GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #5: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #5: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, February 4, 2021 | 12:00 PM
Thursday, February 4, 2021 | 12:00 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill. 

The off-season is officially beginning to wind down as we now approach the two-week point from the start of the 2021 GNCC Racing season. The time crunch is on as these final two weeks will fly by and it’s going to be time to go racing in just the blink of an eye. That means the time is now to get your machines in order and ready to go because time is running out. A lot of folks are ready, are you? 

On our end, we’re really just about ready to go. Other than a few odds and ends here, we’re to the point where it’s time to make our plans for heading south and we’re excited to get the new season off and rolling. They’re working towards finishing up the shipping of trophies and contingency items for the banquet, so if you haven’t gotten your trophy yet, hang tight because it’s likely either on its way to you or will be shipped out in the next couple of days.

We do apologize it’s taking so long to finish the shipping but like I mentioned in a previous edition of Quick Fill, there’s really only a couple of ladies able to work on this, and they’re also juggling their regular jobs here at the office as well. It’s a lengthy process, and I know I loaded anywhere from 50-100 packages in UPS trucks just about every day last week, so they’re on the way. There are a few items that will be brought to the first race including the gear for the class champions, and CST tires for second place ATV riders. 

These items would be incredibly bulky to ship, and it takes a lot of time to sort out all of the gear and match everything together to the correct rider. So, instead of dragging this out even longer, it will all be available at the first couple of rounds. If you’re a class champion from 2020 or a second place ATV rider and won’t be at the opening rounds this season, just email [email protected] and we’ll work on making arrangements. Now, please keep in mind that this won’t get you the gear or tires before everyone else and you’ll likely be waiting until after those first few rounds, but if you’re legitimately not making it, we’ll work with you. 

We have another awesome episode of Behind the Bars this week, and this time we check out the 2006 Big Buck ATV race. We got Bill Ballance on for this show along with Johnny Gallagher, and then of course Rodney and myself joined in as well. It really turned out to be a cool show and the race itself was a barnburner with an incredibly close finish. I don’t really want to ruin it, so be sure to check it out. It airs tonight (Thursday) at 7PM on RacerTV's YouTube and will also be available on the GNCC site, so if you’re reading this before 7, come back later to catch the show. If it’s after 7PM Thursday, you’re able to press play and watch! 

Like I mentioned, Bill Ballance joined us for this episode and as usual it was really cool to have Bill on the show. He’s done a lot of racing in his day, won a lot of races, but is still able to remember those races as well. Bill always has some great insight into what happened, and having Johnny Gallagher on as well really made for an awesome show. However, it was actually Michael Houston who won this show and that really adds to the unique feel of that particular race. It was Houston’s only overall win, and it would’ve been great to have him on the show but the only issue is; well, nobody really knows how to get in touch with him these days! 

You’ll hear this first-hand when you watch the episode but Johnny mentioned that Houston was a super friendly guy, great racer, but he sort of kept to himself at the events. He and his family would kind of show up, do their own thing, race, and head home. Michael really only raced in the Pro ranks for a few seasons and when he stepped away from GNCC Racing, that was the last a lot of folks in the sport heard of him. We’re sure he’s probably living the life with his family in North Carolina, but inquiring minds really want to know what he’s up to these days. So, if anyone is still in touch with Michael Houston, let him know about this episode and tell him we’d love the chance to catch up sometime! 

We’ll have another episode of Behind the Bars next week before the series goes back on hiatus until later in the year. Next week’s show will feature the bike race from opening round of the 2001 GNCC season in Okeechobee, Florida. This should also be a really cool episode as it was another tight race down to the wire with some unique names on the roster and we hope to have another cool guest or two on for this show as well. If you’ve never watched Behind the Bars before, they’re well worth the watch and it’s really cool to hear first-hand from some of those who were involved in those particular races.

After next week’s episode the Behind the Bars series will go back on hiatus as we get the 2021 season rolling, but we’ll kick it back off again later in the year. I’ve mentioned this a few times, and gotten a little feedback from folks, but if you have a GNCC TV show you think would make a good episode of Behind the Bars, drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know what shows you think would be cool to feature. 

Jordan Ashburn took the win at the Spyder Web GP last weekend.
Jordan Ashburn took the win at the Spyder Web GP last weekend.

