GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Wyatt Wilkin

Tuesday Toolbox: Wyatt Wilkin

Tuesday, March 19, 2024 | 3:40 PM
Tuesday, March 19, 2024 | 3:40 PM Let’s begin where it all started. When did you start riding? What was your first bike/ATV? When did you start racing? What was your first GNCC?

Wyatt Wilkin: So I started riding a PW50 dirt bike at 4 years old. My dad introduced me to racing and that’s basically where my career took off. I raced dirt bikes and quads both throughout my childhood and then switched to just quads when I was about 12. My very first GNCC was in 2008 at Loretta Lynn’s. At that time, I was on a DRR 90 racing 90 Modified. We ran the youth classes all the way up until 2012 and then ended up taking a break from the national series until I was able to ride a 450. As everyone knows racing can get really expensive so we just enjoyed riding and racing our local series.

You’re coming off your first career podium performance in the XC1 Pro Class. Now that you’ve had a little while to reflect, has it sunk in yet?

Honestly, I’m not sure it has. Just all those years working my butt off to get here have flown by. Standing next to Walker and Brycen on the podium is just wild to me but hey now I know where I’m at. Just got to keep after it and hope to see myself back up there with them. 

Wyatt Wilkin (right) earned his first-career overall podium finish in Georgia.
Wyatt Wilkin (right) earned his first-career overall podium finish in Georgia. Ken Hill

We were able to capture the raw emotion you felt as you came off the track as well as your own words about what it meant to you to see the hard work and dedication; you’re pouring into this sport paying off. Can you expand upon what this means to you and your career this early?

Man it’s just crazy to look back at all the things we’ve sacrificed to get here. My dad and I have poured just about every dollar we have into this sport and it’s finally paying off. From the outside looking in we seem pretty fortunate to be here but what a lot of people don’t see are the times we did without. All the days scraping to get a quad together just to go to the race and probably break. The days of not having the luxury things that everyone else had. But man did we make it work and I honestly don’t think I’d change a thing. It’s made me who I am today and got me here. Fast forward to 2024 and we’re on the nicest machines, got a mechanic, a trainer and just about everything you’d need to be successful. None of these things would have been possible without Jason and Alicia Stewart. They took a chance on me in 2022 and honestly have taken me to where I’m at today. I can’t thank them enough for what they do for the sport and racing community. I also want to give a thanks to the guys over at Pierce Performance. Matt and Tylor always go above and beyond to make sure my bikes are ready to go. I will forever be thankful for everyone that’s got me here and continues to support me.

Looking back at last season, your rookie year in the XC1. You had a red-hot start. Grabbing some holeshots, flirting with top threes and overall checking a lot of boxes you set out to check. It’s no secret the transition from the XC2 to the XC1 is HUGE. What helped you prepare for competing at this level?

 A big part of going into my XC1 season and being successful was just the people around me. Having people who believe in you is so big. I was mentally and physically prepared for last year. I trained all off season and came into round 1 ready to swing. Knowing you put in the work is a big part of the game. If you show up to a race knowing you slacked the week before,  mentally you’re going to get down on yourself. But if you can look back and say you did everything you could to prepare then you’ll be successful. Don’t get me wrong last year was awesome but we also made plenty of mistakes. I’ve taken each one of those mistakes and learned from them. Last year helped set me up for this year and many years to come. 

Wilkin not only made the podium at round three, but earned himself the $250 Kanati Performance Tires XC1 Holeshot Award.
Wilkin not only made the podium at round three, but earned himself the $250 Kanati Performance Tires XC1 Holeshot Award. Ken Hill

Racing is demanding. Results at the pro level are demanding as well. It’s all about “What have you done lately?” Now that you’ve had that taste of a podium performance, how do you focus on repeating that and eventually throw your name in the hat for some race wins?

I know I’m doing all the right things. Very few guys go straight to winning and I know that. It takes years of experience and maturity to win. I’m going to take it week by week. I’ve been on the podium once, now let’s see if we can do it two or three times. If that’s the case, then I’m confident a win will come.

Let’s dive a little more into your training. You’ve been working with Levi Coen and Outlier Performance. What’s a typical training session look like for you off the ATV? And in that same breath, what does seat time and training look like for you on the ATV?

