Pleasant Prairie, WI – The national cross-country tour came rolling across the frozen lakes of northern Minnesota with an icy-cold blast as Yamaha racers battled extreme sub-zero temperatures and near white-out conditions in the United States X-Country (USXC) season opener on legendary Pine Lake. The 2014 Yamaha cross-country team came ready to hone their chops with the all-new SR Viper RTX SE and lay the groundwork for a season of success.
Each member of the team had a unique set of personal goals and challenges entering the weekend, and while the Pro podium eluded the blue squadron, it was a successful launch to the season, with more significant accomplishments almost certainly on the horizon.
Returning rider Ben Lindbom started his first full season in the pro ranks after capturing the Semi-Pro title last winter. While Ben struggled during the first day of competition, key set-up changes Saturday night and new found confidence allowed Ben to settle in Sunday, and prove he has what it takes to run with the best in the business as his Viper showed blistering speed.
Another familiar face in Yamaha blue was Re Wadena, who was intent on getting a feel for the new Viper in competition trim, while looking forward to when USXC races leave the frozen lake surface and give way to nasty ditch-lines and natural terrain. “I’m looking forward to some rough ditches, high speeds, and having a great time,” said Wadena, who is pumped about his chances aboard the new Viper.
Returning to the Yamaha fold this year is perhaps one of the winningest cross-country and endurance racers of all time, Corey Davidson. Corey had his Viper absolutely flying both days, taking the win in both Master classes and coming oh-so-close to a podium finish in the Pro ranks. While Corey is definitely looking forward to a few wins in USXC, it’s the Soo I-500 that he truly has in his sights.
“I want to go back to the Soo (500) and win it…I just love the Yamaha power,” said Davidson, who felt extremely confident about his chances aboard the new Viper. “Eight times I’ve won it (Soo I-500) and it’s gonna be the ninth this year.”
Finally, newcomer to the Yamaha fold, Matthew Piche, got a feel for his first ever cross-country race at Pine Lake. The former professional snocrosser demonstrated a quick learning curve as he showed pro caliber stuff on the second day of racing. “That was the most fun I’ve had in a race since I raced X-Games,” said a pumped-up Piche after Sunday’s final.
Yamaha racers will be back on the gas when the USXC stops in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, January 4 and the Soo I-500 is poised to go green on February 1. Yamaha fans can follow the team throughout the season at facebook.com/YamahaSnowmobilesUSA and youtube.com/user/YamahaSnowmobilesUSA.