Yamaha Press Release:AmPro Yamaha is excited to announce a powerhouse lineup for 2023 with the signing of Ricky Russell to lead the charge in the premier class, and the addition of Zach Osborne and Liam Draper in the 250 class. Returning with the team to defend her crown in the Grand National Cross Country Series (GNCC) is 2022 WXC National Champion Rachael Archer.
Russell returns to the AmPro family looking to fight for the title aboard the all-new 2023 Yamaha YZ450F and will be racing the GNCC XC1 class, the National Enduro Series Pro 1 class, and select US Sprint Enduro rounds. The Washington State rider ended the year on a high note with a victory at the season finale to give him a pair of wins for third in the points standings and looks to keep his momentum rolling into next season.
Coming out of retirement to go off-road racing full-time is former supercross/motocross racer Osborne. A championship-proven rider with a versatile background, he will be joining the program to race the GNCC XC2 class and select US Sprint Enduro races aboard the 2023 Yamaha YZ250FX. Osborne was crowned the Pro Motocross 450MX Champion in 2020 and earned a pair of 250 titles in 2017 – the 250SX East Championship and 250MX Championship. He was also part of the U.S. World Trophy Team at the International Six Days Enduro in 2013 and 2014, and now looks to evolve his talents into the longer more demanding off-road formats.
Draper will be joining the team to compete in both the GNCC XC2 class and the National Enduro Series Pro 2 class. Making his GNCC debut in 2018, the New Zealander looks to keep building on his forward momentum and looks to fight up front aboard the 2023 Yamaha YZ250FX.
Returning to the AmPro Yamaha program is reigning GNCC WXC National Champion Archer who will also be piloting the 2023 Yamaha YZ250FX. In addition to defending her title in the GNCC series, the New Zealander will race select US Sprint Enduro rounds.
The team is also happy to announce their AmPro bLU cRU amateur support riders with Cooper Jones and Ryder Sigety returning with the squad and the addition of Mike Delosa and Simon Johnson.
In 2023, AmPro Yamaha’s primary focus will remain on the Grand National Cross Country Series and the National Enduro Series (NEPG), as well as GNCC University and select bLU cRU special events to support Yamaha riders honing their off-road skills. Russell, Osborne, Draper, and Archer, will also have a renewed focus on the US Sprint Enduro Series as their schedule permits. Additionally, they will be assisting in the development of our AmPro bLU cRU Amateur Team riders at GNCC, US Sprint, and JDay offroad events.
Donnie Luce – Amateur MX/ ATV / Off-Road Coordinator for YMUS
“Yamaha is pleased to continue our long association with Randy Hawkins and the entire AmPro Team. We are very excited about the team that we have assembled for our 25th season together. This association has produced numerous champions over the years while allowing us to further showcase our complete line of Yamaha Off-Road models, GYTR, and Yamalube products.”
Randy Hawkins – AmPro Yamaha Racing Team Owner
“This is going to be an exciting year for us. It’s time to get back to our roots and really show the world that Yamaha’s race machines are a step above the competition’s. We have the riders and team personnel, and we have the right equipment to win multiple championships in 2023.”
Ricky Russell – AmPro Yamaha Racing
“I couldn’t be more excited to be reunited with AMPRO Yamaha. Randy and all the guys here helped me start my GNCC racing career, so in a way, it feels like coming home and it’s good to be back. I finished off 2022 with a few Overall wins in GNCC and had career-best finishes in NEPG, so I’m very stoked to take that momentum into 2023 on the all-new YZ450F batting for championships!”
Zach Osborne – AmPro Yamaha Racing
“I’m super excited and grateful for this opportunity. My first conversation with Randy about joining his team and the off-road community dates all the way back to the end of 2007, so for this to come to fruition at a time when I was looking for a new opportunity is just super cool! I’m excited to get the season started in a few short months and I hope to make the team and our sponsors proud. I’ve been back to full-time training for about six weeks now and things are responding well heading into the holidays and my January training camp!”
Liam Draper – AmPro Yamaha Racing
“I’m super excited to be a part of AmPro Yamaha. It’s always been my dream to be on a factory team since I first came to the USA in 2018, and now it’s a reality! I’m super happy with the bike and I’m excited to be teammates with Ricky, Zach, and Rachael. Randy also brings such a vast knowledge of the sport and I’m excited to be under his leadership!”
Rachael Archer – AmPro Yamaha Racing
“2022 was epic! I was able to push through and get consistent podiums and six GNCC wins throughout the year and win the WXC championship! I’ve been working on this championship since I was 12, so to finally take the number-one plate at 20 years old is a pretty big achievement! I couldn’t have done it without the help of my awesome team at AmPro Yamaha, and I’m super excited to be chasing another championship or two again in 2023 with them!”