Willford, Yamaha Prepare For Granddaddy Of Hillclimb Events-Jackson

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(ED-Yamaha has thrown 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 fifth blog, which will be followed by post race blog after the World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb at Jackson Hole. 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

The World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb. This is our Superbowl, the Daytona 500 of western snowmobile racing. Jackson Hole attracts the top racers from accross the snowbelt, each one of us eager to prove ourselves against the monster that is Snow King.

New factory iron from all four manufactures is on display here as well as the latest and greatest aftermarket accessories available. The carnival like atmosphere is a true sledders paradise and sometimes the racing almost seems secondary with so much activity taking place at the base of the hill.

Hardcore race fans get the best perspective from up on the hill. This is where the true nature of Snow King and it's near vertical walls of snow and rock can best be appreciated. Jackson not only serves up the meanest hill on the circuit, but the sled wrangling hill crew are the best I have ever seen. These guys are every bit as professional and just as crazy as the racers whose sleds they're saving.

Jackson Hole week kicks off on Wednesday for Team Yamaha. We will be dialing in our race setups in Alpine with Troy Johnson at Lincoln County Customs in the morning and then off to Jackson to meet some of the corporate brass who are flying in later that day. Thursday will involve parking race trailers and final wrench turning while Kolton Malmborg will be qualifying in the Semi-Pro classes. Friday begins to amp up the action with Pro qualifying in Stock and Improved Stock classes, followed by the Semi-Pro finals and the dash for cash will finish up the day.

Saturday is when Jackson Hole comes unhinged. Mod class qualifying blows the doors off the racing action and the crowd starts partying early and often. The youngsters get to strut their stuff in the 120 shootout and both Stock and Mod minis will be putting on a show. My 6 year-old son Ryder will debut the new Yamaha SRX 120 in the Stock class and possibly ride his own "Yamalaris" 120 in Mod class if he is allowed two rides.

Other noteworthy Yamaha news is that former snocross great and current USCC Pro Nathan Titus will be racing all four Mod classes on a purpose-built turbo Nytro. We originally thought about letting Nathan run one of our RMSHA sleds, but then we came to our senses as the potential for him to make the highlight reel for the wrong reasons was not worth the risk involved.

Sunday is big money day. Pro finals and King runs will crown this year's champs. Yamaha has the riders and the hardware to make some headlines here and I am hungry enough to make it happen. Stay tuned!

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