story and photos by Adam Weege
Wisconsin’s beautiful, four-mile-long Road America natural road course hosted Round 2 of the 2020 MotoAmerica motorcycle road racing series, and Eatmyink’s Adam Weege was on top of it!
The HONOS Superbike class took to the track for their first session and the track was at its prime—hot and optimal for the 200+hp superbikes.
Kyle Wyman made an early mistake on his KATO Fastening KWR Ducati V4R. A slow low side left the Ducati without bodywork but the KWR crew got it back together for the second session.
Four-time MotoAmerica Superbike series champ Cameron Beaubier was the man to beat. Near the end of the first session he set the outright motorcycle lap time record of 2:10.9 and blew everyone out of the water. The next fastest rider was 2.4 seconds back.
The Superbikes took to the track again after rain passed through. Only seven of the twelve riders went out in Qualifying Practice Two. Bobby Fong took the most advantage of the half wet half dry track, completing fourteen laps. But it was his teammate—2017 Superbike champ Toni Elias—that topped the times on his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSXR-1000. Kyle Wyman was only three tenths down.
These high revving 600cc middleweight motorcycles were pushing hard on Friday to squeeze every millisecond out of their laps times. The field of twenty-one supersport motorcycles spent every second of their two-sessions playing catch up to one man on a fast charge. That man was Richie Escalante on his HONOS Kawasaki ZX-6R. Richie had all the riders on edge as he was pushing for fourteen laps in the first session topping the boards five tenths ahead of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki of Sean Dylan Kelly, and just one-tenth down from Sean was the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Moto-3 Champion Brandon Paasch.
Qualifying number one went down the same way as morning practice with Richie on top, Sean Dylan Kelly close behind, and Brandon Paasch on his Celtic HSBK Racing Yamaha R6. From just the two Friday sessions it was easy to tell who the top three would be all weekend.
The Stock 1000 class consists of twenty-two riders all riding basically bone stock 1000cc motorcycles. The riders are allowed to have aftermarket exhausts, a factory race ECU, adjustable suspension, and a few other minor upgrades to enhance performance. These riders have to work hard on the stock machines to put up good lap times that sometimes rival the superbikes.
The Stock 1000 class had two sessions on Friday. In practice one, PJ Jacobsen took his Celtic HSBK Racing Ducati V4R to the front of the pack—even with an additional twenty-two pounds being added to the Italian machine. After round one of the Stock 1000 championship, MotoAmerica raised the minimum weight of the Ducati V4R due to the bike’s impressive speed. Yet the rest of the field was almost a second behind PJ.
The almost bone stock race bikes took to the track again in the afternoon. The track was wet due to some Wisconsin storms. Only seven of the stock 1000 riders went out on the damp four-mile track. To many peoples’ surprise, the Procomps Racing Team’s Danilo Lewis took his BMW S1000RR to the top spot. 2.3 seconds behind him was Stock 1000/Superbike rider Cameron Petersen on the Altus Motorsports GSXR-1000.
The Twins Cup class is a very unique class consisting of young and old riders. There were three motorcycles in competition for this particular class: the Suzuki SV650, the Yamaha FZ/MT-07, and one Kawasaki Ninja 650, with a lot of riders switching to the SV650 over the Yamaha because of its better handling through corners—although it lacks the speed of the 700cc Yamaha.
Practice session one for the Twins Cup started early in the morning and fifteen-year-old Rocco Landers came out of the pits late on his RoadRacing World SV650. Completing the least amount of laps of anybody, he set the fastest time—1.4 seconds ahead of his biggest competition Kaleb De Keyrel.
The second session for the Twins Cup came at the end of the day in a slight rain causing the times to slow down a tiny bit. Seven Twins Cup riders did not participate in the first qualifier. Included in that bunch was Rocco Landers. The 2018 Twins Cup champ Chris Parish took first place aboard his AP MotoArts Ghetto Customs Yamaha FZ/MT-07.
