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  Who is Root River Racing:
Team Owner - Rich Gillette
Team Manager - Rod Mickelson
Team Motor Builder & Trainer - Dee Manshack
Maintenance Specialist - Tony Subjek
                                          Leon Spinden III
                                          Jim Keough
and 7 great families and 8 incredible riders.
  Where is Root River Racing’s home base: Root River Powersports in La Crescent, MN.  
  When was the team formed and its history:
2006-2007—Rich Gillette started personally sponsoring riders in the Minnesota Quad Motocross Dis-trict 23 series as his son Alex was learning the sport.
  2008—Rich, looking for a way to reduce the cost of sponsoring riders, he opened Root River Powersports, LLC with the assistance of Rod Mickelson. During this season the Root River Racing Team was born. The team consisted of 7 riders that he had helped in the past. The team raced all 15 of the District 23 races.  
  2009—Due to the economic down turn in the end of 2008, the team was scaled back just 4 riders. Once again the team raced all of the District 23 races, but included 3 ATV MX National Championship series races into the schedule.  
  2010—With the economy turning around, Rich split his support between local District 23 riders and ATV MX National Championship series riders. By the fall, he felt more could be done at the national level. Sitting down with Rod and Doug, it was decided that the national riders needed the best of the best to compete at this level. Focusing on the quads, he had 5 brand new Honda TRX 450Rs built, a new JB performance Supermini 150cc mod, rebuilt a Honda 300ex and rebuilt 2 other 90cc mods. The reasoning behind this was to increase performance and minimize mechanical failure. To make sure the quads stayed in tip top shape, they were kept up and maintained at Root River Powersports in between every race.  
  2011—Before the ATV MX National Championship series began, the relationship between Rich Gillette and Motowoz Performance Systems had grown into a virtual partnership of sponsorship and representation at the National tracks. Doug Schiltz, who works at Root River Powersports was sent to Motowoz to be taught how to adjust and re-build the Motowoz shocks that the teams race quads would be running. In turn, Rich and Root River Powersports would have Doug join the team at all the races for maintenance support on the quads and to represent Motowoz on Vendors Row.
The Root River Racing team was very successful. The team never had a DNF due to mechanical error during any of their race motos. Of the 6 riders that started the year, 3 raced all 11 ATV MX National Champi-onship series and finishing 7th overall or better. The other 3 riders had season ending injuries. The races that they did compete in they finished no lower than 13th.

2012 – The Root River Racing Team was the up and coming team to be modeled after. We received hundreds of comments by other race families, event personnel and track owners about our professionalism, conduct on the track as well as off the track by our riders and what a huge help we were to everyone that needed it. We were also praised for everything we were doing to help the sport and the National Championship series. This and our performance on the track earned us the Team of the Year award.

Our success had grown rapidly and it showed most of all on the track. Only achieving one national title with “Factory Sam” Rowe’s performance in the Schoolboy Jr class, we were in the hunt with every class we signed up for. The team made 57 appearances on the podium with 13 overall wins.

2013 – Rich’s passion for this team, the ATV motocross sport, the National Championship series and all its riders had grown to an epic proportion. In the fall of 2012, Rich made the hard decision to shut down the store front of Root River Powersports and move the race team to our new race shop. There were multiple reasons for this, but the biggest was so that the mechanical specialist team of  Rod Mickelson, Tony Subjek and Doug Schiltz had a much better layout to build these awesome machines. About this same time, Rich met with the series owner and managers to discuss a title sponsorship program that would start branding the sport with a nationally recognizable name from outside the motocross world. With his connections at Pepsi-Cola, Rich chose to use the Mtn Dew name to bring as much attention to the series as possible. The choice to use Mtn Dew comes from Rich’s theory that the series would be more recognizable to potential spectators, sponsors and local patrons if a nationally known product outside of the sport was supporting the series. At this point, the jury is still out as to whether it worked or not.

The team grew in the off-season to 10 full sponsored riders and 7 partial sponsored riders. All the riders really busted their butts in the offseason with their schooling and training. It definitely showed in their results at the race track. Dalton “Bubba” Hicks was ultimately successful in achieving his first national championship in the 450A Class.  “Factory Sam” Rowe kept his winning ways rolling with his 4th national championship when he moved up to the College 16-24 class. The rest of the team made leaps and bounds with their performances also by increasing their podium finishes to 97 and overall wins to 30. That is an increase of 58% and 43% respectively. In the 15 classes that the team raced we took 10 2nd place series finishes.

