Welcome to Quick Fill.
Well, the cat is finally out of the bag. GNCC announced today that AMSOIL will be the new title sponsor of the 2013 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series! The name will take a little getting used to after six years with the Can-Am pre-fix, but the partnership between AMSOIL and GNCC is going to bring nothing but great things to the series. Right off the bat, I want to say that Can-Am is NOT leaving GNCC. In fact, they’re just as full throttle for 2013 as they have been in the past; the only difference is they aren’t a part of the series title anymore. We will release a full PR shortly, but in essence, Can-Am will remain as an OEM sponsor and very much a valued partner of the series. And our crew loves the Can-Am Outlanders and Commanders just as much as anyone so you better believe they’ll be back aboard those machines for 2013.
Who would have thought that Jason Thomas had such elegant writing skills? UK 8 started a blog a couple of weeks ago titled “The Hard Way”Ã and I must admit, the first two entries have been pretty good. I think it’s a good move for him to open up his world to the public, because it’s not hard to misinterpret his every day demeanor sometimes. This is definitely a good look for him, though, as long as it stays positive and interesting like he’s started off. If you haven’t taken a look yet, you can find “The Hard Way”Ã on the offroadviking.com website or click HERE for the latest.
Last week Shane Watts and his DirtWise Academy crew announced that Thomas will be riding for them this season. As I said before, this should be an interesting pair and I’m excited for the twist they might bring to Pro Row. Wattsy broke down his thoughts on the XC1 contenders this season in his latest Observations column, which can be found HERE.
GNCC has posted its current Co-Sanction schedule for 2013, which includes the return of Indiana Cross Country Racing (IXCR), New East Coast Cross Country (NECXC), Western New York Offroad Association (WNYOA), and we’d also like to welcome Midwest South Cross Country (MWSXC) and Kentucky Offroad Hare Scrambles (KORHS) to the schedule. The full schedule can be found HERE. Ã
So I’m back to reality and the bitter cold after spending the previous weekend in Southern California. The weather was amazing, which is a given, but the best part about the trip was, of course, the racing. I don’t think I could have picked a better Supercross to watch in person, and if you caught the 450 LCQ and Main Event you totally understand why. Perhaps the worst part about coming home was finding my poor little Ford Focus in the PIT Airport parking lot, completely frozen shut. After chipping my way in, I had to stop for gas at the airport gas station and it wasn’t more than two minutes of having my lights on that my battery completely died. It only makes sense for the lone gas station attendant to not have driven a car to work that night (it’s 2 AM at this time) so I purchased a set of jumper cables and waited around for someone, anyone, to pull in. Alas, a cab driver pulled in and I thought for sure I was saved. However, the icy temps had frozen his hood completely shut and after 10 minutes of prying, he gave up and continued on to the airport. It wasn’t until a nice family in a Mini Van pulled in that I was able to successfully get a jump and make my way to Morgantown to sleep”Ã¦.at 4 AM.
The moral of the story? I’m ready for Florida!
I don’t know about everyone else, but for me personally, it feels like we’re officially to the point where the rest of the winter break is going to fly by. Maybe it’s partially because we’ve got some racing going on that is giving folks the opportunity to whip themselves back into shape, but regardless, I’m getting excited and I know many of you are as well. Next thing we know, we’re going to find ourselves making the trek to Florida to kick things off at River Ranch, but it also seems like that can’t come soon enough.
However, there’s still some other racing to be done first. Last weekend was a pretty good weekend of racing in the southeast as South Carolina hosted the Sumter Enduro, while the FTR Series was in action once again in Florida. I’ll get to that FTR event in a minute but first up is the Sumter Enduro.
This year marked the 44th annual Sumter Enduro in South Carolina. While it wasn’t a National Enduro event this year, it definitely drew a pretty stacked field of riders all across the board and as always, the folks from the SERMA club put on a great event that threw some great riding at the racers. The Pro class definitely kept each other honest throughout the day. In the first section, the newest addition to the Am-Pro Yamaha team, Jesse Groemm took the early lead as he dropped 2 points compared to the 3 points that Russell Bobbitt, Mike Lafferty, Nick Fahringer, Andrew Delong, Rory Mead and Charlie Mullins all dropped.
Yes, those guys all tied the first section and were all within a minute (1 point) of each other in just about every section. Of course, that’s what they have the emergency checks (tie breakers) for that also count seconds on top of minutes. As the race went on, it really came down to who would make the fewest mistakes. Russell Bobbitt led at the gas stop, which was almost the halfway point of the race while Jesse Groemm and Charlie Mullins held onto 2nd and 3rd, respectively. However, both riders would run into their share of bad luck.
