A little more than a week ago the third annual Fly Racing ATVSX at Daytona International Speedway was greeted with another enthusiastic Daytona Beach Bike Week crowd. A large crowd that received everything they were searching for in great racing and an action packed afternoon. And though the AMA Pro ATV class has begun their championship, the amateur racing world gave us only a preview of what is to come. If you think things were big in Florida it’s about to get even bigger when the ATV Racin’ Nation rolls into the Lonestar state of Texas and the new championship battles begin.
A lot of focus is placed on the pro and pro am classes there is no doubt but the heart of our championship lies with the amateur racers. The amateur riders may often seemed overlooked in our conversations here in Site Lap, but it truly recognized and with the start of a new season it is hard to know where everyone will fit in place. The great thing about Daytona is that we saw a small preview of where some may start to fit in but it is still no true definer until the championship starts for them and that will be at UGMX for the kickoff of the 2017 Wiseco ATV Motocross National Championship in a little more than a week.
The absence of many for whatever reason at Daytona may have presented us with more questions than answers but what we did see was very exciting for what the 2017 championship season holds. What was recognized is that those in attendance have obviously been working to reach new levels and honestly many did just that. In all my years working with MX, ATVMX or GNCCs I can’t recall ever seeing such well-tuned and defined athletes. In every genre of our sport folks are reaching for and achieving new heights. It leads one to wonder where will it all eventually lead? If good health and hard work ethics is the only thing a rider ever brings from their racing career I have to say that our sport is a huge and monumental success.
The reality is that while great things are being achieved or aspired for the work that goes in, it also builds character and strong, long lasting relationships. The camaraderie gained through the process of the competition is undeniably the best times family and friends will likely ever have in their lives. To witness the closeness of the family ties and the bonds of friendship that are forged together for me has been a true inspiration.
It is hard to really detail what I am talking about and you almost have to live it to even begin to understand but those that do and are know what I am talking about. Those that read these words and feel a little lost my hope is that if you are investing your time, money and basically huge part of your life to this sport that you gain some understanding of what I am saying. Being competitive is a great thing and everyone lining up should be just that but to part of the scene is even better. I hope that for whatever reason you find your way into this little world that when you leave the experience is the greatest it could have been. Not everyone is a winner, not everyone is a champion but everyone can be a challenger and everyone can be part of the experience.
As the 2017 season unfolds here in the ATV Racin’ Nation, each week we will provide with as much fodder as we can about teams, riders, events, venues and anything interesting in our community. The pledge this season will be to focus on as many of the rising and up and coming stars as possible. If you don’t know Ken Hill, Gloop or myself please make it a point to find us and let us get to know more about who you are and what you are about. I know I love to converse with anyone about racing at about any time and if you have something interesting to say let us know. It may be the only we will ever find out and some of the best stories go untold. I would like to change that and see as much of those stories as we can to help tighten the bonds of our little “ATV Racin’ Nation.”
That’ll do it for me for now. Let’s check in with Gloop’s Loop and with Ken “Georgia on my mind” Hill. Till next time, God Bless Your Hearts and All Your Vital Organs.
In The Loop with Gloop:
Keeping up with Ken Hill
It’s hard to believe it has already been a week since we dropped the first gate off the 2017 season and for me, it is hard to take the 22-degree temperatures and 30 mph gusts that greeted me this morning! We did not have perfect weather at this years Fly racing Daytona ATVSX but everything worked out thanks to a hard work track crew. In fact, when the sky opened up Monday afternoon I got to ask what would happen if they couldn’t get the track ready for the quads? I kept seeing images in my head from a few years back when the bikes faced a mudder during the SX race and it was ugly so the fear was sinking in as I and others pondered the big “what if”. So I was standing beside my truck long before daylight and the grassy areas felt good but that is a far cry from a loose man made motocross track. I had made my way to the media center and heard the first practice moto hit the track and it did not sound that bad so I remained hopeful. When I finally made it trackside I was shocked and relieved that we were good to go!
The word from the racers ran the gamut, rough, and technical, great, horrible, you name it and they covered it with what they felt behind the bars. Watching a few moto’s showed me we had a track that was coming around but not perfect but what is. A few sessions by the track crew made it better and through out the day it seemed the speeds picked up. It wasn’t until I got on the other side of the track, high up on the steeply banked asphalt that I could see way more of what was going on. It was obvious where the faster lines were and when the pro’s hit the track they quickly found them.
Track conditions aside, the pits took a bit of pounding as several teams suffered tent damage from the heavy rain and some wind it seems and I was not feeling good about how things looked. I couldn’t figure it out because it was really the same lay out as in the past but something was missing that was throwing me off. That something was that big orange ball of fire we have grown to enjoy at Daytona! When it popped out so did all the colors and depth that was void in the grey flat light that consumed the area. Oh well, I guess we can’t expect perfect every year but it sure made me enjoy what has become “normal” for Daytona.
I have been scanning social media looking at many of your posts and the overall vibe was positive as we head to the next round. Everyone seems to know what they need to improve on or what needs attention so I am really looking forward to watching the action unfold at Underground MX. After seeing Jeffrey Rastrelli battle at Daytona I am sure we are going to see him and Thomas Brown really go at it for position all season long. The big story may revolve around Wienen and Hetrick but the guts of the pro class I think will provide the most interest and I intend to dive into those riders and their results as the season progresses. Some of the rookies should give us plenty to get excited about as they learn the ropes as a few of these riders are down right fast and if they can stay on the pace for a full moto they should have some great races ahead of them.
That’s all from me. This week as I battle the crud that’s been going around and pack for another GNCC in Georgia this weekend where hopefully good weather awaits us all. For us folks in the winter regions, it is almost mental therapy to head south just for a break from bad weather. As always, be safe in your travels and God bless you all!