Close Racing Is The MotoAmerica Order Of The Day At VIR
Josh Herrin (2) leads Josh Hayes (4) and Tyler Scott (70) en route to victory in an extremely close and action-packed Supersport race at VIR on Sunday.
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Five races were held in support of the premiere MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike series on Sunday at VIRginia International Raceway. The average margin of victory for those five races was 1.3 seconds. Throw away Hayden Gillim’s “runaway” win of 5.5 seconds in the Yuasa Stock 1000 race and that average margin drops to an incredible .25 of a second.
The closest finish was in the Supersport class with Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Josh Herrin beating Squid Hunter’s Josh Hayes by just .032 of a second in a race that featured over 20 leader changes in its 19 laps.
Yuasa Stock 1000 – Gillim Does It Again
The final day of Superbikes at Virginia kicked off with Yuasa Stock 1000 race two, and Disrupt Racing Suzuki rider Hayden Gillim made the most of the weekend. The Kentuckian won both Yuasa Stock 1000 races in an impressive performance for the veteran rider who has returned to MotoAmerica in 2022 as a full-time racer after an extended hiatus. Gillim overcame a few bike “gremlins” during the early part of the race, but the technical issue resolved itself, and he was able to go to the front and stay there.
VisionWheel/DiscountTire/KWS Honda’s Geoff May finished second, a little over five-and-a-half seconds behind Gillim. The surprise of the day was Uruguayan rider Maximiliano Gerardo, who made the first podium visit of his MotoAmerica career after finishing third aboard his PDR Motorsports Kawasaki.
“It was a pretty good start,” Gillim said. “I was right there with the guys and made a couple passes on the first lap. I don’t know what happened when we were coming down the front straight on lap two or something. I started coming through the kink, and the bike just shut off on me. I was giving it gas, giving it gas, trying to get it to go again. I was worried that the guys were going to smoke me from behind. Then, all of a sudden, it took off. Then, I made it another lap around, get into the kink, and it shuts off again. It did it a couple laps in a row, and then one lap, it did it to me coming down the little short-chute down into seven. I ended up breaking the windscreen with my helmet. All of a sudden, I started short-shifting into sixth going into the kink. I don’t know why. I don’t know what was going on. Once I kind of got it sorted out, I knew just from having to catch up in the infield that I had a little bit of pace. Bike was feeling really good. Yesterday, I had a little bit of front-end chatter and we ended up going to the hard front tire today, the 7455 that Dunlop has. That fixed a lot of it for us. It just felt more stable under braking. That’s where I felt really good, was under the brakes. I ended up getting out front and just tried to push. I dropped the lap times a little bit, and then all of a sudden, the pit board showed plus three. I could see the screen over here in turn five or whatever and I came through there the next lap, and I saw Michael (Gilbert) walking. I ended up seeing that he had crashed. From there, I just tried to manage it and make sure to bring it home. It’s a long season, and to bring home two wins is awesome for the team.”
Royal Enfield’s Build. Train Race. – Buyck Wins In Debut
Royal Enfield’s Build. Train Race. program had its first road race of the 2022 season, and Kayleigh Buyck was the standout of the weekend. The Central New Yorker led every practice session, both qualifying sessions, and she won the race by just a little over eight-tenths of a second over runner-up Crystal Martinez who made great strides in her riding over the course of the weekend. Third-place finisher Chloe Peterson also lowered her lap times dramatically over the weekend, and she was delighted to make it onto the podium.
“From day one in Roadracing World, they were all just posting articles about pole position,” Buyck said. “It does add a lot of stress. I know so many people here that came out to watch. That’s added stress. It just makes you that much more nervous. I’m grateful to have that many people behind me, supporting me, cheering me on, but at the same time just don’t talk to me until after the race weekend. It’s cool to see all the postings and everything. This whole program is going to make females in the sport. I feel like a lot of people don’t understand that we built the bikes ourselves. We put so much into this that some of the other racers don’t. We get a bike stock delivered in the box and we have to strip it down and build it to the race spec. So, I feel like a lot of people don’t understand the work that we have all put in to be here today. Sweat, blood, tears. Every single female here deserves to be up on the podium. They’ve worked so hard to get here today. My crash this morning was pretty rough. That took a toll. My elbow is hurting pretty bad. It set in like halfway through the race that I started to get sore. Eric busted his butt with me to get the bike back together, so it’s not as pretty anymore but it got the job done. All the mechanics, we had someone blow a motor this weekend. They deserve way more credit I think than they get, swapping motors during the day. We got my bike from trashed to being able to put it on the box within a couple hours. So, I’m so thankful for them. I know these girls are too. The whole program, thanks everyone for watching. Definitely helps and makes us feel a lot better about ourselves.”
SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup – Van Wins, Then DQd
SportbikeTrackGear.com Kawasaki rider Max Van is having a breakthrough season in the STG Junior Cup Championship. He won one of the Junior Cup races at Road Atlanta to start the season, and then, he followed that up by winning Saturday’s race one at VIR. In Sunday’s race two, he got the victory again, this time by just three-tenths of a second over Alpha Omega Kawasaki rider Cody Wyman, who came back from a crash in race one to land on the middle step of the podium on Sunday. Third place went to Calishine Racing Kawasaki rider Aden Thao, who reached the podium for the first time in his MotoAmerica career at Atlanta and repeated the feat at VIR.
