How Can I Prepare For A GNCC Race?

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I plan on racing in the 4×4 Limited GNCC class in the 2011 series on my 2010 polaris 850XP EPS. I saw that AJ raced in GNCC as well, What class did he race in? In the rules for my class you can change shocks but not add a reservoir. I was considering getting ELKA stage 1 but I dont know if it is worth the money. What would you say?

Besides this and an aftermarket airfilter (I have already ordered a UNI) What changes would you reccomend making (you can’t do any motor mods in the limited class). Would you say that flexx handlebars actually make a difference (I would have to take my pod off to get some).

Also do I have to be in TIP TOP physical shape to race?





I raced the 4×4 limited class as well, it was a great class to enter into as the competition was very broad and the ability to bring a fairly stock ATV to the race and still be competitive makes it great for most ATVers looking to try GNCC on for size.

You outlined a few important questions that I will do my best to answer for you below:

1) Shocks – This upgrade is going to depend on a few things. How fast are you, how much of a budget do you have and how disappointed are you going to be if you don’t like GNCC racing and you have a set of shocks you don’t really need. I consider myself to be an above average speed rider, that might be up for debate but I think I ride pretty fast.

The stock shocks on an Outlander XXC are piggyback and remote reservoir HPG (Kayaba) shocks. They are a very high quality stock shock and I was able to heat them up to the point that they faded out a couple times during the race, with that being said there were multiple racers using stock shocks on Can-Am, Yamaha and Polaris ATVs.

If you’re set on racing GNCC and you’re planning on going to multiple events in the 2011 season I would say a shock upgrade is a really good idea if it fits your budget. If you were only going to race once or are just testing the water I would say save your cash as your stock shocks will make it through and you can decide afterwards if you like racing enough to invest in the Elkas.

2) Other Hop-Ups – An aftermarket air filter is a great idea, these races get pretty muddy if its wet and incredibly dusty if its dry. The added performance and protection a filter like a UNI provides is worth it ten fold. If your ATV has a winch on it I would recommend removing it, just my opinion as it may get damaged but the added weight up front will work your shocks even harder, making them fade quicker.

Adding a smaller sized tubular front and rear bumper is also a good way to protect your ATV, like it or not you will most likely make contact with a tree, rocks or other ATVs during the race and your stock plastic is not only expensive to replace its very brittle when you meet an object that would rather be left where it is. (And trust me over 2 hours you’ll probably find a few of them) If your not going to put on bumpers I would say you should take out your stock headlights and tape up the connectors as its easy for headlights to get broken and why wreck something you won’t be needing for the race anyways.

When it comes to the tires and rims you’ve got 14s and I imagine they are aluminum since you have the EPS version XP, they’ll work good but a quality set of tires is a great idea, don’t go with big mud tires as they are heavy, shake like crazy and handle terribly anywhere but in the swamp, use an intermediate tire that has a good lug pattern that will clear out mud and dirt getting good traction in both mud and hard packed trail.

Its also best to stick to the stock tire size as you can mess up the performance with big tires, 1 inch larger isn’t bad. I would also suggest that you get a set of tire tubes and have them installed, if you’re getting new tires this is the perfect time to do so. Tire balls aren’t allowed in the Limited class but tubes are and they can be a life saver.

When it comes to the Flexx Bars I do think they made a big difference for me, however on your ATV you’ll have to remove the pod and I think that’s just a huge headache as you will have to also remove the display or relocate it. My suggestion would be to get yourself a quality set of Gel grips, they help to reduce the vibration that causes fatigue and arm pump and will be worth their weight in gold when you get tired out on the course.

3) Physical Fitness – This is a good question, do you have to be in top physical shape – No. Does it help, yes. I’ve suffered with allergies and asthma all my life so when it comes to breathing I struggle a lot.

I races snowmobiles for 11 years when I was younger and have been involved in a lot of Sled/ATV races since being on the shows, and because of keeping my cardio training in mind it’s helped me a lot. If you don’t do anything right now in the way of training you’ll still be able to finish a GNCC race, but you will slow down and fatigue quicker than if you had done some training.

Now I’m not talking about running a marathon each month but doing even a little walking or running on a regular basis for a few weeks or months before the race will make you feel light years better than if you hadn’t. I don’t know your age, but if you’re under 40 and you have a wife/girlfriend or even a dog, go out 2 times a week for a quick paced walk with them, even 20-30 minutes will help you out on race day huge.

It’s a great feeling to finish a GNCC race, and I am thinking about going to a couple more next year if time permits. I can tell you that I didn’t train much before but I’m already running 3-5 times a week so I can do better the next time and stay faster longer. With all that being said, if you don’t have time to get out and get the lungs working don’t worry about it, you’ll still have a blast.

My final piece of info/advice is in the goggle department, make sure you get yourself a couple good pair of goggles with tear off’s or roll-offs so you can change them when you pit stop for gas. Having tear offs or roll offs will help you to have clear vision during the race, something I can’t stress the importance of enough and having the second pair will mean your second half of the race will be clear as well.

I hope this helps to answer some of your questions, if you have any others feel free to send me some.

Thanks for watching the show,


AJ Lester
AJ Lester
AJ is Co-Host of DIRT TRAX Television which can be seen on OLN and Sportsman Channel in Canada, Outdoor Channel across America and globally on our YouTube channel.

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