GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Adam Weckel

Tuesday Toolbox: Adam Weckel

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | 4:55 PM
Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | 4:55 PM Let’s go back to the beginning. What was your first ATV? When did you first start racing? When and where was your first GNCC?

Adam Weckel: My first ATV was a Kazuma Falcon 90 kids quad that my Dad had purchased secretly but knew it would be a hit. What he didn’t know was it would lead to a life revolving around racing! I first started racing at the age of 6, at a local series called WFO Promotions located in western Illinois. Growing up in eastern Iowa it was the closest series and a great opportunity to give racing a try! I remember my first GNCC race like it was yesterday! It was Ironman 2011 and that Thursday prior my Dad had just picked up a DRR 70 for me to race that weekend and the year ahead. I actually left school early that day to go try out the new quad and make sure we were good to go for the weekend! Never attending a GNCC before, the Ironman event was a great experience that led to me wanting to come back for more!

Catch up with Adam Weckel in this week's Wiseco Tuesday Toolbox!
Catch up with Adam Weckel in this week's Wiseco Tuesday Toolbox! Adam Weckel Instagram

You’re currently racing the Junior B (19+) Class in GNCC. How’s your season going so far, jumping into the afternoon race?

The season has certainly been a learning curve, but we are making some progress even if the results do not show. I made the decision to jump into the afternoon session this year as we made the commitment to chase the full schedule. Having raced in the Sportsman B class in the morning session at select GNCCs in years past, this was definitely an eye opener into how truly demanding the afternoon tracks can be on your body and machine. The past few rounds I have been battling some prosthetic complications that have hindered my ability to compete/perform at the level I would like to be at, but we currently have a new and improved setup in the works to get back to where we would like to be! Plan is to have a new prosthetic setup after the Powerline round. Currently doing what we can to make the most of the year and really looking forward to the second half of the season! 

You’ve been racing the Iowa Harescramble series since you were 7. And attending the Ironman GNCC over the years. What made you make the leap into racing a full GNCC schedule?

Yes, I grew up racing the IATVHSS series coming through the youth classes and beginning my racing career on a 450. For many years, my Dad and I chased the series across the whole state of Iowa all while attending a few of the “closer” GNCC events such as Ironman, Powerline, X-Factor, and the Limestone 100. I actually attempted a full GNCC season back in 2019. The same year I was graduating high school and beginning college that fall. I traveled to the first half of the races with former XC2-Pro Am racer Matt Lindle as he was competing for the XC2 championship and I was racing in the C 16-18 class. Unfortunately, both of us had a rough start to the season and ultimately backed out of the series run. Fast forward a few years to now, I am once again racing a full GNCC schedule. With now being completed with all of school, this is the first opportunity to chase the series with no time constraint. Also working for Spider Graphix, attending these races is a great way to create and maintain racer relationships all while promoting our brand! I really enjoy the concept of a full GNCC schedule from all angles, such as the racing, travel, preparation, and social experience that makes up GNCC racing. All of that together is why I find myself racing the full national circuit!

There’s no mistaking the fact that anyone willing to race a GNCC is quite frankly, a badass athlete. But you have an additional challenge unique to you. At a young age you developed a tumor on your forearm that resulted in an amputation below your elbow. First off, let me say, you’re a true Ironman in my opinion. Can you give us some more detailed background on that and how you’ve overcome that challenge?

I appreciate that! Yes, so at just under a year old I was diagnosed with cancer in my left forearm. It was a very aggressive cancer, but fortunately with help from the top tier medical staff at The University of Iowa Children's Hospital and my parents, an action plan was set to combat the cancer from spreading. The solution was to amputate my arm ultimately removing the tumor from the source. With that said, I have lived my whole life as an amputee and do not know life any other way! Everyday tasks are no roadblock to me as I have found a way to adapt through the years, similar to what I have had to do to carry out my racing dream.

After being diagnosed with cancer in his left forearem at a young age, Adam has pretty much lived his whole life as an amputee.
After being diagnosed with cancer in his left forearem at a young age, Adam has pretty much lived his whole life as an amputee. Adam Weckel Instagram

I’m big on never telling someone, “I know how you feel.” I strongly believe two people can go through nearly identical situations and how each reacts, copes, and recovers is unique to them. But with that said, how do you keep motivated and stay competitive in racing and with yourself? And what would be your message to anyone who faces similar adversity?

I totally agree! To stay motivated, I look back on the journey it has been to get to where we are now. From the long nights working on the quad with my Dad, to the quiet drives home from a rough weekend of racing, it has been a process but we love that process and that is why we’re here. Constantly looking for a way to improve is what keeps me going and interested in this sport we call racing. Whether that is quad setup, prosthetic setup, or personal fitness, all of it makes me strive for more with hopes to show the efforts on race day! My message to those with similar adversity is that there is no limit and your mindset is the only thing stopping you. Many people call me crazy for partaking in this demanding sport with my situation, but it is the grind and the opportunity to inspire others that I enjoy. 

