Yamaha Celebrates Outstanding 2023 Off-Road Racing Season with Multiple Championships

Yamaha Raises $4,200 for Breast Cancer Research at Yamaha Racing Ironman GNCC

MARIETTA, Ga., Nov. 01, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, proudly marks the culmination of a remarkable 2023 off-road racing season, characterized by an outstanding collection of championship victories and significant philanthropic endeavors. With a string of notable championships, a generous donation for breast cancer research and care, and bike donations to schools through the Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative program, Yamaha's successes this year reflects their dedication to making a positive impact at the local level.

"This year's achievements underscore Yamaha's dedication to excellence and the power of our bLU cRU racers," said Steve Nessl, Yamaha motorsports marketing manager. "Coupled with our champions' successes, our continued support for breast cancer research, and Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative efforts to get kids outdoors and active is a testament to Yamaha's commitment to making a meaningful difference in the communities we serve."

In various national series, Yamaha bLU cRU racers dominated podiums, demonstrating the Proven Off-Road prowess of their vehicles. The YFZ450R riders excelled with multiple podium sweeps and titles, while the Side-by-Sides continued to shine, claiming victories for the YXZ1000R Sport Shift (SS) and Wolverine RMAX 1000.

The bLU cRU started the year strong after Kyle Anderson's success at the grueling King of the Hammers (KOH), capturing the Pro Stock N/A (naturally aspirated) UTV championship in his Weller Racing Yamaha Wolverine RMAX2 1000 Sport as the only UTV to complete two laps and finish in its class. Anderson's remarkable feat was celebrated with a $5,000 bLU cRU bonus for being the top-placing Yamaha Side-by-Side (SxS) at KOH.

King of the Hammers - Kyle Anderson - Championship

King of the Hammers - Kyle Anderson - Wolverine RMAX2 1000

Mid America Outdoors completed its seven-round series October 20-22 in Jay, Oklahoma, with Owen VanEperen capturing the Pro Stock N/A championship in his Powersports 1 / Beyond Redline / Yamalube / Hoosier / Yamaha YXZ1000R SS. Owen's father, Rodney VanEperen finished third on the podium in the Championship Off-Road Tour's Pro Turbo class with his YXZ.

MidAmerica Outdoors - Owen VanEperen - Championship

MidAmerica Outdoors - Owen VanEperen - YXZ1000R SS

Seven rounds into the Great American Short Course Series, with two rounds remaining on November 4 and 5 at the SBC fairgrounds in Victorville, California, bLU cRU racer, Chad Williams, currently sits third overall in his YXZ1000R. Series bonuses include $5,000 for first, $1,500 for second, and $1,000 for third overall.

In the AMA ATV Motocross (ATV MX) series, Yamaha racers swept the podium in the AMA Pro division. Defending Champion, Joel Hetrick won his fourth-overall ATV MX Championship on his Phoenix Racing / DASA / CST / Moose YFZ450R, with seven first-place finishes to earn the $15,000 bLU cRU bonus. Fellow bLU cRU racers, Bryce Ford of Ford Brothers Racing / Baldwin, and eight-time champion, Chad Wienen of Wienen Motorsports / Molaska / Fly Racing / Maxxis / Yamaha, rounded out the podium in second and third, respectively. In October, Hetrick, Ford, and Wienen came together to represent Team USA on a YFZ450R in the Quadcross of Nations in Cingoli, Italy, finishing first and second in all three motos to earn the U.S. their fifth-straight championship on the world stage.

ATV MX - Joel Hetrick - Pro ATV Championship

ATV MX - Joel Hetrick - YFZ450R

In the ATV MX Pro-Am class, YFZ-racer Mason Jackson captured the championship and $2,500 bLU cRU bonus. Additional Yamaha racers, Kevin Saar, Joseph Chambers, Blair Miller, and Jayden Londerville finished out the top five, earning the remaining bLU cRU Pro-Am bonuses.

Another Yamaha podium sweep took place at the Yamaha Racing Ironman finale of the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Defending XC1 Pro – ATV champion, Brycen Neal, who took his second-straight championship and $15,000 bLU cRU bonus on his Phoenix Racing / Moose YFZ450R earlier in the season, dominated the field to take the overall win, followed by Yamaha factory-supported racer, Walker Fowler, who made a comeback statement after missing most of the season due to injury. After being passed by Walker in the last few turns of the final round, Hunter Hart rounded out the podium in third on his YFZ450R, additionally finishing the series in second place, with a fellow bLU cRU racer, Cole Richardson, ending up third in overall points.

