Welcome to Quick Fill.
Was that a wild weekend of racing, or what? The Mountaineer GNCC proved to be tough and rugged, but even more interesting was the outcomes the event produced. With two riders claiming their first overall wins of the season, and both coming as somewhat as a surprise this proved to be one of the best races of the season and one of the best returns from summer break of all-time.
Saturday would see Adam McGill take the overall win, his first win since 2018. Then Sunday would see Steward Baylor take the overall win, his first of the season and if you haven’t been following the Stu story, well, you’ve been missing out. After parting ways with the Sherco team earlier this season, Stu had been sidelined and not racing until earlier in the summer. If you’re not familiar with the whole story, or just want some good reading, check out a few articles from Racer X. First off, you can read about the Things We Learned at The Mountaineer GNCC HERE, where I gave a bit of a recap on the whole Stu situation. Or, hear it from Stu himself in THIS Racer X Interview.
As for Adam McGill, well, people love Adam and his win shouldn’t be outshined by Baylor’s win on the bike side. Adam has suffered from some bad luck and up and down rides the past couple of seasons, but returning to the center step of the podium could prove to be exactly what Adam needs for a bit of a rejuvenation heading into the final four rounds of the season. Of course, Walker Fowler will be hungry to get back into the number one position as much as possible, and all the while there’s guys like Cole Richardson, Brycen Neal, Chris Borich, Jarrod McClure and Hunter Hart who all have previous overall wins and would like to add a few more. The talent pool is deep on the ATV side and these final rounds have the potential to be really intense.
We’re actually gearing up for this weekend’s Big Dave Vet Homecoming at High Point Raceway. If you’ve never attended this event then you’re really missing out because it’s a blast! Saturday features Moto Cross Country racing, which is a GP-style event on a hybrid course mixed with motocross, woods and grass track with two thirty minute motos for all classes. Sunday will feature traditional motocross racing, geared more towards Vet racers but there are a number of support classes for riders of all ages and skill levels.
This is a bike-only event, but all of our ATV friends are also welcome to come out and hang out, or even borrow a bike off one of your buddies. This event is one of the most fun, laid back and casual events you’ll ever attend and it’s definitely worth checking out. We’ve also got a pit bike race on Saturday evening, plus vintage movies, bonfire, karaoke and all sorts of fun to be had. Check out the event page HERE for more information.
With that said, we’re knee-deep in prep for that event so we’ll keep this week’s edition of Quick Fill on the short side. We do have a bit from Ken Hill this week, so enjoy his take from The Mountaineer as well. Until next time, enjoy your weekend and we hope to see you at High Point!
Catching Up With Ken (Ken Hill)
Well now, it sure does appear that The Mountaineer GNCC has started itself a reputation! For being a still growing venue, this location has really started to stand out as a very tough race, even though we haven’t faced it in adverse weather! The roots and rocks are slick as all get out and some big names fell here this weekend adding to the mystique! I mean you can’t not talk about Steward Baylor’s epic win here on a Yamaha that he was offered to race, and a practice bike at that! Add in so little seat time on the blue ride and it was a Cinderella story, one that will not soon be forgotten.
Stu’s battle started right from the start and he was sure getting the job done although many felt due to his lack of seat time during his absence from the series was going to cost him as the race entered its third hour. I am pretty sure Ben Kelley was hoping that would be the case as he relentlessly dogged Baylor through the wild and wonderful West Virginia course. In the end, Baylor sucked up whatever pain he may have been feeling and rode the wave of support he was getting from the fans and put blue center stage, as he ripped off a win in grand style. It was indeed epic, well deserved and made the final race of the action packed weekend a huge success!
There hasn’t been a finish this year that matched this one as the fans went apocalyptic as the Baylors celebrated along with just about everyone else. This win will be hard to top in terms of excitement and fans are already asking if this means he will be offered a full ride on a Yamaha for the rest of the season and for the 2021 season. For that, I join all of you in not knowing but I must say, he looked pretty stout and only time will tell if his performance will lead to an offer. I would love to at least see him with some support to finish out this season and bring back some of his excitement and character to the wrap up of one insanely chaotic season.
The racing is flat out crazy on Saturdays with so many races being run which makes it hard to keep up with who did what. There were a few big surprises in 4x4 Pro and in XC1 as Cody Collier grabbed the win followed by Adam McGill who finally put things together and rolled to a win, one he was very much wanting being on West Virginia soil. I do know that Charlie Mullins put the hurt on the eMTB race with another win and Hannah Hunter put the icing on the cake in WXC. Rachael Archer sealed the deal on her second WXC win after what appeared to be a near flawless performance in WXC and following her in for second was Beta’s Rachel Gutish who has been on the warpath as of late. She has been a holeshot machine and a few rounds back told me she was working really hard to get up front and stay there and I would say she has found her groove. Gutish also finished second in the eMTB Women’s class adding to a memorable weekend.
