Jan 272015
 

Welcome! It’s that time of year again, the VVR Crew is getting ready for another great GNCC Racing Season. Below are the tracks, dates and locations of the 2015 events so check your calendars and come out to support the Veterans who race for VVR. GNCC events are the best place to catch exciting, cross-country ATV, UTV and dirt bike action in a family-friendly environment. If you are a Veteran and would like to either watch or participate in a GNCC race but aren’t sure where to start, send us an email using the link on the homepage. We’ll get you where you need to be and will even help you pit at the Veteran’s Pit Stop.

March 7th Rd. 1 Moose Racing – Wild Boar in Palatka, FL

March 14th Rd. 2 The Maxxis – The General in Washington, GA

March 28th Rd. 3 FMF – Steele Creek in Morganton, NC

April 11th Rd. 4 VP Racing Fuels – Big Buck in Union, SC

April 25th Rd. 5 Dunlop Tires – Limestone 100 in Springville, IN

March 9th Rd. 6 Parts Unlimited – Tomahawk in Odessa, NY

May 23rd Rd. 7 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC – Mountaineer Run in Masontown, WV

June 6th Rd. 8 Wiseco – John Penton in Millfield, OH

June 20th Rd. 9 AMSOIL – Snowshoe in Snowshoe, WV

September 19th Rd. 10 Can-Am – Unadilla in New Berlin, NY

October 3rd Rd. 11 Car-Mate – Mountain Ridge in Central City, PA

October 17th Rd. 12 ITP Tires – Powerline Park in St. Clairsville, OH

October 31st Rd. 13 AMSOIL – Ironman in Crawfordsville, IN

 

Oct 102014
 

Round 12. GNCC Powerline Park, All of Team VVR was getting tired of the dust from the previous races since the start of the 2nd half of the season, well we got our wish we didn’t have any dust but we had to pull out the coats, hoodies and umbrellas cause it was cold and rained the day before the race and during the race. During the AM race, racers Sam Fuson, Richard Little, Wesley Smith and Rick Zhore got the the starting line, once everyone took off started to tackle the the track, about 45min into the race it started to at the time ,we thought was hail, after being educated it was actually called Graupel, (soft hail or snow pellets) is precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water are collected and freeze on a falling snowflake, forming a 2–5 mm (0.079–0.197 in) ball of rime. So the track got slick very fast, but was fun at the same time, as XC racers most of us would rather be able to slide into a turn rather then having to muscle it, takes less energy but the negative side of that is you have to brake early in some places to ovoid from overshooting your turn

Richard Little Running 4x4C had his best GNCC placing coming in 2nd place after he and 1 other competitor  out of 7 in his class ran 4 laps to complete the race. “I was so excited to run this well, I put brand new ITP tires on the 4×4 tried some new things and it paid off big.”

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Richard Little with his 2nd place plaque

Sam Fuson running 40+C coming all the way over from Colorado went home with a 6th place finish. “Had some troubles getting off the line but after that ran great, had a blast hanging out with the team cant wait for next year” Powerline is Sam Fuson’s last race of the 2014 year.

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Sam Fuson hitting the mud hole jump

Wesley Smith running 30+C didn’t have the best race, wasn’t able to complete a lap due to mechanical issues, but hopes to rebound come Ironman.

 

Rick Zhore running 35+C  came in 7th place after a solid run.

 

Sam Lamp running Vet B 30+ PM race had not so great of a run had some mechanical issue with some programming and went through almost a whole gallon of gas without even doing 1 lap, although he was able to get a lap in he decided it was best to go ahead and call it a day to regroup during the few weeks we have off to find the issue fix it, and get ready for Ironman.

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Sam Lamp cashing in some frequent flyer time

So as you can read we are all excited for Ironman. Myself Richard Little, when everyone was talking  about Ironman I was like, oh ok cool, now being in a runner up spot I couldn’t be more excited for this race. Wesley Smith Going into Ironman is holding onto a solid 5th place overall class points,Richard Little in the 4x4C is in 2nd place, Rick Zhore running 35+C is in 7th and Sam Lamp running afternoon Vet B 30+ is holding on to a 7th place. The 2014 VVR team couldn’t ask for much more out of the riders. We are proud and excited for every single one of them. Be sure to stop at the VVR Trailer located along vendor row to say hi or even ask questions.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our 2014 sponsors that has supported the Vigilant Vet Racing team. Waynesburg Yamaha, 100%, Lone Star Racing, ITP, FLY Racing, GT Thunder, FASST Co., Leatt, HMF, KAhart Designs and Winner’s Choice.

