Red Bull RoadRace Factory: Weather And Patience

After a three-year hiatus from the fast and flowing Road Atlanta, MotoAmerica made a historic comeback to the storied circuit situated in Braselton, Geogia. The teams and transports arrived just three days after the season opener in Austin, Texas, where they shared the world stage with the MotoGP series. This round was the first of a dedicated MotoAmerica only stretch that will see the best in the nation returning to other fan and rider favorite tracks that have not seen the national series in some time. For now, the action is in Road Atlanta and coming off the opening round, all members of the RoadRace Factory were seeking to improve. Not a team to be content with being competitive, the goal is victory and everyone was eager to achieve that goal. A major player for the weekend was mother nature. She would literally rain havoc upon the entire paddock and cause problems for everyone!

Supersport: What more can be said to help set the stage for this class during this weekend? It was chaos mixed with uncertainty sprinkled with bravado. The RoadRace Factory trio had the absolute worst parts of the weekend’s weather to contend with as almost every single one of their practice and qualifying sessions were run under different conditions. In fact, during their second free practice on Friday, it was all but a two rider boycott as the teams learned of their tire allocation just before setting out. No one wanted to chew a set tires before the weekend got into full swing.

Looking to improve upon performances from the season opener, Tomy was the one rider in the garage that really had the fire in his belly. A DNF at COTA wasn’t sitting too well and he knew he could do better. He’s a veteran of this track and he was seeking a huge jump in series points. Ben, who had a strong performance in the opener, wasn’t too concerned with the weather as he had his sights set on climbing the points ladder as well. Cameron, well, nothing can shake this rider apparently. He wasn’t showing any signs of being bothered by another wet weekend. In fact, he was ready to ride the track during set-up day.

To say that the practice and qualifying sessions were a loss, wouldn’t be 100 percent accurate but they really didn’t allow for any of the teams to do a proper setup. Come race one, it would be anyone’s guess as to who would climb on top the box. Tomy is always strong in the rain and with his crew preparing for wet races, it would be up to him to demonstrate his talents in the tricky conditions. Ben had been strong all weekend in the few session leading up to the race, running inside the top 10 along side his teammate, Cameron. Cameron was set to learn this new track under the pressure of racing conditions.

For race one, the weather provided the only really dry conditions of the entire weekend. Setup or not, the trio lined up on the grid and faced an uncertain first few flying laps. Red flag was pulled from the grid, the lights went out and the field of Supersport riders hurdled towards T1 and up the hill. Tomy made a good start from his third place on the grid. Cameron launched well and was running mid-pack as the group crested the hill into the back esses. Ben, on the other hand, had a terrible start and found himself at the back of the pack. As the race progressed, however, he would fight his way back up to eighth and stay there until the checkered flag was waved. Cameron rode a strong race with some decent battling with some class veterans as he finished in sixth place. Tomy was back on form and riding strong all race. The top three had checked out and that left Tomy to battle David Anthony for the fourth spot. At the line, it would be David Anthony to take that position but Tomy was back in the top five again and looking strong.

Race two would be a completely different ordeal. The rain had moved in on Sunday and created a major delay in the racing action. In the time it took the for the riders to complete their sighting lap, the track had flooded and the rain became relentless. It was looking as if the day was going to be called as the weather radar showed no signs of anything positive. There was a break in the clouds, however, the rain ceased and the crews went to clear the drainage issues. So, after it was announced that a shortened Supersport race was going to be held and the riders were given the five-minute warning. It would be a grid-and-go situation, and the the excitement was electrifying as everyone had to spring back into life from the doldrums of the delay.

The riders were held on the grid as the revs went up, the lights went out and the thundering herd charged the hill again. This time, Ben got a great start and was dicing with the lead group right away. Tomy made a brilliant start and was in the lead going into T1 and headed through the back section. Cam held his starting position and, like Ben, was sticking with the lead group. The conditions on track weren’t ideal as it was declared a “wet” race but the riders didn’t seem to notice. The painted curbing was a bit slippery but other than that, they showed no signs of slowing. Tomy was passed by JD Beach and relegated to fourth place. He would hold onto this position throughout the race and cross the line to take a huge jump in points. Meanwhile, Ben was looking content riding around in a lonely sixth until his teammate, Cameron, came up on him. For a few laps it looked as if Cam wouldn’t make any forward progress on Ben, but on the final turn of the final lap, Cam made his move. He closed in on the brakes and got a better drive out of Turn 12 and as they raced to the line, he would pass and take sixth away from Ben by half a front wheel length. What a fantastic showing for the RoadRace Factory Supersport riders!

