Brycen Neal and his Coastal Racing
Yamaha race through the characteristic
double ruts of a Florida GNCC. Note
that the middle of the track in front of
his Yamaha is graded smooth by the
skid plates of the riders ahead dragging.
The single-seat class for Polaris Ace
machines is growing, and it looks like
a lot of fun in the woods with the ATV-wide chassis.
❏ Racer Productions’ GNCC Series
remains the most prestigious off-road
race series for ATVs, and it has a
growing UTV element. Traditionally,
the series aligns the kickoff with the
famed Daytona Speedweeks that
includes all sorts of motorcycle racing
on pavement and dirt, including the
Daytona Supercross. “Aligned with”
doesn’t necessarily mean cheek-by-jowl. You may not know that the
GNCC opening round moves around
a bit, and this year’s opener in Palatka
was 90-plus miles from the Daytona
Speedway. Requirements for a GNCC
location do include a challenging off-road course layout, but it also needs
to handle the semi-truck race rigs of
the top teams, as well as the haulers and camp vehicles for nearly 400
ATV racers and 60-ish UTVs, including
the single-seat Polaris Ace class that
sported 10 entries.
For those who have never been
to Florida, the place is seriously flat.
So flat that if you are driving up a
hill you are going over a bridge.
You would think that flat would make
for an easy cross-country race, but
diabolical plant life, bottomless sand
and black shiny swamp ooze that
makes brutal mud bogs all guarantee that Florida GNCC winners are
tough characters. The Premier XC1
Pro class showcases extreme competition. Current champ N-Fab/AmPro
Yamaha’s Walker Fowler continued
2015’s winning ways by grabbing the
start on his Yamaha YFZ450 and holding it for the full two hours.
In the off-season Barry Hawk took
over managing Coastal Racing.
Hawk is the winningest GNCC Pro
ATV champion in history. He went on
to switch to motorcycles and become
the only rider in history to win the Pro
motorcycle GNCC and the Pro ATV
title. Coastal has a UTV team piloting
factory-supported Polaris machinery.
Coastal also has an ATV race team on
Yamahas, and Brycen Neal showed
the effectiveness of the revised team
with a strong second place. Coastal
also has a pro motorcycle team racing Husqvarna machines. If you think
that keeps Hawk busy, he walked
32 miles in the woods and swamps
watching over the racers for the three
days of racing.
Neal was joined on the podium by
six-time GNCC ATV pro champ Chris
Borich. Borich won all of his titles on
Suzukis, but you may remember that
it has been a few years since Suzuki
made a 450 quad. In 2015 he swapped
to Yamaha in order to have current
machinery, but never achieved the
success he was used to on a Suzuki.
So for 2016 he is back on Suzuki, and
the switch appears to have worked
well for him. He’s looking to add more
championships to his record.