Sep 222014
 

Rd 11. Mountain Ridge in Central City, PA.

It was 2011 the last time the GNCC nation was at this track located 3 miles from the Flight 93 Memorial, so this place holds a special place in everyone’s heart. The team arrived Friday night, got some rest and then were up at 7am working and preparing their ATV for the start of the race. Richard Little, Wesley Smith and Sam Lamp were the only ones able to make it to the race. Rick Proctor had a race to spare so he decided to remain with the VVR rig, answer visitor’s questions and work to raise PTSD Awareness.

Wesley Smith 30+ C Finished 8th in his class but suffered from loss of rear brakes after his rotor tore through his guard from a rock pit.

Richard Little 4x4C Finished 9th in his class after he had a tire coming off the bead.

Sam Lamp Vet-B 30+ Finished 10th in his class after losing a lock nut on his upper A-arm.

To put it simple, the VVR team had a rough weekend. The good thing is all of these mechanical issues are easy fixes, but as Sam Lamp says “It’s the small stuff that always bites”. With 2 rounds remaining Richard Little 4x4C is in 3rd place, Wesley Smith 30+C is in 3rd place, In 35+C Rick Proctor is in 6th  Rick Zhore is in 10th Vet B 30+ Sam Lamp is in 8th

Team VVR looks to adjust and go back at it in a few weeks make sure you check back for more updates/ race reports.

 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our 2014 sponsors that has supported the Vigilant Vet Racing team. Waynesburg Yamaha, 100%, Lone Star Racing, ITP, FLY Racing, GT Thunder, FASST Co., Leatt, HMF, KAhart Designs and Winner’s Choice.

Sep 092014
 

Unadilla, one of the fastest tracks that has some of the biggest jumps in Motocross. But Unadilla, for GNCC Cross-Country, means fast open fields, hill climbs with lots of lines, big tree roots and some fun times as this is the largest turnout on the GNCC tour.

9/6/2014 the Vigilant Vet Racing Crew has been up since 5am putting making some coffee and finding a little snack so their stomach wouldn’t be upset but making sure they don’t eat a lot so they won’t cramp. The weather was nice and cool, the wind was little breezy it was the perfect conditions for racing. The team was helping one another get those final touches on their quads before it was time to line up at 9:30AM to hear the pre-race ceremonies. When the National Anthem gets done playing instead of clapping and cheering all 400+ quads crank on the starter and rev their engines and then you know it’s time to go GNCC racing. Your heart starts to race the adrenaline starts to pump it’s been 2 long months since you heard Rodney Tomblin say those 2 most in-famous words, Tennn Seconds. Rick Zhore placed 17th in 35+, Wesley Smith had a good run placing 7th  in 30+C class, while Richard Little finished 13th in his 4x4C class. Sam lamp finished 5th in the afternoon Vet B class he said “I Had a great time with some great people, the weather was awesome, the turnout was great, but I was a little disappointed that there was no skyshot”. The pictures of the skyshot was being used all week prior to the race, it’s a jump where the racers get almost 40ft+ in the air and racers say you can’t see below you. GNCC decided to take the skyshot out for racer and spectator safety there was a lot of mixed feelings about it being taken out but we support what the GNCC track crew does to ensure the upmost safety of the racers and spectators. The race was successful everyone had a great time. VVR honored 3 veterans prior to the Afternoon ATV race. Sgt. Eric Schwartz, CPL. Jeremy Fontaine and SSgt. Justin Mottoshiski.

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We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our 2014 sponsors that has supported the Vigilant Vet Racing team. Waynesburg Yamaha, 100%, Lone Star Racing, ITP, FLY Racing, GT Thunder, FASST Co., Leatt, HMF, KAhart Designs and Winner’s Choice.

Sep 082014
 

The Vigilant Vet Racing Team has had a pretty good season so far. Since Steele Creek in Morganton, NC up too Snowshoe, WV this is the race recap.

