In an ATV world that has become overwhelmingly dominated by high-performance 450s, the gate has finally dropped for a new breed of race machine. It should be no surprise to anyone who's familiar with the tremendous involvement and presence of Yamaha in ATV racing that it is blue's newly released Raptor 250 that's at the eye of this treacherous storm. When we received an invitation from Yamaha to come out to Glen Helen Raceway Park, saddle up on the miniature monster and compete against the best from every ATV publication, we just couldn't resist. The stage was set, and there was only one question left unanswered: Who would step up and be the man to carry the pride of ATV Rider across the finish line? We can all hold our ground on the track, but with the honor and reputation of our name at stake, there was only one obvious choice for this type of competition. Our gladiator would be ace photographer Adam Campbell. With the help of CT Racing and a handful of other great aftermarket companies, he had recently built an immaculate race version of this very machine (ATVR, October '08) and was very familiar with what this little tyke was capable of doing.
As race day approached conditions were perfect for heart-pounding bar-to-bar racing in Southern California. The racers arrived early to take full advantage of the morning practice where they would have an opportunity to size up the competition and get a feel for their Yamaha-prepped, battle-ready Raptor 250s. The sight and atmosphere of this National venue was all too familiar to Campbell in view of the fact that he has been racing this track since he was a young boy still wetting the bed. Nonetheless, Campbell knew the competition within the industry would be extremely fierce. Competing publications on the track together is a scary thought, and the fact that we're all friends only ups the ante. After he pounded a few early morning laps Campbell's confidence was high, and like old times he was again geared for the challenge and eager to unleash havoc on Glen Helen and even a few other magazine editors.
With at least a dozen identical Raptors lined up behind the starting gate, the results of this race would be decided by the skills of each rider. The gate dropped, and without hesitation the determined racers stormed off the line like a pack of hungry wolves. In a matter of seconds the opening straight was ending as the big Talladega turn quickly approached, but with hopes of being the first through the turn, no one, not even one, cracked the throttle. At full speed, the racers entered the turn side by side and continued to struggle for the lead. It was at this point that Campbell's race strategy became clear. Glen Helen is a notorious high-speed racecourse and equal machines competing with cookie-cutter setups made a quick breakaway from the crowd nearly impossible. It would come down to possessing the ability to navigate the track without error that would win this event. Shaving fractions of a second off turns, clearing huge gaps and maintaining momentum through rhythm sections slowly separated the pack. This was no walk in the park and required keeping the 250 pinned whenever the opportunity was presented. A mere slip of the throttle during a moment of uncertainty would cost you a position on this day.
For rider safety and to meet...
For rider safety and to meet Quadcross regulations, Yamaha outfitted the Raptors with Pro Armor kill tethers.
GYTR pipes aren't just for...
GYTR pipes aren't just for good looks and a deep rumble; they bring life to Yamaha's blue beasts. This made incorporating a Yamaha GYTR pipe an obvious choice for this event.