Rachael Archer- force to be reckoned with- GNCC WXC class- 2nd Overall at Snowshoe

Rachael Archer- force to be reckoned with- GNCC WXC class- 2nd Overall at Snowshoe

Rachael Archer is on her way up- making her own history in debut year racing America’s GNCC WXC class gaining 2nd Overall at Amsoil Snowshoe, West Virginia this weekend.

Rachael Archer WXC Snowshoe 2nd Overall AmPro Yamaha

Rachael has mounted competitive attack in the National Women’s Cross-Country class, stamping her mark on the inaugural GNCC Series finishing 3rd in Rounds 5, 6 and 7 and nailing 2nd Overall at Round 8 at Snowshoe.

And what a historical venue Snowshoe is, from way back in early 1900’s the mountainous area was logged for timber, then developed as ski resort and since 2007 has been venue for ‘the toughest, most spectacular and unique race on the whole GNCC tour’.  

For Rachael, it was even more inspiring event- one which gave her the opportunity to gain knowledge of the terrain prior to racing as a riding instructor for the Yamaha GNCC University riding school- Wednesday to Thursday.

#650: ‘Snowshoe Mountain is in West Virginia. It is known to be a top location for snow sports in winter and mountain biking in summer. It’s a beautiful setting from the ski village that over-looks miles of mountainous terrain’.

‘There is a live band that plays all weekend in the heart of the village and thousands of people gather for the race weekend, you can smell beer everywhere!’

‘The village is a really nice place to stay and it was nice to have my own room with a bathroom this time instead of roughing it with the boys in the race truck!

Rachael Archer Mid-East Hare Scramble Photo Credit: Joyce Riddle

‘I stayed for 5 nights because I was one of the riding instructors for the Yamaha GNCC University (riding school). This took place at Snowshoe on Wednesday and Thursday prior to racing on Sunday. This was really good for me to be able to get a good idea of what the terrain was like and get in the “rock riding zone”’.

Remaining alert and focused on racing, Rachael is quick to take stock on priorities for each and up-coming GNCC WXC Rounds. Race experiences from Rounds 1-7, plus Enduros, it is little wonder the 17 year old is keen to make it happen up front.

#650: ‘My main focus going into the race was to minimise mistakes. Being technical and fast meant you had to be on your game and you couldn’t take your eyes off the track or do any obstacle half ass’.

Racing at such significant venue in America’s GNCC Series, means racing starts in town paying homage to the orginal GNCC race of Blackwater 100. Riders line up in groups of 5, then exit the beautiful surrounds of town to tackle the course with quite-

simply the roughest, toughest section of GNCC track you’ll see all year. Deep mud bogs, massive tree roots and hills going both up, and down, are enough to stop almost everyone’.

Rachael Archer WXC Snowshoe Photo Credit: Rachael

#650: ‘Yes I grabbed the holeshot and Becca Sheets passed me a few miles into the woods. But I clawed back when she fell off in a technical section and I pulled away’.

‘I lead for 4 laps until we reached the FMF sponsored hill climb. It was littered with hundreds of riders and I managed to get 3/4 of the way up before I saw Becca beside me. We both had people helping us but her line was slightly less congested and she managed to reach the top first’.

‘I soon caught back up and was back in the lead with half a lap to go and Becca was hot on my heels. We came to another congested bottle-neck this time in a mud hole. I made a quick decision to try get up the bank and go around the lappers but it didn’t go well and Becca slipped past- with me getting caught behind the lappers she was able to pull away and take the win’.

Having stood 2nd step of podium, burning question would be- what is to come? With all knowledge gained from racing Series from March through to present day, throwing in Enduro races in between, the teenager from Ngaroma, Waikato, NZ is on fire.

#650: ‘Having completed 8 Rounds now and 4 Enduros I feel as though I’ve gained a lot of experience and don’t feel like I’m playing a guessing game anymore. Getting podium finishes now just makes me hungry for more and I’m desperate for the win!’

And the win Rachael will get!! For certain.

You have to love Rachael’s fight, her deep desire to race her best, to honour a promise she made to herself long ago. In fact, in recent interview with Rachael back at home last year- committment was uppermost in Rachael’s mind- even at school- ‘well, as I can’t ride when I’m at boarding school in Cambridge, I pretend I’m riding on the farm- in my mind, it just happens when I’m looking out the classroom window!’.

Heading into GNCC WXC Rounds before summer break, Rachael is keen to maintain upward momentum racing for top podium. Standing 6 points shy of 3rd place-getter Mackenzie Tricker on 159, with 2nd placed Tayla Jones who DNF’d at Round 8- on 183 and Red Plate holder Becca Sheets on 215- Kiwi born Rachael will be on point.

#650: ‘Next Round is on July 7th in Pennsylvania. Priority is to keep working on my starts because getting a good start makes a world of difference!’

References: www.gncc.com

Words: Sharon Cox.


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