 

1 – Win, 3 – Top 5’s,  20 – Top 10’s, 15 – Top 15’s

 

Steele Creek, in Morganton,NC this would be Allen Carpenters home track. The weather for the AM ATV racers was horrible especially for the Sport Quads. GNCC let the AM riders get about 3 laps in although mostly everyone was only able to get 2 laps in. Richard Little who races a 4×4 in the 4x4C class managed to come out with a 4th place finish in his class, Joseph Bonicelli who ran 19+C finished 7th in his class, Wesley Smith Running 30+ finished 6th place, Allen Carpenter and Rick Zhore finished 9th and 11th in their class, Stacey Treadway Running the Women Amateur 13+ class had a flat tire during her first lap and wasn’t able to finish her race. Sam Lamp running in the PM Vet B class, had better racing conditions than the AM did, Sam Had the best finish thus far bringing home a 1st place in his class.

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Big Buck in Union, SC was a very hot day for racing and also the Mechanical bug came back for most of our VVR racers. Richard Little running 4x4C took 6th  place after an accident on his 2nd lap, Tyler Foster Running his 1st GNCC race this year took a manageable 8th place in 19+C Class, Wesley Smith finished 8th, Rick Zhore finished 11th and Rick Proctor finished 13th Sam Lamp finished 14th in  Afternoon race in Vet B.

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Limestone 100 in Springville, IN had some good condition for racing .Wesley Smith placed 7th in 30+C, All running in the 35+C Class. Rick Proctor placed 7th, Rick Zhore placed 10th after he got his 1st ever holeshot and Allen Carpenter placed 11th  Sam Fuson’s first race of the year in the Afternoon Vet B finished 12th while Sam Lamp was unable to finish the race.

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Loretta Lynn’s in Hurricane Mills, TN Racing on the Famous Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch was a track with a lot of hills climbs both up and down, very little time spent in a field mostly riding under the shadows of the tree throughout the woods. Joseph Bonicelli placed 12th in 19+C class, Wesley Smith Finished 7th place in 30+C class, Rick Proctor, Allen Carpenter and Rick Zhore all running 35+ C class. Rick Proctor finished 9th while Allen Carpenter faced some mechanical issues placed 17th and Rick Zhore who also had mechanical Issues finished 18th, Richard Little running in 4x4C class over came some early trouble on a hill climb that set him back to last place but was able to close in the gap and finished 6th. Sam Fuson running in the Afternoon race in Vet B finished in 7th place.

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The Mountaineer Run in Masontown, WV Richard Little’s hometown race was very warm and dusty the track was very rough some said it was rougher than Snowshoe. Tyler Foster finished 11th in 19+C Class, Rick Proctor running 35+ C class finished a season best 5th  place and also got his fist ever GNCC Holeshot.  while Allen Carpenter finished 13th in the same class, Richard Little running 4x4C class finished a Season high as well 3rd place after a solid performance. Sam Lamp finished 13th in Vet B afternoon race after some Mechanical Issues.

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The John Penton in Millfield, OH. This race was full of off cambers and ruts thigh high. Tyler Foster running 19+C class finished 9th place, Wesley Smith finished 10th place, Richard Little running 4x4C class finished 7th, Sam Fuson, Allen Carpenter, Rick Zhore, and Rick Proctor all finished 11th 12th 13th and 14th in the 35+C class, Sam Lamp running afternoon Vet B finished 11th.

 

Snowshoe in Snowshoe, WV one of the roughest and toughest races in the country was one to remember the AM atv’s had a cool and foggy start. Allen Carpenter finished 9th Rick Zhore finished 10th and Rick Proctor finished 13th in the 35+ C class, Richard Little finished 6th in 4x4C class, Sam Lamp placed 9th in the afternoon Vet B class.

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This sums up the VVR race report since Steele Creek up to the season break, we will have the Unadilla race report coming soon.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our 2014 sponsors that has supported the Vigilant Vet Racing team. Waynesburg Yamaha, 100%, Lone Star Racing, ITP, FLY Racing, GT Thunder, FASST Co., Leatt, HMF, KAhart Designs and Winner’s Choice.

Mar 252014
 

Some of you may read this report and wonder who we are and why a group of mostly “C” riders spend their time and money in the highly competitive world of the GNCC. However, take a peek into life at the new Veteran’s Pit Stop and the not-so-obvious story there quickly overshadows all the awards and podium celebrations we could imagine.

 Team VVR Race Report for Rounds 1 & 2 of the 2014 GNCC Season

 Finally, the 2014 AMSOIL GNCC season is in full swing, which means we are back to racing and hopefully on our way out of what’s been a very long winter. The first 2 Rounds were only a week apart and unfortunately, most of Team VVR fell victim to mechanical issues so we’re going to combine both events into one, Pulitzer Prize-worthy Race Report!

