GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Cody Collier

Tuesday Toolbox: Cody Collier

Tuesday, January 23, 2024 | 2:00 PM
Tuesday, January 23, 2024 | 2:00 PM

GNCC Racing: To begin, when did you start riding, and eventually racing? 

Cody Collier: I pretty much grew up on the back of a four wheeler! My mom used to take the booster seat out of the back of her minivan, ratchet strap it to the rack on her utility quad and ride me around for hours. I couldn’t get enough! I finally started riding on my own when I was 4 years old, and started racing just a couple months after I turned 6 years old. My dad rode quads growing up and it was a family and friends’ event just going on trail rides, until my dad heard through a co-worker and good family friend that they actually raced the darn things! My dad and I went to the next one we could, just planning on him to race because we didn’t know kids raced until we got there. I made sure I was racing at the next one and we’ve been hooked ever since!  

We’ve come a long way from our days of rain boots and blue jeans, ripping out the back rows of seats out of our minivan and loading the Honda 90 in there. 

Collier defended his 4x4 Pro Championship in 2023.
Collier defended his 4x4 Pro Championship in 2023. Ken Hill

You wrapped up another National Championship in 2023. How does this one stack up to your previous? 

I’ve won 5 National Titles now throughout my racing career.

My 2nd title was definitely the most difficult looking back. 2013 racing Westley Wolfe in Schoolboy, battling through the 4x4s, WXC and “Super” Dave Simmons on the 250s. We both had 6 wins and 6 second place finishes going into the finale, battling into the white flag until he lost his clutches. I don’t know if he remembers those days as fondly as I do, but MAN was that one heck of a fight! Would’ve been the same thing in 2014 if he could’ve stayed away from some mechanical issues.

My 2022 title, my first Pro title, felt “cheap” with Landon not racing the full series and winning it pretty convincingly. I wanted to beat the champ straight up before I earned my title, but I knew defending it would be the real challenge.

2023 is the title I’m most proud of looking back. It was shaping up to be a good one with Landon making his full-time return and Brandon stepping up to the plate. This year was just a weird one for me with all of the illness, injury, and drama that I had to overcome. I was sick for 4 of the races this year, injured for a couple more, and had a couple weird mechanical bugs that kept me from putting together the season myself and everyone around me knows I’m capable of. We all had our issues, and I was able to overcome all of my adversities and still come out on top. I didn’t win this year through raw speed, I won it with grit and determination, making the most of every situation given to me. Definitely proud of this one but looking to flip the script in ‘24. 

The 4X4 Pro Class has had, arguably, some of the best battles amongst the Pro Classes on 4 or 2 wheels. Talk about what it’s like battling with these guys at GNCC? 

Arguably? Who are we arguing with? We UNDENIABLY had the best action all season long! Over half of the races this year you could’ve thrown a blanket over 2 or 3 of us at the checkers! And who doesn’t love watching those 1000 lb. pigs fly through the trees? I always have a great time out on the track, no matter what’s going on around me.

With Brandon, let’s just say we have our differences. We went from high fiving in the middle of races in 2022, to a hard-core championship brawl in 2023. I just want us to enjoy racing together like we did in 2022.  We had our differences, but I always confronted those calmly and talked things through when I could. He is one heck of a competitor and a fierce athlete with the drive to win. It seems like we’re going to be rivals for a long time to come.

With Landon, he is a fantastic person on and off the track. Always smiling, always positive, developing a great culture around him. He was the champ when I got on the scene and welcomed me into the class with open arms and BOOKS worth of lessons. We also had our differences, but always talked them through and left it all on the race track. We grew together as competitors and that’s what I’m going to miss the most. 

Collier battling it out with his fellow 4x4 Pro racers in the Florida sand.
Collier battling it out with his fellow 4x4 Pro racers in the Florida sand. Ken Hill

Sounds like Landon Wolfe is officially, more or less, retired, with plans of being at a few here and there but there’s plenty of young up and coming competition in the class moving into 2024. Who are some of the guys you know you’ve got to finish in front of throughout the season? 

I would LOVE to see more people make the jump to where Landon, Brandon and I are. Can I call us the “Big 3” in the 4x4 class? There are a few guys that are making the right steps, but it may take a season or two before someone is truly challenging us. Haedyn Mickelson would be the obvious next up  He has great end of race speed, just needs to work on that first hour and being ready at the flag drop. I’m excited with the progress my friend, Gavin Jenkins, has made in his first year and his solidified himself as a top 5 guy. We have two guys from the 4x4 A class moving up which is always exciting. Braden Reed, the 4x4 A Champ, trains with Landon a lot so I’m interested to see how he progresses this year. And also, the 4x4 A Runner-Up, Kaden Wharff, is going to be fiery for sure. He has a lot of heart and talent, and I hope to see him mature and make the right steps forward. Lots of new blood wanting to prove themselves, lots of old blood wanting to change their script, 2024 is going to be a good one for sure. 

Let’s talk about the number, 823. You’ve held the number one plate but continue to sport the 823 on your graphics and jersey. I believe most know the reason why, but for those that don’t, why is that number so meaningful to you and your team?

