Big Buck returns to Union County

By: Special to The Union Times
Photo by Ken Hill After claiming his first-ever GNCC overall win, home state favorite Steward Baylor looks to return to the center of the podium during the 22nd Annual Big Buck GNCC which will be held Feb. 24-25 in Union County.
Photo by Ken Hill XC1 Open Pro class competitor Grant Baylor looks to challenge for the overall win as well during the 22nd Annual Big Buck GNCC which will be held Feb. 24-25 in Union County.
Photo by Ken Hill Featuring ATV, motorcycle and UTV racing, the VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC which will be held Feb. 24-25 in Union County promises to be a great event for all.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — America’s largest off-road motorcycle and ATV racing series returns to Union County next weekend, February 24 and 25, for the 22nd Annual Big Buck GNCC, to be held in Union, South Carolina at the popular Big Buck Farm. Next weekend’s race serves as the opening round of the 2018 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series, an AMA National Championship.

With a unique mix of hill climbs, rocks and creek crossings the Big Buck GNCC is a classic cross-country track. In fact, America’s premier off-road racing series has been traveling to Union County since 1997, making it one of the oldest continuous stops on the circuit. Other than the hill climbs and rocks, the rest of the 10-mile course consists of tight single-track that forces racers to put their most advanced skill level to test.

Over 1,600 racers are expected to compete at the Big Buck GNCC, and this event will draw several thousand spectators from the surrounding community, as well as all over the U.S., ultimately bringing an estimated $1.3 million in revenue to Union County and neighboring areas. Riders will compete on highly tuned dirt bikes, four-wheeled ATVs and side-by-side machines, and the races will include top talent, such as U.S. National Champions and World Champions from Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

This event also offers a great opportunity for local racers to showcase their talents in front of their hometown crowd. On Sunday, brothers Grant and Steward Baylor Jr. will compete in the highly competitive XC1 Open Pro class, the featured class of the 1 p.m. pro motorcycle race. Steward Baylor took home his first-ever pro career overall win at the 2017 Big Buck event, and heads into next weekend with confidence that he has what it takes to repeat his success. Steward’s younger brother, Grant, will be competing on the same team and hopes that his new machine can provide the results he has been searching for. Hailing from Belton, a mere hour from Union, the Baylor brothers are familiar with the terrain featured at the Big Buck GNCC and will look to use their home turf advantage to battle for the first win of the season.

The event is co-sanctioned with SETRA, a series that produces local racing events in the Southeast, and will ultimately bring out a full slate of local racers. All local riders are invited and encouraged to compete in the event, as GNCC Racing offers classes for riders of all skill and experience levels. The amateur race entry fee is only $50 and racers can pre-register or sign up at the event. To learn more about GNCC Racing, refer to the GNCC 101 webpage.

Local racers expected to compete next Saturday on ATVs and UTVs will be: Harrison Lindsey (125 Jr. 8-11), Braden Bramlette (YXC1 Super Mini Sr. 13-15), Doug Moore (4×4 C), Blaise Cooke (Schoolboy Sr. 14-17), Cameron Abee (College A 16-21), Jaron Dawkins (College B 16-21), Donald Harrison (UXC3 Pro-Am) and Chris Ferraro (SSXC).

Also expected to compete next weekend on motorcycles will be: Jonathan Bolton (Masters B 50+), daughter Prestin (Girls 8-15) and father Jason Raines (Sportsman A), Zack Livingston (Open C Jr. 25+), Austin Sentell (200 C Schoolboy 12-15), Jackson Whitley (Open C Jr. 25+), brothers Raymie (YXC1 14-15) and Andrew Segars (65 10-11), Taylor Garrett (Women), CJ Grooms (125 B/C), Cole Mattison (XC2 250 Pro 16-24), Anthony Federico (XC2 250 Pro 16-24), Chris Venditti (FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am), Brody Johnson (200 A) and his brother Jonathan Johnson (XC2 250 Pro 16-24).