Liqui Moly Junior Cup
The first class to attack the track was the Liqui Moly Junior Cup. The track saw nineteen young riders going toe-to-toe in practice number one. This class consists mainly of Kawasaki Ninja 400s, one lone Yamaha R3 of Cody Wyman, and one Honda CBR500 of Cameron Jones. 2019 National Champion Rocco Landers set the fastest time on his Norton Motorsports Kawasaki Ninja 400R—a whole second ahead of second fastest Dominic Doyle.
Qualifying session number 1 for the Junior Cup came after lunch. The track saw heavy cloud cover for the whole session but saw the same two riders dominating the track. This time it was Dominic Doyle topping the timing sheets on his BARTCON Racing Kawasaki Ninja 400R—half a second faster than Landers.
FULL GALLERY OF DAY 1 PHOTOS:
The Superbikes saw the most track time of any class on Saturday with three sessions: Practice 3, Superpole, and Race 1. In Practice 3, the two factory teams topped the timing sheets with the reigning national champ Cameron Beaubier leading the way. Bobby Fong and Toni Elias followed in a close second and third on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSXR-1000’s. Three of the Stock 1000 riders showed their skills in superbike practice three riders: Cameron Petersen, Hunter Dunham, and Michael Gilbert.
Superbikes took to the track soon after practice 3 for Superpole, with nine of the fastest riders. To nobody’s surprise, Beaubier took first place, lowering the track record by almost three tenths. Close behind was Bobby Fong, and just behind Fong was Beaubiers teammate Jake Gagne. The Monster Energy Attack Performance team seems to have the 2020 Yamaha R1’s dialed in. Scheibe Racing’s Josh Herrin was a bit far down the timesheets on his BMW S1000RR, coming in eighth in the session.
Race one for the HONOS Superbike class got off to an electrifying start with Beaubier leading the pack through the entire race with no big slip-ups, letting him win his third race of the season six seconds ahead of Bobby Fong.
The big story of race one was the battle for third place between Toni Elias and Kyle Wyman. Kyle took third place from Toni under braking in the last lap. Toni got back about the Ducati of Wyman in one of the final turns under heavy braking. The lap before the battle for third reached turn twelve, stock 1000/Superbike rider Danilo Lewis had an unfortunate high side coming out of the corner. Toni did not realize there was a yellow flag when he squeezed underneath Wyman causing Wyman to finish third even though he finished behind Toni Elias.
This was a very exciting time for Wyman because it was his first Superbike podium since 2018. Wyman was thrilled, as he had been working hard to get his KATO Fastening KWR Ducati V4R to the top of the pack and to come at his favorite track on the calendar must have made it just that much sweeter. Toni would take another stab at it in race two on Sunday
The Stock 1000 motorcycles took to the track for only one session. Their second qualifying session was filled with fast lap times.
PJ Jacobsen took his Celtic HSBK Racing Ducati V4R to the top step. Coming in a second behind was the Ride HVMC Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R of Corey Alexander and three seconds back was Stefano Mesa on the MESA37 RACING Kawasaki ZX-10R. One rider that the track did not see was top stock 1000 contender Cameron Petersen. Most of these riders did however take place in the first Superbike race, because they have their own class within the Superbike class. Some of these riders gained a lot of knowledge in the race.
Stock 1000 Cup Race one info: This is a separate championship for the Stock 1000 riders to compete against the Superbikes in the same race PJ Jacobsen finished ninth overall in the Superbike race but he finished first of the Stock 1000 riders, increasing his lead in the Stock 1000 Cup championship.
The 600cc motorcycles took to the track late in the morning for their second qualifying session. The top three riders stayed relatively the same in terms of what positions they finished the second qualifier in. This time it was Sean Dylan Kelly getting pole position on his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSXR-600. On his last lap of the thirty-minute session, Sean topped the sheets less than a tenth ahead of the HONOS Kawasaki of Richie Escalante. Brandon Paasch was one and a half seconds behind Sean, leaving him third on the grid for the first race later in the day.
Race one for the Supersport class was the last session the four-mile track saw on Saturday. The Nine lap race got off to a fast pace but was quickly stopped by a red flag due to a crash that happened at the end of lap one. Luckily the rider was able to walk away.
