Benjamin Smith And Cory Ventura Nail Sonoma Raceway KTM RC Cup Wins

Smith heads to Round 7 at Pittsburgh International Race Complex with a 37-point championship lead

Round 6 of the 2017 KTM RC Cup Championship, held in conjunction with the 2017 AMA MotoAmerica/FIM North American Road Racing Championship, took place at Sonoma Raceway in sunny Northern California over August 11-13. Quarterley Racing/On Track Development’s Benjamin Smith extended his points lead in the class with another race victory, while local boy, CSVMoto’s Cory Ventura, matched the competition to claim the second race win of the weekend.

It was a momentous occasion for the RC Cup in its first visit to the legendary California venue, with championship favorite Benjamin Smith proving just why he is so, stretching out to an authoritative 11.9-second victory in Race 1 over Ventura, while first-time podium finisher Brett Voorhees (NCR Development) claimed a popular third place in a red-flagged race that called the event at 12 laps.

“It was a great race,” said Smith. “I was telling people earlier that it was one of the hardest races of my life, trying to stay out front and stay consistent. I was having to push really hard and it gives me some good confidence heading into the last couple of rounds, so overall it went really well.”

Benjamin Smith, MotoAmerica, Quarterley Racing/On Track Development, KTM RC Cup

Benjamin Smith (118) leads Cory Ventura (164) at Sonoma Raceway in MotoAmerica KTM RC Cup competition. Both riders came away with a victory this past weekend.

Photo by Brian J. Nelson

For Smith, however, that dominant Race 1 performance did not translate into what many expected would be a walkover double win as he engaged in a proper dogfight with Ventura, only to come out on the losing end as the local boy made good on his undoubted speed, Ventura taking one of the best wins of his young career. It was his third win of the season. Smith’s Quarterley Racing/On Track Development teammate Draik Beauchamp took the final place on the podium in third.

“We were struggling a bit with mistakes yesterday and last night we sat down with my coach and I was losing a lot of time in Sector 1,” said Ventura. “We broke it down and realized that Ben [Smith] was getting really good drive out of Turn 1 and today, I just had to do it. It helped a lot and it’s great to get a win here.”

For Smith, second place wasn’t the worst thing in the world as he finished this round with a substantial 37-point lead, putting him in the box seat to take the title come season’s end.

“Yesterday I got out front and could run away, but today I got out front and Cory was riding really well,” he said. “I could see the gap was decreasing so I figured I’d sit behind him to see what I could do, and going into the last lap I thought I’d try and make that pass but Cory did a great job defending the line. It’s great to have that kind of clean racing.”

Round 7 of the 2017 KTM RC Cup Championship will be held at Pittsburgh International Race Complex on August 25-26.

Benjamin Smith, MotoAmerica, Quarterley Racing/On Track Development, KTM RC Cup

Smith and Ventura were joined Saturday on the RC Cup podium by third-place Brett Voorhees.

Photo by Brian J. Nelson

KTM RC Cup Sonoma Race 1

  1. Benjamin Smith
  2. Cory Ventura
  3. Brett Voorhees
  4. Jackson Blackmon
  5. Tyler Linders

KTM RC Cup Sonoma Race 2

  1. Cory Ventura
  2. Benjamin Smith
  3. Draik Beauchamp
  4. Alex Dumas
  5. Tyler Linders

KTM RC Cup Championship Point Standings

  1. Benjamin Smith (192)
  2. Cory Ventura (155)
  3. Draik Beauchamp (141)
  4. Jackson Blackmon (136)
  5. Alex Dumas (123)