Yamaha Factory ATV Race Team Readies for 2009 Season
Many of Yamaha’s ATV race team members were introduced last fall, but there have been a few additions to the team that have not yet been formally announced. Members not yet announced include: Johnny Gallagher, a seasoned veteran who has spent years working with the Yamaha factory team on the GNCC circuit; Donnie Ockerman, the 2008 GNCC XC2 Pro-Am champion; Thomas Brown, the 2008 ATVA/AMA National Pro-Am Motocross champ; and Justin Noss, winner of the inaugural season of the 2008 QuadCross 250cc unlimited class on his Raptor 250.
Yamaha’s factory riders announced last fall include:
Bill Ballance, the nine-time consecutive Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) XC1 Pro series champion and widely considered the best ATV racer of all time. Ballance suffered a rib injury last year and had to undergo surgery in the off-season. The injury and resulting surgery interrupted his pre-season training, but in true championship-fashion Ballance will be back to chase his 10th consecutive title at the GNCC opener in Florida this coming weekend. Ballance is from Smiths Grove, Ky., and runs the #1 plate.
Traci Cecco, the unprecedented seven-time GNCC womens’ title holder and veteran Yamaha race team member. Cecco, who lives in Shamokin, Penn., and runs #201, will return to try to break her own record in 2009.
Brandon Sommers, the 2007 GNCC XC2 class champion, placed fifth last year in his first go at the XC1 class. Sommers, #784, is back in XC1 for 2009 racing out of Millersburg, Ohio.
Pat Brown, 2008 Montreal Supercross champ and a top competitor for Yamaha in the AMA pro ATV motocross series. Brown is from Pittstown, N.J., and runs the #99 plate.
Dustin Nelson, two-time Yamaha/ITP Quadcross MX Pro Class champion. Nelson was the first Yamaha Team rider to race the YFZ450R at the end of last year when he took the holeshot and won a Quadcross moto at Glen Helen en route to his 2008 series title. Nelson lives in Ramona, Calif., and runs #94.