The Mission King Of The Baggers series is back in action this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as part of the GEICO Motorcycle MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest At Monterey. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
So what class features the closest title fight as the 2022 MotoAmerica Championship heads to WeatherTech Raceway for the GEICO Motorcycle MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest At Monterey? Well, that would be the SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup Championship with just eight points separating the top four riders – and just 19 points separating the top five – in the class where youth is most definitely served.
The Yuasa Stock 1000 class is also anyone’s title with 10 points separating the top three; the Mission King Of The Baggers class returns to the racetrack at Laguna with eight points separating the top three; and just four points separate the three riders at the top in the Roland Sands Design’s Super Hooligan National Championship.
So how important is the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca round as the MotoAmerica Championship barrels into its second half? Read on.
SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup – It’s A Rodio At The Top
Rodio Racing/Warhorse HSBK Racing’s Gus Rodio didn’t start his 2022 Junior Cup campaign with a flurry, but he did make sure he put gobs of points in the bank until things turned around. And they have turned around. After starting the season with a pair of fifths and a fourth-place finish, Rodio has been on a tear of late with five podiums in a row, including his lone victory coming two weeks ago at Ridge Motorsports Park.
His consistency, speed and zero non-finishes (the only rider in the class to pocket points in every race) has Rodio at the top of the SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup Championship, albeit by just two points in what is the most hotly contested points battle in the series.
Rodio leads Alpha Omega’s Cody Wyman and SportbikeTrackGear.com’s Joseph LiMandri Jr. by just two points with those two tied for second. Wyman is the class leader with three wins, but an off weekend in the Pacific Northwest knocked Wyman out of the points lead. LiMandri, like Rodio, has had the hot hand of late with four podiums in a row, including his lone victory at Road America.
Hot off her first career MotoAmerica victory is Kayla Yaakov, and she comes to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca just eight points out of the championship lead and hungry for more wins.
Yuasa Stock 1000 – Alexander vs. Gillim vs. Wyman
Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander has won every race that he’s finished in the Yuasa Stock 1000 class in 2022 and those four wins have him atop the championship point standings. Alexander’s bogey on his scorecard came at VIR when he crashed in qualifying and suffered a concussion that kept him out of the two races.
Those two races were won by Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim and the pair arrives on the Monterey Peninsula just eight points apart. Next up, and just 10 points behind his points-leading teammate, is Travis Wyman. Wyman has finished every single round thus far (with four podiums) and he’s likely to stick around for the long haul and fight for this championship.
Wyman’s confidence should also be buoyed coming into the Laguna round by the fact that he beat Alexander by .032 of a second last year to win the race. Gillim, meanwhile, was off the couch for the weekend but racing in the Mission King Of The Baggers class and not Stock 1000.
Forty-one riders have entered the Yuasa Stock 1000 class for Laguna.
Mission King Of The Baggers: Indian vs. Harley
The Indian vs. Harley-Davidson rivalry in the MotoAmerica paddock isn’t a made-up public relations ploy. It’s real. And it picks back up this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with Sunday’s eight-lap finale that will mark the fifth race of the series.
Leading the way in the title chase is Mission Foods/S&S Cycle/Indian Challenger Team’s Tyler O’Hara with the Petaluma resident making the 150-mile drive south with a seven-point lead over his teammate Jeremy McWilliams, the Ulsterman making the 5000-mile trip from Belfast second in the championship with a victory and three other podiums to his credit.
O’Hara leads the championship by virtue of a victory, a second, a third and a fourth – in that order – from the first four races.
The first of the Harleys is the HD Screamin’ Eagle Road Glide ridden by Travis Wyman, the Las Vegas resident taking his first win in the class the last time out at Road America. Travis Wyman has also finished all four races and it’s him and not his brother, defending series champion Kyle, who sits just eight points behind O’Hara.
Kyle Wyman’s defense of his Baggers title is all about a comeback has he fights to gain back the points from his non-finish in race two at Daytona International Speedway. Since Daytona, Kyle Wyman has finished first and second at Road Atlanta and Road America. Kyle is 13 points behind O’Hara as he comes to the track where he won his championship a season ago.
Two riders are tied for fifth and they are the two Vance & Hines Harley riders – James Rispoli and Taylor Knapp. Rispoli showed he had the pace of the top four at Road Atlanta when he finished second to Kyle Wyman. Knapp, meanwhile, has been the more consistent of the two with three fifths and a sixth in the four races.
REV’IT! Twins Cup – Barry’s Blight
Veloce Racing’s Jody Barry was running away with the 2022 REV’IT! Twins Cup Championship right up until the time that he wasn’t. That time was at the last round at Ridge Motorsports Park when he scuttled away with just 13 points from the two races while Rodio Racing/Warhorse HSBK Racing’s Anthony Mazziotto filled his pockets with 50 points, thus gaining 37 on Barry.
And just like that we have a battle for the REV’IT! Twins Cup Championship.
