The GNCC series saw quiet a shakeup this year when Chris Bach, a relatively unknown rider, showed up and completely threw down in the XC1 class, landing on the first two podiums of the season. Who is this kid and where in the heck did he come from? Read on to find out!Dirt Rider: First off, give us the basics. Who are you?
Chris Bach: My name is Chris Bach and I’m 21 years old. I was born, raised and currently reside in Crown Point, Indiana. I’m currently riding the GNCCs aboard a Team RPM/Performance Super Cycle/Clockwork/RidePG KTM 450 XC-F.DR: You went from top amateur last year to podium finisher in the big-boy GNCC class this year. How did it feel to make that transition so well?
CB: The transition is going well! I say “going” because I’m just getting started with this whole pro thing. Every race I’m learning new things on the track from racing in the XC-1 class, but the biggest and hardest thing to get used to is the amount of people to say hi to and coming up to me and everything on race weekends! I wasn’t really worried about my results, because I proved to myself at the end of 2009 with my top 10 overall finishes that I could run the pace, I just needed to learn the XC1 pace. The racing seems to be the easy part now, and the off the bike stuff is showing to be quite a handful. Mostly just because I’m the new guy, but I’m settling in nicely.
DR: What went through your head when you first landed on the XC1 podium?
CB: I couldn’t believe it! Well, maybe I could, it’s a place I always daydreamed about being, and I thought I would podium eventually. But first race!? No one could have predicted that. When I was picking riders off as I was coming up from last place I was joking with myself in my head and was like, “Dude, you’re gonna screw around and end up winning this thing.” Then I caught and passed Josh [Strang], and I don’t know who was surprised more, me or him! I was just glad I had an opportunity to be up front and battle with those guys.DR: What do you think is the biggest difference between racing against the up-and-coming guys versus battling with the top names in the sport?
CB: I actually like it a lot more! There seems to be this unspoken mutual respect between all the XC1 guys. I’m one of the younger riders on the XC1 row, and I’m racing the best XC riders in the world, who are mid 20s to early 30s. These guys have families to provide for, and this is a job for everyone. Unlike the amateur classes where someone will come in and wildly T-bone you for a sixth place finish, the racing in the Pro class is very clean and methodical. Even though I’m racing at the highest speed levels I ever have, I have never felt safer or better about racing.
DR: You obviously rail at GNCC, but you’ve had some pretty solid WORCS finishes as well, and you can also ride moto. What do you like best and why?
CB: I definitely like racing GNCCs the best. I grew up on that style of racing so it’s what I’m used to. Although I like racing GNCCs, I hate trail riding. I can’t just go burn laps in the woods during the week. If I’m not at a GNCC, you’ll be able to find me at a moto track most likely.DR: It seems like there is so much support for kids coming up in moto, but it’s not really perceived as “cool” to ride off-road. What do you think needs to happen to get more newcomers into the GNCC ranks?
CB: I really think whatever Racer Productions is doing is working. The youth classes are huge. They are five times bigger than when I raced the youth classes. I’m on the line at 7:30 A.M. to watch every youth race start, and I can’t believe how many riders there are. However, I do think that riders like Ricky Dietrich, Bobby Garrison, Bobby Bonds, Charlie Mullins, myself and Josh Strang make off-road a little more cool to the MX crowd. Ricky D is an off-roader who can top 10 an AMA national, and I don’t think any of the names I mentioned would have a hard time qualifying for a 40-man gate, and that isn’t even our sport. We new-gen off-roaders are getting a lot more respect and notoriety from the MX world, and I think that will carry over into seeing some new faces at the off-road events in the next five years.DR: Have you ever raced EnduroCross? Any interest? What do you think of that?
CB: Never have! I definitely want to do one really bad. I love technical stuff! The gnarlier things are the better I seem to do, so I think an EX would be fun. I’ve never had an opportunity to race one before, but now that I have teamed up with Team RPM, I will be racing a few rounds this season because RPM is a huge supporter of that series with their rider Bobby Prochnau.
DR: Take us through a typical GNCC weekend for you.
CB: My weekends have gone through a complete makeover this year. I used to do everything by myself-travel, sleep in my van, work on my own bikes-and if I was lucky, I would have some friends at the track pit me. This year I still travel by myself and will sleep in my van when I have to, but once I get to the track I am fortunate enough to have KTM and RidePG behind me. I basically just show up and hand the reigns over to Bart Hayes and Ben Weathers from RidePG/GDR, and they make sure everything is ready to roll and I can just worry about racing.DR: GNCC is no joke, and you definitely have to be in serious shape. What’s your training program like?
CB: The training is definitely no joke! I have been working with Robb Beams of MotoEndurance.net, and we have got a very solid and well-performing program this year. As for the specifics… We can’t let the secrets out!DR: Looking long-term, where do you see yourself in three to five years? Is GNCC the end goal or just a stepping-stone?
CB: For right now GNCC is my long-term goal. I want to be a GNCC XC1 class champion. Until then, that’s the goal. If that gets achieved, I’m not sure what I want to do or where racing will take me. I would love to do some races overseas, but not like a series or anything. Maybe ISDE, and I have a goal of sometime qualifying in the top 40 for an AMA outdoor national.DR: What do you like to do when you’re not on the bike?
CB: That’s about it, just ride. Between bike prep, travel, racing and riding/training during the week, there isn’t a lot of time for anything else. Just hanging out with my dog. I enjoy cycling quite a bit. If I had some free time, I think I would like to try a cycle race of some sort.DR: Finally, give us a rundown of everyone who supports you that you’d like to thank.
CB: Big thanks to RPM, KTM, Performance Super Cycle, Clockwork, RidePG, FMF, Scott, Fly, Renthal, RK, KTM PowerParts, KTM SpareParts, KTM PowerWear, Cycra, Maxxis, Rekluse, MotoE, Hammer Nutrition and WMR.