GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #26: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #26: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, July 2, 2020 | 11:25 AM
Thursday, July 2, 2020 | 11:25 AM

Welcome to Quick Fill. 

What a weekend. The John Penton is notorious for either being really muddy, or really dusty. Last weekend saw a little bit of both, but overall it turned out really well. These were some of the better conditions the Penton has seen in several years and I believe most everyone who raced came away pleasantly surprised. That southern Ohio clay is likely the slickest and stickiest substance on the face of the planet when its wet, but we got very lucky with the rain and instead of a mudfest, it turned out to be pretty darn good. 

Now we turn our attention to the next round, which has seen a change. Instead of heading to Ironman Raceway for the Hoosier, we’re now headed to High Voltage, located on the Pennsylvania/West Virginia line. Yes, we realize this is a bummer for some folks out in Indiana and we realize that some of you are a bit upset but the Hoosier event was slated to be held on back-to-back weekends with the Ironman Pro Motocross event. Since the Pro Motocross series has now been pushed back, the event was moved to High Voltage to not only avoid conflict with the IXCR series, but also to allow the Racer Productions team extra time to prepare for the event and the Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s. 

In addition to better accommodating travel plans for quite a few folks, it will actually turn out to better accommodate a racecourse as well. We ALL love Ironman. There’s a reason its consistently the biggest event of the season because not only is the dirt epic, but the course layout is a blast as well. However, the Ironman property is currently planted full of corn. We had a plan in place to create a racecourse that avoided as many of these areas as possible, but it would have been a shorter course than usual, and would have been forced to skip a couple of sections of trail regardless. This would’ve put additional wear and tear on the facility with only a few months of healing leading up to the Ironman. 

Like I said, we know this isn’t exactly ideal and we know there’s a number of folks a bit upset at this change. However, nothing about 2020 is ideal right now. The fact that we’re racing at all is a lot to be thankful for and we know the majority of folks are happy to go racing no matter where it is. Whether we all agree with each other, or disagree, at the end of the day GNCC Racing is a giant family. We’re all passionate about our sport and whether you’re expressing your passion in a positive or negative way, it’s still a passion for the sport and that’s exactly what GNCC Racing, and off-road racing as a whole, is all about. 

High Voltage was a make up event last season due to the heavy rains that forced cancellation of the first round at Big Buck. While it was new to GNCC, it’s no stranger to racing as it has hosted a number of local events and the landowner, Warren Lilly, is a longtime, old school GNCC racer dating all the way back to the Blackwater days. It’s also a pretty fun track with some gently rolling hills through a mix of fast and tight trails, plus a big grass track as well. 

The venue is actually next door to the Mathews Farm property, which hosts the Mason-Dixon GNCC, which means it’s also very close to High Point, which a lot of you said you really enjoyed riding a few weeks ago. So, expect terrain pretty similar to Mason-Dixon or High Point. Obviously I’ll have to full lowdown on the course layout next week, so don’t miss out but overall I’d say it will turn out to be a blast. 

Moving on, if you’re looking for more entertainment from The Penton, don’t forget that each week I do a quick GNCC Report for the folks at Racer X. You can view this week’s edition HERE. Obviously this is geared towards the bike side, but it’s always worth the read. In addition to that, both the motorcycle and ATV video highlights are live and ready for your viewing pleasure. You can just check those below, and as always, there’s some great footage in there. Big thanks go out to Mason Rader for putting these together each week. 

Last year I began creating several different spreadsheets that track some interesting stats. We have some pages on the GNCC website that list All-Time Wins lists, Wins by Event, etc but I realized we don’t have anything that tracks other wins. So, I’ve been digging and digging through results, and updating as we go along and I’ve been able to create a running list of Premier Class Race Winners such as Youth Overall winners by event, AM Overall winners, AM Points Class Overall winners, XC2 class winners, 4x4 Pro class winners, XC2 class winners, Top Amateurs and more. 

So, I figured I’d share a few of these stats current through the 2020 John Penton. These are just the three riders in each of these categories. Obviously there’s many more than what you see below as these spreadsheets contain hundreds and hundreds of names but for now these will give you a cool idea of some accomplishments throughout the history of GNCC Racing. 

ATV Overall Wins
1: Chris Borich – 75
2: Bill Balance – 67
3: Walker Fowler – 59 
ATV XC2 Wins 
1: Cole Richardson – 18
2: Walker Fowler – 17
3: Hunter Hart – 14 
4x4 Pro Wins
1: K Cunningham – 22
2: Landon Wolfe – 21
3: K Trantham – 11 
WXC ATV Wins (Since 2014) 
1: Traci Pickens – 28
2: Angel Knox – 23
3: Katelyn Osburn – 8 
AM ATV Points Class Overall Wins
1: Dave Simmons - 26
1: Traci Pickens – 26
2: Landon Wolfe – 19
3: Kevin Cunningham – 17 
Youth ATV Overall Wins
1: Hunter Hart – 26
2: L McCormick – 20
3: Ronnie Rusch – 13 

Bike Overall Wins
1: Kailub Russell – 66
2: Scott Summers – 46
3: Rodney Smith – 33 
Bike XC2 Wins
1: Kailub Russell – 18
2: Jason Thomas – 17
3: Ben Kelley – 16
Bike XC3 Wins
1: Jesse Ansley – 13
2: Jack Edmondson - 6
2: Jason Thomas – 6
3: Cody Barnes – 5
WXC Bike Wins
1: Tayla Jones – 26
2: Becca Sheets – 24
3: Kacy Martinez – 23 
AM Bike Points Class Overall Wins
1: Becca Sheets – 22
2: Tayla Jones – 21
3: Randall Riggs – 18
AM Bike Overall Wins
1: Shane Nalley – 13
2: Tayla Jones – 10
3: Mark Hyde – 9 
Youth Bike Overall Wins
1: Cole Mattison - 12
1: Thad Duvall – 12
2: Jojo Cunningham - 11
2: Layne Michael – 11
3: DR Atwood – 10
PM Bike Top Amateur
1: Jordan Ashburn – 17
2: Gene O’Nail – 16
3: Andy Shea – 15 