Ben Young – fifth in series points: “Overall, on the two weeks away it was good and a solid start to a long season ahead. After limited dry time at ATL, I feel we were just shooting in the dark with a set up in race 1 and it seemed to be good. After the worst start of my life, it was a hard race to try my best to get as high up as I could, one more lap and I could have gotten seventh but it is what it is. Race 2 was good and enjoyed the passes shared with Cam, many more this year I’m sure.”

Tomy Puerta – sixth in series points: “Road Atlanta was a great weekend for us. After having the DNF in COTA we just wanted to be competitive and finish both races and that’s what we did! Getting my first front row Qualifying this weekend was a good feeling! Did a couple mistakes in race 1 and couldn’t keep up with the first three riders but rode a strong race and good lap times finishing 5th and getting my first top five. Second race was better leading the pack in the first lap and trying my hardest to keep with the lead group was a little hard but put my head down and rode strong for a 4th position in the wet. I’m really happy with the crew I’m working with this season. We are getting stronger and more competitive every time we get on track and that’s a really positive thing. I just can’t wait until VIR and keep working with my crew.

Thanks a lot to RoadRace Factory Team, all my sponsors, Addict by Bosi, Indeportes Antioquia, Cards for Caring, and everybody on the team that makes this possible!”

Cam Petersen – eighth in series points: “Road Atlanta was a tough weekend for me as I had never been to the track before and had to learn it in tricky conditions. I felt pretty good in the wet but it dried up for the first race and made it a bit harder for me as that was pretty much the only dry track time I got. So, I had to get up to speed quickly and ended up in 6th. I felt a bit more comfortable in race 2 in the wet but a bad start put me a long way back in the field so I had a lot of work to do but Sean and the RoadRace Factory crew gave me a great bike so I was able to fight back up to 6th, passing my teammate Ben on the last lap.”

Wrap It Up with Danny Walker: “I’m real pleased with the progress of our Supersport guys. Tomy is working his way towards the front, where he needs to be. Ben and Cam just had their heads down all weekend and by working with their crews are starting to show what they are capable of. Ben had a bad start in race one but came back to a strong finish. Cam, I’m really impressed with his adaptability. You know racing in South Africa, he never got too much rain experience, but the first two races of this series and he’s placed well. I’m looking froward to seeing him in the dry.”

After a three-year hiatus from the fast and flowing Road Atlanta, MotoAmerica made a historic comeback to the storied circuit situated in Braselton, Geogia. The teams and transports arrived just three days after the season opener in Austin, Texas, where they shared the world stage with the MotoGP series. This round was the first of a dedicated MotoAmerica only stretch that will see the best in the nation returning to other fan and rider favorite tracks that have not seen the national series in some time. For now, the action is in Road Atlanta and coming off the opening round, all members of the RoadRace Factory were seeking to improve. Not a team to be content with being competitive, the goal is victory and everyone was eager to achieve that goal. A major player for the weekend was mother nature. She would literally rain havoc upon the entire paddock and cause problems for everyone!

Supersport: What more can be said to help set the stage for this class during this weekend? It was chaos mixed with uncertainty sprinkled with bravado. The RoadRace Factory trio had the absolute worst parts of the weekend’s weather to contend with as almost every single one of their practice and qualifying sessions were run under different conditions. In fact, during their second free practice on Friday, it was all but a two rider boycott as the teams learned of their tire allocation just before setting out. No one wanted to chew a set tires before the weekend got into full swing.

Looking to improve upon performances from the season opener, Tomy was the one rider in the garage that really had the fire in his belly. A DNF at COTA wasn’t sitting too well and he knew he could do better. He’s a veteran of this track and he was seeking a huge jump in series points. Ben, who had a strong performance in the opener, wasn’t too concerned with the weather as he had his sights set on climbing the points ladder as well. Cameron, well, nothing can shake this rider apparently. He wasn’t showing any signs of being bothered by another wet weekend. In fact, he was ready to ride the track during set-up day.

To say that the practice and qualifying sessions were a loss, wouldn’t be 100 percent accurate but they really didn’t allow for any of the teams to do a proper setup. Come race one, it would be anyone’s guess as to who would climb on top the box. Tomy is always strong in the rain and with his crew preparing for wet races, it would be up to him to demonstrate his talents in the tricky conditions. Ben had been strong all weekend in the few session leading up to the race, running inside the top 10 along side his teammate, Cameron. Cameron was set to learn this new track under the pressure of racing conditions.