The bad luck struck Mullins first as he had a pretty hard crash that would end his day early. I talked to Charlie briefly after he called it a day and he was all right other than being pretty sore. Jesse Groemm would also fall victim to bad luck in the final section when he folded his brake pedal back under the foot peg and lost a lot of time trying to fix it. Until then, he was putting a solid ride aboard his new Yamaha. Groemm will be contesting the National Enduro Series for AmPro Yamaha and also plans to make select GNCC’s as well. Groemm came out of nowhere in 2012 to put in a solid season in the National Enduro Series and ended up taking 5th in the final standings there.
When it was all said and done, though, Russell Bobbitt hung on to take the overall win over Mike Lafferty and Nick Fahringer, which made it a Husaberg sweep of the podium. Andrew Delong put in a solid ride as well and ended up fourth over Groemm, who salvaged a fifth place. Rory Mead ended up sixth after spending a bit of the morning and a stop during the race tweaking some things with the bike.
Last week I mentioned I was racing Sumter. Well, I actually didn’t end up with a bike to ride so I missed out on racing it. However, I did make the trip down there again and threw together a little video of the action. You can check that out HERE and if that’s not enough action for you, I shot a little more that didn’t get used in that original video, which I edited into a raw video. No music, nothing fancy, just the sound of the bikes! You can see that one HERE.
The other notable race of the weekend was the latest round of FTR in Brighton, Florida. As you can always expect, the quad guys put in a pretty close race. Walker Fowler actually ended up with the overall win ahead of Chris Borich and Chris Bithell! Fowler and Borich actually only finished about 17 seconds apart, so it sounds like things were pretty interesting! Landon Wolfe also stayed in the mix with those guys to take fourth place ahead of Johnny Gallagher rounding out the top 5.
On the bike side, it also came as no surprise as Garrett Edmisten ended up taking the overall win. It’s no secret that Edmisten absolutely rules the FTR Series every year and is a threat for Florida each year as well as he’s landed on the podium there a few years ago. Florida locals Clay Lyons and Joey Medina (does he own Medina Sod? Big Lebowski reference!) ended up 2nd and 3rd while Steven Squire took fourth ahead of Palmer Lynch in fifth.
As for racing happening this weekend, the SORCS Series will be in action once again with their race in Milledgeville, Georgia. The opening SORCS round saw a pretty stacked front row with Charlie Mullins taking the overall win ahead of Russell Bobbitt, Nick Fahringer, Chris Bach and Grant Baylor. With the Cherokee National Enduro coming up next weekend, this race will likely provide a lot of riders with a chance to get readjusted with red clay before heading to Cherokee.
If you missed out on getting an event t-shirt this year, MotoTees is having a KILLER sale on their website! Right now you can order any 2012 event t-shirt or series merchandise from GNCC, ATV Motocross, Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National or the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship for only $10! That’s ANY past event tee or series merchandise. If you’re interested in a Pro Motocross hoodie, they have a couple of really nice ones, and where else are you going to get a hoodie for $10? Check them out at www.mototees.com and catch up on anything you may have missed. This sale only lasts until the end of February or until they run out, so make the buy now.
Before I go, I want to leave you with a little cliffhanger”Ã¦ I heard about a pro bike rider whose program might be changing up before the season starts. I can’t really give away too much more than that, but you should hear something soon.
Well, that’s going to do it for me this week. Until next time, Bolt-On out!
Last weekend I went to Sumter, S.C. to race the National Hare scramble. I didn't actually decide to go until Friday night around 11 p.m. when Layne Michael text me to see if I was still looking for someone to make the road trip down with. He originally turned me down on Wednesday and I'm not sure what made him change his mind, unless it was the fact that he could ride 9 hours in a 12-year-old truck with someone old enough to be his dad. Or the fact that he could race his bike and try and have a little fun. I'm guessing it was the second option.
Anyway, we set off Saturday and bench raced the entire way there and had a lot of fun. Sunday morning I had a little work to do on my bike before I signed up. That was the tough part; I had to figure out what class to ride. I knew I didn't want to race the pro class because I didn't want to get in anyone's way. So when I was in the sign up line and saw my options I decided to race Open A, which I thought I could be competitive in and still have fun. Did I have fun? Yes, for about an hour until I had a get-off and hit the ground pretty hard, giving me an instant headache. At that point my fun meter went from a 9 to about a 1, and I basically rode around for another lap and called it a day.
