Welcome to Quick Fill.
Another week down and another week closer to kicking off the 2021 GNCC Racing season. Crunch time is pretty much here as we’re now just three weeks out from the start of the new race season. In some ways it seems like the off-season just began because he sure has flown by, but at the same time I was sitting back and thinking that I had really only been to one race since the last GNCC event, and that was the NECXC Buddy Race back in November. It’s been a while but that time in between races is really starting to wind down and we’ll be back into the swing of the race season before we know what happened.
Last week I discussed some pre-season racing that will be taking place over the next few weeks, and of course the biggest would be the Sumter National Enduro. While this is a motorcycle-only event, it still pulls probably the biggest crowd of any event prior to the start of the GNCC season. It’s huge because it’s a combination of guys and girls who are racing the entire National Enduro series, guys and girls who are racing the SETRA Enduro Series (which is co-sanctioned at Sumter), plus guys and girls who are racing other series like GNCC or numerous local series who are looking to warm up before their season starts.
I can only recall a couple of instances in the last 15 years or so that I haven’t made the trip to Sumter and whether I’ve raced, rode sweep or just helped the Sumter Enduro Riders club out, it’s always a lot of fun and it’s cool to see so many different people. I’ve even seen some ATV guys such as Landon Wolfe and Josh Merritt get on their two-wheeled machines and give it a go as well. I’m signed up again this year and ready to get absolutely smoked in the 30+ A class. No joke, I’m literally going to end up about 40th place because I’m out of shape and lack speed to begin with. Regardless, I’m up towards the front helping break trail from row 10 out of 150 (6 riders per row if you’re not familiar with how this one works) and I can’t wait to go ride.
However, we actually have a big event of our own happening this weekend and no, it’s not really a race. Our own Junior Trail Boss, Ryan Echols, is making @futuremrs_flynryan just @mrs_flynryan. Yes, Ryan and his fiancé Athena are tying the knot this weekend and it seems like it will be a good ole fashioned GNCC wedding. Ryan has pulled a good chunk of the track crew in to be groomsmen, and there will be a ton of racers in attendance as well. So, we’ll be sure to share some photos to prove that most of us actually clean up pretty good. Early congrats to those guys, this is sure to be an awesome weekend!
Speaking of Ryan, his old buddy John “Meltdown” Melton sent in an interview with Hunter Hawkinberry we used in last week’s edition of Quick Fill and we’ve got another piece from Meltdown to share in this week’s edition as well. So, keep on reading ahead and you’ll get to that when my ramblings have finished. Big thanks to Meltdown for helping out and throw in some really cool content, and just generally being a cool dude as well!
Moving on, we’ve got another episode of Behind the Bars airing this week and this was another really great show. Rodney Tomblin, Mikey Waynes and I sat down with Cory Buttrick to relive his win at the 2010 John Penton GNCC, which was a classic Penton mud race. Cory had a lot of input, shared a lot about his career, injuries plus more and was just an all-around awesome guest to have on the show. As usual, if you’re reading this as soon as it’s posted on Thursday, the show will air tonight at 7PM and the video is actually embedded below so come back at 7 and watch. If it’s after 7PM Thursday, you’ll be able just click play and watch the show. It’s well worth the watch, so be sure to check it out.
In other pre-season news, there’s finally official word on Jordan Ashburn in 2021. The rumors had been circulating, but they’ve officially announced that Jordan will be riding a Husqvarna with the Magna1 Motorsports team, which is actually the LanMills team we’ve seen the last several seasons but they inked a title sponsorship deal for the team. The Magna1 team also has Drew Landers on the ATV side, and Tayla Jones once again, and has signed brothers Brody and Jonathan Johnson to contest the XC2 class. So, they’re looking to be a pretty stacked team this season, along with a number of amateur riders as well.