A few weeks ago I mentioned the Spyder Web GP that would be taking place in Florida. That was last weekend and they had a pretty rad race. Here are some details on the race via their Press Release on the event:

Spyder MX along with Moto4play suspension, FCS racing, and Florida Motocross vacations hosted the first “Spyder Web GP”. A unique weekend schedule provided a full days of open practice on the full GP course on Saturday with racing on the GP course on Sunday. Saturday practice had heavy hitters Craig Delong and Liam Draper in attendance, they opted out of the race on Sunday but still came and checked out the challenging layout at Spyder for the GP. Sunday pro class racing had 6 entries and $1270 was paid to the podium riders. The first moto Jordan Ashburn, Bubz Tasha, and Ben Nelko found their way onto the podium all within seconds of each other. Hunter Nuewirth, Alex Lugar, and Max Freise gave respectable chase and all pro riders completed 4 laps in 30 minutes.

The second moto was action packed with the $750 first place prize on the line. Ben Nelko got the early lead, Jordan Ashburn almost put the pass on into the scoring chicane the first lap but had to check up. Both riders were wheel to wheel through the chicane. The second lap Ashburn and Bubz Tasha found their way around Nelko, Bubz then set his sights on Ashburn. At one point the gap was within 2 seconds for an extended period of time. Ashburn showed why he is the national number 3 GNCC XC1 rider and pulled a few seconds on experienced J day GP racer Bubz Tasha. The last lap Nelko rolled back up onto Tasha and they had a close battle over the $350 second place prize. Nelko would end up 3rd again the second moto and take home $170 for a day at the track. Nuewirth, Lugar, and Freise would fly in formation the keep the finish order the same as the first moto. 

Spyder MX plans to host more GP races in the near future with payout for the pro class and amateur classes from 50cc all the way to plus 50 vet classes. Be sure to #spyderwebGP on social media to see all content and future announcements for this event.

Pro Class results

  1. Jordan Ashburn
  2. Nathaniel “Bubz” Tasha
  3. Ben Nelko
  4. Hunter Nuewirth
  5. Alex Lugar
  6. Max Freise

Thanks to Kyle Turnis for sending over some info from the race. It’s cool to see Jordan Ashburn in his first outing on his new Husqvarna and check him out running his earned number three. That’s pretty cool to see because it’s become such a normal thing for guys to run a career number, so when they switch to an earned number it gives a totally different vibe. Of course, I also like that Dale Earnhardt look on Jordan’s number three. It’s not a full-blown Earnhardt three but it’s pretty darn close!

I talked about this last week, but it’s happening this weekend, the AMA National Enduro Series kicks off this weekend with the Sumter National Enduro in South Carolina. Sumter is always a huge race, and this year’s event sold out within 2 minutes of the pre-entry system opening online. It’s a bike-only race and they cap the entries at 900, so over 900 people signed up for the one race in a matter of minutes. That’s like the entire 10AM bike race at Ironman all signing up at once! Pretty wild!

The Baylor Brothers are always tough to beat at Sumter, but they’ve been toppled there a few times. Both are coming into the new season primed and ready to go with Stu pulling a full ride from AmPro Yamaha this year, and Grant making the switch to the KLM GasGas team, and this will actually be Grant’s first race on the new ride. They’ll also have their hands full with Ben Kelley, who won last year’s Sumter round, and Josh Toth who won multiple National Enduro events last season.

This race will also see Ricky Russell’s return to racing for this first time since his accident at last year’s Bulldog GNCC and will be his first race aboard his new GasGas. There’s also Ryder Lafferty who won the Lead Belt National Enduro last year, plus Liam Draper, Evan Smith, Thorn Devlin, and Craig Delong who is stepping up to the Pro 1 class in the National Enduro Series this season. Those are all guys capable of putting in really, really competitive times so they could have a really close race this weekend.

I’m headed down to do some racing of my own. Well, it’s not so much racing as it will be just a good day of trail riding for me. I stand absolutely no chance to challenge anyone in that 30+ A class, especially because I’m pretty out of shape, but I figure it’s a really good idea that I go spend a weekend riding before we get back racing or else I’m going to be hurting trying to ride sweep at the opening round.

Before I wrap this up, huge congratulations go out to our own Ryan Echols and his now-wife, Athena. They tied the knot this past weekend and had an awesome wedding that was almost like a full-blown GNCC wedding. The groomsmen consisted of part of the track crew with Bob The Builder serving as Best Man, Trevor Russell, Zach Holbert and myself as some of the groomsmen, plus Colby and Nick who have been around the races a good bit as well.

