Press Release –
Yamaha racers wrapped up a pair of GNCC ATV and off-road championships at the famed Unadilla Valley Sports Center in New Berlin, NY on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 27-28.
In ATV competition, Donnie Ockerman, the dominant XC2 Pro Am rider this season, recorded his eighth win of the year to wrap up the 2008 championship on his YFZ450 on Saturday afternoon.
Then on Sunday, the credentials of Yamaha’s amazing WR250F got even better as Am-Pro Racing’s Thad Duvall captured the GNCC XC2 Pro Lites championship.
Duvall positively took control of the grueling cross-country event to grab his (and the WR250F’s) first Pro Lites title with a convincing eighth win of the season.
Also on Saturday, popular Traci Cecco scored her fifth ATV win this year to take control of the Women’s category with two events left to go, while Bill Ballance finished fifth in the XC1 Pro ATV race to retain a healthy points lead in that class.
While Saturday’s weather cooperated, unexpected and persistent rain made racing treacherous for Duvall’s XC2 Pro Lites title attempt on Sunday afternoon.
Although the 250s shot off the line a full minute behind the pros on their 450cc machines, it took the hard-charging 18-year-old only a couple of miles to catch and begin passing the larger bikes on his WR250F.
Knowing he had to beat Dustin Gibson on a YZ250F to clinch the title, Duvall chose smooth, flowing lines and checked out from the Pro Lites pack to win by nearly two minutes after six very muddy laps.
By the time the flag fell after two hours and 57 minutes, Duvall had not only outpaced some two dozen other Pro Lites riders, but had beaten all but a few XC1 Pro riders in overall time. With the title in hand Duvall is moving up to the Pro class on a YZ450F for the last two races of the series.
“This is what I’ve been working on for the last three years – to win a championship and get into the Pro class – it feels great and I couldn’t be happier,” Duvall said after the race. “I rode a YZ250F last year, but it was my choice to go with the WR250F this year. I rode one that belongs to Randy Hawkins and I thought, ‘It’s as good as a YZ and it has electric starting!’ The wider transmission ratios and larger flywheel make it easy to lug the engine over rock piles. It will just keep right on going, and I know I’m smoother on it too.”
As if that weren’t daunting enough for the competition, Duvall admits he’s 10 seconds a lap quicker on most tracks aboard the YZ450F he’ll be racing at the next GNCC round on Oct. 11-12.