There was an incredible amount of competition in each of these 15 classes and many of those 2nd place series finishes were decided at the last race of the year. There was a sour faces on the riders since a lot of them missed their championships by only a couple points. Rich wasn’t dejected or disappointed at all. He knew how much better the team had become and he knew that the future was only going to get brighter with more championships.

Shortly after the seasons end, Doug Schiltz our Motowoz Shock specialist came to Rich and told him he was moving on. He stated that it was nothing more than the travel was taking too much of a toll on him and his relationship. The same goes for the teams vet rider, Mike Barnhart. Brent Sellers has also decided to step down from the team. After his horrific crash at Red Budd in 2012, he told Rich at the end of the season this year, his heart just wasn’t in it as much as it was before. To all of them we wish them well.

2014was definitely a season of success. That success didn’t come without some bumps and bruises, but as the riders tell me, “That’s racing”. Championships were won by Root River Racing in Open A, Production A, 450 A, Women and Super Mini. This more championships that were won this year by any formal team or by this team in any one season. Included in those five championships our riders hit the podium 68 time and took 36 overall wins.

The season started a little rough with one of our top riders, Haedyn Mickelson going down in the very first lap of the very first moto of the year. He took a bad spill in a high speed corner and end up with a compound fracture of his leg just above his boot. Figuring him to be out for the year, I felt crushed for him because of how hard he had trained in the off season. I witnessed more determination in Haedyn’s desire to race and win than I have ever seen in my life. Within 6 weeks Haedyn was back racing and WINNING!

Other highlights to our season was Megan Manshack achieving her 12 year quest to win the Women’s national championship, eight time national champ “Factory” Sam Rowe winning 2 championships in one season, Noah Mickelson winning his first ever national championship in the Super Mini class, Dylan Tremellen chalking up another championship bringing him to a total of five and Sean Taylor having his best year yet in the AMA Pro Class.

2015A few new faces for 2015. Pro rider Josh Upperman, B class rider Tyler Mack and 90’s class rider Owen Subjek bringing the full sponsored riders to a 12. Josh Upperman “Uppie” as he likes to be called came to us from Baldwin Motosport looking for a change. Minnesota native Tyler Mack joined the team after 10 years as a partial sponsored rider for Root River Racing. The extremely intelligent 8 year old Owen Subjek was thrown onto the team by Rich Gillette, because he saw a lot of talent in him even though he had very little experience.

The season for us started at Daytona International Speedway for the first ever ATV Supercross
event on March 18th, 2015. With a full 4 months of R & D on our Pro Quad setup for Josh Upperman, we were happy with a 7th place finish from him. Knowing the adjustments and modifications of Josh’s quad was far from over, we knew it was going to be tough to get to the podium with him and his quad.
Through out the year we did get to a setup that Josh could run a very fast pace and be in the thick of it
throughout the entire moto.

Crashes and injuries plagued us this year. Both Alex Gillette and Tommy Vossman Started the season with broken wrists and wouldn’t start their seasons until rounds 4th and 5th respectfully. Owen Subjek broke his femur playing with friends after practice at the 3rd round of racing. Noah Mickelson broke his hip at the 4th round and Logan Tremellen ruptured his large intestine in a crash at the 6th round.

The Team started giving back through one of our major sponsors Racing for Cancer. Through our win bonuses from Tom Vossman we contributed $12,300 dollars to the foundation. We also visited adolescent cancer hospitals at 6 of our events where Josh Upperman and 1 to 2 of our amateur riders would visit with patients and give them signed posters and other Root River Racing apparel.

Tough year for Root River Racing, but we pushed through to look forward to 2016. We still made it to the podium 44 times and more than half of our riders finished in the top 5 of their classes.
    I have a background in business and philanthropy that goes back long before I was   even born. My Grandfather bought his first franchise of Pepsi-Cola in 1934. Over the next 62   years he and my father would grow the business into one of the largest and most successful   independent multi-franchise ownerships of Pepsi-Cola. Once the companies were successful, my   father and grandfather gave back to the communities that made them successful.   Through their generosity, they help thousands of people in many different ways. I   idolized them for their determination, success and compassion. Through gifting, my grandfather   incorporated all of his grandchildren into the business as shareholders, but never as a part of the   operation of Pepsi-Cola. Even though I could never hold a position within the company and since   I had shadowed my father at Pepsi-Cola since I was 12 years old, I still went on to College for   business management.