Not only was a bunch of the GNCC staff in attendance but a number of familiar faces who have been around the races a bunch as well. Overall, it was a great night, a really fun weekend and I’m honored Ryan and Athena let me be a part of it all! That’s all I have for this week, and we’ve actually got our buddy Ken Hill back this week, so enjoy his section as well. Until next time, enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you back here next week!

Adam McGill on a three-wheeler is a recipe for disaster... Or a good time... Or both!
Adam McGill on a three-wheeler is a recipe for disaster... Or a good time... Or both!

Catching Up With Ken (Ken Hill)

Well hello there! It seems like it’s been forever since I fired up the laptop to type anything but then again it seems like yesterday we were wrapping up one wild and crazy 2020 season. Ironically for me, 2021 started much like 2020 did as I found myself back in the hospital but this time we caught things in an early state and a quick operation had me back on my feet in just a few days. The doctors were livid I was planning to hit the road but hey, they have a way to video an appointment so I just pull over and keep them updated that way.

So I am indeed on the road traveling all over as I check off team after team and rider after rider as we all find ourselves closing in on round one. For years, the ATV crowd has faced a big problem in the short off-season and that is getting parts, and with the covid stuff still derailing things globally, the bike side of things is getting slammed in the same fashion. Things will work out I’m sure but the gray hairs are starting to show as the panic buttons are pushed. For me, as long as it’s not raining and the rider is ready I can do my thing at a comfortable pace, however that’s a tall order.

Ken also caught Steward Baylor in action this week!
Ken also caught Steward Baylor in action this week!

I got to spend some time with Adam McGill as well as Hunter Hart amongst others as they attended a film shoot for an upcoming riding movie, Butter 2. The filming went well and I am pretty sure Adam made an impression especially when he got behind the bars of a custom BVC Trike! Hunter Hart, Hannah Hunter and soon to be WXC racer Jessica Elliof strutted their stuff in front of the lens of Luke Parmeter and Derek Guetter. The movie will be released early summer and will feature our GNCC riders amongst the talented list of riders that will grace the credits. The fun part was watching them just film Adam as he does exactly what many of you love him for. He gets an A+ when it comes to showing off! With filming completed, the gang headed to Croom where they have been training so I tagged along for some more pictures and video. It was a great time, which ended at a private training class with Adam. Overall a blast and didn’t really feel like work especially when a foot of snow hit back home.

One thing about the pre-season is trying to be in the right area or sometimes even the right state so you can be available when the next group of riders is ready. I turned the good ship Dodge north and back tracked to South Carolina as the AmPro Yamaha team was ready for their shoot. It was a good time as always and the addition of Steward Baylor to their ranks added in some flavor. Although the temps were mid 30’s with a brisk wind, the riders did what was needed and we were done in no time. Mike Witkowski, Layne Michael and Steward Baylor looked like they were ready to go and are eager to kick this season off.

That pretty much sums up the past 10 days with the brunt of work coming up and will feature Walker Fowler and Johnny Gallagher and possibly Cole Richardson if he is ready. It is mid 30’s here so I am looking forward to a few more days of t-shirt weather before retuning home. With Kailub Russell now retired, there are several racers just begging to take the limelight and the 2021 season has some new zip as Kailub leaves behind a legacy that will be incredibly hard to match or exceed. I can’t really comment on Fowler simply because I haven’t laid eyes on him yet but I am pretty sure he is really going to have some competition this season. While the door is wide open on the bike side, the ATV side still has to deal with Fowler who happens to be manning the gate. Maybe in the next few weeks we can get a clearer picture of how things are shaping up especially after the upcoming FTR event, which should draw in some fast quad riders as we get a look at how they all faired the storm we northern folk call winter.

Going to call it a day and I look forward to having some more information before next week’s Quick Fill is due in. One thing I will say is when you are traveling; bring all you think you will need plus some. Walmarts are all open as are most places however things are fluid as they put restrictions in place from area to area as Covid cases rise and fall. Drive thrus are open, indoor dining is spotty as is the availability to use restrooms. I am becoming an expert at finding port-o-pots in construction areas as I enter these “closed” areas. As always, please be safe in all you do and in your travels as we get the GNCC nation fired up for another epic season! God bless!