William Yokley finished 6th overall, 6th XC1 Pro today in the mountains of beautiful Snowshoe, WV. There were 219 total racers in this race including 23 XC1 Pro riders.
We were privileged to be able to race at the scenic Snowshoe Mountain ski resort this weekend in West Virginia. This amazing facility is near where the GNCC Series began in 1975 with the running of the famous “Blackwater 100” in Elkins, WV. The views were spectacular with the race starting almost a mile above sea level. The course featured some of everything; high speed fire roads, up and down ski slopes, tight woods trails with deep muddy ruts, and plenty of slick rocks and roots. I seem to do better on tracks that have more technical, difficult sections.
The start is different than any other GNCC, we started on the paved road right next to all the hotels in the main village. We were lined up in rows of 5, and each row started every 10 seconds; I was in the second row. With a live engine start, the first turn was interesting with all of us smoking our tires and backing them in like a pack of sprint cars. I made it into the woods in 7th position.
Some of the fast sections and down hill slopes had my bike on the rev limiter, and left little room for mistakes. The tight woods sections had some man made bridges that were barely the width of the bike, and if you slid off, you were buried in deep, black mud. There were sections where there were no alternate trails in case of backups, and I knew lappers were going to figure in the outcome of the race. I finished the first lap in 4th, and was right on pace with the leaders. My Kawasaki was working great and I felt better on it than I have all year.
The second lap, I got hung up behind some lappers in a mud pit and lost a few positions by the time I got out. This was frustrating but not unexpected. I charged on the 3rd of 4 laps, and turned the fastest overall lap time of all the riders on that lap. I was able to finish 6th overall, which is better than my recent finishes. I was really pleased how my bike is working; the motor and clutch worked perfect, the brakes and suspension was spot on. Best of all, I was right in the hunt for a podium finish. I feel good about how my KFX450 is developing, and can’t wait for the next race.
We now have a summer break from the GNCC Series until September 1st in Somerset, PA. I will continue dialing my bike in and training. I also have several appearances for the National Guard at camps and State Fairs coming up, as well as some other local and regional races.
See you down the road.