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Yokley Racing

The Mountain Ridge GNCC UTV Race Report
Somerset, Pennsylvania, July 5, 2008

William and Mark on the starting line
William and Mark on the starting line
William Yokley finished 1st overall today in Round 2 of the GNCC UTV Race.  There were 42 total entries with 14 Open Modified Teams.  Team Rider Mark Notman was the mandatory passenger in the machine today.

Summary

This year, the GNCC is running a 4 race series to determine the National Champion with the increasingly popular UTV machines.  This series is drawing more and more competitors because its different and everyone is having a blast.  The GNCC folks make this 45 minute race more spectator friendly by having a shorter 2 mile course where everybody can see most of the track from one vantage point.  The machines are side by side configuration such as Polaris RZRs, Yamaha Rhinos, and Kawasakis Teryx.  Each machine must have a driver and a passenger, and full safety equipment.  Today, my passenger was my National Guard ATV Teammate Mark Notman.  Mark had never ridden in a UTV before, so he had no idea what to expect.

My machine is a Polaris RZR, which is the most popular choice simply because it is the fastest, lightest, best handling UTV on the market.  I run in the Open Modified Class which basically allows almost any modifications.  We run ours basically stock, changing only tires, wheels, shocks, exhaust system, and 5 point safety harness.  We also added some side panels to better showcase our sponsors, and front and rear bumpers for added protection as well as a battering ram.  The motor is showroom stock.  Polaris is one of our sponsors, and they told us not to worry, the motor is reliable and plenty fast, and they were right!

The UTV Race is run right after the 2 hour ATV Pro Race, so I pounded down some Gatorade and ate some nutritious track food.  The GNCC TV Team installed a camera on our RZR to use the footage in future TV broadcasts, and they had a gut feeling that I might be involved in some excitement during the race.  We got Mark situated in the cockpit and showed him how to work the 5 way safety harness, and headed over to the starting area.  Other than me forgetting to sign up for the race and delaying the start, everything was set for some fun!

As the flag dropped, our Polaris fired right up and we were leading heading down into the valley.  We set a good pace as we learned the lines for the first lap or so.  My cousin Jarrett Stephens and his passenger Shane Turner were right on our tail in another Polaris.  Jarrett and Shane are lifelong friends from my hometown of Tompkinsville, KY, so we have been banging into each other all our lives!  Mark and I led the first 4 laps when we came upon a lapper; I did not want to wait to pass so I took a questionable line through some pine trees to get around.  Bad decision.  We nailed some trees that threw us on our side.  I had the RZR pinned in forward and reverse, and we finally got back on 4 wheels and under way.  I yelled at Mark to hang on because we had to catch back up, and I think it was then that he thought this ride might not have been such a good idea after all.  Jarrett led for the next 3 laps, and we finally caught them.  We were able to get by and lead the final 3 laps.  It was a blast to race these machines and the spectators loved watching all the beating and banging.

I am leading the points with 2 races left to run.  Every time I ride that Polaris, I get the biggest smile on my face!  We are going to get COL Turner from the KY National Guard to ride with me in one of the last races; hes done everything such as jumping out of planes, survival training, and been all over the world keeping us safe, but riding with the Yoke will be a new experience for him!  The next UTV Race is in St. Clairsville, OH on October 11.  See you there.


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