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By: Robert Janis

Profile: Pro Rider William Yokley

William Yokley back in 2005
William Yokley back in 2005

Concern for other racers, especially young racers, has helped William Yokley become a leader in the field of ATV racing. A native of Tompkinsville, Kentucky, he first started riding ATVs when he was about eight years old, and his dad bought him a Honda 70. However, it was his older brother, who raced ATVs, that nudged him into the sport.

His first race was a motocross event in Scottsville, Kentucky. He rode a Honda ATC 70. “That’s all I had, and it was very reliable,” he said. So reliable, in fact, that he raced it stock.

Today Yokley is sponsored by Kawasaki and is a part of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team that also includes Jason Luburgh and Josh Creamer. Yokley will be racing the Kawasaki 2008 KFX 450R in GNCC events through 2007. According to Yokley, the bike has been customized with aftermarket high performance parts designed to improve the suspension, handling, and power.

Because of the reputation he has been able to develop as a racer for more than 20 years, Yokley has been able to assemble some of the most important companies in power sports to be his sponsors. His list of sponsors include Kawasaki, Elka Suspension, Douglas Wheels, ITP Tire, Maxima Oil, N-Style, Parts Unlimited, Moose Racing, Pro Circuit, Renthal, RK Chain, Roll Design, Shoei Helmets, IMS/Roll, Smith Optics, Trick Racing Fuel, Gaerne Boots, and 317 Graphics. Also, we certainly can’t forget the U.S. Army National Guard.

William Yokley's 2007 ATV
William Yokley's 2007 ATV

His favorite track is the Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana. “I enjoy the track layout and obstacles, and I’ve won there five times,” he said.

His favorite obstacle is rocks. “It takes good technique and strength to get through them,” he said.

He uses his knowledge of racing and the track to disclose secrets on how he attacks certain hurdles like whoops. His ability to describe the obstacle and then discuss how he attacks them shows that he may be a natural born teacher. About whoops, he has said:

“There are few other obstacles that can toss you on your head faster than a gnarly set of whoops. Ride smart and don’t get in over your head. It’s best to start out slowly and build up speed as your skill develops.” He offers seven tips on how to attack whoops:

1) Preride the whoops before hitting them at speed.
2) Be totally aware of what is ahead when you hit whoops for the first time. Yokley likes to glance several whoops ahead to prep himself for what’s coming next.
3) The goal, explained Yokley, is to skim or glide over the top of the whoops while keeping the quad as level as possible. You don’t want to roll into the transitions between the whoops--that will only slow you down.
4) Keep your weight mostly toward the back of the machine and try to keep your butt off the seat so that you can remain in the attack position. You may need to shift back and forth between the front and back of the quad to keep it level while transferring between whoops.
5) Don’t shift all of your weight to the back of the quad and keep it there. You can bottom out the shock. The rear suspension won’t be able to react properly and the shock might pack and buck you. Move freely with the quad as it skims the tops of the whoops.
6) Always have a good grasp of the handlebar.
7) If you experience the bike getting out of control, either apply some throttle to get it back in line or get on the brakes and slow down.

William Yokley back in 2005
William Yokley back in 2005

“Each whoop section is different, and every ride through it can give you different results. You have to judge the situation, and the only way you will be able to do that is by having plenty of experience. You have to practice quite a bit,” suggested Yokley.

His favorite part of racing is the excitement of the competition, the industry people he has met, and the fans. The worst part of racing is crashing.

As for the future of ATV racing, Yokley sees continuous growth. What about his future? “I intend to stay in the sport after my racing days are over. I would like to be a team manager and mentor young racers,” he concluded.


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