GNCC Racing

Quick Fill #20: This Week in GNCC

Quick Fill #20: This Week in GNCC

Thursday, June 27, 2024 | 2:30 PM
Thursday, June 27, 2024 | 2:30 PM

Welcome to Quick Fill. 

It’s hard to believe it, but just like that, nine rounds are in the books and summer break is officially here. Last weekend’s Snowshoe GNCC was once again the perfect cap to the first part of the 2024 season and a great way to lead into summer break. Snowshoe is always a unique animal and whether you love it or hate it, there’s really nothing else like it through the entire GNCC series. This year will also serve as one of those Snowshoe events that people will talk about for years to come. 

After being saturated with rain for the last, I don’t even know how many years, the 2024 edition of Snowshoe turned out to be the driest Snowshoe event that we’ve ever seen. The ski slopes were dry enough that the Snowshoe Mountain staff was able to turn on the snow guns for us and put down a little water on Friday and Saturday evenings to help combat some of the dust. Obviously, they can’t get every spot on every slope we use, but the majority of the slopes were in really good condition for the majority of both race days. 

Since the course was overly dry, this also allowed the track crew to utilize some sections of racecourse that aren’t typically used. The downhill powerline section prior to the two-mile mark seemed like a new section to some, but that section was actually used for the first ever Snowshoe event way back in 2007. We laid out that section a few times back around 2015 and 2016 then never used it just because it got too wet and that powerline, and the trail following it, hold a fair amount of water. 

This also allowed the course to route the AM ATVs through Howard’s Hole for the first time in a number of years, thus “freeing” Howard’s Hole for the year. Now, this likely won’t be an every year thing as even a medium amount of rainfall will force us back to the previous layout but when 2025 rolls around, we’ve got our fingers crossed that things will be this dry again… However, it’s Snowshoe so you just never know! 

Brycen Neal holds a good lead, but the championship hunt isn't over yet!
Brycen Neal holds a good lead, but the championship hunt isn't over yet! Ken Hill

Like I said earlier, we’ll be diving further into some championship battles through this summer break but just taking a quick look at the main title hunts for the ATV and bike championships, things are shaping up for some great racing when we return from summer break. On the ATV side, Brycen Neal has been on fire all year long grabbing seven wins through the first nine rounds. However, every race counts for the National Championship hopefuls and things aren’t over just yet. 

With the Snowshoe win, Brycen was able to open up a bit of a gap over Walker Fowler who suffered a pretty hard crash that left him salvaging a sixth-place finish on the day. Brycen has now extended his points lead to 51 points over Walker who sits in the second-place spot. While this is a nearly two-race points lead, a little bad luck from Brycen when returning from summer break could tighten things back up in a hurry. On the flipside of that, a little misfortune for Walker could give Brycen an earlier shot at the title. 

At the same time, Josh Merritt holds a career best third place overall position and mathematically still has a shot at the title as well. Sitting 78 points out of the lead, it would take misfortune from both Neal and Fowler but stranger things have happened! Holding down fourth place is Wyatt Wilkin who has also had the best season of his career thus far while The Gator himself, Adam McGill, rounds out the top five. Hey, you know what’s crazy? With Johnny Gallagher out of professional competition, McGill and Chris Borich are the two, uh, shall we say “most experienced” racers in the XC1 class. 

On the bike side, Johnny Girroir snuck in another overall win at Snowshoe when he was able to squeeze by Grant Baylor on the final lap. Couple this with a little bad luck from Steward Baylor who lost a footpeg on that final lap and ended the day in third, and Girroir has extended his own points lead. However, just like on the ATV side, this championship battle isn’t over yet! 

At third place overall, Grant Davis sits the highest in the overall points an XC2 racer has even been this far into a race season.
At third place overall, Grant Davis sits the highest in the overall points an XC2 racer has even been this far into a race season. Ken Hill

Girroir holds a lead of 43 points over Stu, and while that is a comfortable lead, he still has to keep doing what he’s doing to maintain that lead. With an overall win paying 30 points, the smallest amount of bad luck could drastically change the championship hunt and we’ve seen that happen multiple times over the last few years. What’s also interesting on the bike side is that Grant Davis leads the XC2 class and sits third place overall, which is the highest and XC2 racer has ever sat in the overall points this far into a race season. 

Davis also mathematically has a shot at the overall GNCC National Championship, as does Jordan Ashburn who sits just two points behind Davis in fourth and defending champ Craig Delong holds the fifth place spot and technically has a mathematically shot at the title as well! While it would take a lot of bad luck from a lot of people for these guys to grab a title, nothing is impossible and we all know that anything can happen in the world of GNCC! 

As we now head into the summer break and just four rounds remain when we return, this is the time when everyone begins to look at the big picture and how the championship battles are beginning to shape up. The battles for the pro classes are still all wide open, which always make those final four rounds pretty exciting. In the coming weeks as we get back into the swing of Quick Fill, we’ll take a look at some of these championship battles and dive into what could happen in those final rounds. 

Is this fist pump for the win, or just because it was finally dry at Snowshoe?
Is this fist pump for the win, or just because it was finally dry at Snowshoe? Ken Hill

The work never stops for the GNCC crew as some of us will be at the next several Pro Motocross events in the coming weeks, and a big majority of the GNCC staff will be at Loretta Lynn’s for the Amateur National in a few weeks as well. There are always a number of GNCC racers who make the trek to the ranch each year and this year will be no different. As registration for the National opens up soon, we’ll keep an eye on those entry lists and let you know who to watch for in a coming edition of Quick Fill. 

That’s actually going to do it for this week’s edition of Quick Fill. We’ll have more championship battles to talk about in the coming weeks, plus more as summer break progresses. Enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you back here next week!