Willford Anticipates Afton Hillclimb

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(ED-Yamaha is throwing its hat into the professional hillclimbing race circuit this season for the first time in a lot of years and we've asked one of its Pro hillclimb racers, Cable Willford, to share his racing experiences this season. Willford competed last season on a Yamaha Nytro but as an independent. This year he has full race support from Yamaha. Here is his third blog, which will be followed by post race blog after the Afton Hillclimb. We think it will be interesting to follow Willford as he helps to try to put Yamaha on the map-hillclimbing wise that is.)

By Cable Willford

Well it has been a very long couple of weeks between races and unfortunately I have needed every minute of it in preparation for the RMSHA hillclimb in Afton, WY.

Engine builds (and rebuilds), suspension swaps, shock calibration, workouts, ordering parts, installing parts and pounding the practice course has been the normal routine since the hillclimb at Bear Lake.

I am going to Afton with every intention of finding some redemption and I feel good about my chances. As a team, we left a lot on the table at Bear Lake, but for me personally there is a higher degree of expectation that motivates me to take it to the next level. Our race program is rapidly adjusting to the demands of this circuit and we hope to apply what we've learned by gaining some top five finishes along the way.

One of the big changes for me going into Afton is the move from the 600 Stock to 600 Improved Stock class. Yamaha wants to pursue further race testing of its developmental front end and the Improved class will offer us that opportunity. My Improved class Nytro will benefit from some free breathing engine mods as well.

Racing Improved Stock was a last minute decision that was made possible thanks to Troy Johnson at Lincoln County Customs in Alpine, WY. Yamaha coordinated to have my front end shipped from Wisconsin to Alpine and we will do the install at LCC the day before the race. Troy's affiliation with Yamaha and the proximity of his shop to the Afton hillclimb made this down to the wire move an easy "green light."

Afton is a bear of a hill that is relentlessly steep. Chock full of massive stumps and nasty rocks, every vertical inch of it is downright spooky. Once you overcome the intimidation factor, the hill rewards you with some of the most intense racing you could hope to be a part of. I have been looking forward to going back there since this time last year and it promises to be a great weekend regardless of the results. 

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