YFZ450R WOODS MACHINE
— Cole Richardson’s GNCC Yamaha racer —
By the staff of Dirt Wheels, Photos by Ken Hill
It takes a lot to become a pro ATV racer. You need commitment to put your all into each race, every practice lap and have the willingness to put your wellbeing on the line to place a foot on the podium. Countless hours are spent wrenching, working out your body and psyche, all while honing your skills on the quad to become one of the best. None of those facts matter, though, if you don’t have a great machine to pilot in the hunt for victory. Cole Richardson is no stranger to the demands of racing in the Pro XC1 ATV class at the Grand National Cross-Country series.
Every racing ATV is unique with mods honing it towards its chosen terrain. GNCC pro races are two grueling hours in mud, muck, rocks, roots and they pit you against trees that a quad barely fits between. All at speeds that most of us couldn’t focus our eyes fast enough to get through. Richardson’s Yamaha YFZ450Rs are works of art that are built to handle this abuse by his mechanic Aaron Florek, and they were happy to share what products help Cole stay competitive with the top woods warriors in GNCC.
PICKING UP PONIES
Racing at a pro level requires more horsepower, whether it is used to get to the first corner out front of the pack, make passes through the trees, sail over vast jumps or blast up steep, muddy hills. The stock piston and rod have been replaced with a high-compression kit from CP Carrillo. High-octane race fuel is required after a compression bump, and that fuel is held in the oversized IMS fuel tank that has a dry-break system installed. Next, new intake and exhaust camshafts entered the equation. A JLS Motorsports medium sight-glass oil cover holds more oil and lets you see where your oil level is at. A stock Yamaha requires pulling the dipstick.
In order for the exhaust gases to flow freely, an RP Race full exhaust system was mounted. Part of the exhaust was then wrapped with Thermotec heat shielding to reduce radiating heat from saturating the intake and rear shock. Heat is the enemy of horsepower. Richardson’s quads gained CV4 silicone radiator hoses, and the cooling system was refilled with Evans waterless powersports coolant that has an impressive boiling point above 375 degrees. The stock radiator fan was replaced with a high-performance setup from Spal. Mud is a constant factor in GNCC racing, and anything a racer or their mechanic can do to keep the quad running cool is a must.
Now that the engine had a higher-compression ratio, different cam timing and a freer-flowing exhaust, it needed to breathe deeper and more freely. A custom carbon fiber airbox is custom built for Cole, and is paired with a Fuel Customs intake in conjunction with a GYTR high-flow air filter. A fuel programmer is required to add more fuel to the mapping of the Yamaha, but some products are kept secret to keep a leg up on the competition.
A combination of parts puts the power to the ground. The clutching was changed to a complete Wiseco, including a basket, hub, pressure plate, clutch plates and springs. Yamaha’s stock clutch is designed to soften engine braking for modest deceleration in comparison to the high-compression deceleration of a high-compression four-stroke. A lot of racers prefer having the hard-engine deceleration a standard clutch provides, and that is what the Wiseco setup allows.
HOLD ON TIGHT
Rocketing through the woods can be a tricky endeavor if you don’t have great suspension and handling components installed. Cole’s front end kit starts off with Lonestar Racing’s DC-Pro XC A-arm’s that suck in the width by a 3/4 inch on each side, and have no added forward rake, all while providing longer travel numbers. They come with a caster correction kit and improve the stock geometry for cross-country riding and racing, but Richardson’s team fabricated its own custom setup. LSR’s tie rods are connected to their custom built steering stem and their billet aluminum DC spindles and wheel hubs. The brakes were upgraded with DP Brake rotors. Streamline braided brake lines are clamped to the upper LSR A-arm’s via Streamline’s brake line clamps. The front suspension kits were completed with Motowoz adjustable piggyback reservoir shocks.
The rear ends of the Yamahas retain a few stock parts, like the axle and swing arm. The upgrades start in the form of LSR’s rear disc brake hub, and sprocket hub with a Renthal sprocket and DP Brakes rotor attached. A D.I.D chain drives the rear axle while sliding over UPP Racing chain rollers, with a case saver added to the mix. A custom swing arm skid/rotor and sprocket guard were made by Richardson’s team. A Motowoz remote reservoir shock provides the damping in the rear.
These woods weapons rest in the dirt on a set of DWT front Lok-N-Rok beadlock wheels wrapped with GBC XC Master tires, and rear GBC Ground Buster III tires are wrapped around DWT G3 beadlock rims. Getting a flat tire can end a race in a hurry, so Aaron installs Tireballs inside each tire on Cole’s quads.
Next, these machines are outfitted with some control components from top companies. XC Gear makes a handlebar clamp that provides extra damping through elastomer technology, called their Mako 360. A Renthal Fat bar is clamped inside the Mako that is attached to the Lonestar stem, with ODI lock-on grips at the bar ends. The stock clutch perch and lever were replaced by a Works Connection setup. Cole’s hands are then protected by a full wrap-around handguards from Cycra. In order to help Richardson control the Yamaha at race speeds, he has Precision Racing Products steering stabilizers mounted to each machine.
Moving downward, the stock seats have been recovered with foam and gripper seat covers from Quadtech. Ridges and grip material are designed into the seats to keep Cole where he needs to be on the Yamahas. Custom nerf bars and footpegs offer protection from hitting trees and other racers while adding improved and adjustable foot traction.
Cole Richardson has a team of great sponsors, a mechanic and his closest friends and family to support his impressive racing career. On top of a well-maintained and built set of race quads, it is the team that truly makes the racer. We unfortunately didn’t get the chance to throw a leg over Cole’s machines, but we already know that it has to be fast and smooth to handle the abuse the GNCC XC1 Pro ATV class races offer. Keep up the great work Richardson and continue to push hard for each championship! If you want to try out any of the parts on Cole’s builds, check out the extensive parts list. Go to www.dirtwheelsmag.com to keep up with our latest articles on new machines, projects, race reports, places to ride, how-tos, products and breaking news. Find us on www.facebook.com/dirtwheelsmag and @dirtwheelsmag on Instagram. You can also follow Cole’s racing career on Instagram by searching @colerichardson733.
ANTIGRAVITY BATTERIES: (310) 527-2330, www.antigravitybatteries.com
12-volt battery N/A
CP CARRILLO: (949) 567-9000, www.cp-carrillo.com
Piston kit N/A
CYCRA: (800) 770-2259, www.cycra.com
Pro Bend series one handguards $64.95
D.I.D CHAIN: (615) 323-4020, www.didchain.com
520 ATV Gold $139.08
DOUGLAS WHEEL & TIRE: (800) 722-3746, www.dwtracing.com
Rok Series front beadlock $188.95 ea.
G3 Series rear beadlock $173.95 ea.
DP BRAKES: www.dp-brakes.com
Rotors $109.95 each.
EVANS COOLANT: (888) 990-2665, www.evanscoolant.com
1/2-gallon powersports coolant $29.95
GRAPHICS BY EDGE: (740) 238-2828, www.graphicsbyedge.com
Custom kit: Starting $185
FACTORY 43: (418) 485-7843, www.factory43.com/en
Front bumper w/ number plate $135
Grab bar $95
FUEL CUSTOMS: (909) 594-6082, www.fuelcustoms.com
Intake system $239
GBC MOTORSPORTS: www.gbcmotorsports.com
Front XC Master 21×7-10 $59.26
Rear Ground Buster III 20×11-9 $91.06
IMS PRODUCTS: (800) 237-9906, www.imsproducts.com
Oversized tank w/ dry-break $274.95
LONESTAR RACING: (800) 457-7223, www.lsracing.com
DC-Pro XC A-arms $1,249
DC spindles $650
Custom steering stem N/A
Wheel hubs: Front, $349; Rear, $236
Rear disc brake hub $145
Sprocket hub $142
JLS MOTORSPORTS: (954) 701-9169, www.jlsmotorsports.com
Greaseable steering stem mount $75
Sight glass oil cover – Medium $115
MOTOWOZ SUSPENSION: (763) 390-9549, www.motowoz.com
Front shocks $1,499
Rear shock $954
ODI GRIPS: www.odigrips.com
Ruffian ATV lock-on grips $29.95
PRECISION RACING PRODUCTS: (209) 365-1850, www.precision-rp.cpm
Elite stabilizer $599
QUADTECH: (208) 417-1726, www.quadtech-atv.com
Seat cover: Starting $219.99
RENTHAL: (877) 736-8425, www.renthal.com
Fat bar $91.95
RP RACE PERFORMANCE: (418) 882-5940, www.rprace.com
Shorty full exhaust $579.05
SPAL: (800) 345-0327, www.spalusaw.com
STREAMLINE BRAKES: (909) 987-5421, www.streamlinebrakes.com
Front lines $32.99–$71.99
Rear line $32.99–$109.99
Brake line clamps $29.95 a set
THERMOTEC: (419) 962-4556, www.thermotec.com
Exhaust insulating wrap $41.67–$68.15
TIREBALLS: (502) 243-1601, www.tireballs.com
Front ball kit $418.60
Rear ball kit $434.20
UPP: (541) 832-2139, www.uppracing.com
Case saver $42.95
Chain roller $15.95
WEB CAM: (951) 369-5144, www.webcamshafts.com
+ core $680
WISECO: (800) 321-1364, www.wiesco.com
Clutch basket N/A
Clutch hub N/A
Pressure plate N/A
Clutch plates and spring kit N/A
WORKS CONNECTION: (530) 642-9488, www.worksconnection.com
Clutch perch and lever $155.85
Engine plugs $39.95
XC GEAR: www.xcgear.com
Mako 360 ATV clamp $399.99
YAMAHA GYTR: (800) 962-7926, www.shopyamaha.com
Plastic frame glide plate $179.99
High-flow air filter $69.99 and up
MORE INFO> https://hi-torque.com/product/dirt-wheels-2/