After college, I became the general manager of a successful bowling alley,   bar and grill. After two and a half years the bowling alley was sold to a large conglomerate of   bowling centers. I moved on to real estate sales. I became a success very quickly with my knowledge of marketing and sales through my years at Pepsi-Cola and my college education.

It was at this time when I met Rod Mickelson and started sponsoring his sons, Haedyn and Noah with their racing. Rod seemed like a good man and so did his boys. He told me about their racing and the struggles they had with keeping the quads running and getting to the races. I asked what I could do to help. Through helping them and spending time with them, it sucked both my son and I in. At one point, when I was buying Alex’s first race quad, Rod said to me, “Rich, you don’t want to do this. It will take over your life.”

Well here I am, 10 years later, with a team of 11 other riders from around the country. I’m committed to supporting them, to make them the best riders they can be and on some of the best quads I can produce. I believe that if I produce a quad using the best of the best, then it will be up to the rider to produce wins. I tell my riders and mechanics, that I never want to hear that it was something with the quad or a mechanical failure that held them back from the win. If there is something better out there, let me know and I’ll get it. ATV motocross is a large part of my life, but I have enjoyed every minute of it.  

In the past 3 years, I have expanded my support to the Title Sponsorship of the series to try to use the Mtn Dew name to drum up additional support as well as recognition to the sport. This extra effort is growing the sport and is working well with the spectators.

Owners Corner – Round 2, Muddy Creek, 04/07/2014
Wow what a weekend. The team took 5 overall finishes. The weather was almost perfect and we had extra support for the team.

Arriving at the track on Thursday the weather was awesome. What made it even better was the fact that most of us are from the mid-west and there was a winter storm rolling in. While home was getting thumped again by 4 – 6 inches of snow, we were setting up the Root River Racing compound in sunny and near 80 degree weather. Even though a cold front moved thru Thursday night and brought some rain on Friday, it definitely didn’t dampen the spirits of anyone in our pits or the rest of the pits for that matter.

Practice on Friday was short due to the rain, but every one of our riders got one good dry practice in before the rain. Once the skies cleared and the track started to dry up, it was the decision of Rod, Dee and myself not to let the riders go back out and save the machines for racing. The pits were filled with a party atmosphere and even the race staff was feeling pretty relaxed and upbeat.

Saturday started off with some awe inspiring riding by our riders. Sammy Rowe in his first moto of Open A gets a great holeshot and comes around the track in first to a 120 foot uphill triple jump and hits it with ease. Standing with other spectators, it was awesome to listen to people talk about how incredible it was to see someone do that huge jump since no one had tried it yet. No more than 3 motos later, Noah Mickelson who also gets a great holeshot comes around to the monster uphill triple on his JB Racing 300 Modified and also makes it with ease. Noah’s completion of the jump put an even bigger smile on my face and made me chuckle a bit, because he did it while the AMA Pro riders meeting was going on and they happen to be talking about the jump and that it was a very difficult jump. With Noah making that jump on his 300 with the Pros watching, it put a lot of pressure on the Pros to nut up and do it no matter how difficult or intimidating it may have been.

Saturday’s motos went well, but Sunday’s moto were something to be seen. Our team of riders really shined. I don’t even know how many holeshot they were awarded but I do know it was a lot. Dylan Tremellen was the team’s superstar this weekend. Dylan lead from the time the gate dropped, all the way to the checked flag in all four of his motos in Production A and 450 A. He was on fire. Megan Manshack, Alex Gillette and Noah Mickelson also took home overall wins in Women, 450 B and Supermini respectively.

Helping us cheer on and motivate our riders, we had additional friends and family that were in attendance this past weekend. Alex Gillette’s cousin and my niece Erika Gillette showed up with a friend. Sean Taylor’s family, extend family and potential future in-laws came out in support of Sean. It is always nice to see the additional support.

Well, we are off for the next month and while I have this break I am taking my wife on a much needed vacation. The pressure on me and the race team’s staff can be over welling. The staff and myself have been on an “All Go, No Quit” pace since the fall, and truly hardcore pace since Christmas. This will be a much needed break for all of us. Unfortunate for the riders, they aren’t allowed to take a break. They are all pumped up to train even harder and travel to tracks each weekend to fine tuning their skills.