Another interesting fact to come out of this is that I’ve also been able to find the highest finishing Amateur riders since the addition of Pro classes in the early 80s. I’m still tracking the ATV results, but on the bike side the highest finishing rider out of an amateur class was Terry Cunningham who finished 3rd overall out of the Vet A class at Hardrock in 1993. Now, Terry had actually raced in the Pro class also earlier that year but that Vet A finish still counts. Behind Terry there’s a three-way tie between Charlie Mullins, Garrett Edmisten and Jeff Lauth, all of which finished 4th overall as A riders. 

Lauth’s fourth place overall came out of the 200 A class at High Point in 1993, while Edmisten’s finish happened at the Hurricane in 2003, followed by Mullins’ fourth place at Loretta Lynn’s in 2005. Behind these guys, Brian Keegan, Craig Jones, Gene O’Nail, Jimmy Jarrett, Nate Kanney, Terry Cunningham, Thad Duvall and Tim Shepherd all landed a fifth place overall as A class riders at one point in their careers. 

That’s actually going to do it for this week. We hope everyone enjoys their 4th of July weekend. Whether you’re riding, racing, or just enjoying a weekend off, we hope you have a great weekend and we’ll see you back here next week. 

The Penton had it all! A little dust, a little mud... What a weekend!
The Penton had it all! A little dust, a little mud... What a weekend!

Catching Up With Ken (Ken Hill)

Ok, let’s face the 900 pound gorilla in the room first, as everyone has to deal with the change in venue for the upcoming race that was scheduled for Indiana but now will be run at the venue in Pennsylvania. Obviously there’s a lot of crazy stuff happening in the world now, but good in all this can be found if you look for it; which is what I’ve slowly been trying to do in these trying times. I mean hey, we are still going racing and just a few short months ago that was the issue we faced as an industry and sport and as a family. Yes people will complain, some will be angry however realize that this is all uncharted territory and one wrong decision can cancel out a ton of events leaving us back to square one. So pack up your rig, load up the rides and stow away the children because we are going GNCC Racing! 

When I get home from races as I try to get through the workload I have once the races are over, I constantly think about the weekend and try to include that in Quick Fill. I must say; the John Penton did not disappoint as the continuation of conditions wreak havoc on this event seemingly season after season. This year’s event wasn’t hit with any one element we haven’t faced before and all in all we made out ok. As a photographer, the dust kills me and then the muddy sections make everyone look the same, so the after race work is hampered by me squinting at an enlargement trying to make sure Yamaha doesn’t get a shot of Chris Borich! That creek-hillclimb section was pretty cool and I caught some good stuff there especially on Sunday as the overcast conditions helped with exposures. As far as the actual racing went, not to bad in my opinion as we saw Brycen Neal whip up on Walker Fowler just enough to slide in for the XC1 win. Hannah Hunter put in a great race taking yet another WXC victory and wouldn’t you know Landon Wolfe powered his way to win number 5 million! Landon sure seems unstoppable and the switch to the 4x4 has really worked out well for him. 

Throughout all the classes we saw some good battles and wins came with tons of cheers and fanfare. The eMTB race seemed to gain a few spectators or at least it sounded that way as tons of support could be heard throughout the course, which was another brutal one for these riders. It is a huge difference with the action going on and for it to be so quiet except for the cheering and heavy breathing as the racers got worked over pretty well by the elevation changes found here. Charlie Mullins came out on top as no big surprise there. Mullins has found another form of racing he can dominate in and that seems to suit him just fine! 

With Layne Micheal sidelined after his get off at High Point, things in the XC1 Pro class looked even bleaker as another top talent spent the race cheering instead of competing. If this keeps up Kailub Russell will literally be able to retire a few rounds early, as no one will be left standing to keep things honest. Two big surprises for me were another huge step for Grant Baylor who claimed third and that Josh Strang was right there again to take second. Now, one can argue that a huge chunk of talent is missing in the wacky season but lets be honest, staying healthy is all part of this game and Strang has had his seasons of riding nowhere near where we knew he could preform so for him to have a solid season and gain back the confidence he used to have means a ton. I’d say that the 2021 season could be equally as good for him once we get the ranks healed up and back in action. For Grant Baylor, another solid race just gives him more energy to run on as he and the Sherco team work things out for hopefully a return run in the upcoming seasons with Baylor fighting for podium finishes every round. 

The micro and youth races are always fun albeit a ton of added work for everyone but these rascals are the future of our sport and it is so good to see the micro classes swelling and showing just how strong our future looks. Kudos to the riders and the families that work triple hard to get things done at home and the races, I remember those days well! That’s all from me this week as I head back out to tend to things here. I did find out that Josh Strang and his fellow countrymen enjoy beet on a hamburger. Now I am a foodie and enjoy many cultural diverse meals but this one will take me working up to trying. As a red blood American mutt, the addition of a beet on beef doesn’t appear to strike me as a must do but hey, I will try it and who knows, might just enjoy it! I will be sure to report back my findings! 

Hey as always please be safe in all you do and in all your travels. Keep an open mind, roll with the breeze and lets all get through this thing together! May the good Lord continue to bless us all and we will see you in PA!