Yamaha’s ATV Race Teams have been claiming podiums this season at the nation’s top racing series from East to West. With returning champions and strong challengers on blue, Yamaha riders have seen success in Grand National Cross Country (GNCC), QuadX and AMA ATV Motocross Championship racing and are poised to capture titles in motocross and cross country action.
“We have a great group of racers who are doing spectacular things on the tracks and trails aboard their YFZ450Rs and YFZ450Xs,” says Donnie Luce, Yamaha ATV/Off-Road racing coordinator. “While there are fewer factory programs this year, the competition is still extremely tough – our racers are showing their talents and stamina pushing harder and faster. Yamaha is deeply ingrained in ATV racing, and we’re excited to see how the rest of the 2011 season plays out.”
Here’s a look at Yamaha’s 2011 ATV team through mid-August:
Thomas Brown battled with some of the world’s top motocross racers in the AMA ATV Motocross Championship series finishing a personal best fourth place overall for the year. After a rough start, Brown rose in the ranks capturing three second place podium finishes.
“Thomas has risen through the AMA ATV ranks, and he’s proved he is a rider to be reckoned with in this series,” Luce said.
Dustin Nelson has been punishing all challengers in the re-vamped QuadX Motocross Series. The four-time series champ has all but swept the West Coast to date capturing the top spot at every stop and finishing second in only one moto this year (he won all of the others).
“Dustin is the king of West Coast motocross, suffering just a single blemish in an otherwise perfect season – second in one moto, first in all others,” says Luce. “He helped test and develop the YFZ450R and knows how to get everything out of it, which is obvious when you watch him pull a holeshot on his GYTR equipped YFZ and gap the field.”
Nelson’s first-year teammate, Josh Row, has also seen success in the QuadX Series and is currently only a single point behind the third overall spot. The next stop is September 10 at Speedworld MX Park in Surprise, Ariz., and you can see action from each of the QuadX races on its designated You Tube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/quadXracing
In GNCC racing, Yamaha fields a championship team including Taylor Kiser (XC1 Pro) and Walker Fowler (XC2 Pro Am) led by nine-time series champion Bill Ballance. Ballance continues his management roll this year and is also racing at select events. Kiser is chasing his first XC-1 Pro Class championship currently holding third in the overall standings with four podium finishes. Outside of GNCC action, Kiser also recently led the Ballance Racing Team to a recent win at the Heartland Challenge endurance event. Fowler remains focused on keeping his perfect season in the Pro Am class intact through the remaining five races. Traci Cecco, the seven-time GNCC Women’s champion, is leading her division after winning five rounds outright plus finishing on the podium at each of the remaining events.
“Our Off-Road ATV program led by the Ballance Racing Team continues to produce positive results both on and off the track,” says Luce. “We have assembled a great group of riders and everyone is committed to doing their part in adding a few more wins and ultimately a few more series Championships to the record books by the final event of the season.”
The GNCC series has five more stops starting next at Unadilla Raceway in New Berlin, N.Y., September 11.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a number of racing programs shrink or disappear over the past few years, but Yamaha believes it’s important to stay involved in the sport of ATV racing,” says Steve Nessl, Yamaha’s ATV/SxS group marketing manager. “We’ve developed the strongest line-up of sport ATVs, worked hard to maintain our racing programs, and we’re excited to see our passion matched by the racers and fans across the country who keep coming out. We congratulate all of our race team members and everyone who hits the starting gates each weekend across the country.”
For more on Yamaha Racing, go to: http://www.yamaha-motor.com/sport/events/racinghome/home.aspx