GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Ryan Echols

Tuesday Toolbox: Ryan Echols

Tuesday, July 11, 2023 | 2:05 PM
Tuesday, July 11, 2023 | 2:05 PM
  • Wiseco Logo Let’s go WAY back to the beginning. When did you start riding, what was the bike, and when did you eventually start racing?

Ryan Echols: Riding?Man, pretty much when I came home from the hospital. I was riding around on 3-wheelers with my uncles, yes… I said “3-wheeler!” My first bike was a 1993 xr 80. I rode that bike every morning before school, I was ate up! My first race was motocross in 99, I think.

Ryan Echols taking on Erzbergrodeo this year.
Ryan Echols taking on Erzbergrodeo this year. Ryan Echols Facebook

Now let’s go a little ways back, but not too far. How did you eventually find yourself working with GNCC, and what lead to your current role as Trail Boss?

Kind of a crazy how the saying “everything happens for a reason” after I broke my leg I kind of took a little time off from racing to focus on my family, so started working in the coal mines, mostly on the track crew, funny isn’t it. We got laid off so was doing some construction stuff when I got a phone call from Jeff (Russell) asking if I was looking for a job. When your whole life has been riding and racing, of course I said, “Sure I’ll come try it out!” From the beginning I was supposed to be the Jr. Trail Boss, me and (Jared) Bolton actually figured out it was better for us both to do the job. I learned a lot from Bolton and Jeff to be where I am now and still learning more. 

What are some of the challenges you face as a Trail Boss when creating tracks for a GNCC?

We always try to be close to that 30-minute lap time, so everything from track flow to mileage, weather comes into play. Making a track that all types of skill levels can compete on and have fun while doing it is our priority.

You recently raced in the Erzberg Rodeo. I already know that was a Bucket List item. It’s such an incredible event that draws riders from all over the world. What was it like checking that box off, and obviously we want to know, how’d you do representing the GNCC Racin’ Nation?

It was Amazing! Of course, heck we could talk all day on it. I did pretty good, made it to check 16. I wanted to get to Carl’s Diner but had a few hold ups that timed me out before I could make it. Not sure how I finished overall but what an experience! I would do it again in a heartbeat!

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Ryan Echols all smiles at a muddy GNCC.
Ryan Echols all smiles at a muddy GNCC. Ken Hill

What would be your advice to anyone racing Erzberg?

Go out and find every cliff and vertical hill you can. Then go up and down them, being confident in your riding skills and have fun! It’s a long day but totally with it! Oh, and don’t be in the beer tent all night!

You had me at “Beer Tent.” How about a nice game of Would You Rather? Erzberg or Snowshoe and why?

Of course you want me to pick between my two favorite races! Man that’s a hard one but I guess Erzberg. When you pull up to some of that stuff and make it, man no better feeling! I mean still, winning at Snowshoe would feel pretty dang good.

Let’s talk family life. You do a ton of traveling, like all of us. How do you balance the travel with your family life at home?

Lots of FaceTime! Haha! But my wife, Athena, is awesome she understands all of it and goes with the flow, plus our daughter keeps us busy, well mostly my wife with all the sports and school stuff. She’s a straight ‘A’ student, we are so super proud of her. You know if you pick on them enough, they are glad when you leave, that’s mostly my daughter. Haha!

Ryan alongside his family, Athena (wife) and Ava (daughter).
Ryan alongside his family, Athena (wife) and Ava (daughter). Ryan Echols Facebook

I’d be doing the GNCC Racin’ Nation a disservice if I didn’t ask this next question. I know 2020 threw a wrench in the gears and we had to adapt by racing a few locations twice. Obviously, this wasn’t ideal, but this also ensured we were able to race an entire season while a lot of other sports had to abbreviate their seasons. But as a few years have passed now, has there been any progress in finding new locations to race at in 2024 and beyond? I know from meetings we’ve had this is a MAJOR priority for our series. Can you give any updates?

We are always looking, hopefully we have a few good leads. If anyone has that golden egg hiding out there, we are always open to come take a look.

On the topic of new tracks, I hear and see a lot of places people think would make an ideal track. And they’re not wrong, there are some INCREDIBLE locations out there. But it’s more than just a 12–15-mile track, there needs to be plenty of park-able acreage to accommodate the 1,000’s of people as well as the 100’s of campers, RVs, trucks, and semis. What are some of the other challenges you face when looking at a new property for GNCC to host a race?

You answered most of it, but it comes down to access and how far we are from hotels as well as a few other little things.

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Ryan Echols aboard his GNCC Official KTM.
Ryan Echols aboard his GNCC Official KTM. Ryan Echols Facebook

Erzberg, GNCC, and countless other locations you’ve raced or rode. What are some other highlights in your racing and/or riding career?

I’ve been pretty lucky to see the places I have. From Last Man Standing, to the JNCC’s, a few podiums at the GNCC’s, and of course Erzberg. 

Lastly, who would you like to thank?

There are so many people! First and foremost, my wife and daughter. Jeff and Carrie, everyone at Racer Productions, Parts Unlimited, FMF, Scott goggles, and everyone else that followed my Erzberg, trip thank you all!! And of course “Meltdown” for all he does. See you all at the races!