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offroad Stew Baylor gets loaned a Yamaha and wins GNCC

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 Stew Baylor gets loaned an AmPro Yamaha team’s practice bike and wins GNCC.

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After a split from the FactoryONE Sherco team in April, long-time KTM man Steward Baylor has been riding, testing, and racing several brands. First, he made his return to the National Enduro Series on a Husqvarna FX 450. Then he showed up only a few weeks later on a Kawasaki KX450, which he continued to race the National Enduro Series on.

After its typical summer break, the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series resumed over the weekend with The Mountaineer GNCC in Glen Jean, West Virginia, and Baylor made his return to the series for the first time since taking second overall (and earning Sherco its first-ever GNCC overall podium finish) at The General GNCC in mid-March. However, it wasn’t a Kawasaki Baylor raced over the weekend. Nor a Husqvarna. Instead, Baylor was given the opportunity to race one of the AmPro Yamaha team’s practice bikes for this weekend. As Stu reiterated in the interview below, it’s not a week-to-week deal, it wasn’t a test ride for the team, it was a lucky happenstance to ride a fully prepped practice bike for one race. So what does the future hold for the South Carolina native? Even Baylor himself is unsure.

Racer X: What are you up to? Are you actually training?
Steward Baylor: I just had a biscuit. Some hash browns. Got the dog a biscuit too.

How much time did you have on this Yamaha?
A lot more than I had on the Kawasaki that I won the enduro on. I think I had an hour and 20 on the Yamaha this week. That’s better than the 15 minutes I had on the Kawasaki I bought. I got that on a Friday night and took it racing!

So, this Yamaha deal was not something you’ve had in the works for a while?
No. I’ve talked to multiple teams, trying to figure something out. I was talking to two different people; I was kind of led on to think I would have something. I did end up getting an offer from another manufacturer, but it wasn’t right for me. I knew I was capable of winning and they were giving me the offer of a fifth or sixth place rider. On paper, no matter how you look at it, I’ve had a longer run of better results than anyone across GNCC XC1 class and National Enduro. I feel like, with Kailub [Russell] stepping away [for 2021], I feel like I should be the number-one pick. It sucks when your phone isn’t ringing. I’ve been a little more silent than normal in the last few months, and I guess in racing you’re quickly forgotten, and only as good as your last race. My last result was really good in the GNCC, but again, you’re quickly forgotten. I worked hard this off-season, I was in the best shape I ever was, and it was my intention to run with Kailub all year. I think I was ready to do that. Then things changed. Right now, I’m trying to find the team that is right.

What’s this Yamaha deal? Week to week. Is it for next year?
No, I have no clue. It was, “Here’s a practice bike, we’ll go racing on the weekend.” With the Kawasaki I purchased, it was my practice bike and my race bike for the last six weeks. I’ve done riding schools on it. I just didn’t trust it or myself to line up for a three-hour race on it. This deal, it was a used bike, but they went through it and they had mechanics who helped me out. They worked on the bike while I went and pedaled the course and did what I had to do. I needed someone who would give me a shot this year. With my other offer there was no opportunity for this year, it was just sign me for next year for nickels on the dollar, and maybe we’ll help you this year. So, the AmPro deal helped out. Cory, Lucas, Randy, those guys helped me all weekend.

I would expect as much. Hey, you got yourself your own treat this weekend.
[Laughs] Yeah you can say that!

Seriously. Let me start with this: How is this possible?
Honestly, I don’t know. I mean, I think I’ve proven at this point I can win on any brand.

So, you were like an extra guy this weekend?
One hundred percent. They ended up pushing my bike under the tent, but they weren’t even supposed to do that. I have a couple of personal sponsors that conflict. It was just a last-minute deal, there was no promise or guarantee. I was fine with it. I think this season I’ve ridden four different manufacturers’ bikes. The way my year is gone, I’m not expecting anything from anyone. Every time you do, it’s just another swift kick in the balls.

So, will you race the next race for AmPro Yamaha?
I don’t really know. My situation now, I have to make sure my house payments are paid. Although my weekend went well and we won and we made some good money there, my riding schools, even though that’s not what I want to do, they’re paying the bills. If nothing comes about in the next few weeks, I don’t know if I’ll finish out the GNCCs. The National Enduros are still questionable. I still have a shot at the title there. So, I might race those and pick up riding schools to make sure I can make my payments at the end of the month. I don’t have a plan moving forward. If me winning, and then that big crowd at the finish line cheering doesn’t say everything about me, then, I guess I’ll leave that up to the teams.

