ATV Motocross

Site Lap: Off-Season in Full Swing

Site Lap: Off-Season in Full Swing

Friday, November 6, 2015 | 1:50 PM
Friday, November 6, 2015 | 1:50 PM

The 2015 racing season finally reached its true end this past weekend in Crawfordsville, IN. Though it is not apart of the ATV Motocross Nationals it does have some significance. As we have mentioned on several occasions there are many top and former top ATVMX stars that race or have raced both series. Jordan Digby, Megan Manshack, Luke Shepherd, Duck Lloyd, Mark Batson, Dale Batson and Westley Wolfe to name a few. The Ironman GNCC welcomed other familiar ATVMX racers like Hayden Mickleson, Brogan Guyer and Lance Walker this past weekend as well as many in attendance to watch. 

Airing it out is a must.
Airing it out is a must. Photo: Ken Hill

The big news ringing around the ATV Racin’ Nation may not be the fact that Westley Wolfe wrapped up two ATVMX national championships and a GNCC title but he actually moved up to the highly competitive XC2 class. Westley had actually beaten many of the XC2 class riders in the overall after time adjustments on several occasions this year but his true test came on Saturday when lined up on row two as a Pro Am. As they always say it's harder to beat those guys when you race head to head so many expected a struggle for him when he made the step up. Many were surprised. 

Westley Wolfe flirted with the idea of stepping into the XC1 Pro class, but age was a big factor. It was a given he would try XC2 and many expected strong results but the results he came away with may have been a little shocking to many. He not only won the class but also did it by over two minutes and two seconds. He also finished 11th overall and finished the season ranked number 17 on the GNCC national ranking chart. That means he is one fastest and one of the consistently fast top 20 off road racers in the world. Couple these skills and accomplishments with his ATVMX skills and he is likely to be known as one of the best of his time. The important thing is he stay focused and continue to work forward and knowing Westley and his family and support network that is exactly what will happen. 

The trend of racing both is starting to gain some ground. In speaking with several folks I understand there will be a few more crossover riders in the coming season. Though Hayden Mickelson has not committed to chasing both championships he has stated that GNCC will certainly be happening at least some in 2016. Results wise Hayden finished 13th in the College A class which is a kind of Pro Sport level class in GNCC. Hayden proved he could get the swing of things and I won't be surprised to see top of the class results for him come next season. I look for Hayden and Noah Mickleson to tackle round one in Florida before they hit the Daytona ATVSX. 

John Natalie and Joel Hetrick had a good battle at last year's Daytona ATVSX.
John Natalie and Joel Hetrick had a good battle at last year's Daytona ATVSX. Photo: Ken Hill

The Lance Walker story is another good and promising story. Now as far as how much GNCC Lance will be riding is unknown at this point but he did make both the opening round in Florida and the finale at Ironman. He also proved he has mad skills in the woods as well. Lance finished seventh in his class and 15th overall out of 110 entries. Lance actually finished fourth in class and fifth overall at the season opener in Florida. So I suppose that we may have stronger crossover talent than realized and the future is bright for both series. 

Brogan Guyer tried his hand in his home state of Indiana at a little Ironman GNCC. Guyer raced the 16-18 C class and finished 18th out of 36 in his class. He also finished 217th overall out of 508 total entries in the morning race. The morning race numbers alone were fairly intimating when the most you see on a track at a time is 20 in an ATVMX. Brogan’s ride was an impressive one and could mark the start of a new passion for this Indiana boy. There are a number of fast kids out of the Hoosier state and Brogan may be the next rising four-wheeled star from the state.

Before I go this week I do want to point out that I was scanning some old, results and came across a name that was sort of surprising to me. I had talked to his dad about it but it had slipped my mind. Cole Sepesi actually raced GNCC Youth ATV in its inaugural season in 2005. He raced the 70cc class and finished as high as third. One has to wonder if we may see him more in the woods since it seems to be a good place to showcase your speed.

That'll do it for me for now. Let's check in with Gloop and Ken “itchy trigger” Hill. Till next time, God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.

In the Loop with Gloop:

John Natalie and Joel Hetrick had a good battle at last year's Daytona ATVSX.
John Natalie and Joel Hetrick had a good battle at last year's Daytona ATVSX. Photo: Ken Hill

Its exciting to see that Casey Martin will be riding for Vechery Racing again in 2016.