A VVR t-shirt sighting at Epcot.

A VVR t-shirt sighting at Epcot.

A blowout on the Interstate makes things interesting.

A blowout on the Interstate makes things interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vigilant Vet Racing had a rough start to our 10-day journey into the Deep South as about an hour into our trip the VVR race trailer experienced its first-ever flat tire. Actually, as you can see above “flat tire” is putting it kind of mildly. It had been an extremely long and exhausting week leading up to Round 1 so it’s only natural that something like this would happen. All was well, however, once we finally arrived at the first venue of the 2014 GNCC race season and were back in the presence of the GNCC Racing Family.

Round 1 took us Bunnell, FL for the inaugural 2014 Moose Racing Mud Mucker GNCC. This was a pretty big event for GNCC and the sport of XC racing as the location of the track is only 30 minutes north of Daytona where Bike Week had just kicked off AND the Monster Energy Supercross was in town. Several big-name vendors, sponsors and rider reps showed up at the Mud Mucker to see what GNCC racing is all about. In fact, this aligning of the stars gave VVR the opportunity to shake the hand of one of our biggest supporters, Bevo Forti of 100% Goggles. 100% is the official goggle of Team VVR and they supply the goggles and other swag that we present to select Veterans during the Vigilant Vet/100% Goggle Giveaway prior to the start of each 1pm Pro ATV event. They have been behind us from the beginning and their continued support is invaluable.

Round 1 was also the first time that some of the members of Team VVR got to meet and work with each other. Seven teammates showed up to blow off some steam on the track, have fun and raise PTSD awareness. While Sam Lamp, Wesley Smith, Mitchell Bonicelli, Allen Carpenter and Richard Little all finished in the top 10 in their class, all of us experienced some sort of mechanical or technical failure, which prevented most of us from completing the number of laps we are used to.

A rare, quiet picture of the VVR/GT Thunder Veteran's Pit Stop.

A rare, quiet picture of the VVR/GT Thunder Veteran’s Pit Stop.

Rounds 1 & 2 were pretty awesome!

Rounds 1 & 2 were pretty awesome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

One very short week following the Florida event and we were gearing up for Round 2, the Maxxis General. The General is held at Aonia Pass MX Park in Washington, GA where the infamous red Georgia clay abounds. The same 7 members of Team VVR showed up to give Round 2’s track their best. The first two rounds of the season typically present a unique situation due to the short amount of time between the races. As a result, most of us do not have the luxury going home to fix equipment issues.

Once again, the entire team experienced some type of mechanical issue in Florida and did not have access to the tools and parts to properly fix our bikes. Zhorne and Little’s quad both took a huge gulp of Florida sand that made it’s way into the carbs on their machines. Sam Lamp was experiencing some significant electrical difficulties on his YFZ and was forced to bow out of the afternoon race on the first lap. All in all, the race results were pretty similar to Florida however this time only Wesley Smith and Richard Little finished in the top 10 in their class.

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For 10 days, 7 complete strangers gathered to not only participate in a sport we all love, but to build new friendships, fill in gaps created after leaving the military and in some cases, heal. Teammates could be seen working on each other’s quads, sharing tools, trailers and smiling as they conversed without worrying that they’ll offend someone or be misunderstood.

After burying his quad in 4’ of water in Florida, one VVR racer looked up with a huge smile and said, “I don’t care, I’m still having the time of my life.” Similarly, Richard Little told us that “it felt great to race in Florida and I couldn’t have asked for a better day”…. AFTER his LTZ400 quit on him just 3 miles into the race.

Some of us in Team VVR have PTSD and ride and race as therapy, some of us don’t have PTSD but love to race and want to support our fellow Veterans. Regardless of health issues or military service history, the truth is that life every Veteran is different after leaving the military. Luckily, GNCC Racing has brought us to common ground once again and whether we race for therapy or recreation, for us with PTSD it’s nice to finally have something to look forward to.

Thanks to the following 2014 Team VVR sponsors- Waynesburg Yamaha, 100%, Lone Star Racing, ITP, FLY Racing, GT Thunder, FASST Co., Leatt, HMF, KAhart Designs and Winner’s Choice. Without their help we would not be able to enjoy the sport that we love.