Four-wheeled ATVs and UTVs will compete throughout the day on Saturday, February 24. Youth ATV racing begins at 8 a.m., with single seat UTV racing at 9 a.m., followed by amateurs, 4×4 pro and women at 10 a.m., and the pros and top amateurs race at 1 p.m. Following Saturday’s afternoon race will be the thrilling Side-by-Side UTV race taking place at 4:00 p.m.

On Sunday, February 25, the motorcycles will take to the woods of South Carolina following the same race schedule of youth racing action starting the day off at 8 a.m., women and amateur riders at 10 a.m. and the pros and top amateurs will start at 1 p.m.

Spectator passes run $20 for adults and $10 for children (6-11), and kids five and under are free for the full weekend (Saturday through Sunday), with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge.

To get to the track from I-26 take exit 44. After getting off the interstate, follow Highway 49 North for seven miles and follow the GNCC arrow signs to the track entrance.

The 1 p.m. pro races in addition to the UTV race will be broadcasted LIVE on the internet via Racer TV on www.racertv.com both days. A highlight show featuring the event will air on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, April 1 at 5 p.m.

In conjunction with the event, GNCC organizers, along with top professional bike and ATV athletes, will present an anti-bullying school program titled “On-Track.” This program will take place Friday, February 23, at Buffalo Elementary and Sims Middle School. Racers will discuss bullying prevention awareness, team building and how to properly use safety equipment while riding a motorcycle or ATV. Along with the program each student receives free admission to the race good for both Saturday and Sunday.

For more information on the GNCC series, visit the official website at www.gnccracing.com or call (304) 284-0084. Join the conversation on the series Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to always hashtag #GNCC.

Facebook: @gnccracing

Instagram: @gncc_racing

Twitter: @gnccracing

YouTube: @racertv

About GNCC Racing

The AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series is America’s premier off-road racing series. Founded in 1975, the 13-round championship is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross-country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The grueling three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 2,400 riders through tracks ranging in length from eight to 12 miles. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. The series draws talent from all over the U.S., Central America, South America, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. GNCC Racing is televised weekly on NBC Sports and RacerTV.com. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.

How to Watch

Racer TV and NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) are the official homes for coverage of the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) events. All 13 rounds, from the season opening Big Buck GNCC in South Carolina to the finale at Ironman Raceway in Indiana, will air in 30-minue; taped-delayed telecasts on NBCSN, while Racer TV provides live streaming coverage of the 1 p.m. ATV and motorcycle races from each event, in addition to the six UTV rounds. Catch all the action at http://www.nbcsports.com/ and http://www.racertv.com/.

About The American Motorcyclist Association

Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders’ interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com. Not a member? Join the AMA today: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/membership/join.

Photo by Ken Hill After claiming his first-ever GNCC overall win, home state favorite Steward Baylor looks to return to the center of the podium during the 22nd Annual Big Buck GNCC which will be held Feb. 24-25 in Union County.
https://www.uniondailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_42719_33852_hdb_0700.jpgPhoto by Ken Hill After claiming his first-ever GNCC overall win, home state favorite Steward Baylor looks to return to the center of the podium during the 22nd Annual Big Buck GNCC which will be held Feb. 24-25 in Union County.

Photo by Ken Hill XC1 Open Pro class competitor Grant Baylor looks to challenge for the overall win as well during the 22nd Annual Big Buck GNCC which will be held Feb. 24-25 in Union County.
https://www.uniondailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_42717_anl_0015.jpgPhoto by Ken Hill XC1 Open Pro class competitor Grant Baylor looks to challenge for the overall win as well during the 22nd Annual Big Buck GNCC which will be held Feb. 24-25 in Union County.

Photo by Ken Hill Featuring ATV, motorcycle and UTV racing, the VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC which will be held Feb. 24-25 in Union County promises to be a great event for all.
https://www.uniondailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_42720_fca_7391.jpgPhoto by Ken Hill Featuring ATV, motorcycle and UTV racing, the VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC which will be held Feb. 24-25 in Union County promises to be a great event for all.
Off-road motorcycle and ATV racing Feb. 24-25

Special to The Union Times