See you all at High Point in Mount Morris, PA on May 17th & 18th. Follow us in the meantime on Facebook or on our webpage
Rich Gillette


2014 Owners Corner - 1

Well here we are again, the beginning of the 2014 ATV MX race season. This report has been a long time coming and long overdue. There have been a handful of changes that have taken place in the off season with riders and the shop. The team has trained longer and hard than ever before and I have put in more time and effort into assisting the Mtn Dew ATV MX National Championship series.

At the conclusion of the 2013 season, Brent Sellers came to me with a disheartened feeling of how his season went due to his remaining hesitation that still remained from his epic crash at Red Bud in 2012 that ended his season. He thanked me over and over for everything that I had done for him, but let me know that at that time he was not planning on continuing to race the national series. I wish him well and told him there would always be a spot for him if he chose to return.

Mike Barnhart also said goodbye to his full sponsorship due to mounting responsibilities at home and at work. He told me that winning at national championship was always a dream of his, but at this time would have to remain a dream. In 2012 & 2013 he mounted great and solid runs at that dream, but came up points short both years. He is an asset as well as a great rider for this team that will be dearly missed.

Our Motowoz shock specialist, Doug Schultz left the team with a great job offer that didn’t include 50 plus days of travel. Doug told me that he was really going to miss all the riders and all the fun we had at the track. He has obviously missed us enough that we have seen quite a bit of Doug. In the last two months, he has stopped in on weekends and days off to check on the progress and to lend a hand whenever we have needed him.

I have grown the full time staff to with the addition of Jim Keough and Leon Spinden III. Both are working out great.

In the 2013 season, Megan Manshack was put on the team after the 4th round, because I thought she would help round out the team. She was already coming to all the races with her dad, team motor builder and trainer, Dee Manshack, I just figured since I had an extra new race quad there why not put her on it instead of her local race quad. She took to it like a duck to water. I offered to her a spot on the team full time by the end of the year.

The team as in the years past, have traveled to Splendora, TX to train with Dee Manshack. The training seasons were much more intense than previous years. Dee really pushed these kids this year. Watching them progress still is awe inspiring to me.

As we rolled into Aonia Pass MX for round 1, the team and everyone we talked to was very positive and upbeat. The atmosphere throughout the pits was very welcoming and happy all weekend long. It was very refreshing to have good weather and not have to fight mother nature and the mountains of mud that we had to deal with at every round last year.

The races went very well. I was happy with the team’s performance in round 1. It was great to see lots of podium finishes including Megan Manshack taking home her first overall national win. You could definitely tell she trained her butt off in the off season and was there to win. Huge congrats goes out to Noah Mickelson and Dylan Tremellen for their finishes. Noah took home the overall win in both Supermini and Schoolboy Jr Open and Dylan took the overall win in 450 A.

A very few minor mishaps kept riders from the podium, but that can be expected with brand new race machines. Sean Taylor had a thumb throttle issue which was a defective part. Alex Gillette, while adjusting his handle bars didn’t tighten down his thumb throttle well enough and it came loose during a moto. The biggie was Haedyn Mickelson’s get off during his first moto of the season. His leg ended up in between some bars on the quad and as they tumbled, the force of the quad snapped his tibia and fibula below his knee. This was a heart breaker for everyone, because I know Haedyn had put in more time in the off season training and riding to come into this season with the drive and motivation to take nothing less than a championship in both of his classes. Surgery was required and they added a rod and 3 screws to his leg. The doctors, knowing his profession, didn’t cast his leg for the fastest recovery possible. I’m sure we’ll see him back out on the track before mid-season.

The Liebe family from Troy Mills, IA has for the past year and a half have been very much a part of our team. They have become a team within the Root River Racing team. Mark and Marcey Liebe are raising some awesome kids that are good racers. With the assistance of our experienced riders, mechanics and training that we do, I have confidence that you will see Taron, Tristen, Trax and Teagon make their way to the podium and on to championships in their respected classes. Taron has already started to make his move with an overall win at round 1 in the 90 Open Jr class. They are known as the KILLER Ts, so stop by the Root River Racing Compound on vendor’s row to meet them as well as the rest of the Root River Racing riders and staff. Everyone is always welcome.

As of today, Rod, Tony, Jim and Leon have completed the race prep on all of the machines and are loading the trailers for round 2 of the Mtn Dew ATV MX National Championship series at Muddy Creek MX this weekend in Blountville, TN. The weather looks to be good on the race days of Saturday and Sunday so it should be another awesome weekend. Hope to see you all there.

