A few weeks back we got an invite from Yamaha to come down to their facility in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., for a workshop. Never ones to pass up a free dinner, we made the six-hour drive down to the epicenter of beer, brats and cheese. Lo and behold, we partook not only in a really cool workshop, we were also presented with Yamaha’s 2011-2012 racing team. Racing team? Yup, Yamaha is back at it for 2012 with a small core of factory-sponsored cross-country and hillclimb racers. Who are these people? Let’s take a quick look at the cross-country team:
Nathan Titus: Pro 600, Pro Open, Vet 30+
We all know Nathan Titus, he’s the guy who took Blair Morgan down the last race for the WSA Pro Open snocross points championship in 1999. Two years ago Titus rode Yamaha on the USCC circuit while helping develop some race-specific parts for the Nytro. Will those parts show up on this year’s sled? We’ll have to see.
Ross Erdman: Pro 600, Pro Open
Ross Erdman won the USCC Red Lake I-500 in 2007. Two years ago he was on a Nytro and was on his way to setting fast time of the day at the I-500 that year when his primary clutch exploded. He was set to ride Yamaha last year before the blue team temporarily pulled the plug on their race program. If anyone can win on the Nytro it’s Ross.
Ben Lindbom: Semi-Pro 600, Semi-Pro Open
A young racer, Ben Lindbom has been busy racing a Polaris on the ISOC snocross circuit. Like Erdman, he’s a tall, strong kid who should be suited for riding the Nytro. He’s never raced cross-country before, so his success will depend on how fast he can get up to speed (no pun intended).
Jake Jorgenson: Semi-Pro 600, Semi-Pro Open
Another young kid, Jorgenson is smart and a quick learner. Like Lindbom, he’s a snocross racer and has never raced cross-country. He’s a smaller kid and weighs about 130-pounds soaking wet, so riding the Nytro might be a challenge for him.
Titus and Erdman will race out of the same trailer. Long-time Yamaha mechanic Brian Strawsell will wrench for Titus. He wrenched for Titus back in the day as well as Chris Vincent. He also worked on the Redline snowmobile program and Redline UTV program.
Erdman’s wrench will be terry O’Brien. O’Brien has wrenched for Erdman since he started racing over a decade ago and the two have a close working relationship.
Also racing the USCC circuit for Yamaha will be Seth Thorson in the Sport class and Steve Emerson in Sport 85 Improved.
Erik Frigon will race Semi-Pro 600 and Semi-Pro Open on the USCC East circuit.