Vigilant Vet is a nonprofit organization benefiting Disabled Veterans by spreading PTSD Awareness and introducing the sport of off-road riding and/or racing as an alternative means to address their PTSD symptoms. Vigilant Vet is registered as a nonprofit with the State of West Virginia and is currently pursing 501c(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service of the Federal Government.

Sep 242013
 

Round 11 was held in beautiful Foxburg, PA to race on a track that is brand new to the GNCC circuit. All I can say is, WOW, what a weekend. First, this is a part of PA that my wife and I had never been so we traveled to Foxburg a couple days early to give ourselves a little extra time to explore. We stayed at the Foxburg Inn which is nestled right on the banks of the Allegheny river and offers absolutely stunning views from just about anywhere on the property. The place is so peaceful that I almost hated to see the racers and fans show up that weekend. Again, “almost.”

After a couple of days of R&R, we got back to work on Friday when we were treated to an awesome experience thanks to Jen Kenyon and GNCC. Jen invited Vigilant Vet Racing to go with her and a few pro riders to visit Clarion High School and AC Valley School District and talk to the students about teamwork, the importance of never quitting and  bullying. VVR racer Brandon Rumbaugh was able to attend and brought his adapted YFZ450 for the students to see. You could literally hear a pin drop while Brandon spoke to the students about his injuries and how he has not allowed them to hold him back in life. Brandon even rode a lap around the football field at AC Valley while the crowd of students, K-12, went wild. It was a very rewarding experience that we hope to continue to take part in. As if Friday wasn’t exciting enough, we still had a race to run on Saturday morning! This was a historical day for Vigilant Vet Racing and emotions ran high as Brandon Rumbaugh made his GNCC debut, running in the First Year Racer class during the 10am race. Just like every other first-timer, Brandon was pretty nervous prior to the start and the weather conditions weren’t helping. In fact, I think it is pretty safe to say that this race was basically the 2013 Mammoth (Version 2.0) as Mother Nature decided to open the floodgates once again. However, just like with every obstacle he’s faced, Brandon rolled with the punches and went out and completed 1.5 laps before mechanical issues sent him back to the trailer. Even though his machine ran into some issues, Brandon was all smiles after the race and we hope to have an interview & race recap with him posted soon.

VVR racer Sam Lamp didn’t allow a little rain slow him down, as he rode his 2012 YFZ450 to a second place finish. Sam is currently leading the 30+ Vet C class in points with 2 races remaining in the 2013 GNCC Racing season.

As for me, my race ended after 1.5 laps due to mechanical issues, just like Brandon. Even though I was pretty disappointed, there was no way a black cloud could hang over my head during this weekend. Figuratively speaking of course…..

-Rick Proctor

 

Aug 062013
 
Brandon Rumbaugh getting ready to hit the track on his VVR/Waynesburg Yamaha YFZ450.

Brandon Rumbaugh getting ready to hit the track on his VVR/Waynesburg Yamaha YFZ450.

August 4, 2013 is a day that several of us will keep in the front of our minds for a very long time. A significant, historical day for a nonprofit. A feeling of accomplishment from everyone who was involved. A rush of emotion from the spectators and supporters in attendance. An American Hero fulfilling his dream and inspiring everyone he encounters along the way. Brandon Rumbaugh, VVR’s first Veteran rider, tackled a cross-country ATV racing track for the very first time.

The day didn’t start as magically as it had ended, of course. It’s racing and that’s the way it works most of the time, at least in my experience. The track was literally right off of the I-79 Mt. Morris exit which made it extremely convenient for both Brandon and myself. Leave it to me to immediately replace convenience with chaos as I buried my truck and the VVR trailer in mud as soon as I pulled in. Fortunately for myself and I assume several others, there was a large bulldozer standing by to pull our rig through the mud. Brandon was about 45 minutes behind me so I called him to give him a heads up and hopefully prevent him from getting the “tow of shame.”

As soon as Brandon arrived, we backed the bike out of the trailer and immediately started working on the shift cable. The shifting mechanism is a push/pull-type system that is mounted on the handlebars. We haven’t been able to get it completely “dialed in” yet and for some reason one of the cables snaps after about 10 hours of use. It just so happens that we snapped the last cable he had while we were out riding a few days prior so Brandon had to get replacements overnighted and we planned to install a new cable trackside. That didn’t go so smoothly and thank goodness Brian Vasko and Rick Tonsetic from Waynesburg Yamaha showed up to save the day! Aside from the panic that several of us felt while this was going on, the scene during this fiasco was uplifting. Brandon’s bike was surrounded by a sea of blue, gray and black shirts as a dozen or so VVR supporters and members of the Waynesburg Yamaha family were there to lend a hand.

