A Sunny Saturday At NJMP: What The Teams Said

JD Beach finished third in Saturday’s EBC Brakes Superbike race at NJMP. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

The following is from Attack Performance Estenson Racing…

JD Beach ran a smart race to take his third podium of the season aboard the Attack Performance Estenson Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 in MotoAmerica Superbike race one at New Jersey Motorsports Park on Saturday, September 7.

After a frustrating few race weekends, the team’s hard work paid off as Beach found his comfort zone and the results he was looking for. In spite of the hectic two-day format, he got off to a good start and qualified fourth. Come race time, the dirt track/road racer latched on to the back of the leaders in third. He made a couple attempts at second, but with about eight laps to go, he lost touch with the leaders. Beach then focused on bringing the bike across the line in third, his third podium this season and his best result since his big win earlier this May at VIR. He continues to hold fourth in the MotoAmerica Superbike standings with three races remaining.

Today we had a great race. One that I think the team really deserved. We have really been struggling with the bike and the front end. It’s something that’s been haunting us all year but the team hasn’t given up on me and we kept working on it. The bike from the truck this morning was a lot better. I knew we were race ready after QP2; we had good pace then. I just wanted to get a good start and try to chase Cameron (Beaubier) and Garrett (Gerloff). After about halfway, they started pulling away a little bit and I realized that I basically hadn’t breathed the whole race. So I settled in to a good pace to bring it home in third. We’ll try again tomorrow. I can’t thank Attack and Estenson Racing enough for all of their support.”

Bobby Fong (50) finished second in yesterday’s Supersport race but kept his championship points lead.

The following is from Team Hammer…

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki pilot Bobby Fong rallied from near-disaster to expand his championship lead in Saturday’s MotoAmerica Supersport race at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Fong finished second and teammate Sean Dylan Kelly joined Fong in the fight at the front and was a close third after 20 laps.

Fong started the day 11 points out front but ends the day with a 15-point margin with just three races to go.

Still injured from a Pittsburgh crash two weeks ago, Fong fell again in the morning session on Saturday. He started the race on the fourth row, but a brilliant start saw him rocket to fourth on the first lap. Fong and Kelly were major players in the drafting battles at the front for the entire race.

On lap 12, Fong’s closest championship rival crashed out.

“If anything, I felt more (pressure.) I knew I needed to capitalize on some of the mistakes another rider was making,” said Fong.

Fong pressed hard for the remaining laps in his bid to win, but he finished second by just 0.046. “I made it hard for the boys in qualifying. I only got two laps so we didn’t have a lot of information doing fast laps. We were learning as we were racing,” Fong said. “Again, the team does such a wonderful job giving me a great bike. Hopefully we can learn from today and get the “W” tomorrow. I’m not 100 percent physically, but we’re going to give it 100 percent.”

Rising star Kelly was just 3 seconds back at the checkers. Coming off his dramatic double win in Pittsburgh, Kelly led several times in his bid to win again.

“Today, we had a really tight battle. I think it is the tightest one yet this season for me. It feels good to be on the podium,” said the 17 year-old. “Obviously, I wanted to win. We gave it all we had. I had a few moments at the end so I think it was important to bring home another podium and try it again tomorrow.

Jake Lewis had a spirited run on his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000 on Saturday in the Superbike race. After qualifying fifth, Lewis got a poor jump off the line. He rallied to move up from eighth in the opening laps.

By mid-race, Lewis made a move for fifth. His opponent quickly returned the favor, setting up a tight battle for position over the race’s second half. Lewis made a strong passing attempt for fifth place at the checkered flag, coming up just 0.06 short after 23 laps.

“The two-day events are pretty tough for the team and myself. Overall, a good race,” said the Kentuckian. “The start was really bad and I had to pick through some guys early on and lost the fight to fourth. I didn’t have the pace to run with the first three but overall it was a good day. It was good to race with the people I raced with. The team did really well after a tough start and it is good to get points and information for tomorrow’s race.”

Sunday’s action will see Alex Dumas race the Twins Cup event as well as Fong, Kelly, and Lewis returning to action. Joseph Blasius is sitting out this Twins Cup round while he recovers from a broken wrist sustained in a crash at PittRace.

Mathew Scholtz (11) beat Jake Lewis to the line for fifth in Saturday’s Superbike race.

The following is from Westby Racing…

After a pair of fifth-place finishes two weeks ago at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, Mathew Scholtz matched his PittRace results with another fifth-place finish aboard the #11 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 in Saturday’s Superbike race one at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP).

The day started out well for Mathew and his Westby Racing crew as he qualified on the front row for the afternoon’s feature event. Unfortunately, though, he got a bad start off the line in Superbike race, and was shuffled back in the pack. He raced behind Toni Elias for several laps, and then he withstood being passed by Jake Lewis and got back around him in short fashion. By that point in the race, he started to lose grip in his tires, and he hung on to finish fifth behind Elias.

“It was good to get to the track with a bike that was already pretty close when he took it off the truck,” Mathew said. “In the first practice, we were fifth and then, in the second practice, we ended up third. So that was a really good start for us. We were pretty confident with the bike. It was nice to be on the front row again.

“My start was terrible, as usual. So I had to make up a few places. I got past (Josh) Herrin and (Travis) Wyman. Then Toni (Elias) had a little bit of a gap. I caught up to him. Toni rides very different lines on the Suzuki. It’s obviously what suits that bike best, so it’s very difficult to plan a pass. I was kind of getting sucked into his groove. My lap times dropped off, and then we kind of got to the halfway point, and the bike was just moving around a lot more than it had previously. So, I just really wasn’t able to ride how I wanted to. I also don’t think I was on top of my game there. So, I think we have a lot of work for tomorrow. Obviously we want to be closer to the front, but it’s been our best first race in a long time. Always, the second race, we make big jumps forward. So with such a positive first race, I’m very hopeful for the second race.

“The Westby guys have been working hard. (Data technician) Herschel (Auxier) and (crew chief) Ed (Sullivan) have been really looking at the setup in different points, where to make the bike better to suit me and my riding style better. So the team is working really well. I feel like things are coming together nicely. They’re shaping up nicely for these final two rounds for us. That also really puts us in good shape for 2020. So I’m very, very happy with how things are working out, and I’m looking forward to the second race.”

Superbike Race Two goes green at NJMP on Sunday at 3 PM Eastern Time.