Travel safe and Moto to a championship,

Rich Gillette 

Approaching the midway point in the year. I have a totally different feel for the season this versus last year. The rain or riding conditions have played such a huge roll this year. We still haven't had a nice night where everyone can get out and walk around the pits without being very cold or getting rained on. Hopefully everyone will be out this weekend for the track walk and stopping by the trailer for a pink slushy.

At Wildcat Creek in Indiana we welcomed the newest Full Sponsored member to the team, #11 Megan Manshack. I've been watching her for the last 18 months. She has always been a good rider and been able to go fast. It's been born and bred into her coming from those crazy and over protective Rage parents that she has. (Love ya, Dee and Michele :-)) She shows so much potential that I just had to offer her the ride. I have been taking her to the line for the last 2 rounds and she has seemed more relaxed and in her comfort zone. If I can just get the "OMG, I can't do anything stupid!" out of her mind and have her gain the confidence that she belongs on top of the box, she will be a superstar.

In other team news, the team is rolling into Sunset Ridge MX with current standing holding 1st place in 8 classes and 15 top 5s in 14 classes. At Wildcat Creek, we all saw an awakening of a new rider in Noah Mickelson. He looked and rode with a new passion and assertiveness. He hard charged thru the field and took 1st place in 90 Mod (open) and 2nd in Supermini. Definitely one of the team highlights of the weekend. 

Alex Gillette took his first 2 moto overall win in Production C, proving to everyone he has become a force to be reckoned with. Alex being my son made it that much sweeter and emotional for me.

The team has really came together again to make the race weekend run as smooth as possible. To me, it's amazing to see a group this size with the massive amount of set up and tear down we have to do each race weekend, do it with such perfect coordination. As an owner, I truly appreciate this huge group of people that make our race weekends so enjoyable and stress free.

Travel Safe, Ride Safe and we'll see you in Walnut, IL.

Rich Gillette

Well, we are a few hours from home and I have slid out of the drivers seat to let Mike Barnhart take the wheel for a final leg home from Round 2 at Muddy Creek in Blountville, TN. Given the opportunity, I have chose to let you all know how our weekend went. 

When we got to Muddy Creek, the event staff did a great job finding and prepping an area for all our rigs. Big thanks to Dean VanLeeuwen & Big John Knot for always taking care of us. Once we were all set up it was time to break out a new and well liked appliance, THE SLUSHY MACHINE! I think we gave away 35 gallons of frozen deliciousness to every kids at the track.

We awoke Friday morning to a very muddy track due to the rain we got Thursday night. So the decision was made to not practice our race bikes. It made for a relaxing and enjoyable day visiting with all our race friends through out the pits.

Even though we didn't practice on Friday, the team preformed very well. There were quite a few wrecks in the holeshot this weekend, which seem to either happen directly in front of our riders or collect them up in it. 

I couldn't choose who to spotlight this weekend of our Team Riders, so they both get it. Haedyn Mickelson really stood out this weekend for his Overall Wins in Schoolboy Jr Mod and Schoolboy Sr. He was flying!! Alex Gillette is our other stand out rider for his holeshots and his performance in Prod C and 450C. This is Alex's first year competing on a 450 and he has taken to the bigger quad like a duck to water. Alex took 3 of 4 holeshots and 2nd place in both classes. On a side note, Evan Clements who won Prod C his father came up to me an hour after the race and told me that Alex had came over during the podium celebration and congratulated Evan. He just wanted to tell me that Alex was a true class act.

A big thumbs up to Bubba Hicks for his Overall Win in Production A.

Pro Rider Joel Hetrick had an awesome weekend. He lead from gate drop to checkered flag! BIG, BIG WIN for him. He is going to be very tough to beat this year. Proud to say we sponsored him.

Injury report - Kay Kay Presnell one of our sponsored rider had a bad wreck at the end of her moto. She reported to me she had internal bruising, a concussion and some pinched nerves on her spinal cord. She is resting at home and hope to be ready by Round 3 in 9 days. Best of luck.

For full race results of all our riders check out

See you all in Bowling Green, KY.  

Rich Gillette
Root River Racing Sponsors
The success of Root River Racing is founded in the support of our sponsors, family and friends. 
We encourage everyone to support the companies that are allowing our riders to chase their dreams.
  Contact information:
Root River Racing - Rich Gillette
100 Twilite St Suite A La Crescent, MN 55947

Rich’s Cell: 507-269-2324
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