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The crew at GoJaMMedia is starting something new….. bringing some well-deserved love and attention to the “majority” of the riders and racers out there, a focus on the levels of which even the best in the world where once at….. Grass Roots. The first installment of “The Grass Roots Files” features on a small group of three great guys that make up Team Primal Racing from Ormond Beach, FL. That’s right, we said Florida…….. yes, there are guys from a state with no mountains that do shred and are quick, we might add, with a 1st (C. Diamond), 3rd (G. Bethea), and 7th (D. Bethea) each in their respective categories at the 2012 US Gravity Nationals. Thanks for being our crash test dummies on this first stab at a hopefully long series of rider/team profiles to come!

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Team Name: Team Primal Racing
Team Manager: Dave Bethea
Location: Ormond Beach, FL (yeah, that’s right…. The FLA-T state)
Since: August 2011

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From left to right, Cory Diamond, Gary Bethea, and Dave Bethea

Team Goals:
Win, if not win, then get on the podium at every race
We’d all like to win a National Championship as those Red, White, Blue Jerseys sure look good

Members/Ages/Cats:
Gary Bethea, Cat 1, 33 yrs old, Port Orange, FL
Dave Bethea, Cat 1, 37 yrs old, South Daytona, FL
Cory Diamond, Cat 3, 27 yrs old, Ormond Beach, FL

Sponsors:
The Bike Shop, Daytona Hyundai, Profile Elite MTB, Hookit.com, Renthal, GoPro, Globe, Equalibryum, Azonic

Where do you see the team going?
Tough to say. Not too many people from Florida are willing to drive 10 plus hours to plunge their bike and body down a hill. Although there are some other Florida guys that do make the trip. Short term, our team might be (keywords) merging with another east coast team.

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What’s does your team have that no one else has?
Well, nothing except the passion for DH with no DH in our backyard

What’s does your team need?
A real manager. A go getter type person
Cash for traveling expenses
Maybe a team vehicle, how about a private helicopter?

OK, you mentioned is in charge, but who is really in charge and why?
This question was posed to both of the Bethea brothers, and as you can expect, two votes from each of the brothers. A vote for themselves of course (not each other)

Downhill in Florida? Really?
Yes, Really! The local trails here have very little to offer in terms of elevation. A typical Florida DH section at the trail lasts for maybe 2 to 3 seconds if you are lucky.

How does the team get the shred on in such a flat state?
Well, Dave and I (Gary) grew up racing BMX as kids. Dave started racing DH in 1992 and I followed suite in 1998. So we each have a lot of experience at racing, just in different forms. We have also spent some time riding MX, which obviously helps quite a bit. Cory started riding MTB about 5 or 6 years ago (I sold him his first REAL mountain bike). He’s just simply got the natural talent for riding bikes. He’s an aspiring rider with a fast future ahead of him. He’s been actively racing for about a year now with his first USACycling qualifier at Beech in 2011. We expect him to do really well in 2012 and move up in Cats real quick.

Team’s favorite place to train in FL?
There’s a few places……… Chuck Lennon Park at Deleon Springs with a 6 mile loop with just a bit of small elevation, aka the 6 mile pump track. Graham Swamp Trail has good technical sections and fast/big jumps. Alafia River State Park has some awesome stuff. The REAL good stuff is a couple of hours away at Santos, which has a dirt jump and freeride area.

Team’s favorite place to train in the hills?
When we travel to the “real” mountains, it’s usually specific for a race weekend. I think we all agree that it’s toss up between Beech and Snowshoe. However, Dave does favor Beech a bit as it’s been really good to him over the years.

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Your biggest rivals are?
Honestly, none for any of us. We just like to race, ride, be competitive when we have to, and in the end just have fun with the people we’ve met over the years doing this stuff. But for us (the Bethea’s), we are brothers. Naturally we want to be faster than each other.

Your impressions about the sport and its health today?
Well, we are really glad to see DH coming back strong at Beech Mountain. It seems DH in the Southeast has always been struggling. With a park opening at Beech, it can only help this region. We’re glad to see the East Coast as whole going strong in recent years.

What does the sport need?
I think the sport needs a National Race Series (again) with corporate sponsorship. The sport needs more exposure somehow in an effort to attract young new riders. Get it back on TV! It used to be broadcast on a cable network BITD.

What does the Southeast scene need?
This Southeast needs this planned MTB park at Beech Mountain. As mentioned in the previous answer, it also needs another race series. It would be nice to see the other surrounding resorts open up to DH racing again. There are definitely some great places to hold races in the Mountains of Western N.C.

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