BUCKHANNON – Not all heroes wear capes. Buckhannon native Gavin Claypool, a 6-year-old ATV racer, was recently named GNCC Racing’s Hometown Hero.
In this role, Gavin will act as an ambassador of the racing series at this weekend’s Mountaineer First Responder Salute race in Beckley, West Virginia. The Hometown Hero encourages local community members to visit the upcoming races and gather fans to cheer on their favorite racers. The Hometown Hero nomination was humbly accepted by Gavin and his family this week.
“It was a feel-good moment for him. It made him happy and excited,” said Samantha Ault, Gavin’s mother, during an interview with My Buckhannon on Thursday. Gavin smiled over Ault’s shoulder throughout the interview.
Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) is a racing series based in Morgantown, West Virginia. The series travels to various locations across the East Coast for nine months out of the year — from early February to the end of October. Including this weekend’s The Mountaineer race, four races remain this season. Check out the GNCC Racing series schedule here.
According to a recent GNCC Racing media release, “More than 1,500 racers are expected to compete over the weekend, as the event includes four-wheeled ATV racing on Saturday and dirt bikes on Sunday. Classes range from riders as young as four and as old as the 60-plus divisions. The top GNCC pro classes feature some of the world’s top riders, including talent from England, Europe and Australia.”
Whether a youngster or a seasoned racing veteran, competing is no easy feat. Drivers of motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATV), and electronic assist mountain bikes (eMTB) will face various terrain that requires speed, skill and reaction time. The courses include rolling hills, woods, loose dirt, rocks of various sizes and slippery mud.
As the Claypool family has driven across the East Coast for various races – as far north as Ohio and as far south as Florida – and the hobby has truly become a family affair.
Mikeal Claypool, Gavin’s father, explained that racing did not start out as a competitive venture for his sons, but rather as a spare time activity that quickly turned into a more meaningful passion.
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