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MX Sports Event Director Tim Cotter- The Growth of GNCC & "The 5 F's"
Tim Cotter, the Event Director for MX Sports, discusses what he attributes to the growth of the company over the past couple years. He shares what their “Five F’s” are, the new E-bike series, and the GNCC Cares Program. Tim also gets candid about trying to get involved with the West Virginia tourism department.
This transcript is AI generated and may contain inaccuracies.
[00:00:15.290] - Dave Sulecki
Welcome to Pit Pass Moto, the show that keeps you up to speed on the latest in motorcycling and brings the biggest names in motorcycle racing right to you.
[00:00:23.030] - Dale Spangler
I'm Dave Sulecki and I'm Dale Spangler. And this week we have event director for the the Grand National Cross Country Series, Tim Cotter. Now here's some of the latest news in the industry.
[00:00:33.650] - Dave Sulecki
Big event from the MXGP of Garda held in Trentino, Italy. Jeremy Sewer wins the MXGP race. It's his first win of the year, so it was great to see he was on the gas all day. He actually ran up front in the second Moto ended up taking the overall over Tim Geyser. So you've really got a big shake up in points in that MXGP class. Romaine Farber has now taken the lead with 614 points over Geyser. So almost a complete flip of the point standings from the previous two rounds, which are also in Italy.
[00:01:04.010] - Dale Spangler
This has been quite the incredible series, Dave. Three points separate, first through third place in the MX one Championship with two rounds remaining. Pretty incredible. That race action from this past weekend. There was even some team orders. I noticed where KTM had Cairoli and one of his other teammates that hurling is passive to get those extra points. So it's going to be interesting coming into the final two rounds for sure.
[00:01:31.070] - Dave Sulecki
And there's got to be hard feelings between Prado and hurlings after that cross jump in Germany. Really? Just like I said, a complete flip of the points for hurlings to go from first to 30 entered the race with a red plate. He left in third place.
[00:01:42.830] - Dale Spangler
Yeah, definitely some crazy action going on. I think the team order thing there was definitely like I thought that was pretty admirable of both riders to kind of do what they had to do to help Hurling gain as many points back after going down twice in the second Moto. And so, yeah, it's going to be a real barn burner coming into the final two rounds in MX two action.
[00:02:05.390] - Dave Sulecki
We have a world champion. Maximo has scored enough points before the final two rounds to take the title, and it was great to see the Yamaha rider win it. His teammate didn't have as good a day ended up losing ground in the point. He sits back and third now behind Tom Vial, who's just been the hot hand lately. The guy gets every hole shot, but Renault is your world champion in the Amex two class. How about that news?
[00:02:32.030] - Dale Spangler
Yeah, big news. It seems like he was sort of a surprise. I wouldn't say it came out of nowhere this year, but he was a front runner. I think Yago Gertz probably was one of the ones that people thought was potentially going to take the title along with Tom Viel. But yeah, Maximmer, no, just absolutely flawless this year. It seemed like he really did what he had to do to get that extend that lead and with two rounds to go, he's world champion with an over 100 point lead, Billy Bolt wrapped up the FIM Hard Enduro Championship in the nailbiter final round at the Getzen Rodeo in Germany, where he battled Manny, letting Bickler all the way to the finish to clinch the title.
[00:03:11.390] - Dale Spangler
Bolt methodically clawed his way back from a nearly three minute deficit to finish second place just under a minute behind, letting Bickler to secure the title. Crazy enough. Both riders finished tied at 104 points, with Bolt declared the champion by virtue of more second place finishes. It was definitely an exciting end to the growing series that will be expanding to nine rounds in 2022 with new rounds that take place in Israel, Serbia and Canada. I don't know if you caught it that day, but it was definitely a crazy race in Germany, and those guys just battled for a full.
[00:03:44.810] - Dale Spangler
I think it was 80 minutes. They battled all the way down to the wire with Bolt clinching the Championship.
