Rachel Gutish ready to race 2021 GNCC WXC season- starts in 7 days!

Rachel Gutish ready to race 2021 GNCC WXC season- starts in 7 days!

Rachel Gutish is all set to race 2021 GNCC WXC season in 7 days time making most of all preparations and training during off season for busy schedule ahead. Having taken her first GNCC WXC win at Round 13 Buckwheat 100 in October, rounding out 3rd podium Overall, Rachel defines her race line-up for the new season as exciting.

Rachel Gutish GNCC WXC 2020 Mason-Dixie 2nd podium Photo Credit: Ken Hill

Rachel: ‘Yes, the beginning of a new season is always exciting. It’s a fresh start and a clean slate. Everyone comes in with exactly zero Championship points and you don’t really know where you stand compared to the other rider’s yet. For me a new season always seems full of possibility’.

With stellar career results competing at National and International level, including medal at X-Games, 2 medals racing ISDE, 2 Extreme Enduro Championships along with winning 2020 Women’s eMTB Championship, Rachel admits racing GNCC Women’s class is super special.

Rachel: ‘I consider racing WXC class in the GNCC Series as special because we are the fastest female off-road racers in the world. I feel confident saying this because many of the women I race with have had great success in the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE), which is theoretically the race which every country showcases their best riders’.

‘For women’s off-road racing, I believe GNCC represents the pinnacle as far as depth of talented riders racing at speed over the 13 Round Series. So, even if you are competitive here, you know you’re one of the best in the world in this discipline. That’s why I personally consider it to be so special’.

Rachel Gutish 2020 GNCC WXC Round 11 Mason-Dixie Photo Credit: Ken Hill.

So, how busy is Rachel’s schedule for a season? And how does the vivacious athlete- born and raised amid motorcycling family- pack in everything from training, to racing various off-road Championships, to fulfilling sponsor obligations around GNCC WXC 13 Round Series?

Rachel: ‘I would say the most challenging aspect of racing WXC is the level of competition. There are six or seven riders who could realistically win on any given day, so there’s not much margin for error. The season is long, 13 Rounds so staying healthy and consistent through-out the season’s racing plays a huge role’.

In addition to GNCC’s, my sponsors encourage me to race one other National Series (NEPG), and two Regional Series (AMA East Extreme Off-Road and AMA East Hare Scrambles) when schedules permit. So by the time it’s all said and done, I’m usually looking at 30 + races a year’.

Sustaining focus to race multi off-road Championships certainly makes an athlete one-heck-of-a competitor, to say the least, yet mental preparations to race back-to-back weekends can take their toll. Travel, setting-up and then racing takes huge amount of energy along with positive mind-set on tackling each event with utmost determination to win. What is Rachel’s winning formula?

Rachel Gutish GNCC WXC Photo Credit: Rachel

Rachel: ‘My motivation is pretty simple. I went to college and plan to go to Law School when I retire, but racing is what I’m passionate about. I’ve had a taste of the real world and it isn’t nearly as enjoyable as what I get to do now. I mean, racing professionally isn’t all sunshine and rainbows- you put your body through the wringer on a daily basis. But I fell in love with the process , with the training and riding and always striving to be better’. 

I love the feeling of standing on the box, knowing on that particular day I was the best. That’s what keeps me motivated’. 

With GNCC Opening Round at Big Buck on February 20th, WXC class has made huge strides in number of female competitors racing along with level of competition. As Rachel recalls, ‘if you could take a 4th or 5th place rider today and teleport them back even just 6 or 7 years ago, they’d pretty much destroy everyone’.

As progress within GNCC WXC adapts to changing circumstances for women to race, Rachel remains humble towards the women who were role models for future female off-road riders. Rachel: ‘When I started racing GNCC, women riders from outside the region (eastern USA) came in- Maria Forsberg and Kacy Martinez from the west coast USA and then overseas riders from Australia- Tayla Jones and Mackenzie Tricker raised level of competition year by year. More recently, Rachael Archer from New Zealand has raised the bar yet again’.

Rachel Gutish 2020 GNXX WXC Photo Credit: Rachel.

Having such a large group of talent forces everyone to become better riders. And while there aren’t as many opportunities and support for the women as I feel there should be, many of the top riders are able to train full-time. In the past, we all had to work or go to school and just race on the side’.

Racing under Beta USA, Rachel remains confident racing her 2-stroke bike. While admitting the decision is slight stray from the norm of competing on 4-strokes, Rachel chalks up the benefits from racing with fully supportive race Team.

Rachel: ‘I race a Beta 300 at GNCC and a Beta 200 at Extreme Enduro. Two-strokes are a bit unconventional choice for GNCC, only 2 or 3 of us compete on one. But the 2-stroke model line is what Beta specializes in, so that is what we choose to showcase at the races’.

‘The advantages of the 300 are that it starts incredibly fast (I got the hole-shot at roughly a third of GNCC’s last year), has good bottom end power and a little lighter and more maneuverable than a typical 4-stroke’.

GNCC WXC Round 1: Big Buck February 20-21st. Header Photo Rachel Gutish Credit: Ken Hill.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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