Georgia Practice Facility, Cairo, GA — November 11, 2021
If the Michigan weather forecast holds true, we are likely to see some snow beginning this weekend. The Michigan Mafia Motocross fanatics could be sitting on their couches waiting for the AMA Supercross season to kick off on January 8th, 2022 in Anaheim, CA. But no, the real dedicated riders just move their base of operations south.
This weekend, at one of the premier motocross training sites in the country, a huge racing event for amateur riders gets the fall season off and running. The annual “Cash for Class” scholarship races run at the GPF.
“Located in Cairo, Ga, the Georgia Practice Facility serves as a practice and training facility to amateurs and pros alike. With features such as full hook-up campsites, MX track, Pro SX, and Amateur SX tracks, bike shop, and gym just to name a few, GPF is a one-stop-shop for your training needs. Come join Josh Woods and the crew to take your skill to the next level.”
Flint, Michigan native Josh Woods and his family own and operate the GPF in southern Georgia, not too far from Tallahassee across the border in Florida. It was a place to escape the harsh Michigan winters and work on riding skills year-round.
Josh is a two-time Loretta winner, a former Canadian MX2 champion, a professional motocross, and supercross competitor, and now works full-time as a USMCA certified riding coach. More about that later. When we spoke with Josh he was preparing for the facilities’ biggest event, an all-out dash for cash, now in its 3rd year at GPF.
Cash For Class
Most amateur racing meets end with the winners receiving hardware, a trophy, or a plaque attesting to their skills on the track. Occasionally, sponsors award merchandise as a prize but values are limited, preserving the athlete’s amateur status.
Josh wanted to provide a meaningful cash payback to riders at the top of their riding class that could be used to further the education of these young people. Riders competing this weekend have a tax-free account, called a 529 plan, set up into which earnings are deposited.
A 529 plan is an investment account that offers tax benefits when used to pay for qualified education expenses for a designated beneficiary.
Over $17,550 in scholarship funds is up for grabs to riders in 13 classes during the Cash for Class. Payouts of $300 for a win, down to $75 for a finish in the 6th to 10th positions. According to Josh, they have over 500 entries consisting of 300 riders registered to compete from November 12th to 14th.
From Riding to Coaching
As we mentioned, Josh Woods raced at the highest level of professional motocross. For six consecutive years, Josh was an AMA National Number Holder. He rode for Factory teams KTM, Suzuki, and Kawasaki during his years on the professional circuits.
Anyone who follows motocross racing knows it is a physically demanding and potentially dangerous sport. Injuries eventually derailed Josh’s professional career, but it did not deter him from being involved in the world of motocross racing.
For the past 18 years, Josh has been a USMCA certified coach. A significant accomplishment in its own right. Josh attained that professional degree and using his years of competitive racing developed a coaching style that is designed to help young people achieve their goal of becoming professional motocross riders.
A typical three-day session at GPF includes:
- Proper Bike Set-Up
- Track Technique Training
- Proper Training and riding schedules
- Turn Track Instruction
- Jumping and correct body position
- Diet and Race day food
- Cornering & Braking
Mini classes like the three-day session are fun and helpful in developing riding skills. In July of this year, The Lasco Press reported on such an event put on by Ricky Charmichael at Michigan’s own RedBud MX complex, in Buchanan, MI.
Here is where the coaching offered by Josh at GPF varies greatly from the mini-camp concept. “We have riders come to our facility for a week at a time, some sign on for a month, we even have a group of residents that train with us year-round.”
We asked Josh, “How do you keep it fun for those youngsters who come here for long-term training sessions.” His response speaks to the high intensity of rigorous workouts designed to bring out the best in each rider. “I am not going to say our camps are not fun, the camaraderie and fellowship of like-minded athletes lends itself to good times. But, fun is not our main objective.”
Josh went on to explain, “Riders come here because they have a goal of becoming a motocross professional. Just like any sport, to reach the pinnacle of success takes hard work. Liken it to football practice, you run through drills all week to hone the skills that allow you to compete for three-four hours in a game situation on the weekend.”
“We coach, drill, and practice all the aspects of being a top motocross rider in a high-intensity environment. It takes dedicated competitors who will display that magnitude of passion and know that is what it takes to stand out in a highly competitive arena.”
Now that is a serious commitment. For more information on Josh Woods and the Georgia Practice Facility visit their website https://www.gpfmx.com/
We will keep you updated on how the Michigan Mafia fares at the Cash for Class. After the race at GPF, a number of riders will be moving on to Gainsville for events scheduled the week of Thanksgiving. Before you know it those Supercross guys will be back on television to help pass the time until next spring.
The U.S. Motorcycle Coaching Association was created to grow the sport of motorcycling through quality coaching of new and returning riders. USMCA Certified Coaches have completed the core content, agreed to uphold the USMCA values and Code of Conduct, passed a national-level background check, completed Abuse Prevention training, become certified in basic AHA or Red Cross First Aid and CPR, and taken a step towards the management of concussions and how to detect signs for heat illness and cardiac arrest.