[00:03:49.850] - Dave Sulecki
It's definitely an adrenaline series and watching the helmet cram videos from Billy Bolt and letting Buckler over the weekend. It was pretty cool. Some of those sections in those events are barely walkable, or I should say, climbable by foot, but it's a great series dominated by two strokes. They've got great coverage on Red Bull TV. Definitely something to check out. Is that FIM Hard Enduro Championship? Just Google that and it will lead you right to their website.
[00:04:17.390] - Dale Spangler
Definitely some crazy action. Those guys make it look way too easy. I think in the final there was maybe eight riders that took place in that 80 minutes final and they ended up lapping quite a few of the riders in the event. Which blows my mind. These guys are at the top level and they're lapping other riders. Billy Bolt and Let Bickler just made it look so easy, way easier than in reality. It actually is.
[00:04:39.830] - Dave Sulecki
Yeah, I couldn't agree more. And some of the back and forth action where guys are stuck on the side of the Hill, ramming into each other just to get up.
[00:04:48.350] - Dave Sulecki
It'S complete chaos. Definitely recommend checking that out.
[00:04:51.830] - Dale Spangler
In other extreme Enduro news Colton Hacker wrapped up the Enduro Cross Series Championship at the final rounds in Denver, Colorado. Cody Webb, after coming back after injury, took the overall wins on both Friday and Saturday. But it was Hacker who clinched the title with a second place finish on both nights with his 2021 Championship. Hacker is now tied with Teddy Blizzardsik for most titles at five each. And from what I've read, Haker will be looking to add more Championships to his collection as he looks to go down in the history books as one of the greatest ever in a Dural cross racing discipline.
[00:05:25.850] - Dale Spangler
Dave, have you been to Dural Cross before? These are like some of the most exciting races I think I've ever been to personally where the action is. It's kind of like a rain across and Supercross on steroids with logs and everything else. So it's a pretty exciting series.
[00:05:40.370] - Dave Sulecki
[00:05:40.610] - Dave Sulecki
No doubt they pack a lot of action into a Stadium and really have brought off road racing indoors to where just about anybody can go see it. You don't have to deal with the elements, which is pretty cool. And one of my favorite things to see is the riders that race this series sometimes race those hard and Dural races, the outdoor races. Guys like Cody Webb, guys like Blazusiac, even Hacker has taken his chances at that. And I think a lot of those skills translate right over to this series, as would a Supercross rider, because some of the obstacles are just screaming jumps that they have to make that you wouldn't normally make outdoors great series to watch.
[00:06:19.970] - Dave Sulecki
It's mostly located out west. If you get a chance, check them out. They've got a great TV package.
[00:06:25.010] - Dave Sulecki
[00:06:37.530] - Dave Sulecki
This week's industry spotlight is Royal Enfield. They are marking their 120th anniversary as one of the longest manufactured motorcycle brands in the world. I should correct that. They are the longest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Having gone into business in 1901, they are going to the South Pole. They launched an initiative to ride two Himalayan motorcycles from the ice shelf, basically to the South Pole. It's about almost a 500 miles ride in sub zero weather and they're doing it on 411 CC, 25 HP Enduro bikes. Quite the feet and hats off to Royal Enfield for really kind of showcasing their brand and the motorcycle's capability.
[00:07:23.070] - Dave Sulecki
It's going to be interesting.
[00:07:44.470] - Dale Spangler
This week's moment in motor history. The true beginning of GNCC racing began in 1974 with Blackwater 100 and Zero in Davis, West Virginia. What started as a 100 miles offroad race modeled after the Elsinore Grand Prix from California, has grown into the largest offroad racing series in the world, with events beginning in March and running all across the Eastern US and finishing off in October. Every year, racers get to try everything from mountain terrain to farm fields and river crossings and everything in between. Go to gnccracing.
[00:08:17.530] - Dale Spangler
Com for the latest and greatest information schedules and rider insights.
[00:08:31.310] - Dave Sulecki
We'd like to welcome the Pit Pass Moto today Tim Cotter, the event director for MX Sports. Tim, welcome to our podcast, man. Thank you.
