Welcome to Quick Fill.
Just like that, only one round remains in the 2022 GNCC Racing season and it’s a big one! This time next week we’ll have a full-on invasion of Ironman Raceway as we prepare for the season finale. This is always a huge event with a massive number of racers and spectators alike, and this year’s event is shaping up to be yet another big one as well. Next week we’ll have the low-down on what to expect out on the track at the Ironman and hopefully the current weather forecast holds because its looking like a really good one! But, I’m just going to leave it at that so I don’t totally jinx it.
Once again we do have the schedule changes for the Ironman. Just to give another heads up of what that all entails, Saturday will return to the “traditional” GNCC schedule with Youth ATVs at 8am, Morning ATVs at 10am and Afternoon ATVs at 1pm. The Micros will race across the street with Micro Bikes at 8:30am and Micro ATVs at 9:15am and the Youth Bikes will race on Saturday evening at 4pm. Then Sunday will see the Morning Bike race split in two separate races with the first at 8am, the second Morning Bike race at 10am and the traditional Afternoon Bike race at 1pm.
Morning Bike race one will predominately feature the C-classes as well as the Warrior while Morning Bike race two will see the WXC, Sportsman, and any of those B classes that run in the AM. Full details of exactly which class races when and their row assignments are available, so check out the Start Rows tab of the Ironman event page HERE for more info. Last year this split morning bike race proved to work out really well, so we’re doing it again. Hopefully this time the weather will be just a little more dry than last year’s Ironman!
There’s a slew of other activities going on regarding Ironman as well. As always, this is our annual ‘pink race’ for Breast Cancer Awareness, so be sure to wear pink gear, attire, graphics, etc. We’ve also got the traditional Ironman round of the Monster Energy Concert Series happening as well. Both Friday and Saturday night at 8pm, our own DJ Judd will be taking to the stage doing his thing. Now, not only is Judd a great DJ on the starting line, he’s a REAL DJ in real life. Like, he does it for a living so that means he’s pretty good. Oh, and he helps ride sweep when he can as well!
Then Saturday night at 9pm country music artist Tyle Farr will be performing. Tyler is known for songs such as Redneck Crazy and Whiskey in My Water and was even one of the guest hosts on an episode of Ridiculousness, so this is sure to be a good show. Saturday night will also see Trick-or-Treating, the annual Costume Contest and of course ePeeWee racing for the Stacycs.
Of course, these Saturday night activities all take place after a full day of racing which promises to be a really good one. The battle for the ATV National Championship is coming all the way down to Ironman and this one has some historic potential. Brycen Neal has managed to pull out a 12-point lead over Walker Fowler. The last time a battle was this close came back in 2014 when, yes, the ATV National Championship came down to the final round between Chris Borich and Walker Fowler. Borich managed to best Fowler for the title by just five points, but in 2015 Fowler pulled out a comfortable lead and Borich was only able to finish fourth.
This is where it gets interesting. When Borich claimed his first GNCC title in 2009, he beat out defending champion Bill Ballance, who finished that season… fourth place. Now, when you look at GNCC ATV Champions Walker Fowler has won seven straight titles, and finished second behind Chris Borich for three years prior to his first title. Borich won six straight titles before Fowler, and finished second to Bill Ballance for a number of years prior to his first title. Ballance won nine straight titles before Borich, and finished second to Barry Hawk several times prior to his first title. And, Hawk won seven straight titles before Ballance.
Brycen Neal has finished second to Walker Fowler at the end of two separate seasons. To secure the 2022 ATV National Championship, Brycen just needs to finish fourth place or better at Ironman, provided that Walker were to win the race. If Walker wins, and Brycen finishes fourth, they would tie and Neal would take the tie breaker since he has more race wins. However, let’s say Walker wins and Brycen finishes fifth, Fowler would then take the title by two-points. So, nothing is impossible as both of these top two riders have experienced freak issues this season that left them scoring no points. But, the two of them have also won every race so far this year.
Looking ahead at historical potentials, let’s say Brycen is able to win the championship this season and Walker takes it back again in 2023. The last time something like this happened was quite some time ago. The Ironman himself, Bob Sloan, won the 1989 GNCC ATV National Championship. Chuck Delullo wrestled that title away from Bob in 1990 and again in 1991 before Bob was able to win it again in 1992. After that, Barry Hawk began his reign setting forth a precedent that ATV champions should go on a roll winning title after title, after title. This means that in the last 30 seasons of GNCC Racing, only four different riders have been ATV National Champions.
Regardless of what happens, these guys have put on one heck of a show so far in 2022 and the Ironman has the potential to be the biggest show of all. It’s all on the line and these guys will ultimately be giving it everything they’ve got. Now, at the same time Ironman will be the last hoorah for the great Johnny Gallagher, who has raced more professional GNCC seasons than anyone. Johnny is finally hanging up his full-time racing boots at the end of the season, so hopefully Johnny can go out with a bang as well.
As for the bikes, a number of championships are all wrapped up as Jordan Ashburn claimed the GNCC National Championship at Burr Oak, Lyndon Snodgrass wrapped up the XC2 title last weekend at Buckwheat, as did Brody Johnson for the FMF XC3 class. So, all this leaves is the WXC which will come down to the final round between Rachael Archer and Tayla Jones. Even though those XC1, XC2 and XC3 classes are all wrapped up, there will still be a number of guys looking to make some noise before the season ends and finish the year on a high note. We’re also hearing that Tom Knight, the nephew of 2007/2008 GNCC Champ David Knight, will be making his first-ever GNCC appearance at the Ironman. Maybe this will motivate the big man himself to come do some racing soon as well? Only time will tell.
Before we wrap up this week’s edition of Quick Fill, many of you may have already heard but be sure to keep GNCC Pit Pastor, Chuck Lemaster, in your thoughts and prayers. Chuck had a pretty hard crash last weekend at Buckwheat and ended up breaking all of his ribs on one side and collapsed both lungs. Thankfully, he’s steadily improving and will be back to 100% but he’s got quite the road to recovery ahead of him!
That’s going to do it for this week’s edition of Quick Fill. Be sure to check back next week for all the latest info on what to expect at Ironman. Until then, enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you back here next week.