 Magicians don’t reveal their tricks. No I’m joking, each week is a little different than the last. Normal weeks are 5 days a week of training and then race weekends are only 4 days. Just about every week will consist of a couple days of straight cardio. Rowing, running, biking or stair stepper. A couple days of weight training to keep our strength up and then some days of the 2 mixed. Levi does an awesome job at making things enjoyable. When I say enjoyable, I don’t mean I’m having the time of my life in the gym, but I mean I’m always interested in what we’re doing next. Anyone that trains at this level knows it’s not easy. So having options and not getting bored is a big part in my training. Of course each week we’re trying to progress. Levi also does an awesome job at always pushing us a little farther than the week before. Outlier Performance has taken my fitness and racing to the next level. So if you’re someone that’s looking to get into training or wants to progress in racing feel free to contact him. On the atv is where I’ve struggled in the past but that’s changing this year. I know a lot of these guys I’m racing against are riding several times a week. I’ve been working at riding a minimum of once a week and shooting for usually twice a week. As far as breakdown on how my riding goes, I like to mix things up. An hour minimum is usually what I’m shooting for. Some days it’s two 30min motos and others it’s an hour straight. That being said I like to enjoy riding so there are days where I’ll have buddies out and we will ride from dawn to dusk. It’s all about balance and I’m still searching for what is best for me.

Wilkin all smiles after earning third place.
Wilkin all smiles after earning third place. Mack Faint

You’re always a fun interview. Full of life and always honest. There’s a job to do on Saturdays, obviously. But how important is it to you to make sure you’re having fun while you’re out there doing your thing?

So this is something I think a lot of people miss. We start racing or riding because we enjoy it. If we didn’t enjoy it, we wouldn’t be doing it. Growing up my dad and I had fun racing. Of course we wanted to win but it wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t. Growing up I never won a single National Championship. Not one. The end goal is to be where I’m at today. I see so many kids get burnt out because they are pushed to win championship after championship. None of that amounts to anything if you aren’t enjoying it. My dad didn’t burn me out of this sport and as I’ve gotten older my dedication and drive to win has only went up.  I think that’s what has kept me in racing for so long. I’ve been racing for 20 years, and I still look forward to every weekend. Not just the racing aspect but the friends and relationships part to. Our racing community really is a big family. I genuinely love what I do and to be able to be the guy all these kids and fans look up to is awesome.

Enough about racing! When you’re not at the track or training, what do you like to do for fun?

If I’m being completely honest, I don’t get into a whole lot outside of motorsports. My free time is usually spent with my girlfriend Jordan, my friends, or my pup Tex. I’m a sucker for the small things so just grabbing some food with a buddy or hanging out in the garage is big to me. The past couple years we’ve been doing a bunch of hiking though. We usually try to plan a hiking trip each year with my sister and her boyfriend. It’s just a nice break to get away and enjoy the outdoors. I’m not big on going to the beach or cities though. Throw me in the woods and I’ll have a ball.

Wilkin sits sixth in the points standings after going 6-11-3 at the first three rounds of the 2024 Progressive GNCC Season.
Wilkin sits sixth in the points standings after going 6-11-3 at the first three rounds of the 2024 Progressive GNCC Season. Mack Faint

Follow-up, how on earth do you and Levi Coen up the game for the banquet this year? The Dumb and Dumber fit even grabbed the attention of Davey Coombs for RacerX. I mean, how do you go up from there?!

Honestly when Levi first introduced the idea to me, I was pretty nervous I’d get negative feedback. Once we got to the banquet, we got actually the opposite. So many people wanting to take pictures and hitting us with quotes from the movies. Me and Levi had a hard time fighting off all the women, but it was definitely worth it. Going into this year we’ve thrown out a couple ideas to each other. Not sure if we will roll up looking like some well-dressed guys or stick out like a sore thumb.

Finally, I know you don’t do this thing alone. Who are the people and sponsors you’d like to thank?

You’re exactly right. I’ve got one heck of a team. This wouldn’t be possible without Action Off-road, Stewart Boys Racing, Pierce Performance, GBC Tires, Houser Components, Outlier Performance, Long Ramps, Blud Lubricants, FXR, Custom Axis, Cecco Racing, Flexx Bars, RP, PowerMadd, Quadtech, Five Six O Graphics, Hinson Clutches, UPP, 38 Motorsports, Scott Goggles, Atlas Braces, Outerwear’s, Antigravity Batteries, Sunstar Chains and Sprockets, ODI, DP Brakes, Bad Plastics, Rocket Machine, IMS, LS4, H3llish Racing, my girlfriend Jordan, my dad and family, and everyone else that’s behind me.