Waynesburg Yamaha's Brian Vasko and Rick Tonsetic saving the day!

Waynesburg Yamaha’s Brian Vasko and Rick Tonsetic saving the day!

The start of the race was about 30 minutes behind schedule thanks to all the rain we had received the day before. This played hell on my nerves and I admittedly was a wreck. I wanted everything to go right for Brandon’s first race and in the process, I forgot a few important things and had to leave the starting area to go back to the trailer! Meanwhile, Brandon was a cool as a cucumber, sitting on the starting line and chatting with friends and supporters.

We’d signed up to race in the Open Sportsman class along with 2 other riders and were lined up toward the back of the field. Before we knew, “10 seconds” was yelled out4 and at the wave of the green flag, Brandon dropped the hammer and almost took the holeshot! ! I was watching from behind and knew it was close, but the GoPro footage is unbelievable!  This young man barely has any experience riding a race quad let alone, racing one and he almost hits the woods in first place in his first race!

After the first turn we dropped down a hill, turning to the left and hit an off-camber straightaway that was a little whooped out. A racer had tucked in between Brandon and I but that didn’t prevent me from watching how he tackled what I believed to be his first test. He conquered the section as if he had been doing it all of his life, shot down a steep, slick incline, crossed a small wooden bridge, dropped the hammer and roosted the hell out of me while flying up the opposite hill. The entire sequence was, for lack of a more appropriate description, pretty bad ass to see.

VVR supporter Courtney Mayhew poses with Brandon who is sitting in his track-chair (aka The Tank).

VVR supporter Courtney Mayhew poses with Brandon who is sitting in his track-chair (aka The Tank).

Although the track was shorter, I’d say the terrain is pretty comparable with what you’d run into on most of the GNCC tracks laid out for the morning, amateur races. One particular spot that I thought would be most challenging for Brandon was a section that took us through the rocky bottom of a ravine that reminded me of a dried up creek bed. There were quite a few kickers in that section and a big one right before the 90 degree turn that went straight up a hill and led us out of there. Staying on the bike AND the gas, Brandon made the ultra-rough terrain and hill climb look easy.

Brandon and Rick blaze back through the off-camber section on their second lap.

Brandon and Rick blaze back through the off-camber section on their second lap.

After the start and that first little section, we settled in and picked up the pace, allowing the faster riders by as soon as the terrain would allow us to pull over. The crowd of spectators was absolutely amazing and every group we passed loudly cheered as we rode by. It was awesome and it apparently worked as someone told us that we did our first lap in about 18 minutes which was impressive for his first race ever! About halfway into the second lap, Brandon yelled back that he was having a hard time holding on and a few minutes later we pulled off the trail and took a break. I’ll never forget the arm pump I experienced during my first race. It was bad and I wasn’t using my arms to hold my entire body on the ATV and turn the handle bars like Brandon has to. I can’t imagine what he was feeling but a moment later we were back at it, only at a slower pace.

It wasn’t our goal to break any land speed records that day. We simply wanted to go out, ride at least 1 lap and anything beyond that was a bonus. Brandon met that goal with ease and after we checked in for lap #2 we pulled over again to take a little break. I repeatedly asked Brandon if he wanted to call it a day and he repeatedly told me no, which didn’t surprise me, so after a couple minutes we were on the throttle. Unfortunately, about half way through our second lap Brandon’s clutch went out right in the middle of a hill climb. We both backed our quads into trees so that we could let off the brakes and cheered the other racers on while we waited for the end and a tow back home.

In the end Brandon accomplished all of the goals that he had set for his first race. Sure there were a few hiccups but that’s racing, that’s how it goes and that’s part of the reason we love the sport so much. You have to put forth effort to overcome obstacles, just like anything else in life. Think of the obstacles that Brandon faces every day while I explain the title of this post “That’s Too Easy.” This was Brandon’s response when avid VVR supporter Courtney Mayhew asked him “Why don’t you consider racing an automatic?” as we were scrambling to fix his adapted shifting system.

THAT’S. TOO. EASY.

Brandon strikes a pose with his 3rd Place plaque. Not bad for his first race EVER.

