On a track that’s yielded good and not-so-good results for Mathew Scholtz, Saturday’s MotoAmerica Superbike race at Sonoma Raceway definitely falls under the “good” column for the Westby Racing rider as he finished third for his third podium result of a somewhat difficult season.
Starting from the inside of the second row for the 22-lap feature event, Mathew rode a steady race and also took full advantage of some rider attrition to cross the finish line behind two of the four factory riders in the MotoAmerica Series.
“It definitely has been a difficult season,” commented Mathew. “We’ve had pace. We’ve been there, but we made a couple changes and we went backwards a couple times slightly. This weekend we kind of just went back to last year and how we went through debriefs and setup and just trying not to complicate things and do too many changes. Every session, every time I pulled in, we were making multiple changes. It got to the point where I wasn’t riding the bike as hard as I could because I was always worried about setup or where it was sliding and everything. Coming here and just focusing on me was a big, big step forward for us. Unfortunately, in the first practice I crashed on the second lap, so that didn’t help. But to go out in second practice and end up fourth after how things have gone, we were very, very happy.
“When the race went on, I think I was back in maybe sixth place and (Jake) Lewis and (Josh) Herrin and everyone were going backwards and forwards. I’ve crashed out of two of the last four races, so I just thought to myself, I’ve got to stay out of the mess and just ride my own race. Guys went down. I kept my head. I’m over the moon for the Westby team. They’ve worked so hard. We’re a family. When I do bad, the atmosphere is terrible, but when I do well, it’s an absolute party there. I’m very happy for the team. We’ll go home, have a mini celebration, and come back stronger tomorrow.”
Superbike Race 2 goes green at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday at 3 PM Pacific Time.
The following is from Team Hammer…
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong claimed his eighth top-two finish of the 2019 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship season to highlight a Saturday with its share of highs and lows for Team Hammer.
MotoAmerica Supersport championship points leader Fong sprinted out to the lead from pole aboard his GSX-R600. But the race was almost immediately red-flagged after his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate, Sean Dylan Kelly, was pushed off track by another rider, and crashed heavily. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was examined, treated, and released.
Fong ripped off another holeshot and led the opening four laps of the restarted race. Running a close second, he pressured the leader for the duration. The Stockton, California, native gave everything he had to deliver his home fans a final-corner victory, but came up just 0.102-second short in the final lunge to the flag.
“I was just doing my best to hang on,” said Fong, who has finished either first or second in the last six MotoAmerica Supersport races. “It was a cat-and-mouse thing; I would catch him in one part of the track pretty good, and then he would gap me pretty good in the next. I was always playing catch-up, so I could never get quite close enough to make a move.
“But we definitely had a wonderful motorcycle out there, so I have to give it up to my M4 ECSTAR Suzuki crew. We’re going to give it hell tomorrow and try to take advantage of having another shot at the win.”
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Superbike ace Jake Lewis got an outstanding start in Saturday’s Superbike Race and was running fourth, only to be rammed by another rider who crashed in an impossible attempt to dive up the inside in the race’s fourth corner.
Although the impact set off the airbag in his Furygan racing suit, Lewis somehow managed to keep his GSX-R1000 upright, but was forced far off course, losing time and positions. After finding his way back on circuit and eventually fighting from ninth back up to a top-five position, Lewis was black-flagged and disqualified for cutting the course.
Lewis said, “It was a tough race. I actually got a really good start and was in fourth up the hill. I felt good. Everyone was bunched up, and I got run into and knocked off the track. It was kind of a bonehead move. Everyone is in a group like that and we had a long race ahead of us. I thought I could do a good race because I usually do really well at this track.
“I re-entered where I felt was the safest and where my race wouldn’t be completely messed up because of another rider’s actions, so I’m definitely pretty bummed to get the black flag. I feel that penalty was pretty harsh for what I did.”
Meanwhile, Roadracing World Young Guns pilot Alex Dumas and Autovest Suzuki’s Joseph Blasius continued to rank near the top of the charts in Twins Cup competition on their identical SV650 racebikes. The on-form Dumas qualified second provisionally ahead of Sunday’s race, with Blasius just two positions further back in fourth.
Team Hammer will be looking to add to its podium tally before leaving Sonoma Raceway with the squad’s Supersport, Superbike, and Twins Cup pilots chasing after checkered flags on Sunday afternoon.
The following is from Attack Performance Estenson Racing…
JD Beach delivered a solid performance to take fourth place in race one of the seventh round of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship, on Saturday August 11 at Sonoma Raceway.
Starting from the third row in ninth, Beach made a rapid getaway on his Attack Performance Estenson Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 to make up places. After finding his rhythm in the opening laps and gearing up to challenge for more positions, Beach was promoted to fourth after incidents involving riders ahead.
From there he maintained a consistently strong pace to shadow third place and bring home a second consecutive points finish in fourth at Round Seven of the series.
Catch race two tomorrow on FS2, Sunday, August 11 at 11:00 p.m. ET. You can also stream all the action live on MotoAmerica Live+ starting at 1:00 p.m. ET. To subscribe to the live streaming click here: https://www.motoamericaliveplus.com
“The race was pretty eventful. There were a lot of guys that went down. The track seemed really slick. With it just being a two-day weekend, I think we were struggling with the bike a little bit and with my riding. For the race we made a safe choice with the tires, but I think we picked the wrong ones. We do have some good data for tomorrow and there’s a lot of stuff that we’re going to try in the morning warmup. I think if we can get a few things sorted out, we’ll be a lot quicker. I’m looking forward to race two.”
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