William Yokley finished 16th overall, 12th XC1 Pro today after experiencing some brake problems. There were 264 total racers in this race including 24 XC1 Pro riders.
Loretta Lynn’s Ranch is one of the most well known places we race, and it’s one of my favorite tracks. I consider this a home race for me because it’s only a couple of hours from home and lots of my friends, family and fans come to support me. Something new for me this year was all the support I received from the National Guard soldiers; they were great and I think they really enjoyed watching all the neat stuff that goes along with a GNCC.
The weather forecast called for rain and storms, but fortunately it was sunny and nice all weekend. Loretta’s is known for being very rough and whooped out, and it really tests your bike as well as your fitness. This place has it all; sandy soil, clay, river gravel and lots of steep hills; also some cool open areas and parts of the motocross track where they hold the National Amateur Motocross Championships every summer.
I was a little worried about getting a good start because I’ve struggled so far this year. The ten second signal was given and low and behold, I got a great start! I was 5th going into the woods, and at the end of the first 30 minute lap, I was 4th and feeling really good. The bike was working great, and the new Pro Circuit motor has really smooth power with great torque; it really rips on the top end.
As the 2nd lap progressed, I started having trouble setting up for turns and negotiating steep down hills. I knew something has happening with the rear brakes, and it was not good. By the end of the 2nd lap, I had dropped back to 10th and I had absolutely no rear brakes. I had some issues with my rear brakes at the last race, and thought it was that my pedal had been bent, but I realized that it was more involved than that. The rears are used heavily for stopping, setting up for turns and steering the bike. My pace was well off the leaders at this point and made for some pretty exciting incidents, especially going down those long, steep downhills!
I did the best I could and tried to not lose too many more positions; those last two laps lasted forever! I finished 16th overall and 12th XC1 Pro. The good news is that there were several Kawasaki R & D engineers at the race as well as Doug Roll from Roll Design. They analyzed things and have some ideas on how to solve this issue. We knew there would be a learning curve on the development of this new machine, and everyone is anxious to help. The components on this KFX 450 are first rate, and sometimes when we change things and install different high performance race parts, we find that different adjustments need to be made. We will get everything worked out and I plan on being further up front at the next race.
I want to thank all my fans and especially all my sponsors for supporting me. Even though I did not have a great day, everyone was cheering for me. No one wants to improve and succeed more than me, and I will keep working hard. I’m already looking forward to the next race in Millfield, Ohio in two weeks. See you there!