After about a ten-minute delay the race was restarted. Sean Dylan Kelly and Brandon Paasch got ahead of Richie Escalante. The riders hammered on for nine laps and Richie Escalante quickly got by the two in front of him on his very fast Kawasaki ZX-6R. Five of the nineteen riders did not finish the race, whether it was a crash or mechanical problems. But it was Escalante who took his third win of the 2020 season just three weeks after his first Supersport race win at round one on his HONOS Kawasaki ZX-6R. The two riders behind were Kelly and Paasch.
The twin-cylinder motorcycles only took to the track once on Saturday as their race was not until Sunday. The second qualifying session took place in the hot afternoon. The fifteen-year-old Rocco Landers took pole position on his Suzuki SV650. Nobody could get anywhere close to Roccos time of 2:27.4 Kaleb De Keyrel got second place on the starting grid for Sunday’s race two tenths behind Rocco. Taking the final place on the starting grid for the race was Robem Engineerings Jackson Blackmon on his Suzuki SV650.
Liqui Moly Junior Cup
The Junior Cup started the day off with their third session of the weekend, which was the second qualifying session for the small motorcycles. The timing sheets saw the same two up top. Dominic Doyle dominated the times coming in 1.2 seconds ahead of fifteen-year-old Rocco Landers. Coming in third on the timing sheets was Benjamin Gloddy.
The second session for the Liqui Moly Junior Cup was their first race for the weekend. As the starting grid formed and the revs climbed, the riders prepared for the seven-lap race. With these small motorcycles, the strategy for the race is to be in the lead pack to be able to draft past the competition in front of you down the three long straights that Road America has to offer.
The lead two riders broke away from the rest of the pack and set an early pace. Dominic Doyle and Rocco Landers battled every lap, with many lead changes throughout each lap. But it came right down to the line with Doyle winning the race with a margin of six-thousandths of a second ahead of Landers. The last spot on the podium was filled by the number 72 of Benjamin Gloddy on his Quarterley Racing/On Track Development Ninja 400.
FULL GALLERY OF DAY 2 PHOTOS:
Morning warmup saw the top three guys top the times with Cameron Beaubier fastest, Bobby Fong and Jake Gagne rounding out the top three.
The long twelve lap race started late in the day, with Beaubier jumping to an early lead and Fong, Gagne, Toni Elias, and Kyle Wyman following. On lap three, Wyman sent his Ducati V4R down the inside of Elias causing him to move up to fifth place.
But then on lap four, the unbelievable happened—Cameron Beaubier crashed! A bump in the first turn caught the champion by surprise. Cameron was able to pick the Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha R1 back up but he realized it was not worth it to ride the rest of the race, so pulled into the pits.
On lap eight, Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz took a bold move on the inside of Elias. The two riders touched, causing Toni to go down and lose a couple of places. He got right back up and managed to finish in seventh place, gaining valuable points after not finishing the first two races of the season. This incident between Scholtz and Elias left the Ducati V4R of Kyle Wyman in third place with a comfortable gap to Scholtz.
For the rest of the race, Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha’s Gagne was chasing down the 2019 Supersport champion Fong. Not being able to catch Fong fast enough, Gagne finished second, which meant Bobby Fong was able to win his first-ever Superbike race and first win of the season for the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki crew.
Wyman held off a hard-charging Mathew Scholtz to take his third ever podium and the second podium for the weekend on his KATO Fastening KWR Ducati V4R. Being the team owner and working so hard to get the Ducati to the front of the Superbike pack, two podiums only in the second round must feel great.
A good finish for Josh Herrin on the Scheibe Racing BMW S1000RR after trying out a new swingarm Josh finished fifth place a good finish for him and the team. The two factory Yamahas walked away with positions one and two in the championship points. This is only round two and it is looking up to be a great season filled with awesome racing.
The morning warmup was red-flagged very early due to a crash. The warm-up resumed after a small delay, with Cameron Petersen topping the boards with 2019 Twins Cup Champion Alex Dumas close behind on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSXR-1000. PJ Jacobsen did not take part in the two Sunday sessions due to some burs he sustained on his arm. PJ received treatment and he is back home in New York hoping for a speedy recovery.
