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Heartland Challenge

1st Annual GBC Heartland Challenge Was a Success

Dave Porzi
Dave Porzi

Jason Guddle
Jason Guddle

Johnny Gallagher
Johnny Gallagher

Michael Swift
Michael Swift

Pro ATV Winners
Pro ATV Winners

Pro Utility Winners
Pro Utility Winners

Carlisle, IA – The first ever GBC Heartland Challenge, presented by PIAA, was filled with plenty of racing action and was hailed as a success with last minute Pro ATV entry, the GT-Thunder/Powermadd team, rode away with the Pro ATV win and the PIAA/Can-Am team claimed the Pro Utility win, with both teams taking home their share of the $15,000 GBC sponsored 1st place purse, that would be split equally between the Pro and Pro Utility class.

Even the wind and snow could not keep racers and spectators alike from having a good time at the first ever GBC Heartland Challenge as there was plenty of action on the track and the side lines. Racers were looking forward to competing for the huge first place prizes of $7500 for the Pro and Pro Utility classes and the $3000 prize for the Pro-am winners as well as many class contingencies.

The Pro class GT Thunder/Powermadd team, consisting of Brandon Sommers, Johnny Gallagher and Taylor Kiser, got off to an early lead after the Lemans style start and held strong for five laps before swapping positions several times with the Dirtworks team. However, GT Thunder/Powermadd prevailed to regain their lead even though Taylor Kiser literally ran into trouble late in the race when he hit a tree and cracked his chest protector in half. Relatively unhurt, and with minor damage to his quad, Kiser never missed a beat and kept his lead, which allowed teammate Johnny Gallagher to take checkered for the Pro ATV class win and overall win along with the GBC sponsored $7,500 1st place prize money.  “This was a really fun race and was well organized for a first time event. I’m looking forward to doing it again next year,” said Brandon Sommers.

The two-man team of Jeff Pickens and Jarrod McClure, representing GBC/ claimed the second spot in the Pro ATV class even after getting off to a rocky start that put them almost dead last. The GBC/ team rode fast and consistent, quickly working their way up, but it wasn’t until the final laps of the race that they were able to take over second place from local favorites, C&D Racing. Jarrod McClure of the GBC/ team confirmed what seemed to be the sentiment of most of the teams who participated. “I had a great time,” said Jarrod McClure. “The track was fun and things were well organized,” he concluded.

The C&D Racing team of Jason Gudde, Zac Johnson and Josh Eaton, who race in the local IATVHSS series ran into some issues in the last couple of laps, which put them back to third, but they were still excited to be a part of the event. “It was definitely challenging, but we had a good time out here,” said Gudde.

While the Pro ATV teams put on a great effort, the Pro Utility ATV teams were certainly a force to be reckoned with as they were all competing for the record setting $7,500 first place payout for Utility ATVs.

The PIAA/Can-Am team, consisting of GNCC utility pros Michael Swift, Cliff Beasley, and Rick Cecco took and early lead as starting racer, Michael Swift was the first ATV off the line overall. They held their lead for almost the entire race. “Just after dark we lost a belt on one of the bikes which set us back a little,” said Swift. The set back allowed Polaris/Rath Racing to catch up and take over the lead briefly, but the PIAA/Can-Am team had their sites set on the $7500 Pro Utility GBC 1st place payout and was not about to give up without a fight as they retook the lead after only two laps and held on to take the Pro Utility win and 9th place overall, with Rath Racing finishing in a distant second.

The Polaris/Rath Racing team, consisting of Daryl Rath, Jason Dunkelberger, and Frank Batista, was making their debut on the ‘09 Polaris Sportsman XP 850 EFI. “I think this race was a good test for us and the new bike,” said Rath, whose team was eager to get some seat time on the new quad and see what it was capable of. The Polaris/Rath team rode in second place for most of the race but briefly too the lead when the PIAA/Can-Am team ran into some mechanical issues late in the race. The Polaris/Rath lead was short lived when they also encountered issues and fell back into second place.

FD Racing team of Jason Mickelson, Kevin Whede, and Jarrod Sheets, was the hometown favorite in the Pro utility class and they did not disappoint as they rode a strong race, taking smart lines and finishing third above team Yamaha of Stillwater and West Racing, who rounded out the 4th and fifth spots in the GBC Motorsports sponsored Pro Utility class.

Shrum Racing’s DJ Shrum, Devon Jarrett and Ronnie Bloodworth dominated the Pro-am class and took home $3,000 sponsored by PIAA, while the Kwik Powermadd Chix team of Traci Cecco, Kristin Atwell and Jesi Stracham made an impressive showing in the PowerMadd sponsored Women’s class, completing 31 laps, which earned them the win in their class and 7th overall.

Set up to mimic the adult classes, the GBC Heartland Challenge 3-hour Youth endurance race was the first youth team race of its kind. The Youth classes were treated to a Lemans start just like the main event. The vitality of youth was definitely an advantage for the young racers, as the cold didn’t really seem to phase them much. “Yeah, it was kind of cold, but it was really fun!” said 50cc team Wild Child member Brock Kyner. “I really liked the track and I can’t wait to do it again next year,” added teammate Kendrick Uehlin. The Wild Child team was nothing but smiles as they took the 50cc class win. The Banned Young Guns team of Chance Kellison and Dakota Stevenson who competed in the 90cc Production class ran strong and consistent, laying down the fastest lap times to take the win in their class and the overall.

On Friday evening, before the main 10-hour event, the UTV’s took to the track in a 3-hour endurance race that proved to be one of the most exciting and challenging races of the weekend. With five classes there was plenty of bumping and grinding. Lube-Muncur Racing, who was piloting the Polaris RZR S and Karst Racing both made the trek all the way from Wyoming to compete in the Holz Racing 850 Limited class and took top honors as first and second in their class and overall. The GBC Motorsports team looked as though they would be the leaders in the Yoshimura RD Open UTV class, but mechanical issues put them back, allowing Atwell-Pickens Racing, who came out from Pennsylvania, to take the class win.

Saturday night’s awards ceremonies went off without a hitch. Racers were happily hamming it up for the cameras as announcements were made and awards were given out. In addition to trophies and prizes, two ATV’s were given away in the Polaris Outlaw 525 IRS  drawing where one key per hour was given out over the course of the 10 hour ATV race, and TPC Racing’s Dave Porzi held the lucky key to the Outlaw.  Also, Blue Ridge Runners’ Gabe McGaughey was the lucky winner of a KYMCO Mongoose 90 ATV with every youth
ATV racer entered into the drawing.

Overall the GBC Heartland Challenge was a big success and despite the cold, most racers had a great time and vowed to return to race in next year’s event, which is already in the planning stages. The GBC Heartland Challenge would also like to thank all of our sponsors and everyone who helped make this event the success that it was.

Special Thanks to the Heartland Challenge Sponsors: GBC Motorsports, PIAA, Can-Am, Precision Racing Products, All Balls Bearing, T&T Racing, C&D Racing, Rekluse, PowerMadd, Tucker Rocky, Burgard Cycle, Moto Pro Training, Shrum Racing, Holz Racing, Zbros Racing, Yoshimura RD, HMF, Tireballs, DP Brakes, KLIM, EVS, Hinson Racing, IMS Products, Shift, WPS, Pro Armor, Wiseco, Custom Axis

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