Welcome to Quick Fill, and Happy Veterans Day!
Yes, first and foremost before we dive into Quick Fill, our hats go off with a big "thank you" to all veterans, current service men and women, and all families that Veterans Day honors. Thank you.
So. Wait a minute… This is only the third week of the off-season? I thought for sure we we’re over a month into this thing. I haven’t ridden a motorcycle since Ironman, and after that surely it would take months for me to have that desire to go riding again. Well, turns out that’s incorrect and I have the sneaking suspicion that there’s a lot of you who feel the same way, even if you’ve still been riding since the season ended.
There’s actually a number of guys who have kept riding since the season ended and its been paying off as well. The final round of the AMA National Enduro Series took place in Alabama last weekend and that huge Steward Baylor fanbase will be happy to hear Stu wrapped up his fifth National Enduro title. That now ties Stu with Russell Bobbitt for five National Enduro titles each, and they sit just behind guys like Mike Lafferty and Dick Burleson who have eight titles each, plus Randy Hawkins and original National Enduro dominator Bill Baird who have seven titles each.
While Stu won the title, it was actually Josh Toth who won the race and it was his fifth win of the season compared to Stu’s two wins. However, Stu was the most consistent guy in that series as he never finished worse than third, which only happened once. In addition to the two wins and one third place, the other six rounds were second place finishes for Stu. Regardless, it looks like these guys could have a title championship battle next season as Toth looks to avoid some of the bad luck he had in 2021.
With the National Enduro Series in the books, that really wraps up the 2021 season for most folks and it seems like we’re starting to see everyone get into the swing of taking some time off. Now, I don’t reach out to anyone and ask how their day to day is going but there’s been some guys staying active on social media. Outside of Hunter Hart continuing to ride and race like the mad man he is, Walker Fowler has been hunting, Steward Baylor celebrated that enduro title by hunting, Thad Duvall has been hunting and bagged a monster buck, so there seems to be a common theme here. A lot of guys have been fairly quiet as well, so hopefully that means they’re taking time to relax before jumping into 2022 prep.
Next up is the banquet which are still a few weeks away but will be here before we know it! Like I said last week, the banquet almost seems like a 14th round of GNCC, just without the racing. It’s pretty fun to get together and just spend the weekend hanging out with each other and recognizing everyone’s achievements for the year. If you haven’t already registered for the banquet, be sure to do so and if you’re planning on staying at the Waterfront and haven’t already got a room, well, as of right now the hotel is full! They do have people cancel periodically, so you can try calling to check on room availability as we get closer, or, if you prefer to just book a room at a different hotel the Hotel Morgan just up the street from the Waterfront has availability. Check out the event page HERE for all the details.
Now, in the past we’ve also hosted the riders meetings in person at the banquet. Moving forward we’re going to try sticking to the Zoom format meetings we did last year. This gives the opportunity for people who aren’t at the banquet to attend the meetings and voice their opinions and potential class and rule changes for the upcoming season. We’ll have all the details on those meetings soon, so keep an eye out.
And yes, speaking of things coming soon, we are getting closer to finalizing the 2022 GNCC schedule. There’s still a few more details to work out but it’s coming. Like I said last week, if you know of somewhere with 500+ acres, with somewhere close to 100 acres that could be used for parking, drop me a line at [email protected] and give me the details. Chances are it wouldn’t work out for 2022 as we’re just about set but it’s never too early to get the ball rolling for the future.
We’re already beginning prep for various things through the 2022 season and that includes the overall trophies. If you miss out on the podiums each week, we give away some pretty cool stuff for the overall. We’ve done swords for The General, which in 2020 I actually found authentic Civil War era swords. The market on that stuff has soared much higher since then and we did some really nice reproduction swords for 2021. However, arguably the coolest trophy of the year is the Penton gas tank we give out at The John Penton. For years I’ve tracked down authentic Penton gas tanks, most of which have been the fiberglass Penton Six Days tanks, which were the green ones, but we’ve also had a couple of the Penton Jackpiner 175 tanks, which were the blue ones. Once, and one time only, we even had an old metal Penton Six Days tank, which was actually really hard to let go… So, Thad Duvall, keep that one clean!
The downside is those tanks are just getting harder and harder to find and when you do find one its either really rough and painted over and has holes in it and the stickers are missing, or if it’s nice it’s just really expensive. So, if you or someone you know happens to have a decent Penton gas tank laying around, even if it’s missing the original decals, let me know at [email protected] and let’s make a deal! Obviously I’m not looking for something to be used as a restoration project, but a tank in decent shape, or just ok shape would be awesome.
