Adam McGill is already a well-known racer in the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series, but with his performances in the 2011 series, he’s gaining an even larger following and is within striking distance of the Pro class title. And after his overall victory at the Snowshoe GNCC in his home state of West Virginia, it’s clear all those woods-racing fans, some of them members of the McGill Mafia, are hootin’ and hollerin’ for none other than McGill, aka the Big Deal. He competes in the XC1 Pro ATV class for Warnert Racing / Can-Am.
The 24-year-old racer has won two of the first eight rounds this year aboard his DS 450 quad and has finished in the top four in the class at five other rounds. He climbed to within seven points of the class point’s leader after Snowshoe. However, McGill suffered a mechanical setback and finished 11th in Ohio, after leading the race early, and currently sits 27 points behind in second place. But bad luck, which is often brushed off and described as “that’s racin’” by GNCC riders, will not slow down this young racer’s determination, his love for the GNCCs or his jovial approach to life. The second portion of the GNCC series, which offers a summer break for its race support staff and the racers, resumes Sept. 10 at Unadilla in New Berlin, N.Y.
We recently spoke with McGill to get his thoughts on 2011, training, racing the DS 450, teammates, mud fleas and more. Read on!
Can-Am Off-road: How did it feel this year to notch your first XC1 victory on the Can-Am DS 450 at round three?
Adam McGill: The feeling was amazing. To finally get my first win on the Can-Am DS 450 and my first win in 2 years [was thrilling].
What was going through your head after winning Snowshoe and climbing to within seven points of the guy in first?
McGill: I don’t even know where to start. When I got into the lead, I was overly pumped. It was a feeling like no other to be able to win again, and in my home state.
Snowshoe seems like the most challenging modern-day GNCC course, would you agree?
McGill: YES it is, because you have everything you can possibly imagine; rocks, mud, logs, fast roads, etc.
Has your 11th-place finish at The John Penton left you more determined for the second half of the season?
McGill: Oh yeah! I have been training my butt off and feel better than what I did at round nine. I am ready for New York.
Speaking of the GNCC summer break, what have you been up to?
McGill: Vacation and training…I went to Florida and learned to wake skate and ate all kinds of bad stuff. Then it was right back to training.
How has racing for the Warnert / Can-Am team benefited you as a racer?
McGill: It has been very beneficial to my program, because anything and everything I need to win races is given to me. I couldn’t be happier.
Has it helped you to race along side a guy like Chris Bithell?
McGill: It helps a lot to have someone to push you as well as [for you] to push them. It is almost like a “SHAKE-AND-BAKE” situation.
We know you’re a fun loving guy, but has your approach changed to a more serious side the last two years?
McGill: I still have a lot of fun at what I do. When I stop having fun, I need to walk away.
How can you go so fast in the dense woods aboard your DS 450?
McGill: Just point her in the right direction and let her eat!
Would you rather race a 10-mile+ GNCC course for four laps or compete on a point-to-point 40-mile woods race with a start and finish, check points and no laps?
McGill: Definitely a 10-mile course, because you have more time to find lines and make passes.
What’s one aspect of GNCC racing, a tip perhaps, can you share with other ATV riders?
McGill: Don’t ever quit, because you have 2 hours [in a GNCC race] to make something happen.
How about throttle control? Are you on the gas with a steady push of the thumb throttle or are you pinning it?
McGill: I’m a steady guy when it comes to throttle use. Because you might feel like you’re going fast by revving the balls off of it, but a for-stroke makes no power up there.
Does one ever really truly dial in their ATV for GNCC racing or is this an ever-changing plan for each round?
McGill: We just get a setup [on the DS 450] that is good everywhere and let her ride.
Do you ever trust the mud fleas (race spectators) when they tell you to take a certain line?
McGill: I learned over the years who I can and can’t trust.
What’s the craziest or most challenging race you’ve ever entered/competed in?
McGill: The 12 Hours of Pont de Vaux in France.
What’s this we hear about you racing a Can-Am Renegade in the Heartland Challenge?
McGill: I have never raced a 4×4, but Michael Swift called me and gave me this great opportunity with UXC Racing and I couldn’t pass it up.
Where’s one place you’d like to spend the day with the DS 450 without any pressure or racing politics?
McGill: The Glamis sand dunes, however, I want all my friends there because it is no fun to show off by myself.
Who do you want to thank?
McGill: Warnert Racing, BRP / Can-Am, Fox, Walsh, Arai, Scott, Leatt, Falco boots, Fly, Fasst bars, ITP, DWT, Motoworks, Rath, SSI, NSK, XPS, QuadTech, Twin Air, McGill Mafia fans, family and UXC for giving me the opportunity to race the 4th Annual Heartland Challenge in Iowa.
For more information on Can-Am racing, the entire 2011 schedule, the 2011 contingency program and Can-Am DS 450 ATV amateur racer support program, please visit www.can-amxteam.com.
[Racing scenes photographed during an organized race involving highly skilled operators under controlled conditions. Do not attempt.]