Welcome to Quick Fill.
What a weekend! We finally had near perfect conditions at the Mason-Dixon after the last two versions of that event were, well, pretty darn dusty. It rained around lunch time on Thursday, but the sun came out on Friday and dried things up just enough that once riders took to the course and started churning the dirt up on Saturday, the moisture stayed right in the dirt and made for some of the best dirt conditions we’ve seen all year.
This was actually due in part to the grass that covered the trail. This isn’t done at every single event as some places it’s just not possible or feasible for growth, but each year when the Mason-Dixon is finished, the entire course is planted with grass seed. At Mason-Dixon, it’s actually a custom mix the Mathews Farms folks use to plant their hayfields, and obviously it grows really, really well. Typically, when we do this, we seed it, it grows over the year and dies down before we ever come back. However, since we moved the event from September to June, this time we got to see the grass at its full growth.
This time its full growth was pretty darn high. In fact, when we first started setting things up it was actually a bit sketchy as you couldn’t see what was laying in the tall grass that was around the overwhelming majority of the course. This tall grass actually ended up protecting the dirt from too much rain but trapped in some of it and kept a fair amount of moisture in the dirt throughout the weekend. So, believe it or not, simply spreading some grass seed last fall ultimately made for epic conditions this time around. And yes, I spent Monday spreading seed around the entire course once again, so hopefully it grows for 2022 as well as it did for 2021.
Tim Cotter mentioned this at the rider’s meetings before each race last weekend, but don’t forget to take advantage of Method Race Wheels’ contingency program. This is a really cool opportunity where all you have to do is run a Method Race Wheels decal under your visor, post on social media using the correct tags and hashtag, and you’re entered for a chance to win $500 and a set of wheels weekly and be entered to win $10,000 cash at the end of the season. There are some guys passing out decals and information sheets just past the front gate on exactly what you need to do, or you can get some additional information HERE.
Now we get ready to gear up for Snowshoe. Obviously, this is probably the most unique event we have all season, and there are a few things to keep in mind. So, let’s run through a few pre-Snowshoe reminders as we begin to turn our attention towards the mountain. First, there is NO 50cc Micro racing at Snowshoe. This also means that the ATV races will return to a “traditional” schedule on Saturday with Youth ATVs at 8am, AM ATVs at 10am, PM ATVs at 1pm, and the eMTBs will race at 4:30pm. Camping is pretty limited and on a first come, first serve basis. There are a number of areas, but my personal recommendation if you don’t have a hotel room on the mountain is to consider traveling with your buddies, if possible, to save on space. Also, the main parking lot in front of the Rimfire lodge is for pro pits only and this will be even more strict this year due to the need for larger pit layouts. So, just because you’ve made it in and parked there before does not mean you’ll be allowed to this time. Click HERE for more camping info.
Don’t forget about the ISDE Fundraiser Golf Tournament. It’s always a good time and they’re still accepting registrations, so get all the info on that HERE. There is also the GNCC University taking place throughout the week leading up to the race, and this is your chance to learn from some of the best. Non-lodging packages are still available for $300 per student. To reserve a spot visit the Snowshoe website or call Snowshoe Reservations at 1-877-441-4386. There are also Yamaha Demo Rides at the base of the mountain, the GNCC Graduation Ceremony (click HERE to register your graduate!) and much more!
On our end, we still have a big event standing between us and Snowshoe. That’s the High Point round of Pro Motocross coming up next weekend. It’s really cool to have High Point back on the Pro Motocross schedule and it always draws a great crowd. If you want to come watch the best motocross riders on the planet take to High Point Raceway, you can get all the details on the event weekend HERE. If you want to ride, there’s opportunities for amateur practice and racing on both Friday and Sunday. Friday will feature racing, with some Practice Classes inserted into the race order as well. Then Sunday is all racing and also pays PAMX points as well. You can get all the info on racing HERE.
So, we’ve got a few busy weeks coming up full of racing up before heading into summer break, which actually isn’t much of a summer break for us as we head to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in July to get the place ready for the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship. There’s usually a number of familiar names from the GNCC Racing Nation who end up at Loretta’s, and once Regionals are done, we’ll take a look at the rider rosters and let you know who to keep an eye on!
If you’re a GNCC regular and make it to High Point or Loretta Lynn’s, or Budds Creek or Ironman, or pretty much any Pro Motocross event, you’ll undoubtedly see some familiar faces from the GNCC staff out and about. It’s no secret that a lot of the same folks who make the GNCC events happen also make a number of other races happen too, and you never know where some of the guys and gals will pop up. You might see Jeff Russell, Ryan Echols or Bob The Builder Pierson out running dozers, you might see Zach Holbert or Jamie Jenkins towing in broken down riders, and you might see me out there doing, well, whatever it takes to help everyone on the infield keep the day running smoothly. Whether you know the names or just the faces, it’s pretty cool to go to a different event or even watch it on TV and say “hey I know that guy from GNCC!”
