Mathew Scholtz of South Africa made history at Barber Motorsport Park’s final 2017 MotoAmerica round, the Honda Championship of Alabama, with a win for the Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 team. In a much delayed race with major drainage and traction issues, "“second tier” Bazzaz Superstock 1000 class racer Scholtz (the newly-crowned class Champ) hung on to some wild slides to take the overall, as well as his class, win.
Earlier, Scholtz had crashed in spectacular style heading onto the front straight, a victim of a suddenly increasing rain storm, just as the race was stopped. After a lengthy, hour-plus delay, the race was re-launched for a third time over 12 laps, rather than the originally-scheduled 21.
Scholtz took the lead from the re-start ahead of Champ Toni Elias on a Yoshimura-Suzuki, but soon veteran Josh Hayes took control on a Monster Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike. But eventually Hayes was caught by the Broaster Chicken Honda of Jake Gage as well as Elias and Scholtz.
Gage crashed out of second and the battle for the lead with two laps to go, the Scholtz survived a moment or two out of the saddle to take the win, Elias second (first Superbike) with Hayes (second in Superbike) third overall. Gagne set the fastest lap of the race.
“I looked back on the second last lap and saw Jake was right there,” explained Scholtz. “So I was just trying to hold him off, focusing on getting the drive so no one could pass me. I was a little over eager, but I survived, and now I’m really over the moon.”
Pole sitter Roger Hayden (Yoshimura-Suzuki) opted not to take part due to concerns with track conditions, specifically sealer, and third-on-the-grid Josh Herrin pulled into the pits on his Yamaha after the sighting laps.
Veteran Jason DiSalvo was fifth overall and third in Superbike with the WD40-backed BMW – only three of the Feature class bikes made it to the finish!
Hayden Gillim was fourth overall on the “Cycle World” Suzuki, second in Superstock, while Danny Eslick earned sixth overall with his TOBC Racing Yamaha in Motul Superbike, and third in Superstock 1000.
Mopar Canadian Superbike ace Kenny Riedmann had a rough day, starting with a practice fall Sunday morning due to a technical issue with his Sturgess Cycle/Liqui Moly Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja. Then in the second start for Superbike, he went down in the rain before the race was stopped at the end of the opening lap.
In the final Superbike portion, Riedmann worked through the pack to net a solid ninth overall, sixth in the Superstock category, even though he was nursing a damaged shoulder.
In the final-ever event of the KTM RC Cup, Quebec’s Alex Dumas wound up sixth at the finish after a wild, sometimes 12 bike strong, slipstreaming battle at the front. A three bike crash coming out of the final turn on the last lap mixed-up the results, with new KTM Champ Benjamin Smith winning from Gavin Anthony and Sean Ungvarsky. Next year, the KTM series will be replaced in MotoAmerica by a Lightweight class open to all manufacturers.
“Five wins this season was awesome but this one was really, really special,” said victor Smith. “These guys were flying, I am so glad I pulled it off and got the Championship. Overall it was a fantastic season, I have learned so much, the whole series is fantastic, I can’t thank KTM enough. We’ll go over to Spain and show what we can do.”
MotoAmerica rookie Dumas winds up third overall in the Championship, and also earns a trip to the RC Cup World KTM final event held in conjunction with the World Superbike event in Jerez, Spain, next month. After a crash in Saturday’s opener, former title contender Dumas ran as high as fourth and as far back as eighth in the lead pack over the course of the race.
Newly crowned Kawasaki Ninja 300 Spec series National Champ Xavier Paradis’ rough weekend in Alabama continued, the teen-ager crashing in the morning warm-up aboard the “Roadracing World” magazine backed wild card KTM RC Cup entry. In the 11-lap race, Paradis was running at the back of the lead group early when he suffered a spectacular fall in the final turn, ending his first career event in the U.S. after almost-five laps.
In Supersport and Superstock 600 combined class action, Alberta’s Braeden Ortt scored his second podium spot of the weekend, earning third on the Tuned Racing Yamaha YZF-R6. New Champ Jason Agular took the run away win on the Riderzlaw Yamaha, Nick McFadden second.
“I had some rear grip issues, and a weeper came up on the track,” explained Ortt, referring to track drainage issues caused by recent heavy rains associated with Hurricanes. “Over some of the hills the bike was a real shit show, but really there were no major issues, and everyone is battling this heat.
“Conner Blevins (fourth finisher on a Kawasaki) and I really went back and forth,” continued first-year MotoAmerica rider Ortt. “I saw where he was slower, and I finally made a tight but safe pass in the second-last corner. It was still tight right to the end.
