More Options Search

Cable Willford Blog - RMSHA Race At Bear Lake, ID

Published online: Feb 21, 2012 News, Yamaha
Viewed 103 time(s)

(ED-Here is Pro hillclimb Yamaha racer Cable Willford's thoughts on the first RMSHA race of the season last weekend. We will be following Willford as he helps to try to put Yamaha on the map-hillclimbing wise that is.)

This blog is a lot like my marriage. Lane (Lindstrom, SnoWest Magazine editor) made sure I was on board with it in good times and in bad, for better or for worse. Needless to say, Bear Lake did not go as expected for team Yamaha.

Thursday testing allowed us to dial in some serious speed with our sleds and my mod sled in particular had me amped up for Friday qualifying. My run in 600 Stock class was a refresher lesson in the basics of hillclimb racing. One of the golden rules is to look through the gates, not at them, but apparently I was a little rusty. Coming into gate No. 8, I blew right through it with too much speed and got out of the groove into the fresh snow. Over correcting for my mistake put me on the wrong side of the groove setting up for gate No. 9 and the hill showed me no mercy as it sucked me down for an embarassing highmark.

Mod class promised to bring me redemption as I anticipated unleashing the weapon we had built with my turbo Nytro. The rider ahead of me in 6 mod took out a gate half way up the hill and I was held at the starting line for about 10 min. as they replaced the gate. In this 10 min. time frame of off and on idling, an electrical problem developed that stopped fueling the No. 3 injector. This gremlin wasn't fully realized until I had taken the green light on my way up the hill. Full throttle produced about 40 percent power on 2 cylinders making less than 5 lbs. of boost and the sled was seriously wounded.

Outstanding suspension performance and chassis speed still allowed me to drive it hard enough for a 55 sec ET even though the lack of power had cost me 5-7 seconds. The run was good for a 12th place finish on a broken sled in a class that was won with a 47 sec ET.

We struggled to fix my sled for the rest of the day, replacing plugs/coils/injectors and finally removing the entire wiring harness, searching for answers. This downtime cost me a DNF in 700 mod and I had to share teammate Kody Malmborg's sled in 8 and Open Mod.

Kody and I have completely different sled setups and I struggled to find the speed with his sled that I have with mine. I managed an 18th in 800 mod which had 22 riders. As the last man on the hill at the bottom of Open Mod class, I unleashed a banzai run in a cash or crash effort hoping to generate something positive. Unfortunately this led to catastrophic failure of the rear skid as I jumped the catwalk under full boost. The broken and crippled skid caused total loss of track tension, every time I nailed the throttle, the track screws would auger into the front cooler and I was forced to end my run before tripping the timing lights.

Equipment failures and missed opportunities happen in racing. Good teams get better by learning from the mistakes and that's exactly what we will do. My teammates and the corporate brass were hit hard with the reality of the competition level on this circuit. The RMSHA learning curve is in full swing as they have seen first hand that good mountain sled setups do not translate to good race sled setups.

Thankfully Eric Josephson with corporate Yamaha, who was attending at Bear Lake, is a man of action. He is already pulling the trigger on changing things within our program that will help make us more competitive for the rest of the season. This is the type of support that comes from a factory-backed effort and having these resources available to me is encouraging as we move forward.

Look out Afton, here we come.