Yoshimura Racing Forms New Off Road TeamWednesday, January 31, 2007 | 7:12 AM
Chino, CA – January 30, 2007 - Yoshimura Racing has teamed up with motocross legend Gary Jones to create a new off road race team: Team Gary Jones Racing/Yoshimura. The team will race the WORCS series plus the SRA GP Glen Helen events and other select GP events including Lake Elsinore and Adelanto.
The team will initially be made up Casey Johnson and Gary Jones plus Gary's offspring: Gregory, Justin and Breanna Jones. The team is currently in the process of adding an additional Pro rider to the team.
Casey Johnson has been riding Pro in motorcross and supercross since 1995. In 2003 he was picked up by Factory Suzuki for the outdoor season but was sidelined due to injury. After a major win in Germany for Kawaski, Johnson raced with Maestro Suzuki until he had hand surgery and retired from Pro Racing. In 2006, he won the world Vet Championship at Glen Helen and was pulled out of "retirement" by Gary Jones to be a part of this team. This is his first venture into the wild and wooly world of off road racing.
Gary Jones is an icon in the motocross world, dominating the sport from 1971 – 1974. In the off road world, he was Champion of the Baja 500 in 1971 and the SCORE Off Road World Champion in 1982. For the last few years, he's been teaching his kids, what racing is all about. In 2006 the family participated in the HYR 6, 12 and 24-hour races at Glen Helen and won all three.
"We've done pretty good so far, but now are stepping up to a lot tougher competition," Jones said. "One thing for sure, we plan on making our mark."
Yoshimura is ready for the challenge too: "We've been wanting to get into off road racing," Yoshimura marketing VP Brant Russell explained. "It's a really exciting sport that is great for spectators and riders alike. I've been talking with Gary for a long time about putting together a team and the day has finally arrived. It's great having Casey on board as well. I'm really happy about this project."
Also stepping up for sponsorship is IMS Products. Scott Wright of IMS explained why they've signed on board: "IMS is really excited about the newly formed team. Brant came to us because we support most of the off road amateurs and pros. When I found out that Gary Jones was available, I signed on immediately."
Heading into Phoenix, Casey was concerned about the different obstacles that the WORCS race series places into their Pro Races on Sunday. Nervous as he was Casey was excited to jump onto his Gary Jones/Yoshimura Yamaha YZF450 and attack his first WORCS Series Race. With a field of 43 riders Casey snagged a 5th place start. After clearing half of the log section, Casey stalled his bike and had a difficult time restarting his bike rejoining the pack in approximately 28th position. As Casey grew more comfortable with the logs obstacle, he was able to make his way up through several positions and finish in 12th position at the end of the two-hour grueling event.
The sight of Gary Jones must have been exciting for the other veterans in the 50+A class as he got the hole shot and lead from start to finish with a 6-7 minute lead overall. "The mud wasn't much of a problem," Gary said. "I've spent a lot of years racing on the east coast where the tracks are pure mud a lot of the time."
Jones, Yoshimura and Johnson.... It's looking to be an exciting year in off road racing.