Things are starting to really come together in pre-season preparations on our end as well. Our friends at Yamaha have some new work units for the GNCC track and facility crews and we got the first batch of those earlier this week in the form of our Yamaha Viking buggies. So, big thanks to our friends at Yamaha for these awesome machines and also want to say thanks to RG Motorsports out of Bridgeport, West Virginia for receiving and assembling these units for us. We also have some new Yamaha Grizzly ATVs showing up soon for the track crew, and I know I’m excited to break in a new unit once again.
We also have our 2021 KTM 300 XC-W sweep and TV crew units set up and ready to go. I actually design our bike graphics myself and our friends at HBD MotoGrafx clean them up a little bit, print and send them our way. We changed the design up a little bit and changed the colors of the numberplate backgrounds as well. We went for a red and white background on the sweep machines and used a gray and black look on the TV crew bikes. I actually haven’t seen the TV crew bikes with the graphics installed just yet, but the sweep bikes look great. Hopefully that stands out even better out on the track.
So if you notice, I talked about us getting our machines in and prepped for the year because, well, things have been quiet from a lot of folks who are doing the exact same thing with their race machines. The bike guys who are making team and bike changes for the year have shared a lot of their info, but the ATV guys have STILL been pretty quiet. I’ve talked about it for the past several weeks and to be totally honest, short of beating a dead horse and saying that it means these guys are laying low and going to come out swinging, there’s not much else to say. They’ll let their racing do the talking for them when round one rolls around.
One note on the ATV side though, I saw a couple of clips and teasers this morning of Adam McGill riding a three-wheeler. Yeah, you read that right, THREE wheels and not four. No, that doesn’t mean he’s going to show up and race it because that’s not allowed but looks like he’s riding one for a video project. I was admittedly a little disappointed to see that it was one of those custom build projects and not an original ATC 250R but it’s still interesting to see. Should be exciting to see the final outcome. Hopefully McGill doesn’t disappoint as much on that video as he did when he didn’t show up for the episode of Behind the Bars where he actually won the race. Just kidding!
That’s pretty much all I have for this week. As always, if you have any cool news or info to share just drop me a line at [email protected] and I’ll try to include it in an upcoming edition of Quick Fill. Enjoy this week’s piece from Meltdown, and enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you back here next week.
Melting Down With The Fairmont Dual Sport Riders (John “Meltdown” Melton)
This past summer the Fairmont Dual Sport Riders hosted their first ever organized dual sport ride out of Fairmont, WV. Now, you may think “what does this have to do with GNCC?” well, the overwhelming majority of the FDSR members, and riders who showed up for the event are long-time GNCC racers. Whether they still race or not, they’re still into riding and heading out on a dual sport is a great way to get the best of both worlds; trail riding and street riding.
To learn a little more about the FDSR group, I caught up with the founding member of FDSR, Nick Hall.
So Nick, did you ever think that FDSR would get this big?
No, definitely never saw that coming but right now we have 433 members.
Are those just local riders?
Most of them are from Fairmont, the surrounding area in Marion County and up into Morgantown and more. But we also have riders from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey as well.
With COVID19 you had to reschedule your first organized ride, but when you finally put it all together it was pretty successful for what you wanted. You guys didn’t want a huge turnout but you had 40 riders sign up for the hard loop and 20 riders sign up for the easy loop. That was the first event and I think it went pretty good. Now you're getting ready for the second ride in 2021, how many riders are you expecting this year?
We’re looking at probably having somewhere around 150 to 200 riders. We think that’s a good crowd but still pretty manageable with the logistics we have.
Nick you rode the hard loop, how many miles was that?
The hard loop was around seven hours total. It required knobby tires and at least at C to B level rider. 75 to 110 miles was the original plan, we got in 93 miles total. Some of this consisted of nasty rocks, creeks, hill climbs and single track. It wasn’t really anything like you’d see at a hard enduro, but we had some pretty technical spots that took a little time to get everyone through as a group.
Did everybody make the hard loop?
Yeah, everybody made it the entire loop, including a young lady. So you had two gas stops during the day, which was the only time for the hard loop to grab a snack and roll.