That’s just about all I have for this week as I’ve eclipsed 1,000 words and really done nothing but ramble on and on. Ken Hill is back this week with a contribution so before we wrap things up, enjoy a bit from him. Enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you back here next week!
Catching Up With Ken (Ken Hill)
Well, I seem to be my own worst enemy as I’ve managed to miss my deadline for Quick Fill again. Now this wasn’t due to my schedule with the doctors or the visits to whatever test they wanted to run, it’s simply my dwindling lack of concentration that I am told is completely normal with the liver disease I have. I find it alarmingly not normal but I am not a doctor so I have to trust them that it will get worse than better after this transplant. In fact, I wish I could say that I have been running ragged to appointments and tests, but it has been crickets since Ironman. The wife finally got aggressive, and we should know something early next week and hopefully move on to the next step which will, or should, be our final evaluation and series of tests that will wrap this up as soon as possible. They told us that it could be as early as two weeks once the dust settles from the evaluation/tests that the operation could happen, so we are going to be headed to the first turn in short order, again, at some point.
Ironman was a bit tough on me mentally. The weather was ugly and walking through the pits had many of you wanting to chat and there were a few tear-filled eyes as we shook hands or hugs were given because in reality any operation can go sideways or there is always a chance I won’t recover properly, and this could indeed be my last GNCC event. It is far easier to allow the negative to whoop up on the positive and overall, it was a grand weekend even with the poor conditions. Team Babbitts teamed up with Rock River Arms and held a raffle to benefit my situation as well as the IXCR who was selling tickets for a chance to win a CRF 110. Still others hand walked private donations that ranged all over the map with several that left me speechless.
The support itself from everyone was overwhelming at times and I can’t even begin to thank everyone. At home, all over the country benefits from race series that I have never had the pleasure of attending, gathered donations adding to the swell of support. We had not wanted to ask for support, but the costs are just insane, and every penny donated is being properly spent on the mountain of things insurance doesn’t cover. The GoFundMe page at last look at just broken $21k which puts us in the neighborhood of seeing half of our goal meet! Again, we cannot begin to express our gratitude and I will do my best to not croak!
Now the racing at Ironman was solid even with the deteriorating conditions. Saturday wasn’t horrible even though I missed the youth race due to being stuck in the traffic jam across the cornfield. Once inside the day was a nonstop carnival of action that ranged from the racing to the vendors, Axel Hodges doing his thing and of course the trick or treating. It’s no wonder Ironman has such a large turnout because you can feel the family everywhere. Overnight, the rain started again, and Sunday started out bad and just got worse. Becca Sheets locked down her season with the number one plate as she heads to the barn after one heck of a career.
We all hid under the Yamaha tent to get the championship pictures as the rain really came down which made the already slick and gnarly track conditions worse. I headed to the scoring tent to see what the word was as rumor had it delaying the PM race was under review as all the details that surround such changes have to be factored in. The lightening would be the deciding factor and thankfully the strikes they were calling for never materialized and we were going to finish this season over the next few hours.
Things got really confusing after the starts as I awaited the leaders and finally they came through but way back in the front pack of riders. After a few laps of cutting them off I once again hit scoring to see what all the chaos was as I have never seen such a mixed group racers so early in the race. That’s when I got word Steward Baylor had a mechanical issue as soon as he hit the woods and Ben Kelley was doing exactly what he needed to do to wrap up his first GNCC XC1 championship. And just like that, everyone could close out the season with a splash especially Johnny Girroir who surprised me by auctioning off his gear from the podium. The ladies, and a few guys, were giving him the business as they handed out the cash that soon found him in the cold nearly butt naked! It was a good time and I thank him for his efforts.
And just like that the 2021 season ended for many of us. It’s always a weird walk back to my truck at the final round as I think about the season as a whole and while I am always happy to see the season come to a close in a way, it’s also sad because I know I won’t be seeing friends and such until the spring at the opening round. This year’s walk (swim) had me really in the dumps because I failed myself while trying to work through these health issues. From me showing up at round three straight from the hospital to several surgeries throughout the season it has affected me as I set the bar high for myself and get mad when I can’t reach it. As I sloshed the final few steps to my truck I stopped and looked up as I took a deep breath and thanked God that I did make it to see the final round as crappy as the season was for me.
Well, that’s it for me, I am not sure where we go from here as my family faces the unknown. I can’t give a solid answer on anything simply because we just don’t know the answers to many questions however, we will keep everyone in the loop via social media and Quick Fill. I want again to thank each and every one of you for your support no matter the form it may come in. As always please be safe in all you do and may the good Lord continue to bless us all.