Cycle Tech’s Hayden Schultz is third, 39 points behind Barry and 17 ahead of N2 Racing/BobbleHeadMoto’s Blake Davis, the two men who won races at Daytona but haven’t won since. The top four in the championship are also the four who have won races in 2022: Barry (four), Mazziotto (two), Schultz (one) and Davis (one).
A rider to keep your eye on at WeatherTech Raceway in Twins Cup may be Team Yoshimura’s Ari Henning, the racing journalist set to compete on a highly visible and technically tricked-out Yamaha YZF-R7 straight from Yoshimura’s race shop.
Supersport – All Herrin
Sixty-eight points is a big lead at the end of the season. At the halfway mark, it’s massive. With four rounds and eight races in the bank, Josh Herrin and his Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC Panigale V2 is 68 points ahead of his nearest competitor after winning five of the eight races held thus far in 2022. He’s also finished every race and has been on the podium in every round bar one – and that was a fourth-place finish in race one at VIR.
If beating Herrin elsewhere has been difficult, beating him at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca may be impossible. Let’s not forget that it’s one of Herrin’s favorites. Oh, yeah, and he’s also the outright Superbike lap record holder at the circuit.
It’s the battle for second in the title chase that will likely bring the suspense in Supersport and right now it’s Landers Racing’s Rocco Landers holding that spot with finishes in every round and four podiums.
Landers is just three points clear of Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Tyler Scott, the rookie winning his first race in the class at Road America and scoring podium finishes in three other races.
N2 Racing/BobbleHeadMoto’s Kevin Olmedo has also finished in the points in every race and he’s coming off his first podium of the year at Ridge a few weeks ago. Olmedo is 15 points behind Scott and just five ahead of Sam Lochoff. Lochoff, however, will miss the Laguna round after undergoing surgery on a fractured ankle. He will be replaced on the second Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki for the weekend, though no announcement has been made yet.
Roland Sands Design’s Super Hooligan National Championship – DiBrino, Barely
Last year, Andy DiBrino and Chris Fillmore battled to the bitter end in the Roland Sands Design’s Super Hooligan National Championship race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with Fillmore winning by just .045 of a second. Since then, Fillmore has gone back to his day job at KTM and DiBrino has made hay while the sun has shined to lead this year’s championship heading to Monterey.
Guess what? Now he must face Fillmore again. And this race will mark the series finale for the series so there’s plenty to play for.
With a day of Supermoto practice under his belt, Fillmore makes his return to racing on his KTM 890 Duke R and will more than likely face-off against JLC Concrete/KTM/DiBrino Racing’s Andy DiBrino and his similar Duke.
Saddlemen/Lloyd’z Garage’s Cory West is the rider closest to DiBrino in the 2022 title chase and he’s only three points behind with a victory at Road Atlanta. West, in turn, is just one point ahead of Roland Sands Design’s Tyler O’Hara, the third of the three riders to score victory in 2022. O’Hara will be aboard his RSD Indian FTR1200.
The consistent Nate Kern sits fourth in the championship, 26 points behind after a fourth and two fifth-place finishes. Then comes O’Hara’s teammate Jeremy McWilliams, the Ulsterman missing Daytona but finishing fourth and second at Road Atlanta.
Pre-Race WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Support Class Notes…
As noted above, one of the closest of all the races last year at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca was the Roland Sands Design’s Super Hooligan National Championship race between Chris Fillmore and Andy DiBrino. The race was hotly contested and ultimately won by Fillmore by just .045 of a second.
Sean Dylan Kelly won both Supersport races at Laguna Seca last year, besting his rival Richie Escalante in both. Kelly went on to win the Supersport Championship and now races as a teammate to Cameron Beaubier on the American Racing team in the Moto2 World Championship. Escalante, meanwhile, has moved to the Medallia Superbike class on a Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki.
The Twins Cup race last year was won by Kaleb De Keyrel over Anthony Mazziotto and Jody Barry. The top three were covered by just 1.071 seconds at the conclusion of their 13-lap race.
Travis Wyman rode his BMW to victory in the Yuasa Stock 1000 race in 2021 by just .032 of a second over Corey Alexander. Jake Lewis, meanwhile, was third and only .286 behind with less than a second covering first to fourth-placed Andrew Lee. Lee wasn’t slated to ride Stock 1000 this year, but he’s signed up to replace the injured Michael Gilbert on the Cycle World/Octane/Chuckwalla Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 for the Laguna round.
Both SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup races a year ago were won by Tyler Scott, the youngster who would go on to take the title. Scott, who now races in the Supersport class, topped Benjamin Gloddy in both races. Gloddy now competes in the REV’IT Twins Cup Championship.
Kyle Wyman beat Tyler O’Hara by 4.3 seconds to win the Mission King Of The Baggers Race in 2022 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. With the win, Wyman sealed the championship.
One thing to watch for this weekend is the lap times of the Mission King Of The Baggers as lap records have tumbled at each of the rounds so far in 2022. Last year, O’Hara qualified on pole at Laguna with a 1:32.327 but that was bettered by Kyle Wyman’s 1:31.983 during the race.
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