Hey, it’s Rachel Gutish, fresh off the bike from another women’s pro race in the GNCC series. I’m here to provide another Race Review – a beneath the visor view of what the race was like. By reading this, you can get an idea of what it was really like out there for the riders, as well as provide helpful information for those of you who might consider racing the event in the future

Camp Coker is a newcomer to the world of GNCC, with the inaugural race taking place just last season. The property (which is also a hunting preserve) has it all: a motocross track, some single-track sections, and sweeping grasstracks. There are even some cool non-motorcycle related amenities like a swimming hole with a rope swing and a number of fishing holes and stocked ponds. While grey and cloudy skies threatened rain all day, it held off, aside from a light mist at times. Temperatures were cool and moderate, ranging in the high 50s, which was a pleasant relief after the scorcher on Saturday.

bridge to island over pond
This wooden bridge was just after pro row, so only the afternoon racers had the pleasure of riding it. Which personally I was a fan of - wooden bridges over water are scary!Rachel Gutish

As far as the soil, there was a healthy mix of sand and loam, with large piles of silt thrown in for good measure. This silt was a major contributor to the most difficult part of the race – the dust. While there have been some dusty races before, this was probably the worst of the season. Coupled with the high humidity and occasional mist, keeping a clean pair of goggles on became near-impossible.

dust trail
As you can see from the photo, the dust was absolutely brutal, especially in the field sections.Rachel Gutish

In fact, the term “grasstrack” was a little misleading. The gentle hillsides the trail swept through were plenty sandy, and by the time the bikes got to it Sunday morning, there was nary a blade of grass in sight. The corners had turned to mixture of deep sand and silt, and this was where the dusty conditions were the most challenging.

sandy corner
These corners filled with a mixture of deep, loose sand was the main reason the field sections were so dusty. The wind was a bit of a double-edged sword as well. While it would quickly blow dust away, oftentimes it would blow dust clouds from other sections tight back into your line of sight .Rachel Gutish

Most of the loamy sections were surprisingly smooth. This particular race had one of the lowest turnouts of the season, which might have been why. Some of the softer spots got dug out, but unlike last year, where torrential downpours resulted in a total mudfest, there were very few spots to bury a bike. You really had to be trying really hard to get stuck.

ruts
Although some deep ruts were dug into a few soft spots like the one pictured here, there were always plenty of lines around and very few riders actually got stuck.Rachel Gutish

Generally speaking, this is one of the least technically challenging races. There is very little elevation change, no rocks to speak of, and at least this year, no mudholes either. There were a few roots in places, but nothing major. There was a bike-only single track section that was really enjoyable with some nice flow (probably my favorite part of the track). It did get chewed out in places, but still wasn’t very technical.

singletrack
This exact spot right here was probably my favorite section of the course. Who doesn't love a nice flowy single track section after 8 miles of quad ruts?Rachel Gutish

Another favorite section for many of the riders was the motocross track. While definitely not a prepped and groomed track, it was pretty smooth throughout much of the morning race. The jumps were fun, with nothing too death-defying – even a woods rider like myself was comfortable. My race was a little disappointing as a whole, but that had nothing to do with the course. Even though it was not very technical and pretty fast, it was a great time. See you next race!

double jump
Back in it's prime, this track used to host Loretta's Qualifiers. Even though time has taken it's toll, the old-school track is still pretty fun. Even the woods riders were comfortable airing it out on some of the jumps.Camp Coker Bullet GNCC 2017