Several years ago I had to write a research paper on what ever topic I wanted. Well, naturally being a total moto addict I chose to write it on the GNCC series. I put in tons of research especially when it came to the Blackwater 100. Once I had finished the paper I created a wikipedia page for GNCC. Now it’s been kind of messed up by people coming in and trying to edit it to add new info.
For those of you who may have only discovered the off-road world in the past several years probably don’t know much about what started the GNCC series. Well basically in the late 70’s a preacher from a small town in West Virginia contacted Dave Coombs and wanted him to put on a grand prix style race in his town. This is when Dave held the first ever Blackwater 100 in the small town of Davis, West Virginia. The name “Blackwater” comes from the nearby Blackwater river and 100 for the number of miles in the race. One year Dave challenged a group of magazine editors from California to come out and try the race. When they returned they wrote about how tough the race was. This helped spark the interest in the race, gained more riders and spectators and eventually helped in growing GNCC series. The reputation of the race grew year after year and thanks to it’s rugged terrain the race became known as “America’s Toughest Race”
When the Blackwater was first raced the GNCC series had not formed yet. However the Blackwater got people interested in this type of race, and in the following years Racer Productions began holding a series of 100 mile long events that was known as the Wiseco 100 Miler Series. This eventually evolved into the GNCC series we know today. By this point, the Blackwater 100 was one of the most famous races in America and its reputation only grew when the races were released onto VHS and TV.
However, with this added fame to the Blackwater it also attracted some wild spectators. By the early 1990s the event almost seemed like it had become more of a drunken party than a race. Unfortunately this was a large factor in what contributed to the extinction of the race. In the video of the 1993 event Dave Coombs said that the party at the race was “an insane asylum, and the patients are running it” he also referred to the campground as “Derelict Drive”. After the 1993 event, a study found that E. coli levels in nearby creeks and rivers had risen to unhealthy levels. The local power company, whose land encompassed much of the track, did not want an E. coli outbreak on their property. Once this private land was no longer available the legendary race was history.
While the race that helped start the series may have been defunct, the series had experienced a fair amount of growth and continued to grow throughout the rest of the decade. When the new millenium rolled around the series had grown more than many had expected. With new riders from other countries coming over to try their luck with the series, the reputation of the GNCCs grew. The GNCC Series is now America’s Premier Off-Road Series. It has came a long since it’s humble beginnings with the originial running of the Blackwater 100, and with more growth every year, you never know what can happen next. Can the series break into the mainstream sports in the coming decades? You never know, but if the growth of the past 31 years is any hint as to what can happen, then I would say it’s very possible.