Press Release –
The world’s best snocross riders gathered for Round 5 of the AMSOIL® Championship Snocross Tour this past weekend at the Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack facility in Farmington, New York.
Above-freezing temperatures and heavy rain in the days prior to the event led officials to trim the modified oval track, creating a much tighter competition stage and faster lap times, all to the enjoyment of the 7,000 plus appreciative fans in attendance.
Although a podium finish keeps eluding Yamaha Factory Racing’s developmental four-stroke FX Nytro® program, it proved to be another weekend of valuable information gathering that culminated in excellent qualifying runs for Steve Taylor and Iain Hayden. Unfortunately for Taylor, who seemed on the cusp of a breakthrough weekend, a crash in the first lap of the main event put him on the sidelines as a spectator.
While Hayden was forced into the LCQ after just missing a qualifying spot in his heat race, Taylor qualified for the front row with a fifth place finish in his heat race. Hayden, who went on to grab the LCQ holeshot, ran up front early in the race eventually settling for third at the finish line. But that was all he needed to join his teammate on the starting grid for the main, albeit on the second row.
Both Taylor and Hayden pulled off lightning fast starts for the 18-lap main. For Taylor the race ended as quickly as it started, however. Before the first lap was even over, his sled got clipped by another racer resulting in a tumble that caused the race to be red-flagged for a restart. Although thoroughly shaken by the incident, Taylor was not seriously injured and able to walk off the track under his own power.
“With a good qualifying spot and a strong running sled it started as a good day for me. I was really pumped, feeling this was going to be the weekend I was finally going to walk away with nothing less than a top-five result,” said Taylor.
“Unfortunately, I got taken out by somebody else before I even knew what happened. It’s frustrating but that’s racing. You just never know how things are going to turn out.”
After Taylor’s crash and exit, the restart went less smoothly for Hayden. Some technical issues getting his sled started saw him at the back of the pack after the restart. Despite the hopelessness of the situation, Hayden soldiered on to record a 12th place finish.
“Ultimately it’s about putting in track time when you’re in a situation like that. Getting the FX Nytro® to a point where we’re in contention for the title is a work in progress,” said Hayden. “Even though the results at the finish line don’t quite reflect that yet, every weekend we’re making improvements. There are some things that still need to be worked out and the entire team is focused on achieving that.”
Yamaha USA Snowmobile Racing Manager Greg Marier echoed Hayden’s sentiments. “The superior power of the 4-stroke FX Nytro® is easy to see. We’re getting excellent holeshots and the throttle response needed over the timing sections, but we still need to improve our cornering speed. Both Steve and Iain have the talent, heart and drive to succeed, so once we’ve got the cornering speed up, you’re going to see different results,” he said.