[00:08:40.130] - Tim Cotter
I'm glad to be here today.
[00:08:41.690] - Dave Sulecki
We finally got a weekend off, so I'm sure that was probably a nice break after a long, busy season that you guys had. Gncc Racing this year just had just an amazing season. The main event class, the XC One, came down to the final event, which was a bit of a challenge for you guys. As I understand, how did that go for you?
[00:09:03.290] - Tim Cotter
Well, we're very blessed. Gncc was amazing. The total numbers in terms of the number of participants nationwide, we're through the roof. We haven't done our final executive summary yet, but I think we're going to be about 20% to 25% over last year. And last year was our largest ever. We had over 2700 unique athletes participate in the Ironman event last week. And yes, it did come down on the two wheel side. It came down to the last event, and unfortunately, it was a mutter, the great equalizer.
[00:09:42.830] - Tim Cotter
But all in all, it was just a great series, lots of drama, great competition. There's not a lot of negatives that comes out of GMCC.
[00:09:54.710] - Dave Sulecki
And it makes me wonder, what do you attribute the growth to? I know power sports and motor sports in general have just kind of skyrocketed over the course of this pandemic kind of, I guess, the sunny side of the thing that happened. But what do you attribute that growth, too? It just seems like the series every year is just breaking records, and it's great to see. I absolutely love to see it.
[00:10:16.490] - Tim Cotter
Well, there's a couple of things that I think or we think is a company that attributed to the growth. Number one is when the pandemic hit, we were able to get organized through the Safe to Race Task force. We were able to create a document, a how to document that we could take to our local health departments and get back on the race track, not just for us, but for every race track in America. That document was available to everyone and the communities that most people have racetracks in are by and large rural communities, unsophisticated health departments that weren't ready for a pandemic as well.
[00:10:55.490] - Tim Cotter
And we were able to take them a document that they could actually look at and say, okay, this checks all the boxes. Go ahead and have your race. So when sticking ball sports were put on the shelf, two wheel and four wheel motor sports was able to continue to go. And so all those folks that were stir crazy, they immediately looked at us and said, Well, here's an Avenue and here's an opportunity for us. And we learned that by a lot of the folks that were coming to our events, we're not GNCC families, but they came.
[00:11:24.170] - Tim Cotter
And then I just used the F word, the family word, Racer Productions. We look at our everything we do has to follow. The five F's family is one faith. At our events. We say the prayer before every race, freedom and the flag. We sing the national anthem eight times, and we say the Pledge of Allegiance once during a GNCC, and we honor our Patriots. We honor our folks that served and serve our community every week. And so we instill in our community what we all grew up on, that we believe is missing in many parts of America, the segments of America.
[00:12:04.550] - Tim Cotter
And then finally, fairness. We believe that when you come to a GNCC, you're going to get a fair shot at it. And I know there was a lot of controversy towards the end of the season in terms of what's fair and what's not fair. But if our events and our series can follow those five FS, then we believe that we're going to be successful and that people will spend their hard earned money coming and participating with us.
[00:12:32.510] - Dale Spangler
Hey, Tim, would you also think that partly we've seen a huge growth in Offroad across the board. It seems like in the last few years. And I feel like Offroad is one of those segments that you really get the bang for the buck. And so when you show up to a GNCC race, you get a two hour race or a three hour race. If you're racing the main event and you get to race on the same track as the pros. And so I feel like there's just this really grassroots movement there towards more often more people are getting into Offroad racing.
[00:13:05.630] - Dale Spangler
Would you kind of attribute some of that success to just the bank for the Buck philosophy of you really get a lot out of going to a GNCC race?
[00:13:14.210] - Tim Cotter
Yeah, there is a lot of value in that. And we believe that's why people come we see some Moto folks that cross over that say, wow, I had no idea there's a young, up and coming Moto kid that is actually very competitive at Loretta Lynn's, and he came over to Offroad, Thor, Powell and Thor and his dad smile every week and just tell us what a great experience it is. And you still get that fix that two wheel and four wheel motorcycle fix in the Woods. You still get that adrenaline, but you're not waiting around all day to race 215 minutes motos, and we find that there's always something to do.