John Natalie and Joel Hetrick had a good battle at last year's Daytona ATVSX.
John Natalie and Joel Hetrick had a good battle at last year's Daytona ATVSX. Photo: Ken Hill

Looks like Nick Gennusa had a blast in the Dominican Republic. 

Keeping up with Ken Hill:

First I have to apologize for missing my segment of Site Lap last week. I had every intention of doing it as usual but over slept! This weekend I will repeat this trip to Indiana again as I roll out for the final round of the IXCR series and then I can call 2015 a done deal with only the banquets left!

Speaking of the banquet, you have your reservations squared away right? There really is not much time left to get your plans locked down so what are you waiting for? Go get it done, find out more information HERE!

Now back to the GNCC weekend and the craziness that the Ironman brings. It could be the last round excitement that adds to this event, or the fact that the entire town seems to pour into watch these tree bashers do their thing. I would have to say spectator numbers might have been down a touch this year as they were calling for rain Saturday but only a few drops fell and other than it being a cloudy day, it was a great race for racers and fans alike! I am hoping we see better weather for our races there next season so that we can get a huge turnout!

Maximum speed battle going on there for these youngsters.
Maximum speed battle going on there for these youngsters. Photo: Ken Hill

It was pretty cool being there to watch the youth racing return to the GNCC series in 2004 as a test and 11 years later, seeing Fowler standing on the podium earning his first championship. Walker and Joel Hetrick are two racers that I have had the pleasure of watching enter the pro ranks and build their careers, and hopefully I will be there when they decide to hang the helmets up. Although I do not see happening anytime soon!

I have the rare opportunity in my job to observe things and get to see behind the scenes in both series and it is a safe bet to say that making it to the top in this industry is a tough deal. Hard work, extreme dedication and phenomenal support all are required to just compete much less become the number one rider in the world. Thankfully I see that enthusiasm in many riders all through the racing ranks so our future looks bright as we still face many challenges moving into yet another season.

I have to admit I do not follow the actual racing close enough at times but I do follow their personal side and how they conduct themselves. I get questions from sponsors asking about the character or how they present themselves in public year round so it is only fitting that my attention is swayed to that side of their careers. This one rider has grown up racing and his father is a legend aboard a quad in his own right, Chad Duvall. I have watched Duvall's career come to a halt when he was diagnosed with a disease that forced him to turn to getting healthy instead of ripping on the track, but he never lost sight of helping his son live out his dream. His son, Thad, is an avid deer hunter and focuses mainly on archery to go after some very impressive bucks, and I mean very impressive.

The future of our sport is looking bright, thanks to all the amateur riders working their way through the ranks.
The future of our sport is looking bright, thanks to all the amateur riders working their way through the ranks. Photo: Ken Hill

I get a kick out of the banter between Chad and Thad about deer hunting and am usually the topic of discussion on the line when I am present. One thing I wondered though was if Thad had some inside line to great deer property or somehow had connections that the average Moe was not privy too. So I decided to ask him how in the heck he was able to get permission to hunt these huge bucks in this day and age. His answer was simple; he said he knocks on a lot of doors! That's right, the shoe leather express and asking for permission and nothing else. For those that do not hunt, think of getting permission to hunt about as hard as finding good ground to ride on, it is rare and doesn't just happen to fall from the sky. It takes work, a good approach to the landowner and respect shown from the first greeting on. I know first hand how hard this feat is to pull off so I know the hard work he has put in and it brought forth once again the attributes that makes one successful and that is honesty, integrity and hard work. Those three things trump any paper on the wall or degree one can earn, it is just that simple. I have no doubt that when Thad hangs his helmet up he will go right on being a success in any endeavor he gets into simply because he refuses to lose and applies great ethics to every aspect of his life on and off the track.

I bumped into the father of another racer who exclaimed they had received word that their support for 2016 is already in place even before they headed to the line for the final round of the year. It was not due to the great results or finishes, in fact this family team has been beat to death for several years and if winning is the main ingredient for support, these guys would be hitch hiking to races! The deal here was due to what was seen as again, extreme dedication, pressing on in the face of adversity and a public presence that just screams support me all without even asking. This is how important it is to always run your game with way more than finishes in mind. What people in the industry are looking for from you doesn't begin on the results page; it starts with you and your character and in this day may far exceed how well you do on the track. If there is a secret to racing it may well lay in the details I have just discussed so give that some thought as you prepare for 2016!

That is all from me this week, some interesting things to mull over for sure. I hope everyone has a safe and successful weekend! See you for next week’s Site Lap!