GNCC Racing

William Yokley/National Guard PA GNCC Race Report

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 | 12:00 AM

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

William Yokley finished 13th overall today after experiencing suspension problems in the rock infested mountains of Pennsylvania. There were 252 total entries with 24 XC1 Pro Riders. Team Rider Mark Notman finished on the podium in 16th Overall and 2nd in the 29 rider XC2 Pro Am Class.


We arrived in the scenic Pennsylvania mountains on Friday after a 9 hour trip. It had been raining all day and looked like it may be pretty messy for the race. This was going to be a busy weekend with the Pro ATV race and the UTV race running back to back on Saturday, but I was pumped and feeling well prepared. Mark Notman and his family had a shorter trip since he lives a couple of hours from here, and is sort of used to this type of terrain. This track is in the high country with lots of varied track conditions ”“ tight rocky sections, lots of elevation changes, and some high speed open areas. The rock garden sections can be pretty brutal, but at least there will be no dust!

The rain ended on Saturday morning and the temp was in the low 70’s, so the conditions were looking ideal. It was good seeing my friend Mike Cafro from California; he was here taking a break from the desert racing scene to try to dodge some trees. Mike and I were teammates and competed in several Baja 1000s in Mexico. The Pennsylvania National Guard set up their recruiting display featuring their Mobile Recruiting motor coach and a Humvee. We headed over to the starting area to have some fun for the next couple of hours.

The flag dropped and my National Guard Honda fired immediately, and I arrived in the woods in 4th place. The first lap went very well, I moved into 2nd right behind Bill Ballance as we headed into Lap 2. I began to have some serious problems with my suspension, causing me to bounce all over everywhere and not able to maintain a competitive pace. I also got some arm pump trying to hold on so tight so I wouldn’t get bucked off the bike. I went from a strong 2nd to a fading 12th on Lap 2. I stopped at my pit area to refuel and see if there was anything I could do about the shocks; I jumped off the bike and tried adjusting the external settings, all while losing more time. Lap 3 and 4 were not much better as I tried to salvage a decent finish; I ended up 13th overall which was a disappointment. But hey, we all have those types of days occasionally and you just have to do your best and accept the results.

My National Guard teammate Mark Notman had a great race, finishing 2nd in the very competitive XC2 Pro Am Class. This is his 3rd podium finish of the year. His Honda fired quickly and was 3rd in the first corner, and made a pass for 2nd in the first 2 miles. Mark stayed in sight of the leader throughout Lap 1, and on Lap 2, there was a 5 way battle for the lead. They swapped positions constantly, but he was able to take the lead as they headed into Lap 3. Mark stopped for fuel and fresh goggles, and found himself in 3rd. He passed the current points leader Don Ockerman for 2nd and charged hard for the leader. The leader’s bike quit as they were in a nasty rock section, and Mark was back in the lead. Ockerman got around him and on Lap 4 and while passing lappers, was able to get away from him a bit. He finished in 2nd, and sits 3rd in points heading into the summer break.

So, I’m proud of Mark and his finish, but for me, it was not the result I was hoping for. I am currently 6th in National points in the Pro Class as the GNCC Series takes their summer break. Our next GNCC Event is at the Snowshoe West Virginia Ski Resort on September 13. This is a really cool location where you get to run right through the town on pavement and also up and down the ski slopes and adjoining woods.

I also raced in the UTV race today and I’ll give you the low down on a separate report, but I can tell you it was wild!

The Mountain Ridge GNCC UTV Race Report

Somerset, Pennsylvania, July 5, 2008

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.

The Yokley crew.
Jason Hooper photo


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 it’s 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; he’s 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.