[00:13:52.070] - Tim Cotter
We always have things going on. And kids, where can you go where you pull in? You drop the anchor on your motorhome, and the kids say, Mom, I'll see you in a little bit, and they check in every other hour and they're out just enjoying each other. So it's a tremendous setting and one that once people get a little bit of it, they want more of it.
[00:14:17.270] - Dave Sulecki
And it seems to me, Tim, that it's appealing to every level of rider. When we look at your program where you've got ATV's on Saturday, bikes on Sunday, the variety of classes available appeals to just about anybody who's raced for a long time and knows what they're doing to almost a beginner in the Woods is able to go out there and compete. And that's got to be something that helps draw more, even more people, especially as you said, as the stick and ball sports went away, a lot of people switched gears and went to offroad riding.
[00:14:49.310] - Tim Cotter
We have a class for trail riders, which are first time people that are not really trying to be competitive to Stuylor's class and to Ben Kelly's class and all points in between. We have them for old people and young people and people on two wheels and people on four wheels. You name it. We have a class. I believe there's over 140 different classes throughout the race weekend for ATV and motorcycles. And then we have our Stacey classes on Saturday night, we run Stasik races. It's a free exhibition race, but we're getting 100 kids that come and they're competing.
[00:15:27.770] - Tim Cotter
It's crazy when one of your rules has to be you can't be wearing diapers. These kids are getting their first taste of motorcycling at a GNCC, and we feel that if we can get you on the seat of a bike early, we'll keep you forever. And it seems to be working.
[00:15:45.710] - Dale Spangler
I've also noticed, Tim, that you guys have this Ebike series that you guys have added as well to the GNCC series, where it's not every round, but there's another area that it's creating even more interest in the series, where you have a guy like Charlie Mullins, who is a past champion now racing this Ebike series. And I think he's one if I'm not mistaken, he's one of the last couple of years.
[00:16:08.090] - Tim Cotter
Yeah, you're exactly right. And you know, the crossroads of mountain biking and motorcycling is Ebiking, and we're taking the GNCC event and the GNCC style race course, and then we're building a bicycle atmosphere around it. And if you just look at the box scores and say, okay, they had 75 Ebikes this day and 82 that day, and I think maybe we got up to in the 90s somewhere. That's just the little tip of the iceberg. There are 500 or 1000 Ebikes on the property, and it's done a couple of things for us.
[00:16:47.990] - Tim Cotter
And these were unintended consequences, although they were good consequences. We allow you to go inspect the course on an Ebike, and so you really can do it right? An Ebike if you've never been on one. They're amazing. I'm 60 years old and overweight, and I can ride an Ebike pretty much around a course, so it allows you to be able to go out and do it. Allow someone that's not as athletic as, say, Stuylor or Ben Kelly would be or Walker Fowler to go out and compete again.
[00:17:16.010] - Tim Cotter
We have classes for everyone. And it brought Specialized into motorcycle racing, not just motorcycle racing, but motorcycle dealerships. And so Specialized already has a motorsports now branch where they're going out and creating these sales opportunities in dealerships. And so that has helped our motorcycling community look what Intense has done now with the relationship with Parts Unlimited. That intense emountain bikes. And I believe intense bicycles in general may be available in motorcycle dealerships now.
[00:17:51.050] - Dave Sulecki
And all of that contributes to the growth, which is a good thing, I think just for everybody in the sport, kind of continuing with that five F mentioned that you gave us, Tim, talk about the GNCC Cares program that you guys launched at Iron Man. I thought that was an interesting thing to happen, and it was awesome to see like to kind of know more about that program.