“I felt like I had really good pace throughout the race,” Van said. “Towards the end, I started to make a couple mistakes because I was figuring out where do I want to be on the last lap. I tried a couple things and there were a couple laps coming across the line when I was leading out of the last corner that Kayla (Yaakov), Cody, nobody could draft me, then there were some times that I could. So, I knew I had to get a good drive. Towards the end of the race, I made a mistake. I almost high-sided twice. I felt like that set me back a little bit, but who knows? It could have done me good. I had a good drag coming out of the front straightaway. Going into the kink, I saw Cody try to come around the outside of me. I was like, ‘All right, let’s get a little close and see what we can do,’ and that’s what we did. I just want to say thank you to my whole team for putting a great bike underneath me all weekend. It handled great. This morning I had a little get-off. I didn’t even make a lap in warmup. My dad threw the bike together. Same with my crew member, Dave. Threw it together in less than two hours. I’m very thankful for them. I can’t wait for Road America.”
UPDATE: Following a post-race technical inspection, Max Van’s Kawasaki was found to be illegal, and he was subsequently disqualified. As a result, Cody Wyman was declared the winner of Sunday’s Junior Cup race two, Aden Thao was moved up to second, and Gus Rodio was credited with third.
Supersport – Herrin’s Redemption
After an eventful Supersport race one on Saturday, in which Squid Hunter Yamaha’s Josh Hayes notched his 84th all-time AMA win after battling with Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Josh Herrin, the two combatants were back on Sunday for race two. This time around, Herrin and Hayes swapped positions at the front without incident. Herrin prevailed over his former teammate Hayes and took the checkers just three-tenths of a second over Hayes. Sixteen-year-old phenom Tyler Scott, meanwhile, had another great result, finishing on the podium for the second day in a row aboard his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki and raising a few eyebrows about the level of talent in the young man.
“Yesterday, I think I just was mad at myself for the mistake that I made going into one. I was bummed at Josh (Hayes) in the moment for the pass going into one,” Herrin said. “I felt like he came over to the left on me. That, to me, is the hardest thing to do to somebody. I would only do that to him whenever I’m really angry. In his eyes maybe he didn’t, but maybe he backed into me. I thought it was like that. I said some stuff in the moment that I shouldn’t have said. Josh is a legend of the sport, and I should just show respect for him and know that he wasn’t doing anything malicious, because he’s never done that to me before in the last ten years. Then when I got back to the hotel, I was just getting blown up by stuff on social media about the pass on (Sam) Lochoff, and Brandon Paasch running his mouth like he does nonstop all the time. Lochoff posting stuff about me. Got people texting me. It’s impossible for me to ever put my phone down. I really need to work on that. Today I just used it to fuel the fire a little bit, and it seemed like it paid off. It was good seeing him as far back as he was. It’s not fun coming to Race Control and having to deal with stuff like that in the morning right before the race. It’s funny. The team that was complaining about it is the same team that, 15 years ago, was purposely T-boning me all the time on the track, and now they’re the ones that are complaining when I think it was a safe pass. MotoAmerica removes the announcing of Pridmore talking about how clean the pass was just to get a reaction out of the fans, and it frustrated me. But, today was great. I’m super happy that we were able to get to win because yesterday was tough. Like I said on the podium, Josh has been somebody that’s waxed me my whole career. It’s been a lot of lucky wins for me. No matter what anybody says or no matter how close we got last year, it’s just something that fuels me all the time. When he’s here, especially when I listened to his podcast on Friday and he said that the lap times weren’t impressive at Road Atlanta, it just got me bummed out and wanted to come here and get a fight. We got one today. I’m happy that it was clean and fun. I hope these guys keep coming because it’s good for the series, it’s good for the class. Josh is a fan favorite for sure and brings a lot of people out to the races. Thank you to my team and thank you to KATO fasteners for being a big support for us. This is their local race. I’m bummed they didn’t get to make it out. Can’t wait to go to Road America.”
Twins Cup – Barry Perfect
Veloce Racing Aprilia’s Jody Barry was another rider who had a perfect weekend. The Illinois-based rider won Twins Cup race one on Saturday, and then, he repeated the feat with another win on Sunday despite being punted off the track by Teagg Hobbs after the race was red-flagged by another incident. Barry shared the podium with the same two riders as he did in race one, but the order of finish was swapped. Cycle Tech teammates Hayden Schultz and James Rispoli finished second and third, respectively, after Rispoli was second and Schultz was third on Saturday.
“First race stint, I didn’t have a quick shifter, so I completely botched the start, which caused me to get caught up around the fifth-place area. Everybody was drafting and out-braking each other. It was a blast. Going into turn one, James came up the inside of a couple guys, so I let him do his thing, and then next thing you know, I just got taken out by Teagg. Kind of a bummer. I was super fortunate. I hope everybody is okay from the red flag, but I was super fortunate that they threw the red flag so I could get the bike back in and the crew could get it back going. We only really got one lap in the first stint, but as far as front-end grip goes, the track was really greasy. Front end grip was a little different for me. Whether that had anything to do with the crash, I couldn’t really say right now. But it all worked out for the best, I guess.”
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