The AmPro Yamaha Racing has officially announced its 2021 roster for the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series and the National Enduro Series. And it’s now official: Steward Baylor Jr. will join the team. After splitting from the FactoryONE Sherco Racing team at the end of April, Baylor was given an AmPro Yamaha practice bike to race at the Mountaineer GNCC in September. Baylor notoriously won the Mountaineer GNCC—his first overall win since the opening round of the 2019 season, the Wild Boar GNCC in Florida. Baylor was able to keep competing on the AmPro Yamaha where he three more wins in the final rounds (totaling four wins in the final five rounds of 2020). Now, Baylor will officially pilot an AmPro Yamaha YZ450FX for the entirety of 2021 as the South Carolina native will race alongside of Layne Michael, who will return to the team for a second-consecutive year. Michael finished seventh in the XC1 standings (11th overall) in his third full-year racing in the XC1 class.
Michael Witkowski, who joined the team prior to the 2020 AMA calendar year, will return to the team for a second year as well. Witkowski finished second in the 2020 XC2 championship and will pilot a Yamaha YZ250FX again in the XC2 class in 2021—he hinted towards moving to the XC1 class for 2022 today on Instagram but nothing is official yet.
Rachael Archer will return to the team aboard a Yamaha YZ250FX in the WXC class. The New Zealand native really picked up her pace this summer as she claimed second at The John Penton GNCC before rattling off five straight wins—winning the 12th round Ironman GNCC with a broken foot that she suffered during the race. Due to the injury, Archer was forced to sit out the season finale over the weekend but she claimed second in the WXC class standings.
The announcement acknowledges the team will focus on GNCC Series competition but a "fully backed National Enduro Series effort will be managed for the first time in nearly a decade."
Below is the official announcement from the AmPro Yamaha team:
There has been a lot of speculation throughout the industry as to what the future holds for our race team and we’re ready to put that speculation to rest. It’s official, Steward Baylor Jr. of Hodges, South Carolina will be joining our program and piloting the all new 2021 Yamaha Motor Corporation #YZ450FX in both the Grand National Cross Country Series and the National Enduro Series. Along with Stew, Layne Michael will be piloting a 2021 Yamaha YZ450FX in the GNCC Series as well as the Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series. AmPro Yamaha will also be supporting two pro lites divisions riders, both utilizing the all new 2021 Yamaha YZ250FX. Michael Witkowski of Indiana will fight for the XC2 Championship in the GNCC Series as well as New Zealand's Rachael Archer in the WXC Women's pro class.
The team’s primary focus will remain on the Grand National Cross Country Series however, with the addition of Steward Baylor to the program, a fully backed National Enduro Series effort will be managed for the first time in nearly a decade.