GNCCRacing.com: When did you start riding and eventually racing?
Gabriel Naud: When i was about 4 years old, my dad bought me and brother frank two Yamaha Raptor 80 in 2003! (I still have it). This is where it all started. We were riding around the camping area where we were going every weekend. In 2005 i did my first race on an "Oval" course! In 2006 I started my FMSQ career in the peewee class. I did every class possible on the atv side since then.
You’re coming off a National Championship in the FMSQ Cross Country series based out of Quebec. Tell us a little bit about the series and what motivated you to head south and racing GNCC?
Basically the FMSQ is organization very similar as the GNCC. It’s a cross-country series with ATV's and Dirtbike. This is one of the biggest series we have here in Canada for Cross-Country. There is class for any level of race from C to Pro and also women and kids. Atv racing has been kind of hard the last couple of years, but the FMSQ is trying very hard to adapt their track for ATV's and bring as much people as possible. I've been a part of the organization the last two years and i had a blast working with them. I am so happy it just turned as a National Championship as we get bigger and bigger. In 2023 we are gonna go outside of the province of Quebec and Ontario to see new places. There is not really a reason why I’m moving to the GNCC series. I've been pushing myself a lot in the past 4 years and I wanna see what I can do with the best of the best.
You finished 9th in the XC2 class at Big Buck. How do you feel about your results?
I am pretty happy with my result. I don't want to put any pressure on myself right now. 9th is not where I want to be, but I was going very good before I made a mistake on lap 3. I’m very proud of how i ride before that and im ready to go back in Florida.
What are the adjustments or changes you’ve had to make, if any, to racing GNCC?
I have not change anything on my YFZ450r for the GNCC. Its more in my personal life. I work for my dad, and we had to change our work schedule every week before the races because most of them are more than 15 hours’ drive. I will be forever thankful to have them they are the reason why i can do it. Also my girlfriend Cindy is making a lot of sacrifice in her life to make sure im 100% every week end. Everybody knows how many hours you have to put in the shop to make sure everything is ready, and she never fail to make sure everything else is ready to go!
Are you racing the full season, and if so, what are your goals this year?
Yes, I will be racing the full series this year. As I have 3 big sponsors in Canada, I’m also going to race the FMSQ series. It’s going to be a very big year but im ready. Like I said there is no pressure but yes i have some goals! I would be very happy with a top 5 for my first season. I’m very motivated for that.
What did training in the offseason look like for you? Saw a couple videos of you out there with Walker Fowler, as well as hanging with Matt Pierce and Levi Coen. All obviously huge names in the world of GNCC ATV racing.
I have made a lot of friend over the year with the GNCC people, and they are all always asking me to come and train with them. I am so thankful for that. As a lot of people know I am not riding in the winter here in Canada because of the weather and the amount of snow we have. I was lucky enough to have my camper at Walker Fowler place and I could train with him for almost 3 weeks at the beginning of the year. (I also teach walker a lot of French) I can't thank the Fowler/Piper family enough for that. I went back at my house and start training in my basement on Zwift doing as much bicycle as I can. Matt Pierce and Levi Coen are the first people I’ve met in USA. They are longtime friends. Levi raced the 12h of Latuque with me back in 2016. Matt Pierce is the genius with my YFZ450r, everything he says is always right. He is the best of the best. I can't thank him enough for the help he gave me over the year even if im very far from him.
When you’re not racing or training what do you like to do for fun?
I love to be outside. Anything that can be done outside I’m always in for that. I like to go hiking with my girlfriend and my dog. I also do a lot of mountain bike in the summer when i can. But most of the time im in the shop working with anything with an engine.
You mentioned being at work earlier today. What’s the day job look like to support racing?
Like i said earlier, I work for my dad. My dad has a store of doors and windows. I'm installing everything that is sold at his store. My brother Frank also has his own construction company and i can always work for him in the weekend to help afford going to the races. I am very lucky to have them by my side. They are the reason why I'm always at the race ready to go.
I mentioned Matt Pierce and Levi Coen, who are some other people in your corner helping you out on race weekends?
Obviously, my family is the people that help me the most. If you are talking FMSQ, the people at Quad Expert (my Yamaha dealership) are always there to help from working on my atv or giving advice. Matt Pierce and I are always having a facetime the night before the race talking about the course and atv setup. I am fortunate enough to have a HUGE support group that always make sure i have everything on race weekend. If you are talking GNCC, the nine2 family let me sleep in there camper at Round 1 and they also told me i can be there anytime i need it. I am so thankful for them. this is the kind of help that gonna help me make it every week end as this is very expensive to travel with my truck and camper. I can't tell everybody that has been there for me for this journey but what i can say is there a LOT of Canadian/American friend involved in this I’d like to say thank you so much!!!
What is the track you’re most looking forward to racing this season at GNCC?
I have not done every race track from the GNCC but I’m very excited for snowshoe. I have not been there since covid. But the one i wanna do the most is Ironman. Everybody keep telling me this is one of the coolest track in the series and i can't wait to make it there.
Who are the sponsors and people you’d like to thank?
First of i would like to thank my mom and dad, my girlfriend Cindy, my brother Frank, all my friends involved in this journey! Also i would like to thank Mark and is people at Quad Expert. They are the best people. Also huge thank you to Yamaha Canada for the support this year. Thank you, Matt Pierce, he knows what he is doing for me and there is no way I can't thank him enough for that. Thank you to all my sponsor supporting me year after year and the new one in my program. You guys are the best. And to end this thank you Mikey Waynes for this opportunity, I never thought one day i could be in that Tuesday Toolbox. For some people it’s nothing for me and my family it’s a huge accomplishment. We are not a rich family, but we are at the race week after week and i will be forever grateful for that
Merci a tout la gang du GNCC de m'acceuillir les bras ouverts chaques fin de semaine!
(Thank you to the whole GNCC gang for welcoming me with open arms every weekend!)