So, you gave the Yamaha back?
Correct. I gave it back to them and I have my Kawasaki in the trailer. I don’t know if I’ll be racing the Kawasaki at the next National Enduro or what. At this point, if nothing comes about, I’ve only got two other manufacturers I haven’t tried. Maybe I’ll just try to put those on the box, and then no one can tag on my shirt tails and say it’s the bike. Motorcycles, I get it, everyone wants to say they have the best thing. But the best thing is the best rider. Like you said, I guess it’s part of this legacy I guess, I guess I’ve got the story, and I know for a fact that I have the fans. It’s cool to see, the fans keep me pumped up, but at the end of the day the fans aren’t paying the bills. I wish the guys who make the decisions at the end of the day would actually come to the races and see I have the right persona. If I’ve got to change to make money, I’ll do it, but when you walk around from campfire to campfire at these races, you don’t see people in suits. You see people in cut off T-shirts holding a beer. Those are the guys that are buying motorcycles. I think the corporate play is all wrong. From my perspective everything is completely backwards. They should be trying to relate to their customers. The only people wearing buttoned-down shirts are on pro row.

So, you think they know you’re fast, but you think your reputation is working against you?
I think it's 100 percent that. Everyone is scared of what I might do or say. Granted, I’ve ridden for factory KTM, so I’ve raced in a corporate environment, but again, people forget things real fast. I can work in a corporate world, but I would prefer not. I want to enjoy racing. It’s not fun sitting on a bicycle and sweating in the South Carolina heat all summer. But it’s fun on race day and I want to keep it that way. That’s the hardest part to get across to the manufacturers and teams. We’ve got to have our differences. In every other sport you’re allowed to act however you want because that’s marketable. In ours, it’s such a small loop and everyone thinks there’s only one way to do things. It’s definitely tough.

https://racerxonline.com/2020/09/14/insight-steward-baylor?fbclid=IwAR0Aw21P11hgGISN-_vb0x-ZiS3XaY3bqSmM4L9_fySRvCP-1lICTv432qM

Edited by indy rider
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5 hours ago, HeavyRotationClassic said:

What a whiner. Like the rest of the world doesn't go to work at a real job every day and eat the shit sandwich. Geezus what a princess. 

I like his attitude. He's genuine about himself, and just wants to have fun racing and wants to hang out with us. What's not to like???

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I haven’t followed the details of his career.  So what did he do that’s keeping him from getting signed.  If he’s the fastest, and he can’t get signed... somethings wrong.  What happened with Sherco?

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Lols.

Said he didn't trust the KX450 to go the 3 hours:

"With the Kawasaki I purchased, it was my practice bike and my race bike for the last six weeks. I’ve done riding schools on it. I just didn’t trust it or myself to line up for a three-hour race on it."

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8 minutes ago, Momus said:

Lols.

Said he didn't trust the KX450 to go the 3 hours:

"With the Kawasaki I purchased, it was my practice bike and my race bike for the last six weeks. I’ve done riding schools on it. I just didn’t trust it or myself to line up for a three-hour race on it."

I thought that was funny too.

 

He was super emotional after the win in the post-race. I like him. I thought the situation was a bit odd, after reading this. I just assumed Yamaha was going to be helping him for the rest of the year. They should.

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4 hours ago, MANIAC998 said:

I like his attitude. He's genuine about himself, and just wants to have fun racing and wants to hang out with us. What's not to like???

I didn't say he wasn't likeable, just that he's coming off like a humble-brag crybaby. I hope someone picks him up and pays him, but I seriously doubt this little rant helps him with that. It's entitled. 

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1 hour ago, Momus said:

Lols.

Said he didn't trust the KX450 to go the 3 hours:

"With the Kawasaki I purchased, it was my practice bike and my race bike for the last six weeks. I’ve done riding schools on it. I just didn’t trust it or myself to line up for a three-hour race on it. This deal[Yamaha], it was a used bike, but they went through it and they had mechanics who helped me out. They worked on the bike while I went and pedaled the course and did what I had to do."

FIFY.

You would normally attract @mog with an out of context quote like this, but I guess the Yamaha winning would keep him at bay... :D

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He actually said it's the rider that wins and not the bike.....that he can win on any brand.  Wait what?  He obviously has never read in the forums here, else he would be educated otherwise. 

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Rider is def the most important. Kr has how many hours on his bike testing and tuning compared to the 1.5 hours of seat time steward had on the yamaha?

Edited by Zinergy
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1 hour ago, OUTERLIMITS said:

He actually said it's the rider that wins and not the bike.....that he can win on any brand.  Wait what?  He obviously has never read in the forums here, else he would be educated otherwise. 

hes right but its not what potential sponsors  want to hear. i wonder how much top Gncc racers make anyway?

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1 hour ago, elrontx said:

hes right but its not what potential sponsors  want to hear. i wonder how much top Gncc racers make anyway?

They do pretty well, if you factor in sponsors

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22 minutes ago, ah665 said:

They do pretty well, if you factor in sponsors

i hope he gets a ride. he is definetly one of the fastest off road racers in the country right now.

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Hes absolutely right about him being more in touch with the fans vs. some suits from Europe. I think its a huge opportunity for Yamaha to sell more off-road race bikes in the US. People just think KTM owns the woods but you got a guy like this winning races that perception will change quickly. 

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1 hour ago, SS109 said:

I personally think Rieju should pick him up if he's cool with riding a 2T. They really need a top American racer to help get the brand some recognition.

I think maybe he has had enough of half baked bikes.

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