[00:18:10.730] - Tim Cotter
Well, it's in its infancy. It's long overdue, and I tell you where it came out of. We are currently negotiating with Snowshoe to renegotiate our contract there. And if you've ever been to that event, it's a massive event. It's unlike any other GNCC. It has a little more of a party edge to it. It is the toughest race in America, we believe. But as we sat down with a Snowshoe leadership team this year, one of the criticisms they had of us is that the GNCC racegoers are not as friendly to the environment as their other customers.
[00:18:49.130] - Tim Cotter
And we got to thinking about that now understand that Snowshoe GNCC is different, whereas most of our GNCCS are the families that race there. They bring Moms and Dads and Grandmas and Grandpa's. It's not really a spectator based event, but Iron Man and Snowshoe are both. They got a higher volume of spectators. And so we felt we really need to do a better job in all of our facilities. We need to make people aware that we are in a special place and we need to treat it special.
[00:19:19.850] - Tim Cotter
And that is where GNCC Cares was born. And so this was our first go at it. It worked. It was probably 100 trash bags that we were able to just to pick up and load out opposed to having to pick the trash up off the ground and put in bags. So it's our goal through the GNCC care program and through some peer pressure to get people to do the right thing. And I don't think it's going to be that difficult. When you go to a Hilton, you act like you're in a Hilton opposite if you went into a motel six.
[00:19:51.950] - Tim Cotter
And so I think that when they go to these facilities and they realize that we all care and we all want it to be clean and we do want to leave it the best way we can motorcycling. Arguably, we get criticism from people about what we do, the environment. And at GMCC, we work really hard to try to make it as environmentally friendly as we possibly can. And this will go a long way towards that. But it's interesting. You notice that. So I appreciate that, Tim.
[00:20:20.570] - Dale Spangler
Another thing, speaking of caring about the future of the sport and everything else is this West Virginia Motor Sports Committee that you are now a part of. Tell us a little bit about that. And how did that come about? It seems very interesting and hopefully maybe turns into kind of a pilot program where other States ends up picking up something similar.
[00:20:40.310] - Tim Cotter
Yeah, we've tried this a couple of times now with the West Virginia Tourism Department. West Virginia tourism has been a bit of a struggle for us. We get a little bit offended. Maybe might be the right word that we go to snowshoe. And we know how many people come from different areas of the country. Nobody lives in Pocahontas County that actually goes to that race and competes. Or I shouldn't say, nobody but a very small number. They all come from Ohio and New York and Pennsylvania and wherever they may be coming from.
[00:21:13.310] - Tim Cotter
So we've argued with the tourism Department that we really need to get some help from West Virginia tourism. They've got a tremendous budget of advertising and they haven't been receptive to that. But yet when say that the World Cup mountain bike race came to snowshoe, and I went up and helped snowshoe with their first World Cup event a couple of years ago. My goodness, the tourism Department really rolled out the red carpet. Now it was a like size event, same number of people up there now, certainly they had a large number of people that came from overseas, but we have probably a larger number of people that came from somewhere other than Poconos County, West Virginia.
[00:22:02.990] - Tim Cotter
So having said all that, I try to stay politically active here in West Virginia, and we've been pushing to get some traction. There no pun intended. And so Governor Justice said, okay, let's create this motor Sports Commission, and I was honored to be asked to be on that. And we've had several meetings, Zoom meetings. But our first in person meeting is next week or excuse me, not this month. This is November. So it's here in a week or so. We're actually going to meet at one of our GNCC sponsors facilities Midstate Chevrolet.
[00:22:39.770] - Tim Cotter
And we're going to sit down. And we're going to talk about how all the motorsports community in West Virginia can work together to create a tourism effort and work to get the West Virginia Legislature and, more specifically, the tourism Department to help us tell our message. I don't think we're asking anybody to write us a check, but it would be nice if the West Virginia tourism would include us in their emails or would include us in their hundreds of millions of dollars of ad buys and awareness that they have around the country.
[00:23:13.670] - Dale Spangler
It seems to make a lot of sense to us, Tim. And hopefully, like I said, that just kind of takes off and other States end up kind of emulating what you guys are doing there.
[00:23:23.510] - Tim Cotter
I hope so.
