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Yokley Racing

The Triton GNCC Race Report
Melbourne, Florida, March 2, 2008

William Yokley finished 7th Overall today in this tough Florida sand race.  There were 224 total entries with 26 XC1 Pro Riders.  Team Rider Mark Notman finished 29th Overall and 8th in the 44 rider XC2 Pro Am Class.

It’s been a very busy several months since the last race getting everything lined up for this season.  Many things have changed since last year; first of all, the Army National Guard is the Title Sponsor of Yokley Racing along with twenty four other fine sponsors.  Mark Notman is a new addition to the team this year competing in the XC2 Pro Am Class.

Mark and I arrived in Florida a few days before the race and sorted out our bikes.  We worked on suspension settings and prepping the machines for sandy conditions; sand gets in most everywhere and we try to keep it out of the engines and filters as best we can.  Warm and sunny conditions greeted us on race day.  Florida always has a big turnout of competitors and spectators, and it was good seeing everyone.  The first thing I noticed was the number of big rigs on Pro Row; several manufacturers have jumped in with full factory teams and 18-wheelers making this the most competitive seasons ever.  Also new was the electronic scoring with transponders; this is accurate and eliminates backups at the checkpoints.

We lined up for the main event and I was excited to see how all the hard work would play out.  I am on a new Honda TRX 450 this year and I really like the way it runs and handles.  I also have been working with Mark Spataro, a great fitness trainer and coach, who has worked me into much better condition.  The start flag dropped and the Honda fired immediately putting me in the top seven going into the woods.  I wanted to stay with the leading group and settle in a fast pace.  I worked my way up to 5th at the 3 mile mark, and was trying to make the pass for 4th  when my first bit of bad luck hit.

I pulled out to pass and I caught my front wheel in a palmetto bush, which then pitched me into a thicket of palmettos.  My bike was stuck in there like a giant velcro strip; it took me a couple of minutes to finally get the bike unstuck and going again.  I found myself in the back of the pack but was able to work up to 18th at the end of the first 12 mile lap.  I pushed as hard as I could and finished 7th at the end of the 5 lap event.  I had a few other adventures along the way such as my goggle roll offs not working and a few trees that just jumped in front of me; I think I hit one particular tree three laps in a row!  The ruts, palmetto roots and sand whoops were getting more brutal as the race progressed.

I survived the race pretty well other than some hand blisters.  Mark Notman had a somewhat similar race as me.  His bike would not fire up at the start, and he was dead last of 44 Pro Am riders.  He rode really well to 16th on the first lap when his bike stalled in a steep berm.  It took him several minutes to get it restarted which left him pretty spent.  Mark put his head down and rode from 22nd to 8th at the finish; a great ride under the circumstances.

We loaded up for the 14 hour trip back to Kentucky.  We have a short turnaround for the next race in Washington, GA this coming Saturday and a lot of work to do.  The National Guard ATV Team will be ready!  See you there.

Yokley Racing Team Sponsors are The Army National Guard, Rocky Mountain ATV, Polaris Industries, ITP Tires, Elka Suspension, Roll Design, HMF Exhaust Systems, IMS/Roll, Tire Balls, Andrews Cycle, Douglas Wheel Technology, Baldwin Motorsports, CGR, O’Neal Clothing, Panolin Lubricants, IMS, Hinson, 317 Graphics, Intense Fabrication & Design, Tsubaki Chains, Hardkor, Shoei Helmets, Axcaliber Axles, Streamline and Powermadd.

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