The following is from Westby Racing…
The season-debut race day for the expanded two-rider Westby Racing team–competing at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in round one of the MotoAmerica Road Racing Championship–yielded a Superpole podium result and a fourth-place Superbike Race 1 finish for 2018 MotoAmerica Superbike Rookie-of-the-Year Mathew Scholtz, along with a podium result in Junior Cup Race 1 for new team recruit Samurai Sam Lochoff.
Mathew was third after Friday’s Superbike qualifying practice sessions, which earned him a berth in Saturday’s Superpole event. And then, on the softer qualifying tires, he put himself on the Superpole podium with a third-fastest lap time of 1:24.521.
Starting from the front row of the grid for Superbike Race 1, the “Durban Dynamo” got a decent jump off the line and was among the frontrunners in the race. Unfortunately, as the laps wound down, the rear tire on Mathew’s #11 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 began to develop an issue, which created chatter in the chassis and affected his laptimes. Despite the problem, Mathew kept himself in sight of the race leaders and took the checkers in fourth place with a gap of some 24 seconds over the fifth-place finisher.
“The Friday practices went really well for us,” commented Mathew. “On Friday night, we worked on the corner-by-corner settings for the electronics to try to get the bike really dialed in. This morning, things looked really good. We were up there with the factory boys, pace-wise, so I knew for the race that we’d kind of be battling up front. In Superpole, Dunlop had a new tire that we had to get used to, so I was really happy that we got on the podium for that event and would be able to start on the front row for the first race of 2019. In the first couple laps of the race, I felt really good. I was kind of biding my time and trying to conserve the tire. The pace wasn’t that fast because there was a lot of passing and holding each other up. After a couple of guys crashed out, it settled down a bit, and I felt like I would be able to at least finish on the podium. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out because with, maybe, six or seven laps to go, the rear tire started going away, and I was getting massive chatter everywhere. So, we ended up fourth, which is a little bit disappointing, considering how good our practice and qualifying sessions went. Road Atlanta has been really, really good to me in the past, and to bring the bike home in fourth, with the brand-new electronics, I think it was really positive for us. We have a couple of things that we know will make the bike better for tomorrow, so during the morning warmup, we’ll test them out. We should be able to make quite a big step forward and challenge for a podium spot in tomorrow’s race.”
Samurai Sam’s first-ever MotoAmerica race weekend got off to a great start when he lapped fourth-fastest aboard his #57 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R3 in Junior Cup qualifying, which enabled him to line up on the inside of the second row for Saturday’s Race 1.
The South African rider, who now lives in Florida, had a good battle for second place during the 11-lap event, but he ultimately had to settle for third place, which was a solid result for the 16-year-old rider’s very first MotoAmerica race.
When asked about his battle for second place, Sam said, “I was trying to stay in everyone’s draft just so I could stick with them. I had to pull something out to come third, fourth, fifth, anything. I was really happy to get on the podium.”
Sunday’s Junior Cup Race 2 is at 1:10 PM Eastern and Superbike Race 2 is at 3:00 PM Eastern.