GBC Heartland Challenge
Aug 16th – 18th
Race teams and race fans from across the country ventured to beautiful Carlisle, Iowa for the annual GBC Heartland Challenge August 16th – 18th. 2018 marks the 11th year for the action packed ATV / UTV race with one of the biggest turnouts to date. Known as the “most challenging ATV/UTV race in America”, the no holds barred, cross country style endurance race put race teams on the track for an extended amount of time featuring a variety of challenging sections and obstacles.
This year’s event featured three big races with several classes, a three hour youth ATV race, a 4 hour UTV race and a 10 hour ATV race. Tailored to each race, the five mile cross country style course featured a variety sections to challenge race teams, including fast paced grass tracks, woods sections, a motocross section and a variety of challenging obstacles that was exciting for both race teams and spectators alike. Racers in each class battled it out for cash purses and the honors of taking home the coveted corn cob trophy.
On Friday, the pre-race entertainment was one for the books as dozens of kids entered the annual kids electric races where they ran head to head in an adorable, slow paced, electric car shootout. A real treat for parents and spectators, it was really fun to watch the kids get competitive and have fun on the mini track. “It was very exciting to see the growth in our electric races” stated Event Coordinator Andy Kyner. “As a resort of the growth, 2019 will be dubbed as the 12 volt nationals!”
87 UTV’s took to the course Friday night at 7pm and spent most of the four hour race in the dark leaving only their light bars and a few course lights to shine the way. The race began with a dead start (engines off) and quickly became fender to fender and bumper to bumper chaos for the hole shot. All the UTV classes were on the course at the same time with just minutes between the start of each class. There were five UTV classes this year, UTV Open, UTV 1000, UTV 900, UTV 800 and the RS1 class.
It was exciting to watch UTV 1000 class take off as 36 machines started all at once. “So many people came up to me and asked what I was going to do with 36 on one line?” explained Kyner. “My answer: “Start em” and they all replied it will never work! That is what makes this race so different, everything is a challenge from the start to the end; you never know what could be a game changer.”
Out of 87, only 37 UTVs would finish the long and brutal race with the leader completing 21 laps in the four hour period. Friends, family and spectators gathered at the finish line with drivers and race teams to congratulate everyone who finished, the awards were handed out following the end of the race which took place shortly after midnight.
Title sponsor GBC Motorsports contributed big this year offering a free set of tires to all youth participants, additional cash pay outs and bounties for race teams and even served a free BBQ lunch to all attendees. “We unloaded 8 pallets of tires” said Kyner. “GBC’s support really helped out this year in getting a record number of pre-registered racers.” On top of that, this year was their first year to introduce Team GBC Riding School where GBC’s own Walker Fowler, Johnny Gallagher, and WFR’s Mark Notman gave a free hands on training course to all GBC sponsored racers.
“We are so appreciative of what GBC is doing not only for our race but what they are doing for our sport.” Kyner continues. “For GBC to help the kids as they have done is just amazing and what a way to drive the future of our sport.”
GBC Motorsports and the Heartland Challenge crew did a wonderful job putting together this event, all in all the race was a huge success and a ton of fun. We encourage you to put this event on your list, head to the races next year and join us for the 2019 GBC Heartland Challenge August 16th – 17th.