Already a legend in ATV racing, Yamaha’s Traci Cecco just proved again why she is the GNCC Women’s series all-time best as she raced her YFZ450R to a record ninth championship with a podium finish in St. Clairsville, Ohio, on Saturday, Oct. 6. Cecco has earned six wins and five podiums, including Saturday’s effort, on her way to the 2012 title. As well, Yamaha YFZ450R’s scored three more podiums during the day, with Ballance Racing’s Walker
Fowler battling to second in the premier XC1 Pro class – his seventh podium of the year – and Patrick McGuire and Josh Merritt taking second and third, respectively, in the XC2 Pro Am class.
Cecco needed a strong finish at ITP Powerline Park to continue her string of GNCC championships that began way back in 2000. After starting fourth behind rivals Angel Atwell, Lexie Coulter and Kylie Ahart, she made her move into third after the halfway point and then held the position, picking up the points necessary to claim the title – and tie Yamaha legend Bill Ballance’s GNCC record in the process. “Consistency wins championships, and Traci and her YFZ450R have continually proven it with solid performances all year,” said Yamaha ATV racing coordinator Donnie Luce. “Her ninth championship is truly special.”
When the afternoon XC1 Pro event started, YFZ450R-mounted Jeff Pickens grabbed the holeshot before Fowler found his way into the early lead. As the long, two-hour race wore on, the lead swapped between Ohio native Fowler and rivals Chris Borich and Andy McGill – that is until Borich experienced mechanical problems and dropped back. From there to the flag, the fight for the XC1 Pro win came down to Fowler and McGill, with Fowler finishing second by just 1.8 sec. Including Fowler, Taylor Kiser and Johnny Gallagher, four of the top eight XC1 Pro riders were aboard YFZ450R’s. Fowler and Kiser are now second and third, respectively, in the XC1 Pro championship.
In the ultra-competitive XC2 Pro Am category, McGuire and his Yamaha took the holeshot after rival Eric Hoyland jumped the gun, but then dropped to fourth for most of the event as Yamaha-mounted Merritt charged up to third and then second after a mid-pack start. In the crucial final laps, though, McGuire turned the tables on Merritt, moving up to third before reclaiming second at the flag. The strong finish secures McGuire in the points lead in XC2 Pro Am as the series heads into the final rounds.
On Sunday, Paul Whibley powered to the holeshot of the combined XC1 Pro and XC2 Pro Lites motorcycle race aboard his YZ450F and then engaged in an early battle with rival Kailub Russell. Things were looking good for the New Zealander to extend his points lead until a couple of falls near the halfway point let Russell and Charlie Mullins get ahead. But, each time, Whibley picked himself up and continued, never dropping below third and salvaging the day – and his points lead – with a hard-earned podium. “I was pretty sore after the first crash, and it was kind of a ‘salvage-points’ kind of day from there,” Whibley said. “You can win a championship on your worst days, but you can’t win if you don’t finish. So if you can keep those worst days to a third place like this, then it’s still a good day.” Capping off a great weekend for Yamaha, Aaron Plessinger jumped from 250 A into the XC2 Pro Lites class, riding his YZ250F to a fantastic second place in his first shot at the class. Congratulations all!
Source: Yamaha Newsletter
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