Brandon strikes a pose with his 3rd Place plaque. Not bad for his first race EVER.

Veteran and VVR supporter Sam Lamp gives Brandon some last minute tips. Sam traveled 2 hours to meet and race with Brandon.

Veteran and VVR supporter Sam Lamp gives Brandon some last minute tips. Sam traveled 2 hours to meet and race with Brandon.

 

 

Sep 252012
 

Fasst Company’s Flexx Handlebar Review

Not long after launching this blog, I decided I would contact companies who manufacture and sell ATV performance parts and ask if I could review their products and share my opinion on here. The very first company that I contacted was Fasst Company who designed, developed and distributes the game-changing Flexx Handlebars. At the time, I had very little content posted on the blog so I wasn’t expecting much of a response from them, if anything at all. Let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised…

THE REAL FASST COMPANY

I’m an old man, so these days the simple things like customer service are almost as important as the quality of the product I am purchasing. Fasst Company set a new standard in customer service for me the moment I received the first email response from their rep, Colt Brinkerhoff. Had I not already known about the company, you would be hard-pressed to convince me that they have a HUGE presence in the industry based on the detailed, personal customer service that I received from Colt. You just don’t see that these days from companies who market products that are in high demand such as the Flexx Handlebars. If their superior customer service doesn’t knock you off your rocker, this will: Fasst Company typically gives Veterans a 25% discount on all of their products. Thanks Fasst Company and more importantly, thank you Colt!

THE PRODUCT

I was pretty stoked the day these bars arrived at my doorstep as I get beat up pretty bad while racing and the arm pump that I experience is quite debilitating. Upon opening the box, I could tell immediately that these bars are of the highest quality as nothing on them screams “cheap” or looks like it would break, bend or even scratch if dropped on the floor. The concept behind the Flexx Handlebars is so simple that I’m still kicking myself for not thinking of it first! Basically, as you can see from the picture below, there are 3 main pieces which I will refer to as the center and end pieces. The center, which is what hooks up with the steering stem and is fixed once tightened down. The end pieces (where your grips, levers, dancing hula girls, etc. are mounted), are NOT fixed and add an additional suspension-like effect for your hands, arms and upper body.

IMG_1338 resize2There are 4 different colored bushings called elastometers that ship with the Flexx Handlebars. Each color represents a different level of resistance allowing the rider to tune the handlebars to achieve optimum performance. The bars ship with the red elastometers which are the second to highest level of firmness they offer. I decided to go with these first as I’m a heavy guy and Fasst recommends using these first to establish a baseline feel anyway.

THE INSTALL

Tusk Fat Br Adapters.

Tusk Fat Br Adapters.

The hardest part about this install was getting the stock bars off of the bike, and that was more time consuming than anything. My YFZ 450 came with the smaller diameter handle bars, meaning, I needed to buy adaptors. I asked Colt if they preferred a specific brand and he assured me that basically all of them would work with these bars. I went with the Tusk adaptors as I have ordered a lot from Rocky Mountain ATV with good results AND they cost less than the others.

After learning the hard way, I now use Permatex Threadlocker on every bolt on this bike when I am given the chance. If you’ve never used any type of riser adapter, the concept is pretty simple as you can see in the pictures below but there are more screws involved than the stock setup, so Threadlocker gives me that extra peace of mind. Breaking down, miles away from civilization due to lost bolts is not my idea of a good time and the thought of a DNF just flat out gives me nightmares.

OEM handlebars and clamps.

OEM handlebars and clamps.

Bottom of Fat Bar adapters.

Bottom of Fat Bar adapters.

Flexx Handlebars mounted with Fat Bar adapters.

Flexx Handlebars mounted with Fat Bar adapters.

 

 

 

The Flexx Handlebars fit nicely into the adapters and I tightened them down just enough so that I could still move them for final adjustment. However, before making any adjustments, I went ahead and mounted the clutch and brake levers, my glueless Odi grips and PowerMadd wraparound hand guards. Everything fit perfectly. In fact, there is actually a lot more room to mount everything on these bars compared to the stockers. With everything mounted, I snugged the bars down at an angle I thought would feel the most benefit.

  Flexx Final 2

 

THE FIRST RIDE

My driveway is exactly a 1/4 mile long with a nice, smooth lawn running right along the side which is what I ride on to minimize tread wear. After warming the bike up, I took my first trip down the driveway at an easy pace to get used to the changed arm/hand position with the new Flexx Handlebars. At first it felt like the back end of the bike was diving out (swerving suddenly) every 30 feet or so, but I wasn’t sure.

