Palatka, FL ~ Welcome back everyone!! It’s a new year, a new season, and another positive step forward for this race team. Let’s get right to it by putting down the snow shovels and heading south to the sunshine state. Round 1 of the Grand National Cross Country series brings us back to a venue that the old school GNCC racers may remember, a 6,000 acre working cattle and timber plantation known as the Rodman Plantation. The terrain here is similar to other Florida tracks we have seen in recent years which means the track conditions will get rough very quickly. Another variable racers need to pay attention to is temperature. Going from 30 degrees and snowing to 70+ degrees and sunny sounds like heaven but it can quickly take you down if you’re not aware. They don’t call this America’s Toughest Sport for nothing!!
We start off with our two morning racers, the Kymco backed #920 of Donnie Pruett and the #270 of Daniel Gwinn who made the jump into the Yamaha world for this season. Unfortunately, Florida wasn’t exactly kind to these guys this year. Donnie, who made the switch from a Honda 450r in 2014 to the all new Kymco Maxxer 450i, got tangled up about an hour into the race with the 4×4 Senior class and ended up with the quad on top of him. Ending with a 9th place for the day is not what Donnie had in mind but thankfully he is doing fine and will be ready send the 4×4 into the woods in Georgia. Daniel, on the other hand, bruised his pride more than his body. Still getting his new Yamaha dialed in, he experienced a mechanical failure while crossing through a lap 1 mud section with the 16-18C class and ended his day with a DNF. Daniel has been fighting the gremlins for quite a while now but not once have you ever seen him give up.
On to the afternoon race where we have two new teammates to introduce for the 2015 season. Brandon Icard in the College A class and CJ Dawson in College B. Both of these riders put in some great work at round 1 with Brandon taking home a 2nd place and CJ coming from behind after a horrible start to take home a 3rd place. We are proud to call these guys teammates and are looking forward watching them rise through the ranks. You can learn more about Brandon and CJ by checking out their rider bio at slightlybentracing.com.
Colton White….Welcome to College B! The 2014 Sport 15+ class champion has blown out his candles, put the 400ex out to pasture, and has lined up with some of the most competitive racers to strap on a helmet. The #414 has had his fair share of arguements with the mechanical gremlins and unfortunately they followed him to Florida. 22nd was not how Colton envisioned his afternoon debut but all this does to guys like him is add fuel to the fire. Back on the #703 Yamaha and donning some new white plastics for 2015, is Vet B rider Dan Webb. Coming off of a 4th place class finish in 2014, Dan started 2015 off strong with some solid work and and 3rd place. Vet B is another class where focus is crucial. The top 10 riders in this class are usually within minutes of each other so mistakes must be kept to a minimum. Finally we welcome back the 2012 Senior B class champion, Rusty Repass. Lining up with the Senior A/B class this year, Rusty will have his hands full as he continues to battle with some familiar faces and welcomes a few new ones. Ending his day with a 3rd place puts him in a great position in the 2015 points chase.
That does it from sunny Florida. It’s always a unique and hectic start to the season because of the closeness of rounds 1 and 2. In less than a week I’ll be sitting at my computer writing the report for The Maxxis General thinking about red clay and rain rather than sun and sand. That’s GNCC racing for you!! This year Slightly Bent Racing has teamed up with an all new outdoor website, YOUNTO.com. The guys over at YOUNTO? have managed to take everything you like to do outdoors and present it to you with just one click. Whether you are into hunting, fishing, camping, biking, shooting, watersports, motorsports, GNCC RACING!!!, they can all be found at YOUNTO.com. On the home page simply click on the state you are in or are planning to visit, and up pops a map with the activities available in that area. With new activities being added daily, make sure you register your name in the YOUNTO forums and check them out on Facebook. Anyone interested in pinning a business on the map, visit YOUNTO.com or stop by and see us in the SBR pits. We also want to send a huge thank you to Waynesburg Yamaha, Disc-O-Bed, Fasst Company, and SSI Decals for their continued support. See you in Georgia!!