Let’s talk ATV setup. Throttle, braking, suspension, steering. All the things. What’s all that look like to ensure you’re able to compete on Saturdays?

First, as mentioned previously, I compete with a prosthetic left arm that was designed around my specific need which is to race my ATV. My ATV setup is very similar to those with no limitation, but there are a few components in particular that allow me to compete as if there was no setback. Thankfully the only “controls” limitation we had to overcome was the clutch lever. With the help from the amazing crew at Rekluse, I am fitted with one of their auto-clutches that allows me to race my ATV with no need to pull the clutch lever, yet still shift through the gears flawlessly. Without their product, I do not know if I would be racing. I also use Flexx handlebars from Fasst Company that assists with impact absorption and a grippy seat from Quad Tech ATV that helps me stay planted on the seat! Aside from those products, my ATV is set up to compete at a national level in any condition. Keeping up with maintenance and trusting the products I use is what I rely on to ensure we are good to go on Saturdays. 

Our world’s collide a little bit. Obviously through GNCC and your connection to the Parks family in Indiana. But further than that, I actually work inside sales for the recruitment advertising world for the state of Iowa. One of the largest clients is actually the University of Iowa. In addition, I run all the help wanted ads and job postings for the Iowa City Press Citizen and Des Moines Register. Who knew? You ended up moving to my home state, Indiana. What brought you here and were you able to finish school?

Small world! Yes, so I am now living in Indiana full time! As I mentioned briefly, I am an Iowa native and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from The University of Iowa this past spring! I moved out to Indiana at the beginning of last year to begin my full-time employment with Spider Graphix! It was a busy time last year with completing college, working full time, and racing when we could but we made it through!

Adam works with Spider Graphix as a graphic designer and helps with their marketing.
Adam works with Spider Graphix as a graphic designer and helps with their marketing. Adam Weckel Instagram

I’ve known the Parks family for a long time. Honestly, they were one of the first families I got to know in the industry as I knew Roger Parks (Rodney’s brother) prior to getting into GNCC. He was a customer at Mac’s Auto Electric in Crawfordsville where I worked with my Dad. Tell us a little bit more about your role with Spider Graphix?

Yes! Currently I have the role of graphic designer and marketing for Spider Graphix! I design a lot of the graphic kits that we produce as well as help manage our social media with my good buddy Austin Parks! I started designing graphics kits remotely for SG while still in college starting in January of 2020. Like I mentioned, it turned into a full-time position and the rest is history! I love my job and am so thankful for the opportunity to have a job in the racing industry! From the ability to produce a product for other racers to developing relationships with cool people, this job is tough to beat! 

The Hoosier GNCC is up next. You’re now an adopted Hoosier, since that’s as close as we get to Iowa. I’ll vouch for you. Haha! Any chance you’ll have some family at the race from back home in Iowa?

Thanks for the vouch, haha! The Hoosier is for sure the most “local” GNCC we get over here. With it being just 4 hours from my hometown in Iowa, I anticipate my parents to come out to support in addition to my race friends from Iowa that come out to race The Hoosier! I look forward to the close GNCCs as it brings in really close race friends that I do not get to see as often as I used to now that I live in Indiana.

Adam had his best race in Florida thus far this season as he finished 10th in his class.
Adam had his best race in Florida thus far this season as he finished 10th in his class. Adam Weckel Instagram

Basketball fan? We’d be doing Indiana and Iowa a disservice if we didn’t talk about Caitlin Clark joining the Indiana Fever in the WNBA. Haha! We may have to hit a game together if you’re down. Gotta say, I never thought I’d be excited about going to a WNBA game.

Certainly would be a disservice if we didn’t mention CC! Yes, I am a basketball fan and am thrilled to have her playing here in Indiana this upcoming season! I’m definitely down for a game, this is a great time in sports right now! Go Hawks! 

Lastly, I know you don’t do this thing alone. You’ve got some incredible people and sponsors behind you as well. Who would you like to thank?

First off, I want to thank my family and friends that have supported me through these years of racing! My Dad, Jamie Weckel, has been a crucial part to my program. He has helped make sure my quad was ready all while teaching me how to work on my own machine for when the time came that I was no longer living in Iowa. I want to thank the following companies/businesses for their continued support: Spider Graphix, GBC Tires, Turbo Motorsports, Rekluse, Fasst Company, Quad Tech, BNR Motorsports, Sunstar, DP Brakes, HMF Exhaust, Cecco Racing, Tire Spine, Seven MX, Precision Powder Coat, DWT, EVS Sports, Derisi Racing, Lindle Farms, Valentine Food Company/Sauced Up, Houser Racing, Rath Racing, Hering Performance Concepts, TriState Truck Equipment, Trackside Powersports, Variom Racing, Brenny’s Motorcycle Clinic, and Mikey Nickels Auto.