Zac Zakowski Takes 2nd at GNCC Round 7 Race

Published on June st, 2010

ATR sponsored Factory Can-Am rider, Zac Zakowski had an astonishing weekend in Somerset, PA this weekend.  After grabbing the holeshot, Zac went on to battle for the lead in the deteriorating track conditions.  Zac wound up clinching 2nd in the 4×4 Open Class. After many bottlenecks, Zac also finished 2nd overall, his best overall finish to date; thus landing Zac and Zakowski Motorsports their first overall podium in what we hope to be a long career.

Zac Zakowski:  Where should I start about this weekend’s GNCC race?  It was full of surprises we’ll just put it that way.  We were headed to Somerset, PA this weekend in hopes of bringing home another win.  We’ve run into problems these past 2 GNCC’s and have gone back to what we know works and needless to say I was more ready for this race than any other to date.  I really liked this track last year and couldn’t wait to pound some rocks with my Ricochet Skids.

We arrived Friday afternoon and began the weekend rituals.  I walked some of the track later in the day after getting my registration and tech inspection done.  Oh, and it was Alex Layne and my “One year anniversary” ha-ha.  I met Alex last year at this race and we have become great friends/competitors over the year and have grown as racers together over the year. We ate some dinner and hit the hay.

I woke up around 7 a.m. to get ready for the 10 o’clock race.  I showered, brushed my teeth, warmed up, and got my gear on to head to the start.  After saying goodbye to everyone I was on my way to get my spot on the starting line.  GNCC had put on a very beautiful ceremony on the starting line in remembrance of Ryan Earley, who passed away the previous weekend, after an accident at a local MX race.  I didn’t know Ryan personally, but I do remember him from the Awards Banquet and know he was a fellow racer with the same love, passion and determination for the sport as all of us that line up for the start at every race.  After the ceremony and the national anthem we were ready to go.  I was primed and ready for this race, just waiting to hear that 10 second call.

The flag flew and I unleashed all the power of my Can-am Outlander 800 EFI XT-P.  I got to turn one in 1st, after a brief brush with 2nd.  I held 1st through the first turns and continued on into the woods with 2nd nipping at my heels.  I held it wide open through the first couple fields, closing my eyes over bumps and rocks.  I was hungry for this win and didn’t want to let it slip away.  I went through the first rock section with relative ease as I danced over the tops of the rocks.  At about mile marker 2.5 I had my first encounter with what would prove to be a long day of bottlenecks.   I got caught behind some sport quads and watched riders go by as I fell to 4th.

I got back on track fast in order to stay close to the leaders.  I battled with Rath for a bit, eventually taking over 3rd and turning my sites onto 2nd.  I could see 1 and 2 up ahead and pushed on.  I rode on 2nd place’s bumper waiting for him to make a mistake, luckily I got my chance when he slipped up in a rock section and I slid by.  I knew it was going to be a race to the end with me and Buckhannon, and I was ready for it.  I wanted that number 1 spot back.  We were now on the 2nd lap and picking up the pace.  I stayed right on Buckhannon through a fast rock section, inches from his bumper waiting for a gap, he moved to the right a little too far and I capitalized off of it.  I nudged by him back into the number 1 spot.

I led for awhile on that lap before getting stuck behind the Women’s class and getting passed again, falling back to 2nd.  Buckhannon’s bumper turned into what would be “red to a bull” for me.  I stuck right with it for the next lap and a half, waiting ever so patiently to make a move.  Half way on lap 3 I got stuck in a mud hole and then a bottleneck thus putting me back about 30 seconds or so.  Third place had caught me at that point and led me for about 2 miles before I took the spot back.   He had swung out wide on an uphill turn allowing me to take back the position.  Now it was hammer time!  I needed to make up 27 seconds on Bryan and get the win I have been working so hard for.

I caught Bryan in about 2 miles and started to try to work my magic on him.  After battling back and forth he got by 2 lappers quickly while I got stuck behind them.  Every time I would get by a lapper, 3 more of them would let him go by.  I just couldn’t get by lappers fast enough to stay on his tale.  It seemed like the rest of that lap I just couldn’t get a break.  My speed stayed consistent but I just kept getting stuck behind lappers, stuck bikes, and bottlenecks.  It seemed like no matter how hard I tried I would take 1 step forward and 2 steps back.  I finally got out in the open with 3 miles left and I really laid into it.  I pushed myself as hard and far as I could.  I flew over doubles and skipped through rock gardens letting my Elka Suspension soak up all the abuse as I trucked forward.

As I came to the finish I was just unable to make up lost time in the bottlenecks.  I came in second in class with high hopes of a podium finish overall.  I knew me and Bryan were running good when we passed all the women and held my fingers crossed until the finish.  After cleaning up and waiting to hear the results I found out that I finished 2nd overall!  I couldn’t believe it!  Last year I came within a half second from 3rd overall at Snow Shoe and couldn’t wait to get a taste of that podium.  This was my best overall finish to date and something that I and other riders only dream of accomplishing.  With this being only my second year racing it was a huge accomplishment for me and my team to get on the podium.

This was a huge weekend for me and everyone at Zakowski Motorsports.  After a couple weekends of problems we are back on our feet and running.  I’m really excited for these next two rounds, I really like both tracks and have done well at them last year.  I really couldn’t be happier with everything that happened this weekend.  I learned so much about myself and my abilities to really give me confidence going into the closing races of the first half of the season.  I would just like to say thanks to absolutely everyone that has helped me in some way shape or form.  Let’s keep moving forward and bring home the win in two weeks!

Zakowski is running the ATR Chassis Spine, HD Tie Rods, and our Machined Steering Bushings. Look for some new prototype ATR parts to show up on his bike soon!


I would like to thank the following for your support:

Can-Am/BRP, Countryside Auto Transport, Janssen Motorsports, Bopp Race Components, All Terrain Research, Tire-Balls, Rath Racing, Straightline Performance, Frogz Skins, OMF Wheels, Ricochet Skids, Ron Woods Racing,  Amsoil, Scott USA, Fasst Company, VP Fuels, and Cycra..


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