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Yamaha Racing GNCC University Empowers Next Generation of Champs

Yamaha bLU cRU showcases dominance in Yamaha ATV and side-by-side racing.

Yamaha Motor Corp. USA recently organized the annual Yamaha Racing GNCC University in partnership with the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) racing series at the Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Snowshoe, West Virginia, where aspiring students honed their ATV and motorcycle skills by training alongside current and past Yamaha champions and racers. Immediately following the University’s closing ceremonies on July 7, Yamaha bLU cRU racers geared up for the ninth round of GNCC over the weekend.

What has become a must-attend event for learning best-practices from Yamaha’s elite bLU cRU cross-country racers, this year’s Yamaha Racing GNCC University hosted nearly 100 students in the wet and muddy conditions at Snowshoe Mountain. This exclusive masterclass, led by Yamaha’s existing and previous racers and champions — including Walker Fowler, Mark Notman, Johnny Gallagher, Hunter Hart, Jessica Elioff, Josh Merritt, Randy Hawkins, Zach Osborne, Rachel Archer, Ricky Russell, Jason Raines and others — highlighted technical riding instruction in a variety of different scenarios, proper nutrition, race preparation and more. All students graduated with high honors, walking across the stage to receive their official Yamaha Racing GNCC University diploma, in addition to the praise and admiration of their racing mentors and attending friends and family.

After the Yamaha Racing GNCC University, the festivities continued at Snowshoe with the ninth round of the 2023 GNCC season. Defending XC1 Pro – ATV champion Brycen Neal took the overall win on his Phoenix Racing/Moose YFZ450R at the tough, muddy race, with fellow YFZ450R racer, Cole Richardson, finishing second. Neal now leads the class with five wins and 227 points. Hunter Hart and Richardson sit second and third in the series with 180 and 176 points, respectively, all vying for the $15,000 Yamaha bLU cRU championship bonus. After another impressive overall win in the morning race, Jessica Elioff now leads the WXC – ATV field with five class wins so far.

With only three rounds remaining, Yamaha bLU cRU racers are dominating several GNCC ATV classes to date. Steve Harrell holds a comfortable lead in the XC2 Pro-Am ATV class after earning his eighth win of the season at Snowshoe aboard his Yamaha YFZ450R; Alex Elioff leads the Junior A class; Andrew Davidovich tops Junior B; Alex Thieman leads the College A; and Nicholas Dearing is first in College B — all on Yamaha YFZ450Rs.

In the American Motorcycle Association’s (AMA) ATV Motocross (ATV MX) series, three-time champion Joel Hetrick commands the field and AMA Pro class with six first-place finishes and 345 points overall as he pursues his first back-to-back championship wins and the $15,000 Yamaha bLU cRU bonus aboard his Phoenix Racing/Yamaha YFZ450R. Fellow bLU cRU racers Bryce Ford of Ford Brothers Racing/Baldwin and eight-time champion Chad Wienen of Wienen Motorsports follow in the standings with 304 and 283 points respectively. In the Pro-Am class, YFZ-racers Mason Jackson, Jayden Londerville, Joseph Chambers, Blair Miller and Kevin Saar hold the top five positions as they chase the title and bLU cRU bonuses.

Yamaha Side-by-Side racing is starting off strong with an impressive showing at this year’s King of the Hammers (KOH). Kyle Anderson captured the Pro Stock N/A (naturally aspirated) UTV championship in his Weller Racing Yamaha Wolverine RMAX2 1000 Sport SxS, winning the $5,000 bLU cRU bonus for driving the top-placing Yamaha.

The Championship Off-Road Tour, held its second round in Crandon, Wisconsin, at the Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run, where bLU cRU racer Owen Van Eperen won Sunday’s Pro Stock SxS race and currently sits second overall in his Powersports 1/Beyond Redline/Yamalube/Hoosier/Yamaha YXZ1000R. Both Owen and his father, Rodney Van Eperen, are also competing in the Pro Turbo SxS class where they’re fighting to climb to a podium position.

After five of nine rounds at the Great American Short Course Series, bLU cRU racer Chad Williams currently holds the third-overall position in the Production 1000 class with his Yamaha YXZ1000R. Bonuses for racers who finish the series on the podium in a YXZ1000R or YXZ1000R SS are $5,000 for first, $1,500 for second and $1,000 for third overall.

For more information on the Yamaha bLU cRU program and Yamaha’s commitment to ATV and side-by-side (SxS) racing and racers, including all guidelines and requirements, visit YamahabLUcRU.com. To view the entire Proven Off-Road ATV and SxS lineup and learn more, visit YamahaMotorsports.com.

Every Yamaha SxS and full-size ATV is proudly assembled in the U.S. at Yamaha’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Newnan, Georgia, for worldwide distribution.

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