Published on April 11th, 2012 | by Joe0
Yamaha ATV Pro Racers Weigh in on 2012 GNCC Season
Expectations Grow as Team Blue Grabs Podiums Leading into Big Buck
CYPRESS, Calif. – April 11, 2012 – Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., has a deep and talented team competing in the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) ATV series this year with three racers in early contention for their respective pro-level championships after the first three rounds of the year.
Led by Bill Ballance and Ballance Racing, Taylor Kiser and Walker Fowler are both in the running for the XC-1 crown. Kiser is a solid second overall in XC-1 points and is fresh off a big win at Steele City, while Fowler is currently in fourth overall in his inaugural XC1 season. Yamaha’s Traci Cecco, a GNCC series veteran and seven-time Women’s pro champion, is a close second so far this season only one point back from the overall lead.
Heading into the fourth round of 2012 at the famous Big Buck course in Union, South Carolina, the Yamaha GNCC racers talked about the current season, their teammates and competition, and shared some thoughts and expectations for the rest of the year …
Bill Ballance Question: You’re widely known as the best Off-Road ATV racer of all time, and while you haven’t announced any plans to officially retire from racing, you’re transitioning more into a team management role – tell us about Ballance Racing and how you approach your new job.
The first priority is the race team. Our team provides full race support to Taylor Kiser and Walker Fowler in the GNCC race circuit. We also provide some support to Thomas Brown on the MX side.
The second side to Ballance Racing is aftermarket sales and support. We sell all of the race products from companies that sponsor our race program. Also, we build complete race quads.
Ballance Racing started as me competing and winning championships and has transitioned into a program that supports both riders and sponsors on and off the track.
My role as team manager includes many responsibilities and those change from day to day. I spend numerous days testing on the track, which requires me to do lots of riding – this being my favorite part! Other days my time is filled by taking orders from customers, building shocks, setting up race quads, talking to sponsors, and keeping up with what the guys are doing and needing. A big part of my job is developing and testing for companies like Lone Star, Ohlins, Maxxis, and Moto-Xperts. I even build and fine tune maps for ECUs.
The transition has been difficult in some ways. When we are at the races and the guys line up on the starting line, it is hard for me not to be a part of that. However, in some ways it has been pretty easy because of the attention to detail that I give to every working part of the race bike is natural to me. I do this just the same way I did with my own race quad. I try to give the guys the equipment they need and the knowledge I have gained over the years. I want to see them win, and I strive for nothing less.
Bill Balance Question: Tell us about the upcoming GNCC University. You have a lot going on with running Ballance Racing, working with sponsors and even continuing to race some yourself. How do you find time to donate to this program, and what do you get from working with young racers?
BB Response: The GNCC U is a great! Being able to have this riding school at Snowshoe makes this event special. Working with the kids is always a good reminder of how fortunate we are to be in the position we are in — being able to do what we love. This gives us a great opportunity to pass along some of our knowledge and skills to the younger racers and to give back to the sport. It’s a great feeling to actually have time to spend with these kids and answer some of their questions. At the races, it seems like we are always pressed for time and having events like these gives us time to relax a little and focus on them. We hope this will help to build our sport for the future!
Bill Ballance Question: Do you have any expectations for this season?
BB Response: Oh yeah, I sure do! I’m expecting Taylor and Walker to be in a position to bring home a GNCC Championship this year!