When I got in and loaded up it wasn't long until Layne pulled in with a smashed pipe and a bruised shoulder, so he loaded up too and we headed back north. We bench raced all the way back home, talking about the track being fun, about his 3rd place start from the front row, about my last place start from the 3rd row, etc. But at the end of the trip we both realized that we had fun and that's what it’s all about, right? Sometimes we lose the fact that this is supposed to be fun, a hobby for most of us. As I sit here and write this I realize that I was very fortunate to make a living doing what I loved to do for such a long time. So to the young Layne Michaels, AJ Stewarts, Justin Sode, Gabe Phillips, Braden Henthorns and Jay Shadrons of the racing world: remember, I was in your shoes once and I made it happen. I had a lot of ups and downs along the way, but in the end I can say I truly had fun. Take this for what it’s worth, but the more fun you have the better you will do.
And here’s @HotRodney22:
The weeks will soon turn into days very soon as we are now only about a month away from the 2013 GNCC season. More and more reports pour in and the light begins to be shed on the future.
The Borich compound has been a hotbed of activity in years past and this pre-season seems to be no different. The 4-Time GNCC Champ is hosting yet another training extravaganza that is beginning to yield some pretty exciting reports.
Borich is joined by the ever-legendary Johnny G, Walker Fowler, Chris Bithell, Gabe Phillips and XC2 up-and-comer Landon Wolf. It is reported that Andrew Delong has been around some as well. I can say also don't be surprised to hear of the Baylor Boys, Chris Bach and a few other two-wheelers to be reported in and out of the Borich Compound in the next few weeks. Borich, who is looking as strong as ever, says, "It's cool with all these guys being down here and in about 4 more weeks we will see how it all pans out. I feel good. My bike feels good and I like my chances."
Chris Bithell, who recently made to the trending switch from factory to privateer, is putting together what looks like a formidable effort with his Suzuki machine in 2013. Bithell is dialing things in and with a little help from Borich I’m sure he will be closer to mark than some are expecting. Bithell says, “With each day on the bike I feel more comfortable and faster. I'm pretty excited to be on quality machinery that is capable of winning. It's a huge step in the right direction."Ã
Johnny Gallagher, who is coming off his best season in his career, is also rumored to be hitting things hard again this year. Johnny seems to gain more fire and more desire with each passing season and one has to wonder if he will ever pull of the elusive win he has been looking for. We can only hope for that but know that he will be out there giving it his all and showing us what true heart and determination is truly capable of.
Walker Fowler may be one of the biggest surprises noted to be on the Borich Compound. Fowler, who has spent recent years in near isolation leading up to the season start, is a little more out in the open and spotlight than before. If anyone thinks this change in pace may be a shocking move, remember Fowler’s whole program nearly changed except for the Yamaha's. He is now riding out of the AmPro Yamaha tent headed up by Randy Hawkins, a motorcycle racing great and team manager. The change of pace may be just what Walker needs to lift him that one or two clicks higher he needs to beat Chris Borich on a consistent basis.
I hear the biggest surprise of the group may be Landon Wolfe, who is going to be contesting the XC2 Pro Am title in 2013. Wolf proved to be a threat late last season and is expected to be a podium contender to kick the season off.
It is good to know that Gabe Phillips is hitting it hard too. Remember, he had a season-ending injury during the off-season that took him out of a title hunt in 2012. It appears he is healing up nicely and could be more than par by the time River Ranch rolls around.
One thing is certain, for the new season”Ã¢ and that is both XC1 and XC2”Ã¢ will be stacked with talent. A lot of new blood will debut on row 1 this season and it will be good to see how it all really is in a little more than a month.
I also had some conversation and mentioned Zac Zakowski from the 4x4 Open class. Last week he had a follow up surgery from his accident at Ironman and it seems like the healing process has been kicked into high gear.Ã
Zac sent this update to me that I thought I would share: “I am doing a lot better now and finally making some progress. The second surgery went great and I am finally off of crutches and gaining more and more range of motion everyday. I still have a ton of work to do. I have to have my knee in this machine for 6 hours a day, physical therapy 3 days a week and do like 2-3 hours of stretches.my walking is getting better everyday. They removed a ton of scar tissue in my knee and found out that the problem in my knee was that a screw they put in actually broke and was floating around in my knee. Hopefully this is the last surgery I need.”Ã
No doubt Zac, I hope it is the last you need as well. Zac will also be out the first few rounds this season but it looks like things are looking up.
That'll do it for now. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.