“We lost the pace of the guys ahead a little bit, there were a few close calls, and we faded back from the leaders. In the end it worked out. I don’t know what was going on the first half of the season, but I’ve figured it out – it was a great season, really enjoyed it, and we’ll be making some announcements soon.
Ortt’s sponsors include Shoei, Cortech, Wolf Custom Homes, Graves Motorsport ands FT-ECU.
In the premier Supersport 600 division, recently-crowned Champ Garrett Gerloff shook off his Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha team-mate J.D. Beach to take the win, and speculated on the podium that he would leave the category after five seasons. M4 Ecstar Suzuki’s Valentin Debise placed third.
2017 Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike Canadian National Champ Tomas Casas sat out Sunday action at Barber, after crashing during Saturday’s 600 class event with the Parts Canada/Dunlop-backed Yamaha YZF-R6. Casas, who injured his shoulder, was at the track with his arm in a sling, and took advantage of his enforced break to take his team to the famous local motorcycle museum.
Sunday, 17 September 2017 19:23 Published in News
The 2015 MotoAmerica National Championship Series came to its conclusion at New Jersey Motorsport Park on September 13, and Josh Hayes won the battle while his Monster Energy Yamaha YZF-R1M team mate Cameron Beaubier won the war. Hayes took a dramatic final race victory after a thrilling last lap fight with the runner-up Yoshimura-Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Roger Lee Hayden.
Meanwhile, Beaubier played it cool, earned a conservative sixth overall and third in the Feature Superbike category, good enough for his first overall National Feature race crown. Yamaha took ever win in every class in the debut season for MotoAmerica, only KTM breaking the streak with the spec singles class! The top works Yamaha racers used matching yellow and black “bumble bee” paint scheme for Sunday’s events only, celebrating the firms’ 60th race anniversary.
“I’m just speechless,” explained Beaubier from the podium. “My R1 has been rippin’ all year, it’s so fun to ride, and I can’t wait until next year.”
“Riding alongside Josh is awesome – he is the first guy I want to beat, and he is a true Champion,” said Beaubier of his 40 year old team-mate and outgoing Champion Hayes.
“I talked a lot of trash before these races about how I was gonna win them, and I thought I might have to eat some crow,” smiled double victor Hayes. “I found myself in the right place again, even with all that pressure from Roger. I am so proud to win ten races on the year, that is more than half of them, and I’m going to kick Cam’s butt so bad next year.”
The Superstock class title already belonged to Red Bull Roadrace Factory Yamaha R1 pilot Jake Gagne, and Gagne confirmed his star status with a solid third overall, taking the Superstock victory. Next on the road was third overall Taylor Knapp, second in Superstock, battling with third Superstock finisher Joshua Day. Yamaha swept the Supersport podium with their new-in-2015 R1.
Earlier in the day, Hayes had won the red flag interrupted penultimate race in the Feature class, in a day interrupted by some rain and very high winds. In an event that wound up getting scored after 14 of a scheduled 25 laps, fast starter Hayes held off Beaubier for victory, although neither racer knew it was the final lap!
Hayden was third overall in the opener, while Gagne was just four seconds back to win the Superstock division. Kyle Wyman was fifth on his Yamaha, second in Superstock, with Day going 6th overall, third in class.
Reigning Mopar CSBK overall Canadian National Champion Jordan Szoke was 15th overall in the first Feature race, placing Szoke 9th in the Superstock division, after a hectic race. Szoke retired on the first lap of race two, a frustrating end to his record-setting 2015 campaign with the Express Lane/Joe Rocket/BMW Motorrad S1000RR.
In support race action, former American Superbike Champion Josh Herrin won the Supersport closer on a dry track for the Wheels in Motion Yamaha squad, coming on top of a wild battle with team-mate Joe Roberts and Garrett Gerloff’s works Yamalube Yamaha YZF-R6. J.D. Beach, who had already clinched the Supersport title for Yamaha, wound up fourth, at the back of the fight for first. Canadian rising star Ben Young was ninth on a Hindle-backed Yamaha.
In Bazzaz Superstock 600 race two, Bryce Prince took victory by more than 12 seconds from Travis Wyman, both on Yamaha YZF-R6s. Ruthless Racing’s B.C. based Darren James retired his Yamaha mid-race, while Quebec-based rookie Pro Stacey Nesbitt did not start with her Honda.
Sunday, 13 September 2015 17:14 Published in News