ATV Motocross

Site Lap: Ten Days Till Texas

Site Lap: Ten Days Till Texas

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 | 3:00 PM
Wednesday, March 30, 2016 | 3:00 PM

The calendar tells the story. Time is running short as only ten days remain till the amateur kick off and round two of AMA Pro ATV racing for the 2016 ATV National Motocross Championship by CST Tires. Many may have already begun the pilgrimage while many other will surely be rolling that way within the next week. It’s a nerve-racking time as many more questions will be answered when the new season begins.

Underground MX Park in Kemp, Texas is the ultimate destination but many more will be heading to Monster Mountain for the SE Quads season opener/national preview, ATV Spring Break. That’s right! If you have not heard, Monster Mountain will host an ATV race this weekend and then will be prepping the track and maintaining for folks to stick around for a few days to get some track time. You can come race or you can come afterwards if you can’t make it but you can get all the details from Monster Mountain MX Park’s website or at SE Quads site. Glen Turner and Chris Harper were also on Quad Radio speaking about it and the possible appearance of one Cody Gibson to kickoff the SE Quads Season opener. I really hope folks take advantage because it will be a good time to check out the track and get some riding time in before Underground.

We look forward to seeing all of our ATVMX Racin' Nation in Texas in 10 days!
We look forward to seeing all of our ATVMX Racin' Nation in Texas in 10 days! Photo: Ken Hill

If you haven’t caught it yet, the tentative race orders for 2016 have been posted and this will give you an idea of how things should be working this year. It will give a chance to plan your weekends and also your departure times a little better. The one thing to remember is that not only the information for race orders are available but also all the schedules, rules, announcements and everything you need to know for the race weekend is available right here on Just navigate the tabs and familiarize yourself with everything so if you have any questions you can likely get the answer there. Also don’t forget to check back often and signup for newsletters and such. You are also encouraged to follow @ATVMotocrossdotcom on social medias.

Recently we told you about the Joe Byrd “Farewell Tour” as he heads into his 31st season of national ATV competition. Joe actually said he started racing a couple of years before locally but the first year the ATC turned into and ATV (Quad) he was lined up at each round. Joe says he is finally ready to hang up the boots at 43 but wants one more season to say goodbye to a sport that has given him so much. Joe was also a guest on Quad Radio recently and you can catch the lighter side of Joe Byrd here.

The 2016 season openers have all come with a bang and even though the ATVSX was a good preview we may still not really get a chance to see what the season holds for a few more rounds. I mentioned a few weeks ago that Daytona may have left many more questions than answers to start the season and as we get closer to Underground I really am feeling I am more right than I thought.

Who will stop Chad Wienen this season?
Who will stop Chad Wienen this season? Photo: Ken Hill

There are many questions involving the AMA ATV Pro class this season. “Will anyone be able to stop Chad Wienen” is a good question that is on many folks minds around the sport. The answer is going to eventually come, but by speculations at the ATVSX it looks like Chad really did his homework in the offseason. In a preseason interview he stated that he had been running the same set up and program for a few years but was stepping things up to train and maintain the edge he needs to stay on top. He said they are reaching the level he had set and now it was time to step it up. He said aside from training, the one thing he was working on was getting the power he needed and wants on the start. Anyone that knows ATV racing knows that if he gets out front early he will be next to impossible to beat.

Other questions may be about Joel Hetrick? Many may question his get off at Daytona. If you watch social media, it looks like Joel has remained rather active. I talked to Joel shortly after Daytona and though he was very sore still at that point and still in some pain that he felt that things should be on track by Texas. The one thing Joel knows is that he has a long row to hoe ahead in the battle for the championship after losing so many points in that first round. The saving grace though may be that it was only a one-moto format and had it not been then he would have lost even more. Joel is crafty and he knows what needs to be done. The one thing he knows now more than ever is that he cannot push the envelope. He has to go out and ride each race smart and not push the limits to stay in the game. Everyone knows a fourth is better than crashing out and finishing last. Every point counts and maybe more so this season than ever if things go the way I expect.

