Graffunder-Last-Dog-Standing-6-18-13Corona, CA - After an international trip with races as far away as Calgary, Canada, Cory Graffunder was back to racing in his own backyard over the weekend at the third annual Prairie Dogs MC Last Dog Standing at Glen Helen Raceway. The extreme off-road event put Graffunder and his Husqvarna TXC310R to the test, but the Canadian was able to stand on the podium with a second-place finish at the end of the day.

“It was kind of an up and down day,” Cory said. “I was bummed about the first race being thrown out because I would have won if they didn’t. But a bunch of people got lost and it was mayhem so they threw it out in the final score.”

In the second race, Cory had a tough battle with Taylor Robert and ended up taking the win. “It wasn’t pretty,” Graffunder explained. “Right before the finish we crashed, kind of on top of each other. I got up first and won that one.”

Jeep Wrangler StitchJeep and Mopar will be showcasing its unique concept vehicles next week at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. Off-Road.com will be on hand to provide more in-depth coverage of the event, which is in its 47th year, along with a closer look at each of the Jeep-Mopar vehicles.

“Off-road enthusiasts will be pleasantly surprised by the range of Jeep models we’re bringing to this year’s Easter Jeep Safari,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “We go to this extremely popular event in Moab each year to showcase the latest production vehicles from Jeep, as well as a host of new customization and personalization ideas. In doing so, we connect with and receive a tremendous amount of feedback from our most loyal customers.”

GLYN-NEATH, WALES – King of the Valleys is a brand new event, inspired by the legendary Californian extreme off-road race King of the Hammers, and held with the full support of Ultra4 Racing.  King of the Valley’s will be held 27-29th of July on Walter’s Arena, a 1,600-acre motorsports complex in a reclaimed coal mine in South Wales.

“It’s been some 20 years in coming but a secluded Welsh hillside will soon reverberate to the sound of a special kind of punishment only big rocks can inflict on specially modified off-road vehicles,” explained event organizer for the All Wheel Drive Club, Neil Whitford.  The King Of The Valleys it is the first and only European Qualifier for the 2013 King Of The Hammers.

FULLERTON, CA. – In her first race of the season, Yokohama Tire Corporation-sponsored off-roader Heidi Steele returned in style, taking second place at June 1-3 SCORE Baja 500 in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.  Steele and co-driver/Desert Assassins teammate Rene Brugger battled the treacherous Baja terrain in a Ford Ranger equipped with off-the-shelf Geolandar M/T+ tires.

“It felt great to be racing again,” said Steele, the defending Class 6 SCORE (Southern California Off Road Enthusiasts) champion who missed the first part of the off-road season to give birth to her first child. “Jumping back into major competition like the Baja 500 was a lot of fun. Baja is a challenge, but we always know our team and our Yokohama tires are going to get us to the finish.”

Steele is the wife of Trophy Truck veteran and two-time SCORE Person of the Year, Cameron Steele, who entered two 800-horsepower Geiser Brothers Trophy Trucks in the Baja 500. Each were shod with newly developed 40-inch Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S® R tires specially engineered for extreme off-road conditions. Both trucks suffered major mechanical issues that slowed them down, but they fought back to complete the race and finish inside the top 20.

“Taking second place in the legendary Baja 500 is a major accomplishment,” said Andrew Briggs, Yokohama’s director of product planning and motorsports. “It was great to see Heidi racing again…and nearly winning.”

The Desert Assassins’ Brent Parkhouse and co-driver Brian Burgess claimed victory in the Class 12 (SCORE Lite) division, piloting their winning buggy on Yokohama tires.

Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., a global manufacturing and sales company of premium tires since 1917. Servicing a network of more than 4,500 points of sale in the U.S., Yokohama Tire Corporation is a leader in technology and innovation. The company’s complete product line includes the all-new AVID Ascend® –  the first mass-market tire using Yokohama’s breakthrough orange oil technology – as  well as tires for high-performance, light truck, passenger car, commercial truck and bus, and off-the-road mining and construction applications. For more information on Yokohama’s extensive product line, visit www.yokohamatire.com.

FULLERTON, CA. – (Nov. 21, 2011) – Quite a week for Yokohama Tire Corporation-sponsored off-road racer Heidi Steele at the 44th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 in Ensenada, Mexico.  She won her fourth SCORE (Southern California Off Road Enthusiasts) class title at the November 17-20 race, and announced she and her off-road racing husband, Cameron Steele, are expecting a baby in 2012.

By virtue of her fifth place finish over the treacherous 692.82-mile Baja course, San Clemente, California-based Heidi and her co-drivers Rene Brugger  and Pat Dailey captured the 2011 Class 6 SCORE title in a Ford Ranger riding on off-the-shelf Yokohama Geolandar M/T+® tires. The Desert Assassins trio finished the race in 23 hours, 40 minute and 48 seconds. Due to her pregnancy, Heidi only competed in part of the race.