When I got to the bottom of my hill I flipped a 180, cracked the throttle wide-open and started to jam through the gears with a smile on my face. That was short-lived however, as I felt like I was about to lose control of the bike with again, what felt like the rear tires diving in and out. So back to the garage I went, wondering what I messed up on the installation or which bolt I forgot to tighten. After going over everything and not finding any issues, I decided to raise the bars up an inch so that the grips were more in line with the steering stem. As I had hoped, this reduced the “feeling” of a wobbly rear end and I instantly felt like I had more control as I gave it another try on the driveway.

Now that everything felt right I began crossing ditches, rocks, fallen trees and anything else I could find that would normally give me a good jar. The more confident I felt with the bars, the harder I hit obstacles. As I had heard before, I definitely felt the difference between the Flexx Handlebars and the stockers during the first 10 or so minutes of riding. But after riding for a few minutes and concentrating on the terrain instead of my cramped forearms, they feel as if they had always been on the bike.

THE FIRST RACE

I did horrible in my first race with the Flexx Handlebars, but not because of my new parts. Technical difficulties (read my 9/9/12 race post) resulted in me scoring my first ever DNF. Using the red elastometers as per Fasst’s recommendations, I actually made it through 7 3/4 miles of the first 8 mile lap in this race and felt zero arm pump during this time. This is a HUGE difference compared to races that occurred prior to my Flexx Handlebar miracle in that I was usually hurting after the first 5 minutes of really hard riding. I also discovered another MAJOR benefit to having these bars mounted on your ATV…

About 4 miles into the lap, I made a huge rookie mistake. I was actually keeping up with the pack but instead of focusing on the track ahead of us, I was looking at the rear tires of the bike in front of me. As a result, I failed to see a 90 degree turn up a bank in time to make it and rolled the quad over. I was okay but the quad rested upside down, on the handlebars and seat. I was literally ready to cry as I pictured my brand new Flexx Handlebars bent and scratched up BUT, the flex and “give” saved the bars. Actually, there were no scratches either as the durable matte-like finish held it’s ground.

UPDATE: I just raced a hare scramble at High Point in Pennsylvania 2 days ago, this time using the blue elastometers. I’m 6’1, 200 lbs and these were WAY too soft for me. Most of the time they worked perfectly, but the occasional G-out literally caused me to lose control of the bike as I felt like the bars were going to give way. Considering my size and the fact that the blue elastometer is the softest Fasst Company includes with the Flexx Handlebars, this is to be expected.

THE VERDICT

RACING – I hate to say that these handlebars are a “must have” for XC racers and to be honest, I don’t have enough racing experience to make that claim. I can, however, honestly say that I saw about a 70% decrease in the arm pump that I had experienced previously. A simple concept, but miraculous results and that is no exaggeration. I also believe that for those new to the sport, the Flexx Handlebars will greatly help you increase your skill level. Racers need to ride a lot to get better and these bars go a long way toward achieving maximum seat time. They also reduce concern for the “endurance factor” when setting your pace which adds to your confidence.

ERGONOMICS – The Flexx Handlebars aren’t just beneficial for racing. If you experience arthritis, chronic pain, Carpel Tunnel or anything similar in your upper extremities, these bars can literally bring the joy of riding back into your life. If you don’t experience any of these issues, these handlebars will greatly reduce your risk of doing so.

SAFETY – When properly tuned, they also increase the safety of your ride in that less fatigue/arm pump allows you to better control your bike. Pain is also one of the biggest distractions one can experience. Less pain results in your ability to better concentrate on what is in front of and around you.

BOTTOM LINE – This is the best mod I have done to my YFZ 450 and I will never own an ATV or motorcycle that I do not have the Flexx Handlebars installed. The product is the real deal. Fasst Company is top-notch when it comes to kind, informative and most importantly, helpful customer service. They also show their support for our Nation’s Veterans by offering them a 25% discount on their products which, by the way, are produced in the good old USA.

BUY THESE BARS. You will not regret it.

 

For more information, call or email Colt Brinkerhoff at:

877.306.1801 ext. 1
cbrinkerhoff@fasstco.com

Or, visit Fasst Company on the web at:

www.fasstco.com
www.facebook.com/fasstcompany