Name: Bob Dunlap
Hometown: Parkersburg, WV
Occupation: Laborer at Stonegate Construction and off-road racer.
Give us a little background on who you are and how you got started racing.
Well, basically I started riding when I was 4 but I never raced until I was 15. The reason I waited so long is because I rode a two stroke and I stunk.. I asked my dad if I could race and he was like, “Nahh you don’t need to race, you’re not good enough yet.” So finally when I got a 250F we figured out that I just can’t ride two strokes, because my riding improved 100% pretty much overnight. So I rode the 250F for a year and then started racing and we’ve been at it ever since.
On Sunday evening Josh Strang texted me and said, “Did you see the results, this poor dude in Open A was stuck out there for over 4 hours, last guy on the lead lap!” That had to be one hell of an experience! Besides being the last guy on the lead lap and ending up 6th in Open A and 45th overall, how did your day go?
Hahaha yeah it was pretty crazy. I’m sort of disappointed with 6th and 45th because Snowshoe is my favorite race of the year and I was kind of counting on it to be my breakthrough ride in Open A for this year. Even though it was my best finish yet in 2011, I wanted more. But anyway, my day went great from green flag to white flag. I was having a blast, and I think there is something wrong with me that my favorite race is “America’s Toughest,” but it just suits my style. Like I said though, green flag to white flag was awesome. I was riding well, and having fun. But as soon as I took the white flag, the rain came, which made everything slicker than snot. I tried to keep my speed up from the previous laps and tiptoe at the same time, but the track was almost impassible. I got stuck on a hill at I think maybe the 10 or 11 mile mark, and I had to have help from another rider and I felt horrible for leaving him behind, but I was trying to finish within an hour of the leader, even though I don’t think that really mattered at Snowshoe. But anyhow, thanks to him for helping me. After I made that hill, there was another that I struggled on, as my Yamaha was so hot it kept quitting on me. I kept chugging along, having to start my bike time and time again. I went through the 13-mile mud hole no problem, and then started down the nasty downhill after. My bike died. I sat there wondering what could be wrong. I thought I was out of gas but that wasn’t it. I told myself that I wasn’t quitting. I didn’t come this far to just stop. I was going to push it to the top if I had to. So I pushed my bike down the hill through the mud and nastiness. I finally got it started once more and it would only run on top of the rpm’s. Luckily, it got me back to the top of the mountain, and died in the finish tent. We came to find out that my top end was fried, because it was overheated so many times on that lap.
Have you recovered from that kind of exertion?
Yeah I felt pretty bad for a day or so, but my trainer has me in amazing shape, and I recover well from everything. We had a great workout Wednesday and today we are going on a mountain bike ride, so I feel awesome. I’m ready for Millfield.
What’s been the highlight of your 2011 season so far?
I’ve had a couple highlights so far this year. First was my wrist was healed finally after breaking my scaphoid a week after Ironman. I layed around all winter and did nothing and finally had surgery and was released a week before Florida. I won my first overall in our local series a few weeks ago and that was pretty neat. Also I’m continually getting better in Open A, which is awesome because I love improving.
How often do you get to train and practice?
Well I work Monday through Thursday, 40 hours a week and I train on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and I try to ride in the evenings sometimes or on Fridays since I’m off work. If we have an off weekend I enjoy going to some local spots around Parkersburg or I’ll go to Thomas, WV and ride with Dillon Shoemaker, which is also a blast.
What do you do for fun other than ride and race?
I ride my bicycle to town and ride around or I will just go hang out with friends or family. I try to have as much fun as I can because I believe a happy rider is a fast rider.
Anyone that you’d like to thank?
Absolutely, I’d like to thank my Mom, Dad, and Mamaw. If it weren’t for them pretty much paying for everything, I wouldn’t be racing. My Dad is the best mechanic out there in my opinion, and I thank him for working on my bikes and keeping them under me. I want to thank Doug Blackwell for doing my suspension and hooking me up with the “Real Deal” bark busters. I’d also like to thank Randy Gibbs, my trainer. He keeps my butt in shape through the week and keeps my motivated and positive. Finally I want to thank my friends for supporting me, you know who you are. Also Gaerne for my boots and Digital Off-road for this opportunity.