GNCC - Brycen Neal - XC1 Pro ATV Championship

GNCC - Brycen Neal - YFZ450R

Following a season of podium success and six first-place finishes, YFZ-racer, Jessica Elioff, captured her first WXC – ATV championship and bLU cRU bonus. In the XC2 Pro-Am ATV class, Yamaha riders dominated the field, winning the top nine positions with Steve Harrell clinching a definitive championship win and the $2,500 bLU cRU bonus with nine first-place wins. Claiming the $500 bLU cRU bonus for each of their classes were Alex Theiman in College A, Nicholas Dearing in College B, and Andrew Davidovich in Junior B – all on Yamaha YFZ450Rs.

GNCC - Jessica Elioff - WXC Championship

GNCC - Steve Harrell - XC2 ProAm ATV Champion

Yamaha's commitment to making a positive impact extended to charity initiatives, helping the GNCC's annual "Race for the Cure" at the Yamaha Racing Ironman round. Raising breast cancer awareness and funding local breast cancer care and research for the Montgomery County Community Foundation (MCCF), Yamaha continued its support, committing $50 for each class win on a Yamaha, and an additional $50 for each 2023 Yamaha championship. This year, with 38 national championships and 34 race-day wins, along with additional fundraising efforts onsite, Yamaha donated more than $4,200 to MCCF, which will use the funds to provide free mammogram examinations in the surrounding region.

GNCC - Race for the Cure

Additional charity endeavors at the Yamaha Racing Ironman GNCC included Yamaha bLU cRU racers, comprised of the Walker Fowler Racing and AmPro Yamaha teams, building balance bikes the Friday before race day. Totaling $27,000 in value, courtesy of the Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative program to get students in public schools outside, exercising, and enjoying the great outdoors, the bikes were donated to three local Crawfordsville, Indiana kindergarten schools Monday by seven-time XC1 Pro – ATV champ, Walker Fowler, 26-year pro racer, Johnny Gallagher, and Yamaha staff.

All Kids Bike - Yamaha OAI Donation

All Kids Bike - Yamaha OAI Donation 2

All Kids Bike - Strider Bike Donation

All 2023 pro-class bLU cRU champions will be recognized during Yamaha's Wall of Champions induction ceremony this December alongside Yamaha employees. The racer's achievements will be emblazoned on a custom plaque and proudly displayed alongside the numerous other titleholders throughout the decades at Yamaha's motorsports headquarters in Marietta, Georgia.

Every Yamaha SxS and full-size ATV is proudly Assembled in the USA at Yamaha's state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Newnan, Georgia, for worldwide distribution. For further information on the bLU cRU program, visit YamahabLUcRU.com. REALize Your Adventure and learn more about Yamaha's 2024 Proven Off-Road line-up at YamahaOutdoors.com, or by visiting your local Yamaha dealer. Connect with Yamaha on social media via @YamahaOutdoors, tune in to the Yamaha Outdoors podcast on listening apps, or search the following hashtags on all platforms: #Yamaha #YamahaRacing #REALizeYourPodium #REALizeYourAdventure #ProvenOffRoad #bLUcRU #RMAX1000 #YXZ1000R #YFZ450R #AssembledInUSA

About Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA
Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA (YMUS), is a recognized leader in the outdoor recreation industry. The company's ever-expanding product offerings include Motorcycles and Scooters, ATV and Side-by-Side vehicles, Snowmobiles, WaveRunner Personal Watercraft, Boats, Outboard Motors, Outdoor Power Equipment, Power Assist Bicycles, Golf Cars, Power Assist Wheelchair Systems, Surface Mount Technology (SMT) and Robotic Machines, Unmanned Helicopters, Accessories, Apparel, Yamalube products, and much more. YMUS products are sold through a nationwide network of distributors and dealers in the United States.

YMUS has a corporate office in California, two corporate offices in Georgia, facilities in Wisconsin and Alabama, and factory operations in Tennessee and Georgia. Additional U.S.-based subsidiaries include Yamaha Marine Systems Company (YMSC) with divisions Bennett Marine (Florida), Kracor Systems (Wisconsin) and Siren Marine, Inc. (Rhode Island), Skeeter Boats (Texas), with division G3 Boats (Missouri), and Yamaha Precision Propeller (Indiana).

Yamaha bLU cRU

SxS vehicles are recommended for use only by licensed drivers 16 years and older.
YXZ1000R and YXZ1000R SS are recommended for experienced operators only.
YFZ450R is recommended for use only by experienced operators 16 years and older.

Scott Newby – ATV & SxS Sr. Communications Specialist
Yamaha Motor Corp., USA

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at: