “hate” riding there, you just hear a few folks say it’s not exactly their best track. Either way, love it or just feel impartial about it, The John Penton is one of the most storied events on the schedule.

In fact, the name itself is legendary as it pays tribute to John Penton, who is truly a pioneer for off-road racing. John was a top racer in the early off-road racing days who eventually partnered with an Austrian scooter manufacturer to produce a lightweight, off-road specific motorcycle. That company was KTM, and for a number of years John imported the KTM motorcycles badged as Penton Motorcycles. That would eventually evolve into KTM as we know it today.

Of course, that’s not all John is responsible for. He also founded Hi-Point Products, which sold off-road specific products such as oils, parts, gear and more. In fact, John’s Hi-Point boots were the go-to boot for many years and is actually how Alpinestars got it’s start producing racing boots. So, as you can see John is directly responsible for many of the products we still use today and with Mr. Penton hailing from Ohio, it’s only fitting that The John Penton GNCC pays tribute to him. John is now 94 years old, still gets outdoors and you can most likely expect to see him at the race. Pretty darn cool!

That’s actually all I have for this week. As I mentioned, we’re crazy busy out here at Ironman for this Regional, so we’ll get back to that event and save more GNCC news for next week. Enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you back here next week!

What a race at High Point!
What a race at High Point! Ken Hill

Catching Up With Ken (Ken Hill)

Well now, it appears we had a little race at High Point this past weekend wouldn’t you say? Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1700+ riders, all roaring to go GNCC Racing! The numbers were good, the racing was great and the weather was tolerable. You can’t ask for more than that unless you like mud races and there was not a ton of that, even in the bottoms. All in a weekend filled to the brim with things to do.

If anything, Saturdays are sheer insanity with six races plus any extra activities that are thrown in the mix to offer some fun family style things to occupy your time. The micro races are incredibly fun to watch, as it is always a toss up of who is into it more, the racers or the parents! And race these little tikes do as I watched some bar banging in both the micro bike and ATV races that rivaled any race of the weekend. One lady stood up after a flurry of three wide micro ATV’s came battling through a woods section and I could tell she was injured. I assumed she had been tagged by a quad but she instead had slipped and fell onto a stump which cut her to the bone! Ever the trooper, she hobbled out of the woods as I offered her assistance to the medics who later told me she handled getting to the hospital on her own. Only thing tougher than a GNCC racer is a racing mom!

The youth races gave way to more Amateur action, which looked to be at warp speed. Riders informed me the track was fast but not much room to pass and the track had good flow. Dust kicked up in the fields held passing in those areas to a minimum however forcing riders to literally plead for slower racers to move. I paid attention on Sunday to the lack of passing and it was there but boy you really had to do your pre race homework and find the lines through the lush growth that the woods are experiencing right now. For the most part, the track was well received and even the spectators found many areas fairly close to the pits to watch the action. I LOVE a track that offers a few back and forth areas where I can cut the leaders off in the same lap without running around like a madman and the fans enjoy it as well. It may sound easy but designing it at every venue is an incredibly hard task.

Now most of the heavy hitters were back in the usual spots when the roost settled as Landon Wolfe dropped another win on his competition as Hannah Hunter fought her way through the pack to win again as well. Hannah is quickly becoming the racer to beat in the WXC class and she has a ton of time in her career to carve out a place in racing history as she seems to have settled into a rhythm and gets the job done much like the champions before her. 

One name that fell from the good graces of winning steaks was Walker Fowler! It was a real battle going on in the XC1 class as it looked like Jarrod McClure was on his way to victory until late in the race a battle broke loose allowing Cole Richardson to take the lead and the win! I was confident there would be a real battle to the finish line so I took up a position to capture it, however Richardson came strolling in uncontested and was incredibly happy with the day. Walker is still the man to beat however as we get into tried and true cross country territory, we might expect to see more of this which will be great to see! Richardson, Fowler and Neal will be looking for another fight to the finish to be sure! 

XC2 would be another war through the woods as Austin Abney checked in with win number two on the season. Branden Owens took second and a hard charing Drew Landers rounded out the podium with third. 

That’s about all from me this week, its time to pack and head to Illinois for another round of ATVMX motocross action then we are back to GNCC racing at the John Penton. Will it be a dust bowl or a mudfest or will Mother Nature lay down another beautiful weekend for us to enjoy? I have no idea but we will all find out together! As always, be safe in all you do and may the good Lord continue to bless us all!