Endurocross, GNCC, and ISDE racer Rachel Gutish came out to California on her winter break to race in some So Cal deserts.

In both the Endurocross and GNCC championships the name Rachel Gutish is well known. The Indiana native has been racing professionally for many years now and has even been a five-time member of the Women’s Trophy at the International Six Days Enduro. She rides for RPM KTM yet what you might not know is that she is also a college student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Business Administration. Why do we bring this up? Well, as with many college students, Rachel needs a certain amount of internship hours to graduate and she decided to spend those hours with us. Or, to be more specific, with our parent company Bonnier to work on her business admin. minor. While she is here in not-so-sunny California she decided to get some West Coast racing under her belt and we caught up with her to talk about the differences between the series she normally rides, riding at home, and riding here.

Rachel Gutish Interview 2017
Rachel Gutish is at home in an EnduroCross arena.Photo by Sean Klinger

DR: What series do you normally race?

Rachel: I do both the GNCC and EnduroCross series. I've dabbled a little bit in National Enduro and Sprint Enduro, as well as doing the International Six Days Enduro every year for the last five years.

DR: Kind of lumping all those together, what kind of terrain do you usually encounter?

Rachel: Well, Six Days is kind of, you never know what to expect. It depends on what country we go to. I've had a little bit of everything. But for what I ride back home, GNCC's tend to be on the wet and muddy side. We've got a sand race, we've got some rocky ones but typically the ground conditions are clay and loamy-type dirt.

Rachel Gutish Interview 2017
Here she leads the Women Pro class in Ontario.Photo by Sean Klinger

DR: Coming from Indiana, are those conditions similar to home for you?

Rachel: Yes, in fact two of the GNCCs take place in my home state.

DR: Sometimes riders prefer a style or type of riding that isn't necessarily what they were raised riding but, is that the kind of riding that you prefer?

Rachel: Yes, by a long shot. I don't know, where I'm from I've always liked the dirt because, especially if you get weather conditions that are just right, it's almost like riding a prepped moto track. It develops nice corner ruts that you can really lay into. And for some reason I've really enjoyed slick red clay like you find down in Georgia. I have no idea why – we don't have any of that at home but for some reason I gel with it.

DR: With you spending some time here in California you've decided to race the Adelanto GP. Was this your first time riding in this area?

Rachel: Pretty much. I did do the King Of The Motos two different years but mostly that's just shoving your bike over really big rocks and trying not to kill yourself or your bike, so it is much different than the GP was. What I noticed about the terrain that was different than what I'm used to was how hard-pack it was. I don't think I've ever seen that many square edges in a single place before and I was told that that wasn't even that bad.

DR: What was your expectation going into the race?

Rachel: Pretty much what it was. It was wide and fast and I expected it to be wide and fast. I just never really thought about how, chewed-up isn't really the right word, that's what we'd say back home for when things get really super rutted, but really beat up I guess I'd call it.

Rachel Gutish Interview 2017
Rachel Gutish in Spain at the 2016 ISDE.Photo by Shan Moore

DR: There was a small "endurocross" section in the baseball stadium. As a professional AMA EnduroCross racer, how was that for you?

Rachel: Well, it was definitely on the tame side for what I normally ride. That's the nice way of putting it.

DR: Was the bike you raced the GP the same bike that you race in either the GNCCs or EnduroCross?

Rachel: We have a bit of difference between the GNCC and EnduroCross set up but I ran my GNCC set up since I figured that would be closer. I'm still not sure, like I said I didn't do any testing, so I'm not sure at how close it was to being what I needed for this. But I didn't notice the suspension trying to kill me or anything. I think it was OK.

DR: How different is your GNCC bike's suspension from a stock KTM 250 XC-F?

Rachel: We definitely don't run the stock springs because I'm lighter than the average rider. We send it to TF Suspension in Florida and they take care of it for me I don't know precisely what they do. We'll adjust the clickers if something needs to change but typically I just run with what they set up.

Rachel Gutish Interview 2017
Here she is racing the Kenda Tennessee Knock Out.Photo by Larry Mayo

DR: Most riders, including some of the Women Pro riders, were on bigger bikes. Do you think you were at a disadvantage on your 250F?

Rachel: Maybe, but I got beat straight up. It wasn't even close. I would love to say that, "Yeah it was the bike, it was this, it was that," but no, they are just willing to hold it way more open than I am. That's what it boils down to. Even if I had been on a 450, I don't think I would have gone any faster strictly because I was going exactly as fast as I wanted to and no faster. It's not like I ran out of bike, I ran out of guts.

DR: If giving the opportunity to race another GP would you like to do that or would you rather just go trail riding somewhere?

Rachel: Well nobody really likes getting beat, but I had a good time and it is fun to come and do something different than you are used to, to get out of your comfort zone a little bit. I mean, I wouldn't come all the way from Indiana to do the Big 6 GPs, but you know, if I'm in the neighborhood then why not?