Thomas Brown is another rider in the pro ranks leaving us with a lot to wonder about. Brown has kept a somewhat consistent program but there have been some major changes within that program over the course of the last three years. It may be a do or die situation for him this season and it may be just what he has needed. To put it bluntly, he seems like he is capable of winning and has done it. The pressure to win has not been so great in recent years because a fellow Yamaha rider has been doing well enough but now as the budgets trim back it becomes more pertinent that wins come more often. No more riding in the shadows, Brown must and I feel will find the spotlight and once he is there he may like it and give any challengers the fight of a lifetime. Even though Brown admittedly doesn’t like the Underground track, the soils of Texas may be all the incentive he needs to make the difference.

Then what about Jeffery Rastrelli? Rastrelli has made a big program switch as well. He is now racing the Honda, which appears to agree with him on many levels. The no. 728 is in a point in his career where he is having fun and likely could ride the wheels off anything you put under him. To his advantage though he has a lot of knowledge in himself and the network he has created for his program that looks capable of paying huge dividends. If you aren’t wondering about Jeffery, you should be.

John Natalie is another rider that many are watching. The questions anyone had of whether or not last year’s injury would slow his progress down was answered at The Edge of Summer ATVMX this past fall then again at Daytona. Natalie rode strong and convincingly again even after spending several days under the weather suffering with issues in his lungs from the afore mentioned wreck last season. The thing to remember is if he is riding strong from behind the eight ball, what will it mean when he is really healthy? That is going to be the fun one to see answered this year.

Josh Upperman will be looking to earn a top finishing position this season.
Josh Upperman will be looking to earn a top finishing position this season. Photo: Ken Hill

There are many other unknowns that we may wonder about and question. Like Josh Upperman, Ronnie Higgerson, Nick Gennusa, Cody Janseen and so many more. We wonder what this year will hold for them. Will it bring good things and will they be able to rise to and maintain a level of competition sufficient enough to keep their hopes alive. Not everyone expects to win the championship but they all know if they can’t be champion that being top five is a good way to get on the road to being one. And that means its going to get real good real fast.

Right now I am packing up and heading to Steel Creek GNCC for round three of the AMSOIL GNCC championship. Be sure and check it out live on beginning at 1:00pm eastern on Saturday for the continuing battle of Walker Fowler and Chris Borich. Borich holds the all time wins record at 73 and actually captured the record breaking win at Steel Creek two years ago. He hopes to get back on his winning ways this weekend. Borich is back on the Suzuki he won six titles on but the game of Cat and Mouse these two are playing up front will keep you on the edge of your seat for two hours.  

That’s it from me for now. Let’s check into Gloop’s Loop and with Ken “Olives give me crazy dreams” Hill. 

God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.

In The Loop With Gloop:

Everyone is training for Texas, and you should be too! 



Keeping up with Ken Hill:

Hello racing nation! The word “Texas” is getting a ton of play it seems as everyone is chatting about the upcoming round at Underground MX! Plus a big well done to Underground MX as they have been pushing info out concerning the event and pre-registration across social media, so please be sure to give them a hand spreading the word by giving their posts a share! 

So I’ve basically had the last few weeks off. I have enjoyed the free time and made good use of it. The weather has been pretty good and the list of things to do was long, but I must say the family and I have really been busy before this coming weekend puts us all into race season. This weekend marks the third round of the GNCC series and it will be held at the Steele Creek campground in Morganton, NC. After this weekend my schedule goes full on nutty as the weekend after I chase after both the ATVMX and GNCC series like many of you so you know how chaotic things can get balancing out a life filled with challenges before you even climb behind the bars to let things rip! Let’s pray that everyone has a safe and enjoyable 2016 race season!

Who do you think will get the first holeshot of the 2016 ATV Motocross season?
Who do you think will get the first holeshot of the 2016 ATV Motocross season? Photo: Ken Hill

I mentioned last week that I had heard of a few GNCC regulars that could not resist the FLY Racing ATVSX at Daytona. Crossover racers are nothing new, but when it comes to ATV racing it can be a huge deal for a tree basher to tackle a motocross track especially on par with an SX layout. I was able to get ahold of a few of these brave souls to get their take on this event. 