“What an awesome year,” said Heidi, who won two races this season on route to her championship. “I can’t thank Rene and Pat enough, and Yokohama for their ongoing support and great tires. It takes a fantastic team to win a championship, and I have the best with the Desert Assassins.”

“We’re proud to be part of another Class 6 championship with Heidi and the Desert Assassins,” said Andrew Briggs, Yokohama’s senior manager of motorsports. “Heidi and Rene drove great all year and the Geolandar M/T+ tire performed flawlessly in some of the roughest terrain on the planet. It’s a testament to the tires and the team to lock this championship up at the Baja 1000. It’s the most difficult race of the season and everyone involved rose to the occasion. Rene again did a fantastic job and we were fortunate to have Pat Dailey drive in place of Heidi.”

Briggs also praised Cameron Steele, who along with co-drivers Rick Geiser, Josh Daniel and Pat Dean, campaigned two Trophy Trucks on newly developed 40-inch Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S® R tires specially engineered for extreme off-road conditions. Their 800-horsepower Geiser Bros. Trophy Truck finished in 10th place (12th overall in the race). Cameron – a Trophy Truck class veteran, TV commentator and two-time SCORE Person of the Year – and his crew completed the race in 17:07.

“Cameron, Rick and Josh drove the number 14 Trophy Truck to a top 10 finish on the new 40-inch Geolandar project tire and had no flats,” said Briggs. “The tires performed great over the course of the race on both Trophy Trucks. We were really pleased with the performance of the tires. We’ve come a long way in a very short time on the tire development and we are really excited about our prospects next season.”

This year’s running of the Baja 1000 featured 278 competitors from 34 states and 16 countries. The difficult course traveled from Ensenada through Ojos Negros, Laguna Salada, San Felipe, Erendira, Santo Tomas, Uruapan and back to Ojos Negros, covering much of the northern half of the Baja California peninsula.

Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., a global manufacturing and sales company of premium tires since 1917. Servicing a network of more than 4,500 points of sale in the U.S., Yokohama Tire Corporation is a leader in technology and innovation. The company’s complete product line includes the dB Super E-spec™ – the world’s first tire to use orange oil to reduce petroleum – as well as tires for high-performance, light truck, passenger car, commercial truck and bus, and off-the-road mining and construction applications. For more information on Yokohama’s extensive product line, visit www.yokohamatire.com.

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FULLERTON, CA. – (Nov. 14, 2011) – There’s plenty at stake for Yokohama Tire Corporation-sponsored off-road racing husband and wife team Cameron and Heidi Steele as they head to Ensenada, Mexico for the 44th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, November 17-20.

Heidi, a three-time titlist, is looking to capture championship number four in the Class 6 SCORE (Southern California Off Road Enthusiasts) division. She’s in first place heading into the season-ending Baja race, having won twice this year in San Felipe. Also at stake is chance for her to earn a prestigious Toyota Milestone award, which goes to the pro car and truck drivers who finish every required mile in the five-race 2011 SCORE Desert Series. As always, San Clemente, California-based Heidi and her co-driver Rene Brugger will battle the rugged 692.82-mile course in a Ford Ranger riding on off-the-shelf Yokohama Geolandar M/T+® tires.

“We’re ready for the Baja 1000,” said Heidi. “Our Yokohama tires can definitely take on the tough terrain and help bring us home another championship.”

Cameron, a Trophy Truck class veteran, TV commentator and two-time SCORE Person of the Year, is looking for his first SCORE win of the year. At San Felipe, he powered his trademark No. 16 Geiser Brothers Chevrolet truck to a season-best fifth-place finish in the ultra-competitive Trophy Truck division, and seventh overall among all 77 racers. The 800-horsepower machine is mounted with newly developed 40-inch Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S® R tires specially engineered for extreme off-road conditions.

“The 40-inch tires are already race-tested,” said Cameron, “and they performed great. We’re definitely ready to take on Baja.”

In addition to Cameron’s #16, the Desert Assassins team will campaign a second Yokohama-shod Geiser Brothers Trophy Truck and have enlisted the help of Rick Geiser, Josh Daniels and Pat Dean to share in the driving duties between the two trucks.

“The Baja 1000 is the most prestigious and challenging off-road race in the world,” said Andrew Briggs, Yokohama’s senior manager of motorsports.  “We really like our odds this year with two Geiser Brothers Trophy Trucks, an excellent driver lineup and the 40-inch Geolandar tire. We’re also looking for Heidi and Renee to bring home another Class 6 championship.  Conquering the Baja 1000 would be a great way to close out the season.”

Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., a global manufacturing and sales company of premium tires since 1917. Servicing a network of more than 4,500 points of sale in the U.S., Yokohama Tire Corporation is a leader in technology and innovation. The company’s complete product line includes the dB Super E-spec™ – the world’s first tire to use orange oil to reduce petroleum – as well as tires for high-performance, light truck, passenger car, commercial truck and bus, and off-the-road mining and construction applications. For more information on Yokohama’s extensive product line, visit www.yokohamatire.com.