Kelly, Lewis, Hobbs And Gloddy Emerge Victorious At VIR
Sean Dylan Kelly (40) held off the advances of Benjamin Smith (88) and Stefano Mesa (37) to win the Supersport race at VIR on Saturday. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Sean Dylan Kelly continues to strike while the iron is hot, the Floridian keeping his perfect season alive with another MotoAmerica Supersport victory with this one coming after a closely fought battle at VIRginia International Raceway.
While Kelly remains the only unbeaten rider in the 2021 MotoAmerica Series, Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis became a first-time winner in the Stock 1000 class, the former MotoAmerica Superbike rider ending a winless drought that dates back to 2017.
In the other support classes, it was a case of repeat winners as Ben Gloddy earned his second win of the season in the SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup race; and Teagg Hobbs emerged victorious from a brawl in Twins Cup for the second straight race.
Supersport: Kelly Remains Perfect
Sean Dylan Kelly is on a roll. The M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider had a perfect weekend in round one at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, earning the pole and winning both races, and he also earned the pole on Saturday at VIR, then followed up his number-one starting position with the win in Saturday afternoon’s race one. And he did it in dominant fashion, leading the 19-lap race from start to finish.
Stefano Mesa crashed his MESA37 Racing Kawasaki during morning final qualifying, but he managed to get his bike repaired and set aside the pain in his bruised body to take second in the race after a heated battle with North East Cycle Outlet Racing’s Benjamin Smith. The Yamaha rider and former KTM RC Cup Champion was delighted to get his first podium result in MotoAmerica’s middleweight class.
“First of all, happy to be in the P1 spot again,” Kelly said. “For sure this was a little bit of a different race than Atlanta in one way. Honestly, I’m happy about this because I came into the weekend with a bit more question marks. As I said on the podium, I was actually in bed for the last two weeks after Atlanta. So obviously that kind of screws with you mentally and I wasn’t really sure how I was going to show up here. Feeling good to be able to get through it. The heat really wasn’t helping, but I’m not one to talk. Stefano (Mesa) is hurt, Richie’s (Escalante) hurt, so those guys are in worse positions than me, I think. Either way, we came in here working. Ben (Smith) has been doing really good. Congrats to him for his first podium and also Stefano, just to finally be back on the podium together after Indy last year. It’s been definitely a tough race. I actually had no idea what the gap was. I was confused with the board and the information the team was giving me. I didn’t know if it was zero seconds or .2 seconds or two seconds or 20 seconds. I had no idea. I could only see twos. But I looked back with five laps to go and I saw that it was a little bit of a distance, but they were right there. So, I tried to be as consistent as I could. Honestly speaking, I didn’t feel as good as I was expecting. I thought the pace was going to be a little bit better from my point of view. I’m going to do my homework. I know there’s some things to improve to get that pace better, or more as I was expecting. Just going to do our homework and come back stronger and recover for tomorrow. Just got to thank my team and everyone around me for making this happen.”
Twins Cup: Hobbs Again!
Saturday’s Twins Cup race one was a close-fought contest throughout the 13-lap event. In the end, it was Innovative Motorsports/Mike’s Imports Suzuki rider Teagg Hobbs who got the victory, which was his second win in three races thus far. Second place went to Jackson Blackmon Racing Yamaha’s Jackson Blackmon, who missed round one at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta due to injury. GCP Suzuki rider Chris Parrish, who lent one of his spare engines to race winner Hobbs after Hobbs’ own engine expired at the beginning of Friday’s morning practice session, finished third.
“Overall, I cannot complain, said Hobbs. “Yesterday, it didn’t even look like we were going to have a bike to ride. I owe it all to Chris Parrish. I wouldn’t be in the race today if it wasn’t for him. I owe it all to Team Hammer and Innovative Motorsports, too. They did so much work on my bike today and yesterday. I felt so bad. So, to reward them with a win feels really good. I knew I needed to just ride a clean race in order to try and make it on the podium. Our main goal is just points for the championship. We already have one DNF this year, so I know we needed to cross the line. It’s just a plus that we were able to make a few moves to get us across the line first. It was a weird race. I’ve never really ridden with Jackson (Blackmon) on a Twins Cup bike. We don’t have much time together riding. So, I had to look at his moves, his lines, his brakemarkers. I knew I could draft him on the straight, but I didn’t think I could do it until the line. So, I tried to get in front and make as much of a mad dash as I could, and it seemed to work out. Still got a lot of work to do for tomorrow. It’s back to the drawing board and see if we can make it a double.”
Stock 1000: Lewis Ends Drought
In Stock 1000 race one, Altus Motorsports Suzuki’s Jake Lewis was victorious after only his third race back from a nearly-year-long MotoAmerica hiatus. The Kentuckian started from the pole but was overtaken by HONOS HVMC Racing Kawasaki’s Corey Alexander. Lewis regained the lead on lap 10 and held his advantage all the way to the checkered flag in the 14-lap event.
Alexander maintained his position in second to finish as runner-up, and third place went to Geoff May Racing/VisionWheel.com Honda rider Geoff May, the Georgian finishing on the podium for the second race in a row.
“It feels amazing, honestly,” Lewis said. “I think it has been since 2017 that I won a race, and even at that point that’s when I was doing Stock 1000 with Superbike, so even though it was a win, it really kind of didn’t feel like a win. So, it feels amazing to win a race outright. It was a hell of a battle with Geoff (May) and Corey (Alexander). I knew the pace was going to be high because qualifying we didn’t get many laps, so we couldn’t really tell everybody’s potential but at the beginning Corey was running really well. I was kind of just sitting there because obviously with the heat and the conditions we were both sliding around. Geoff was really strong racing into turn one and he got by me. I think us three were just kind of pacing each other. I think it was about eight laps to go, maybe six laps to go, I wanted to try to make my way to the front just in case of a red flag. I knew we were going to catch the lappers, so just in case of that I was like, this was my time. I was a little bit stronger in that left-hander and honestly just put a block pass on Corey and he had a couple of sections that he was a little bit faster. I knew Geoff was back there and trying to put the hammer down. It was weird because the last two laps, I knew the white flag and my pit board said only one lap to go, but I didn’t get the white flag, so I don’t know if we did an extra lap or not because I was just so focused to actually know if I had the white flag, honestly. Just kept going until I saw the checkered flag. It was pretty hairy that last lap. I stuffed a lapper in the double apex right coming on the straightaway because I was like, if Corey’s here I’m going to need a draft so if I chop this dude’s front wheel off, maybe Corey can’t get by me. Luckily it worked out. It just feels amazing. Big thank you to George and Janette Nassaney with Altus Motorsports for getting me back in the paddock and on a great bike.”
SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup: Gloddy Escapes With Win
In what was arguably the best race of the day, MotoAmerica’s entry-level class, SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup, featured a tight battle between the top six riders. Landers Racing Kawasaki’s Ben Gloddy withstood a strong challenge from Veloce Racing Kawasaki’s David Kohlstaedt and Scott Powersports KTM’s Tyler Scott. At the checkers, Gloddy took his second win of the season by a scant .115 of a second over Kohlstaedt, who in turn, took the runner-up spot by just .134 over Scott, who finished third.
“Those last few corners were pretty insane,” said Gloddy. “I got swallowed up going into the turn before you come down the hill. I was going for that win. I was going to do kind of anything it took to get there. I went around the outside of one rider going down the hill and it was able to set me up perfect to get a double draft to the line. I was pretty worried honestly that I was going to get drafted. Luckily it didn’t happen. I think I’m going to go hop in the pool now.”
For full results, visit https://motoamerica.com/standings/