YAMAHA SET TO DEFEND GNCC MANUFACTURERS’ CUP IN 2008

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (January 29, 2008) – Yamaha Motor Corporation collected the 2007 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Bike Manufacturer’s Cup thanks to the concerted efforts of several talented riders, and the company plans a big push to hold on to its title in 2008.

“We’re really happy with efforts of everyone out there racing Yamahas in the GNCC Series,” says Donnie Luce, ATV and Off-Road Coordinator at Yamaha Motor Corporation. “The Manufacturer’s Cup demonstrates the big fan base of Yamaha consumers out there racing GNCC. We’re proud of them.”

Winning the Manufacturer’s Cup in America’s largest off-road racing series requires a strong ride by two riders per brand in each GNCC race. The award is calculated based on each brand’s top two overall finishers in each event. Last year Yamaha utilized the scores of Barry Hawk, Charlie Mullins, Jason Raines, Thad DuVall and Joe Scherer to collect the award. Am-Pro Yamaha Team Manager Randy Hawkins accepted the trophy at the GNCC Banquet in November.

Yamaha plans a strong 2008 GNCC effort. Hawkins’ Factory Am-Pro Yamaha squad will bring Hawk, Raines, DuVall and Scherer back into the mix. Fred Andrews’ new Monster/Andrews Yamaha team will also contribute, as well as numerous privateers on Yamaha blue machines.

There will be plenty of competition though, with several major manufacturers stepping up their factory and amateur program for GNCC in 2008. The Red Bull KTM team came in a close second in manufacturer points last year, and the factory trio of 2007 GNCC XC1 Pro Champion David Knight, 2007 GNCC XC2 Lites Champion Justin Williamson and former World Enduro Championship contender Nathan Kanney will make them tough to beat. In addition, the PowerSports GrafX KTM satellite team will contribute to the total as well as all of the privateers who fly the KTM orange.

The revitalized FMF Suzuki team is now led by Charlie “Hot Rod” Mullins. Mullins, a two-time GNCC winner in 2007, was considered the prize signing of the off-season and is expected to be a title contender. Veteran contenders Jimmy Jarrett and Paul Whibley will race alongside Mullins, as well as Australia’s Josh Strang. All four Suzuki riders finished in the top ten of last year’s GNCC rankings.

Kawasaki’s hopes are anchored by young XC1 talents Garrett Edmisten (fifth in the 2007 GNCC standings) and Jesse Robinson (10th). The Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green contingent of Scotty Watkins and Andrew Matusek will race the XC2 division but may also contribute to overall scores for the brand.

Finally, BMW’s new XPLOR Race Team features Australia’s Glenn Kearney (sixth in the 2007 GNCC Series) and former GP Motocrosser Gordon Crockard, of Ireland.

The 2008 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series kicks off with the Triton GNCC in Melbourne, Fla. on March 1-4.

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