We pulled out of the shop around 10:00 PM on Thursday night. We had to wait for Kevin Johnston, the team manager, to get back from his trip to California. As soon as we hit the road I fell asleep, it had been an exhausting two weeks. I woke up when we hit windy back roads that the GPS took us on. Ryan Reed, our mechanic and driver swears that after this trip we're getting a map. We finally found the entrance to the track. We got in line to get in and I fell right back asleep. We parked and having nothing to do, we made a relaxation day out of Friday.
We woke up on Saturday morning to do our normal routine. The conditions looked amazing and I couldn't wait to hit the track. The Super Senior Class took off in front of my class and it was Glen Pritchard with the holeshot. We were row number two and Angel Atwell took her seventh consecutive holeshot of the season. Angel and Traci Cecco were battling, about turn number four, right before the downhill, Traci's quad died due to a malfunctioning killswitch. Her Yamaha crew would get the problem sorted out and Cecco would ride to a fifth place finish.
When Traci's quad died that put me in third behind Kristen Atwell. About two miles into the rack, my quad would die. I pushed the start button thinking it it had just stalled out, but nothing happened. I frantically hopped off the quad and started messing with the battery wires pushing the start button. The quad finally fired and the U2 class, (forth row), would be passing me. I knew I had a lot of time to make up. I came by the pits and my mechanic, Ryan Reed, threw his hands up wondering what had happened. My second lap was almost flawless, besides my battle with a red Can-Am. I got around him right before the finish and had to stop to pit. Our pit was right after the finish, so the rider got back around me. I quickly explained to Ryan what was happening and he told me I was making up some great time. With that I took back off and quickly caught the man on the Can-Am. I tried to get around him for three miles, screaming and revving my engine when I saw an opening in a field section. I went for it and before I knew it, this rider was coming into me. He decided to take me out! I tried to slow down but I was too late, the quad went rolling and I couldn't get away from it. Finally it sent me off and I crawled away from the track as fast as I could. I laid there for a minute, trying to get over the pain of my throbbing hip. I took my camel pack off and handed it to a spectator that saw it happen and asked him to return it to the GBC trailer. Another rider on a Can-Am stopped to see if I was okay, I told him I wanted to go back out so I went to start my quad. It did the same thing as earlier and we found out the problem was a broken ground wire. He jammed the wire in and I would only make it a little over a mile. I tried to jam it like he did and I couldn't. My hip was throbbing so I laid down on the side of the track. A racer on a Yamaha YFZ-450, who I later found out was named Chad Lovett, stopped to assist a damsel in distress. My quick fill cap was zip tied to my handle bars so I didn't lose it, he bit through the zip tie and rigged my ground wire so I could finish the race. I thank everybody that assisted me after everything that happened. It really means a lot to me that two racers, who are also competing, would stop to help a fellow racer.
I pulled into our pit and Ryan already knew what happened when the guy brought my camel pack back, so I had no explaining to do. I found out Angel Atwell had taken the win and was back in the points lead followed by Lexie Coulter and Kristen Atwell. Glen Pritchard finished third overall behind Michael Swift, who was right there with Mike Benson from the U2 class. Benson has been racing since 1980 and started on bikes. Like many others, he said that GNCC is a family sport for him.
As the afternoon race rolled around, the Pros were lining up, and there was one pro in particular doing something different from the rest of the class. Before any type of racing got so competitive, racing was testing, and Jarrod McClure took it back to that. On Friday afternoon GBC had a delivery of a new tire called the Ground Buster 2 XC, which was made of the same compound as the Ground Buster but had a new design. McClure came over to the GBC trailer to check them out and asked Kevin if he could race with them this race. Kevin gave him the go, so he mounted them up and lined up ready to test a new tire.
GBC rider, Jeffrey Pickens took his first holeshot on his YFZ-450, but had some difficulties. During the first lap, something hit Pickens shock reservoir and broke it off, he hurried back to the pit to replace it. No sooner as he got back out on the track, he broke a caliper, so Pickens would take a DNF for this race. As the racers came around for the first lap it would be KTM's Adam McGill with the lead. He was followed by Can-Am's Chris Bithell and Suzuki's Chris Borich. During lap number two, something happened to Bithell that set him back, so Chris Borich took over his number two position and Brandon Sommers moved into the number three position. It would stay this way all the way up to the finish. On the last lap Chris Borich would find a way around Adam McGill to take the win. Borich, McGill, and Sommers would be your top three finishers for the Pro Class. Taylor Kiser, Bill Ballance, Bryan Cook, Jarrod McClure, and Donnie Ockerman followed them.
I caught up to McClure afterwards to ask him how everything worked out with the new tires. He quoted on the rocks and the fast field sections the Mountain Ridge has to offer. When asked about the new tires he said they worked great. "The GB2 XC is taller than the x-rex and have a softer compound, which helped absorb the blow which gave him the ability to have control easier," McClure stated.
In the XC2 class, Josh Kirkland found his way back to the top. He was followed by Bryan Wolf. Walker Fowler also found his way back to the top, winning the College A class by four minutes. As the afternoon race came to an end, the bottom dropped out of the sky and the rain poured. The UTV's sat on the line in the pouring rain. As their race got underway the rain seemed to come down even harder. The turns before the finish became swampy messes and the pilots of the UTV's couldn't see the ruts the earlier quad racers made. I think a UTV flipped at every turn. It was comical to watch because everything seemed to be in slow motion. The racers hurried out of their vehicles to get flipped back over and racing again. They couldn't keep goggles working for more than 300 feet. William Yokley, in his Polaris Razr, would take his second UTV win along with his co-pilot, Mike Hix.
I will catch up with everybody at the John Penton and I hope you all have a safe trip.