The very recently engaged Petersen gained an early advantage over the rest of the riders, leading him to his first Stock 1000 race win ever on the ALTUS Motorsports/Hagerty GSXR-1000.
The two riders behind Petersen battled for second place—Stefano Mesa and Michael Gilbert. Mesa came out on top, claiming his first Stock 1000 podium of 2020. Top Stock 1000 contender Corey Alexander fell back to almost dead last on the first lap due to a mistake or some sort of electronic error, but managed to gain valuable points by finishing in sixth place.
“After having a good start to the season, we were hopeful to improve our results during the second round here at Road America,” Alexander said in a rideHVMC press release. “Unfortunately, we battled a lot of issues with shifting and the transmission, which hurt our progress. Ultimately I’m happy to have had another top ten finish in Superbike and salvage some points in Stock 1000, but bummed to not be fighting with Cam for the win. Special thanks to New Rage Cycles for coming on and supporting us this weekend. It wouldn’t be possible without their support!”
Cameron Petersen heads into round two with the points lead—a good start to the season for the South African rider.
Supersport warmup saw the same three frontrunners running the fastest times of the fifteen-minute session. Richie Escalante was one and a half seconds faster than Celtic HSBK Racings Brandon Paasch, Escalante was two and a half seconds faster than Suzukie’s Sean Dylan Kelly. Sean’s teammate Lucas Silva came in fifth place in the warmup session, which is a very good position for him, and boosted his confidence for the race.
The fourteen turn road course saw the same three riders out front, pulling away early in race two. By the end of the race, HONOS Kawasaki rider Richie Escalante had pulled out a five-second lead, causing him to snatch his fourth win in a row for the 2020 season.
The battle for second was close the whole race, and the difference between Sean Dylan Kelly and Brandon Paasch came down to less than five-hundredths of a second. with Sean getting second place. The rest of the field was far behind the top three.
Escalante walks away from Road America round two with two wins and the championship points lead.
Eighteen of the twenty-eight riders went out to the morning warmup session completing around five laps each. Rocco Landers showed the best of his SV650 and got the best time of the session, with Chris Parish and Jackson Blackmon around a second behind.
The only race for the Twins Cup took place on Sunday—an eight-lap shootout between the nineteen riders was exhilarating. A group of three pulled away early—Landers, Kaleb De Keyrel, and Blackmon. A slight mistake coming out of a slow turn caused Blackmon to lose the rear and crash out of the race.
This left the race for third place a close battle between four riders. Positions one and two were secured twenty-two seconds ahead of the battle for third, which came right down to the line. But it was the Brittenum Construction/Hayden Schultz Racing Yamaha of Hayden Schultz who took that coveted third spot.
De Keyrel came out of Road America round two with a nine-point lead over first-time twins cup race winner Landers.
Liqui Moly Junior Cup
The morning warmup saw most of the Junior Cup riders laying down fast times. Rocco Landers was the fastest of the session with Dominic Doyle about half a second slower. 1.9 seconds behind Rocco was Celtic HSBK Racings’s Samuel Lochoff. The Kawasaki Ninja 400’s seemed to be unmatched all weekend long.
The second race for the Liqui Moly Junior Cup saw some different results with an early lead group of three riders—Landers, Doyle, and Benjamin Gloddy—seemed to be breaking away in the early stages of the race. Rocco and Dominic started to pull away from Benjamin. Gloddy eventually got passed by the red Ninja 400 of Samuel Lochoff.
The lead two had pulled out a sixteen-second gap to Samuel by the end of the race but it came down to the wire between Rocco and Dominic, with Rocco finishing seven-hundredths of a second ahead of Dominic. Rocco claimed that after the race one the team discovered they had a bent frame, so maybe it was the freshly rebuilt bike that pushed him to his first junior Cup win of the 2020 season. But it was the battle for sixth place that everyone was watching—four riders fought to the line all finishing within two-tenths of each other.
Dominic Doyle walked away from Wisconsin with one win and the Championship points lead.
FULL GALLERY OF DAY 3 PHOTOS: