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YROC? — Why Not? (Yamaha Links to the Past)

Roughly ten days ago, I was invited by Yamaha to watch two former factory riders practice on Yamaha’s latest weapons — the YZ125, YZ250 and YZ426F — at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California. Mike “Too Tall” Bell and Jim Gibson put these bikes through their paces while my son Alex took photos and I jotted notes.

You know, I showed up for the story, but the real draw was the offer to ride all three bikes (which I gladly accepted). The YROC bikes are not too far from stock. They feature Pro Circuit exhaust systems (even the four-stroke 426), and some after-market carbon fiber parts, aluminum handlebars, etc. Don’t get me wrong, they were pretty trick and performed well (particularly, the YZ250 — which was my favorite).

What is YROC? It’s the Yamaha Race of Champions — an interesting race format played out over two days (June 24 and 25 at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California) and three motos. Featuring Yamaha stars of the past, including Mike Bell, Rex Staten, Danny LaPorte, Bruce McDougal, Marty Moates, Broc Glover, Gary Jones, Jim Gibson, and special guest announcer Bob Hannah, the riders will switch between each of the three bikes for each of the three motos. The rider with the best overall score, of course, will be declared the YROC champion.

I was amazed at how fast Mike Bell and Jim Gibson were (for their age). These guys are not spring chickens, but they’re still in damn good shape and they still haul ass. Pride is at stake, too. It should be a very entertaining race, and a chance for fans to meet some of the superstars of the past.

You can follow the banner link at the top of MD’s home page for more details on the YROC race. We might just see you there this weekend.