Ah yes, the #823. That is the number I run in remembrance of my late friend, Ayden Konkler. I run one of my back plates with the #1 faded into the background, so I can proudly sport the #823, the number I won my championship with. I also have his logo in several spots on my machine, as well as my jersey right over my heart. For those who didn’t know Ayden, he was just the happiest, smartest, and most genuine young soul you can meet. He was several years younger than I was, but I had started to take him under my wing and was teaching him everything I could about racing. We traveled to about all the races together, trained together, did a few team races as partners, and played HOURS of phone games together when we were apart. His parents, Amy and James Konkler, were just great people and great parents who were raising a fine young man and someone I had started to think of as a lifelong friend. Unfortunately, right after the new year in 2019, Ayden was doing his chores like usual and had a freak accident, which resulted in his untimely passing. I refuse to let what he meant to me die with him, and I’ve carried him over my heart proudly in every race since.

Only the good die young. Ride in peace, brother. 

Collier would earn five wins in 2024, and is aiming to defend his number one plate again in 2025.
Collier would earn five wins in 2024, and is aiming to defend his number one plate again in 2025. Ken Hill

Plans for 2024 are obvious, defend the title. How do you continue to stay focused and stay atop the class as the man to beat on Saturdays?

3Peat baby!!! Don’t fix what isn’t broken, right? Just keep doing what I’m doing at a high level, look to grow every race, and make the most out of every situation. If I do that and stay healthy this year, they’re in trouble. 

How’s the offseason looked for you? What has training and your program looked like as you prep for 2024?

Got to be honest, I was a little burnt out at the end of last season. I took a few weeks off just to do NOTHING and enjoyed the hell out of it. We’re back in the full swing on things, trying to get some good riding in all the slop of an Ohio winter has been tricky but we’re happy, healthy, and ready to go!  

Outside of training, have you been able to do anything fun during the winter break?

Yeah, I’ve had some exciting things going on in my life! I got engaged to my lovely lady, Lacey, so wedding planning is in full effect. We got Lacey her own puppy and she is just a sweetheart. I also got approved to get put on my home town entrance sign! We got to go skiing at Snowshoe after the banquet, but other than that it’s just been enjoying and building our home life. 

Collier recently got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Lacey.
Collier recently got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Lacey. Courtesy of Collier

You’ve got plenty of races in front of you, but what more would you like to accomplish before hanging up the helmet? 

If I could go out like “Ironman” Bob Sloan on the back of a quad, wide open through a field section until my heart exploded, I couldn’t be happier. Someone else is going to have to hang my helmet for me if I can help it! But as far as what’s left to accomplish. I don’t have anything left to prove to anybody. I’m doing this for the love of the sport, my love of my fans, and to inspire more people to get into the sport. Racing has given more to me and taught me more about myself than anything ever could. I want to give back to racing because of all it’s given to me.

If I could get a new back, I’d love to try my hand one more time in the XC1 ranks, but I don’t think that’s in the cards for me. Theoretically, if I wrap up a championship early one year, I still have my last XC1 full race build just sitting here looking at me, ready to go, and I could handle a race here and there and be a top 10 guy.

I’ve had one hell of a career so far, but I have so much left to give. The helmet stays ON.

Who are your sponsors and people you’d like to thank? 

All of this would not be possible without all of the great people and companies behind me.

First and foremost, my parents. Mark and Amy Collier are some of the most hard-working, dedicated people I know. Not only for themselves, their company and their careers, but all 4 of their kids. How they have juggled all of our extracurricular activities, their work, our home, and the racing? I alone played soccer, baseball, and football growing up on top of the racing. And THEN my 3 other siblings had their activities? Can’t thank them enough for all the sacrifices they made so we could have the lives we live.

To my beautiful fiancé, Lacey, jumping into this lifestyle and being nothing but supportive and helpful. She does all of my fantastic social media videos for my racing, makes sure I packed my underwear, keeps our home beautiful and puts up with me and my nonsense. What more could I ask?

To the reigning Mechanic of the Year, Mr. Mike Segers with KMK Off-Road! Best 4x4 mechanic in the USA. His whole family is involved with my program and he’s the main reason I keep the #1 on my back. Just can’t thank the entire Segers clan enough.

Kenda Tire. The most winningest tire in the 4x4 Pro class over the last two years. If you don’t know, now you know. Thank you Drew and Chad for helping grow the brand! Go get you some!

Elite Graphics. Matt and Tonja Wharff run a very clean shop and have some very talented designers! They knocked every kit I’ve gotten out of the park, and I love the product. Very durable and looks fantastic.

Ryco Electric. My dad’s company. If you’re in the Central-Ohio area and need electric done, give us a call and we’ll see what we can do for you!

I’d love to get a personal shoutout for everyone else behind me, but we’re running out of time. Just know that I endorse every single one of these companies and believe in them. If you want to know why, feel free to reach out!

Quad-Tech ATV, IBEW Local Union 683, Custom Axis Racing Shocks, Cecco Racing, Nine2 Goggles, BNR Motorsports, Raccoon Racing Products, DP Brakes, HMF Exhausts, Garage Products Bushings.