Terry Cunningham ISDT France, 1980.
Husqvarna's unique "Guest Factory Rider For A Day" program gets a holeshot at Round #1 of the 2009 GNCC Series when former factory Husky Hero Terry Cunningham joins factory GNCC rider Glenn Kearney as Husqvarna's first Guest Factory Rider for the 2009 GNCC Season. The dream continues at Round #2 when fellow Husky Hero Mike Melton gets the nod.
"The Guest Factory Rider For A Day program showcases past Husqvarna National Champions and Legends, young up and comers and members of the Armed Services," explains Husqvarna Sales & Marketing Manager Scot Harden. "It is a great way to educate people about the history of our brand and the sport of off-road racing. It also gives us a way to reward a few very deserving members of our armed services for the sacrifices they make to protect the lives we enjoy as Americans. We're elated to have TC and Mike join us as our first two legends for rounds 1 and 2 of the GNCC series."
Terry Cunningham has been synonymous with Husqvarna off-road racing since the 1980 Stone Mountain Enduro. "Dick Burleson was the only guy to beat me that day," recalls TC of his first day racing a Husqvarna... of course DB was also on a Husky! TC went on to win 4 National Enduro Championships, 6 ISDE Gold Medals (and 1 Silver Medal for good measure), as well as being a member of the 1982 ISDE team that finished second overall in the world, and was twice named AMA Amateur Athlete of the year in addition to collecting countless National wins during his storied career.
"I just wanted to do well for Husky," says the modest hero. "The guest rider program is super exciting for me. Husqvarna holds a very special place in my heart - Husky made me who I am today." The big-hearted racer has an equally big passion for the GNCC and the "Guest Factory Rider" for the day at the GNCC opener in Florida was a welcome invite. Now backed by Scott USA and conducting off-road training for Litz Racing, TC has plenty of knowledge about tight woods racing. "When Scot Harden let me know about this deal, I immediately upped my training schedule," notes TC.
Mike Melton ISDE Wales, 1983.
Melton, a multi-time 6-day rider and 1983 AMA National Enduro champion rode with Team Husky from 1980-85. Dedicated as he was to learning about the bikes and winning, he literally lived in 8-Time AMA National Enduro Champ Dick Burleson's basement when hired by Husky in 1981! This dedication paid off as Melton wound up third in the 1981 National Enduro title chase. He then finished second in the 1982 title chase, just behind Husky teammate Cunningham and finally won the title outright in the 1983 season. All grown up (Melton turns 50 this year), Mike is now a manufacturing plant manager for Baby's Dream Furniture. However, he says he has no plans to baby his factory Husqvarna TXC 450 at the GNCC. "I haven't forgotten what it is like to win and I am hoping to recapture much of the experience I left behind when I put my helmet on the shelf."
Headed by Husqvarna's factory GNCC rider Glenn Kearney, with support from legendary racing technician Wyatt Seals, the Guest Factory Rider program provides a specially prepared Husqvarna TXC 450 at each event to various Guest Factory Riders selected by Harden and the Husqvarna management team. Factory mechanic Seals supports the Hero For A Day through every phase of the GNCC event as they compete alongside their fellow Husqvarna teammate Kearney.
Beginning with Terry Cunningham at The Parts Unlimited River Ranch GNCC Round 1 in Florida February 28-March 3rd, a different "Guest Factory Rider For The Day" will participate at every GNCC event throughout the season. Typically, Guest Factory Riders will compete in the Sunday morning 2-hour amateur race.
"For Rounds #3 & #4 we will be switching our focus to members of the armed services" commented Harden. "We received some truly remarkable entries from guys who really have laid everything on the line for our country. We look forward to supporting them at the same level as Terry, Mike and Glenn".
Those interested in participating in the Husqvarna Guest Factory Rider for the Day program should apply via email to firstname.lastname@example.org