First up was Nick Royalty who pilots his Honda in the GNCC and IXCR series. Nick and I have history as he has managed to wad himself up several times in front of my lens making for epic pictures and stories that continue to keep Nick in the spotlight when we are on the same racetrack. So when he hit the track at Daytona I was wondering if I once again would capture a get off even though I was praying he had a safe and fun race! Nick sent me his take on things and thankfully his weekend at the GNCC and the ATVSX went fairly smooth! 

“As a spectator of the 2015 Daytona ATV Supercross I thought the event was super unique! The grandstands were packed with spectators as the Pro class took to the track for the first time. Everyone including myself absolutely loved the event. So as the 2016 Daytona ATV Supercross approached, I was one of the first to get signed up for the event! Once the time neared my family and I headed south so I could train for the upcoming GNCC and ATV motocross national season. 

Thomas Brown will be racing in his home state on April 9, and he's ready to get a win in front of his friends and family.
Thomas Brown will be racing in his home state on April 9, and he's ready to get a win in front of his friends and family. Photo: Ken Hill

After the first round of GNCC was complete we headed straight to Daytona so I could get my mind set on the 2nd annual Daytona ATV Supercross! As soon as you arrive in Daytona the atmosphere is set immediately. Once arriving at the Speedway on Tuesday, it's amazing to see all the quads sitting in the pits where you would usually see NASCAR's preparing to take to the track. Once the ATVs started wrapping up practice, it was time to head to the gate for my first moto of 450A. I had a fair start but fell back quickly, on the last lap I gave up the last qualifying position and had to go to the LCQ. On the gate in my LCQ I had my mind set on getting into the main event. Off the start I had a great jump and settled into 3rd, I had a lot of friends and family there to cheer me on, including a lot of people that just wanted to see a full blown GNCC quad make it into the main event! Unfortunately on the last lap, just before the checkered flag, my chain popped off and put me out of contention for the 450A main event. 

I was extremely disappointed but also very pleased with how I rode. And at the end of the day I was just happy to be at the event. If you've never been to an ATV national motocross or GNCC event I highly suggest you check it out! And if you think that sounds cool, watching the ATV's take to the infield at Daytona International Speedway is a must see! Thousands attend the event and it is truly something spectacular!” 

We're just ten days away from the ATVMX kick off in Texas!
We're just ten days away from the ATVMX kick off in Texas! Photo: Ken Hill

Just to be at the event is a great experience and Nick summed up his day pretty well, which is why this event is going to grow and grow as it sucks more racers in to either watch or participate!

Another GNCC regular was Rick Zhorne who made the trip from his Tennessee home. 

Rick, what did you think of the ATVSX? 

I liked it. I don't think I'll do it full time, but I am planning to do red bud and Loretta’s this year. Going to start trying to do some more local stuff and TT racing. 

How did you do? 

I didn't know if you don't take the checkers it's a DNF, but I finished 13th.

For my first ever time I'll take it!  I had a lot of fun. It was a good change of pace, and honestly I think it will help with my GNCC racing. I’m not a big "jumper" but I did make my first double at Daytona so that was a big step! 

It sounds like you made some memories for sure! 

Oh yea, the guy that got me racing period ,Walter Whitehead, made the trip down there to watch me run the GNCC and he actually raced 30+ class at ATVMX. But just the whole ATV community whether MX or XC is amazing and I love spending time with the race family.

Not to mention the fact that I raced at Daytona International Speedway! How many get to say that in their lifetime. That's what makes the whole experience just amazing!

Lane Coile was pretty pumped about racing the ATVSX and shared with me his thoughts on the day. 

So how was it racing both the GNCC and the ATVSX? 

It was pretty awesome! It's became a toss up between xc or mx.. Been racing mx since 88 and just started racing xc a lot more in the past few years. I love them both! 

That’s pretty cool, and did I see you won your class? 

No doubt!  Yeah I won the senior 40 class. It's been a few years since I won a national, the last one I won was at Ballance a few years ago. Winning Daytona tops them all though just growing up watching racing all my life. Everyone wants to win Daytona!

Everyone wants to win Daytona! How true are those words! As we all put our sights on the remaining rounds of the new season, I have a feeling we will continue to hear and see stories from the 2nd Fly Racing ATVSX and will enjoy even more success as this event continues to grow and grow! That’s all from me this week, I have to finish packing and get ready to hit the road once again! Be safe and God bless you all!