For race one, the weather provided the only really dry conditions of the entire weekend. Setup or not, the trio lined up on the grid and faced an uncertain first few flying laps. Red flag was pulled from the grid, the lights went out and the field of Supersport riders hurdled towards T1 and up the hill. Tomy made a good start from his third place on the grid. Cameron launched well and was running mid-pack as the group crested the hill into the back esses. Ben, on the other hand, had a terrible start and found himself at the back of the pack. As the race progressed, however, he would fight his way back up to eighth and stay there until the checkered flag was waved. Cameron rode a strong race with some decent battling with some class veterans as he finished in sixth place. Tomy was back on form and riding strong all race. The top three had checked out and that left Tomy to battle David Anthony for the fourth spot. At the line, it would be David Anthony to take that position but Tomy was back in the top five again and looking strong.

Race two would be a completely different ordeal. The rain had moved in on Sunday and created a major delay in the racing action. In the time it took the for the riders to complete their sighting lap, the track had flooded and the rain became relentless. It was looking as if the day was going to be called as the weather radar showed no signs of anything positive. There was a break in the clouds, however, the rain ceased and the crews went to clear the drainage issues. So, after it was announced that a shortened Supersport race was going to be held and the riders were given the five-minute warning. It would be a grid-and-go situation, and the the excitement was electrifying as everyone had to spring back into life from the doldrums of the delay.

The riders were held on the grid as the revs went up, the lights went out and the thundering herd charged the hill again. This time, Ben got a great start and was dicing with the lead group right away. Tomy made a brilliant start and was in the lead going into T1 and headed through the back section. Cam held his starting position and, like Ben, was sticking with the lead group. The conditions on track weren’t ideal as it was declared a “wet” race but the riders didn’t seem to notice. The painted curbing was a bit slippery but other than that, they showed no signs of slowing. Tomy was passed by JD Beach and relegated to fourth place. He would hold onto this position throughout the race and cross the line to take a huge jump in points. Meanwhile, Ben was looking content riding around in a lonely sixth until his teammate, Cameron, came up on him. For a few laps it looked as if Cam wouldn’t make any forward progress on Ben, but on the final turn of the final lap, Cam made his move. He closed in on the brakes and got a better drive out of Turn 12 and as they raced to the line, he would pass and take sixth away from Ben by half a front wheel length. What a fantastic showing for the RoadRace Factory Supersport riders!

Ben Young – fifth in series points: “Overall, on the two weeks away it was good and a solid start to a long season ahead. After limited dry time at ATL, I feel we were just shooting in the dark with a set up in race 1 and it seemed to be good. After the worst start of my life, it was a hard race to try my best to get as high up as I could, one more lap and I could have gotten seventh but it is what it is. Race 2 was good and enjoyed the passes shared with Cam, many more this year I’m sure.”

Tomy Puerta – sixth in series points: “Road Atlanta was a great weekend for us. After having the DNF in COTA we just wanted to be competitive and finish both races and that’s what we did! Getting my first front row Qualifying this weekend was a good feeling! Did a couple mistakes in race 1 and couldn’t keep up with the first three riders but rode a strong race and good lap times finishing 5th and getting my first top five. Second race was better leading the pack in the first lap and trying my hardest to keep with the lead group was a little hard but put my head down and rode strong for a 4th position in the wet. I’m really happy with the crew I’m working with this season. We are getting stronger and more competitive every time we get on track and that’s a really positive thing. I just can’t wait until VIR and keep working with my crew.

Thanks a lot to RoadRace Factory Team, all my sponsors, Addict by Bosi, Indeportes Antioquia, Cards for Caring, and everybody on the team that makes this possible!”

Cam Petersen – eighth in series points: “Road Atlanta was a tough weekend for me as I had never been to the track before and had to learn it in tricky conditions. I felt pretty good in the wet but it dried up for the first race and made it a bit harder for me as that was pretty much the only dry track time I got. So, I had to get up to speed quickly and ended up in 6th. I felt a bit more comfortable in race 2 in the wet but a bad start put me a long way back in the field so I had a lot of work to do but Sean and the RoadRace Factory crew gave me a great bike so I was able to fight back up to 6th, passing my teammate Ben on the last lap.”

Wrap It Up with Danny Walker: “I’m real pleased with the progress of our Supersport guys. Tomy is working his way towards the front, where he needs to be. Ben and Cam just had their heads down all weekend and by working with their crews are starting to show what they are capable of. Ben had a bad start in race one but came back to a strong finish. Cam, I’m really impressed with his adaptability. You know racing in South Africa, he never got too much rain experience, but the first two races of this series and he’s placed well. I’m looking froward to seeing him in the dry.”

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