How many riders from hard loop said they wanted to come back?
I’d say over 90 percent said they had a blast and wanted to come back.
Since everything went so well, do you feel that the ride will get bigger and bigger? More participation?
Our goal this year that we are shooting for is 200 riders, so it will definitely be bigger. This year we are trying to plan our event around the GNCC local races and trying to get more people a chance to ride a dual sport event.
What kind of bikes rode in the event?
We really had a mix of everything. We had KTM 450s and 500s, Honda XR600s and even 250 Hondas, big KLR650's and even a Husaberg.
Do you think most riders were expecting the conditions of the loop?
No, but everybody made it. We had some great riders and great help as well.
How many administrative helpers do you have?
We had six guys involved. Jamie Wright, Mike Schleicher, Fred Miller, Justin Potoczny, Trevor Schoonover and Steve Hogghead Edwards.
Finally, Nick was there anything else that you would like to include in this interview?
We'd like also to thank everyone that helped to make these rides possible and run smooth. Thanks to all the sponsors also. To join the group or give comment, just look us up on Facebook at WV Offroad FDSR. Hope to see you all at our ride in August.
Thanks to Nick for his info on making the event happen and what the hard loop was like. I actually rode with the guys on the easy loop, which was not all that easy. We rode 200 miles, most of it gravel, some hard top and even some muddy rocky nasty roads that were more than challenging for the type of bikes that elected to take the easy loop. We had a lot of bigger bikes like Veryses, African Twins, XR650's, DR650's and more.
There were sections where people needed help on big bikes just because it was rocky and there were big ruts but everybody made it though. If things go as planned, this year we are going to try and get more input for a easy loop because I have some hero sections along our route that would be an option and would be up to each rider which he sections he wants to do. We are also going to try and use any comments we get to help us improve on anything that either Nick or myself may have missed. We are always open to suggestions.
On the easy loop we rode past Arden, the Tygart River, we then made our way to Elkins by way of Parsons along the beautiful Cheat River. We also had two gas stops and even though we only ate at Sheetz I think this year coming we are going to try and find a restaurant that can accommodate the number of riders we have.
The first ride had a lot of door prizes that were a great addition to the event and I think everybody there either won a prize, award or won something on a raffle. Those raffle sponsors included Outlaw Motorsports, Cycle Mart, Morgantown Powersports, Hall's Auto, Black Dog, FDSR's, and Amber and Justin Powley.
This year we are trying to do a two-day ride, Saturday and Sunday, with camping and food available on site and live entertainment Saturday night. We are also going to have two days of hard loops and two days of easy loops with more options available. In other words, we’re looking to have even more challenging trails. Last year we did have one minor broken collarbone but a limited number of mechanical issues, but it's kind of funny about the mechanicals because we only had two breakdowns and of course it would the be founding member Nick Hall and GNCC Junior Trail Boss Jared Bolton! Of course, both were minor issues that were fixed relatively quickly and they were back on their bikes and finished the ride. [Editor’s Note: I believe Nick broke a footpeg, and I lost the nut that holds the front sprocket in place. Thankfully since I was on my Husaberg, a KTM nut is exactly the same and Fred Miller just so happened to have one, so he saved the day. Thanks Fred! We were also only a mile or so from Fred’s house when we noticed it was gone, so we even rode to Fred’s and put an impact to it. It’s been on there for another 500 miles worth of riding since then!]
Also this year we are planning on having roll charts. With the roll charts it will not be a guided ride. That means you can ride with your buddies that came with you or you can still ride with the big group. It does not matter.
Trophies from last years ride were the road warrior (longest traveled), best wreck, best breakdown, crafty vet, badass and biggest bike. The raffle alone gave away well over $2,000 worth of prizes easily. And as we're going forward here, we're getting to ride on a lot of private land because the landowners themselves want to ride with us. Huge thanks to everyone involved and we’re looking forward to this year’s ride.