Now beyond the highlights, that’s about all I know. When I say Saturday is a blur I mean it, as the races seem to blend together as I scoot around trying to keep up with six races and pick up tidbits of info here and there. Thank goodness the weather was cooperative because when you add in a crappy weather weekend it just drains the fun out of it and adds to the workload as the day ends and I try to figure out what brown mud covered blob is who. The weekend is plenty full and I was part of the action as quite a surprise smacked me upside the head as the Moto Hero award was being presented. I saw Tim Cotter walking out with the goods and I got in position to take the photos as we award one of our own with some goodies and the respect for their service as a soldier, a first responder etc. This is always a special award for me to photograph, we are a military family, I was a first responder long before that term was ever spoken but more importantly, I am a patriot who loves this country, the freedom won for me and my family and especially for those who have served so even though the day is stacked with things to do, this time in the weekend gets my full attention.
I was standing out there on the starting line, listening to the words being spoken, saying small prayers and as usual not trying to get choked up. This year has been difficult as my youngest son is currently deployed and working with him and the family to keep it together until he returns home has been tough. Throw in a huge health scare my wife faced just a few weeks back, my non stop battle with diabetes and liver disease, another son who is beside himself because he wasn't deployed and worries about his brother and not to mention my close to 2019 and entry to this insane 2020 season being on deaths door step, I think I’ve earned the grey hairs starting to show on my dome.
So Tim turns the mic over to Adam McGill who begins his remarks about his efforts annually to raise money for a veteran or first responder and their families as he truly supports everything they do. He was choking up and I was chuckling under my mask because I know his emotion is sincere and if you know Adam he is really an emotional guy when it comes to a myriad of subjects, this being one of them. He clicks off this year’s recipient and I’m listening as he states two sons deployed, a wife who works in the law enforcement field and he says “Hill Family”. I missed it; it never connected as I looked up to see who was walking forward from the ranks when I noticed everyone was looking at me!
Now I pride myself on not being surprised by much, I even figure out what Christmas presents I get long before that special day so to state I was taken completely off guard is an understatement. I walked forward and gave Adam a man hug and told him to please give this award and funds to someone more deserving and he refused. So there I stood, very humbled as Tim offered up the Moto Hero award, the gift certificates from Amsoil, GBC and the flag and certificate from Columbia Flags as well as the very generous matching donation from the series. I was speechless as I handed off my camera and was joined by true American heroes and it took everything I had not to ball like a baby. Saying thank you doesn’t even begin to express my family’s gratitude, as this award wasn’t just for me, it was for us. Most folks who have served or face the daily challenges of being a first responder usually avoid fanfare and accolades that come from people that just want to show their support.
We feel as though we haven’t done anything worthy of such gratefulness. I get it, but as a very proud father of two United States soldiers I get all twisted inside when we are out and someone shakes the boys hands and thank them. I suppose you have to be on the inside of the issue to fully grasp the conundrum that makes this issue an issue but saying thank you is the very least we owe you all, and I thank you all from my family for everything. From the series continued support, the staff and crew who keep tabs on me to make sure I am not becoming part of the forest floor to the riders, teams and companies who faithfully support my efforts to capture things and promote it all in a good light. And Adam and the McGill family and to Carrie Russell, I will never understand what you all see in me that keeps you all pushing for me in so many ways, I truly thank you and will do my very best to stay on the right side of the grass.
Now the tears helped wash a bit of dust out of my eyes which made for a great excuse when throughout the day people came up and expressed how happy they were for my family being chosen and the comments on social media about how tears were flowing all through the huge turnout for the 11 am race. A man rarely gets to see those who support him while he is still alive and I can say I am one of that rare group. When I took the offer for this position I made only a few small demands, one, get me to the races and two, keep me out of the politics that seem to form in any company or group. I have done my best to do my job, help others and remain about as impartial to things going on around me as humanly possible. These folks mentioned in this industry have done ay more than I would have expected and refuse to let me roll over and quit and that is kind of the nature of racing, you just don’t quit. From the micro classes to the pro classes, we are all blessed to have each other to lean on, pull on and call ourselves family and I see no signs of that going away.
May the good Lord continue to bless us all, and thank you immensely from my family.