Okay, the last few editions of Quick Fill have been forced together so quick that we really haven’t had the opportunity to take a look at what’s going on in terms of championship hunts. As we get ready to roll into Snowshoe, and the final round before summer break, now is the time that championships battles really begin to shape up. This week we’ll take a look at the pro ranks, and in the weeks of the summer break we’ll look through some of the other various classes.
On the ATV side Walker Fowler really has a pretty commanding lead as he sits 71 points ahead of Hunter Hart in second place. Walker has won five out of eight rounds and hasn’t finished off the podium all season. This consistency is a huge factor in Walker’s hunt for championship number seven, which would tie him with Barry Hawk for total ATV championships. However, it’s not totally over yet as a little bit of misfortune could cost him that big lead but at the same time, Walker’s odds are pretty good given his past record of finishing races, and this is pretty interesting.
Walker moved up to the XC1 class in 2012 and through Mason-Dixon this year he has now raced 121 XC1 races. In 121 XC1 starts, he has won 65 races giving him a win percentage of 53% but even more impressive is that he has only finished off of the podium 18 times in 121 starts. That means that Walker has finished on the podium 85% of the time! While Walker’s consistency is pretty impressive, we all know that anything can happen in GNCC Racing and there’s a number of guys looking to capitalize on any mistakes Walker could make. Hunter Hart currently sits second and has been on the podium four times in 2021 including two second place finishes. Hunter has a win to his credit from Ironman 2019, so he knows what it takes to get it done and it really leaves one to wonder if we could see him in the center of the podium before the season ends.
Jarrod McClure has also put together a pretty solid season so far and sits third place in points, just seven points behind Hart. McClure has found himself on the podium three times in 2021 and actually hasn’t finished worse than eighth place all year. Cole Richardson is fourth and is another rider who has been pretty successful in 2021, landing on the podium four times, but unfortunately a tough round in Georgia left him scoring no overall points and working his way out of a deficit. Brycen Neal is the only rider to top Fowler in 2021, but also had several tough races and is now out for the season with a knee injury. It’s a bummer to see as Neal was a big challenge to Fowler, but this means he could come back extremely motivated next season and possibly make things even more interesting!
Adam McGill is currently sixth overall. Other than a couple of rough goes at the two events on the Big Buck Farm this season, McGill has been a consistent top five threat, including an appearance on the Camp Coker podium and don’t forget that he won last year’s Mountaineer GNCC, so don’t count him out either! John Glauda sits seventh with a number of top five finishes, and six-time champ Chris Borich is eighth with a few top five finishes of his own. Josh Merritt and Westley Wolfe round out the top ten overall, both of which have shown some flashes of speed throughout the season.
Turning attention to the bike side, things have been pretty intense. After going on a tear at the end of 2020 winning four of the last five races, Steward Baylor came into 2021 with a ton of attention. Unfortunately, Stu missed the opening round letting an open wound heal and a clutch issue at the end of round two left him finishing 14th. This opened the flood gates as a number of riders were hungry to take that points lead, but only two have held that points lead all season. Grant Baylor took the opening round win and held the lead early, but since round three it’s been Ben Kelley holding the lead.
Kelley took the round two win, has only been off the podium twice all season, never finished worse than sixth, and has four second place finishes plus one third place finish to his credit in 2021. However, since round three Steward Baylor has been the one digging his way out of a deep points deficit. Baylor has won five of the last six rounds and has a third place to his credit as well. After the Mason-Dixon win, Stu is now just four points behind Kelley and is fighting hard to take over the top spot.
Opening round winner Grant Baylor sits tied for third with Josh Strang, who also has a win to his credit this season while Jordan Ashburn rounds out the top five. Josh Toth currently sits sixth and actually has finished on the podium earlier this season and will be looking for more of those types of finishes. Ricky Russell has also put together a number of good races, but also a little bit of tough luck has him sitting seventh ahead of XC2 class leaders Johnny Girroir, Craig Delong and Lyndon Snodgrass rounding out the top ten overall.
Speaking of Walker Fowler’s consistency, Craig Delong has arguably been the most consistent rider on the bike side. While Delong hasn’t worked his way into the XC1 ranks just yet, his consistency in the XC2 class is pretty darn impressive. Craig has made 83 XC2 class starts in his career and only finished outside of the top five a total of ten times. That means he’s finished inside the top five of the XC2 class 87% of the time! He’s also finished on the XC2 podium 65% of the time having only been off the XC2 podium 29 times in 83 starts.
That’s everything for this week. We’ll have more Snowshoe teasers in the next couple of editions of Quick Fill, and of course next week we’ll be busy gearing up for High Point, so Quick Fill might be a bit on the quick side. Of course, as usual, if you have anything to share just drop me a line at [email protected] and we’ll include it in an upcoming edition of Quick Fill. Enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you back here next week!