[00:23:24.650] - Dale Spangler
[00:23:24.950] - Dave Sulecki
As you've wrapped up this season, you got to be starting to think about 2022 season. What does GNCC have in store for next year next race season?
[00:23:33.650] - Tim Cotter
Well, hopefully some growth. We are actually, I've been working all day on the Lorettalin schedules and GNCC schedules and pro Motocross schedules, pro ATV schedules. And I don't know, whatever I missed. We're working on all those schedules, and they're all intertwined. You have to start out with one before you get to the other. And right now, GNCC, it looks like we're going back to most of the same venues. We're going to deploy a team down into North Carolina. We've got a facility in North Carolina that we're going to look at.
[00:24:10.010] - Tim Cotter
Hopefully, that will bring some promise. We're also looking at an additional facility in Georgia for GNCC. Don't know that that all happened this year, but we're always looking for new venues. It's our goal to take GNCC racing in places they can't go like the Boy Scout Ranch or Snowshoe. Those are pretty special places. We're always on the lookout for those places. That when people pull in the gate. Camp Coker. If you've ever been to Camp Coker, you know what a special place it is. It's harder and harder to find a place GMCC has grown.
[00:24:50.810] - Tim Cotter
We look at facilities that are in excess of 600 acres, and they got to have an excess of 100 acres that we can park on. That's probably tight if we were able to make that work. So it's not easy to find a place that we can go GMCC racing well, for sure.
[00:25:09.110] - Dave Sulecki
And I think with that hard work, you guys will definitely keep growing and continue to succeed as you have been. Tim, we want to take these last moments to thank you first of all, for being with us today. And also, if you could mention where the best place is to go and check out GNCC Racing on the Web or social media and see what it's all about.
[00:25:32.150] - Tim Cotter
Gnccracing dot. Com is the beachhead for all of our activities there. We have Instagram and our social media accounts over Facebook as well. But for the most part, if you go to our website, even in the off season, we have a lot of opportunities, the Tuesday toolbox and some articles that we put out each week and then Racertv.
[00:25:58.130] - Tim Cotter
If you ever want to on those cold, snowy Saturday afternoons, when you're at home wishing you could go ride your dirt bike, go to Raceretv. Com and you can see all of our broadcasts. We broadcast live the Pro ATV and Pro motorcycles each week, so there's plenty of footage to go look at. And then we recap and do a highlight show for MAV TV. And once it's aired on MAV TV, it goes to our website as well to Erasertv. Com. So always a lot of opportunity to go back and revisit those.
[00:26:30.890] - Tim Cotter
[00:26:32.990] - Dave Sulecki
Definitely. Go check it out. These are great events. And like Tim said, check them out in the wintertime too. You can watch Racer TV. Tim, thanks again for staying with us today. I hope you have a good one, man.
[00:26:43.130] - Tim Cotter
It is my pleasure. I appreciate all you guys do keeping the fire lit around the country to offroad motorcycle racing, whether it be Motocross or GNCC or ATVs. Whatever the case may be, you guys keep the fire lit and keep people yearning to come back. And that allows us and all the other race tracks in America to continue to do what we love to do. We're very fortunate.
[00:27:11.310] - Dave Sulecki
We'd like to thank our guest, Tim Cotter, for spending time with us today in upcoming races. We've got the MXGP of Lombardia in Mountova, Italy, November 7. That's around 17 or 18 of that hot series. So soon we will have an MXGP champion. We've got the Moto GP of Portugal at the Algarvey International Circuit, November 7. That's around 17 or 18. We've got the World Superbike Series in Indonesia, November 19 through the 21st. That's around 1213.
[00:27:59.950] - Dale Spangler
Thank you again to our guests for being with us today and thank you for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app so you can never miss an episode. If you have a moment, please rate and review us. We really appreciate it. Make sure you're also following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit Pitpassmoto.com where you can check out our blog.
[00:28:22.210] - Dave Sulecki
This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson, Chris Bishop, Producer Leah Longbrake and audio engineer Eric Koltnow.