Sunday At VIR: What The Teams Had To Say (Updated)

Kyle Wyman led an EBC Brakes Superbike race for the first time at VIR.

The following is from KWR Ducati…

The Inde Motorsports Rance/KWR Ducati team put together another pair of top-10 results this past weekend at Virginia International Raceway. Wyman finished 9th in race one, and 10th in race two after leading early in mixed conditions.

The KWR team experienced some mechanical issues to start Saturday morning, in what was a shortened two-day format event. Wyman completed only three total laps in the first of two 45-minute qualifying sessions to start the morning. After battling through gremlins on the bike, he was able to put in a fast time of 1:25.931 to secure a spot in Superpole to remain perfect on the season.

The Ducati rider battled through another set of small issues on the bike to qualify in 8th for the two races, one of which that would happen Saturday afternoon after Superpole. With so little laps completed during the morning, the team decided to start race one on the familiar setup from the morning.

“I was really looking forward to the two-day format, until we came out of the gate with issues on the bike,” Wyman said. “It was really tough knowing that we had so little time and we were sidelined that whole first session. It took everything I had to try to find a rhythm in the second session. I was pleasantly surprised to put the bike in the 25’s range of lap time for the way it felt.”

“Unfortunately we didn’t get a whole lot of data during that morning since we were so under the gun, so we just gridded up for race one on our qualifying setup. For some reason I couldn’t really match my practice times during the race, and it was a lonely ride in 9th. I took the time during that race to experiment with some different gears, settings on the bike so I could try to take something meaningful away from the race.”

Sunday’s race two was started in wet-but-drying conditions, where most riders started their sighting laps on rain tires. A downpour in the early afternoon had soaked the track, but the sun had come out during the pre-grid time. While the race was declared wet, most teams elected to start on slick tires for the dry and play the long game. Wyman and the Inde Motorsports Ranch-sponsored KWR team decided to gamble with rain tires, and try to get out front and pull a big enough gap to get a result.

Wyman grabbed the lead out of turn one and put his head down, building to a 12-second lead over the entire field. As the sun beamed down on the track and the dry line started to form, the Panigale V4 R began to roast the tires on the dry pavement. A 12-second lead quickly vanished and on lap three Wyman lost the lead to eventual race winner JD Beach, who had gone with fully dry setup and tires. Wyman was able to salvage a top-10 in what was a race of survival on rain tires.

“To be honest, I knew that it wasn’t going to work,” said Wyman, regarding his rain tire strategy. “Of course there is always hope that it will stay wet longer, or another rain shower will come in, but I knew it was a long shot. We kind of ran out of time to change to slicks, so I was committed and I had to try. By the time my gap started coming down I knew I was screwed. The boys came by me pretty quick and at that point I just tried to make sure I could make it to the end and salvage some points, keep the bike rubber side down. Sometimes you just have to take a risk and today seemed like the right time for that.”

Wyman retains 10th overall in the championship points standings after three rounds, six races total. So what’s next for the KWR team? Some testing, finally.

“In two weeks we head to Pittsburgh to go test our new Ducati for the first time,” Wyman said. “These first three rounds have been super difficult on us, having to basically test while we race and learn what we can while we’re on the road. I look forward to finally having some time to ride and learn the bike without all the pressure of the race weekend around us. This is a building year, but it’s a long season and I believe we can find the pace to be at the front before 2019 is over.”

The MotoAmerica Superbike championship resumes at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin June 1-3, 2019

The next round of MotoAmerica is at Virginia International Raceway, May 4-5, 2019

LIVE coverage of MotoAmerica is available for only $69.95 per year at

Toni Elias left VIR with a 24-point lead in the EBC Brakes Superbike Championship.

The following is from Yoshimura Suzuki…

Yoshimura Suzuki Racing’s Toni Elias survived a challenging race weekend at VIRginia International Raceway. The 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion ran strategically all event, earning a pair of rostrum finishes, a second on Saturday and third on Sunday. It paid off handsomely. Elias’ results, combined with rival Cameron Beaubier’s crash in Sunday’s race, means that Elias, who came into VIR with a 13-point lead in the championship, leaves Virginia with a 24-point lead.

In a show of speed and consistency, Elias and his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 have been on the podium in all six races so far in 2019.

For Elias’ first-year teammate Josh Herrin it was a difficult outing. He suffered a DNF in Saturday’s race after an issue with his machine, but then recovered somewhat on Sunday, finishing seventh on a difficult wet-to-drying track.

The Yoshimura Suzuki squad worked frantically Saturday preparing Toni’s backup superbike, after intermittent electrical gremlins sidelined him during Superpole. The team wrapped up the preparations with less than an hour to spare before Saturday’s race. In spite of having no laps on the newly-prepared Suzuki, Elias was able to run a solid pace and finish runner up.

In Sunday’s race a downpour hit the track before the start of the Superbike race. As riders took to the grid the sun broke through, presenting them with a tough decision on tire selection and bike setup. Elias decided to go with a dry set up with slicks and as a result ran mid-pack in the early going. But as the track developed a dry line, he began moving up through the field. After running as far back as eighth in the early laps, Elias quickly charged his way up to third by mid-race. In the closing stages he was challenged by Mathew Scholtz, but Elias repassed the South African rider and held on to earn the final podium spot.

“Even though we didn’t get a win, it turned out to be a good weekend in terms of the championship,” Elias explained. “The entire team did a great job solving some difficulties we faced this weekend and these two podiums were definitely a team effort. Now we’ve built up a lead in the series, but we are still early and we will have to continue to work hard to accomplish our goal of winning back the championship this season.”

In spite of his challenging weekend, Herrin is still ranked sixth in the standings.

“Toni ran smart races this weekend,” said Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Don Sakakura. “In Sunday’s race he gathered a lot of points instead of trying too hard to win in difficult conditions. These are the kinds of decisions that can win championships.

“For Josh it was tough, starting with a mechanical in Saturday’s race. What happened was very unusual, so we felt bad for Josh, but we’ll analyze the data, along with the factory, and see what we can do to keep from having the same issue in the future.”

The Yoshimura Suzuki crew now readies for a test later this week in Utah. The series has a four-week break before swinging back into action at the scenic Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on May 31 – June 2, for round four of the ten event MotoAmerica Championship. The series is televised nationally on Fox Sports 2.

Mathew Scholtz (11) was in the battle for third for the entire race at VIR.

The following is from Westby Racing…

On the final day of the MotoAmerica Championship of Virginia, the fortunes of Westby Racing’s two riders did a complete 180 compared with how things went on Saturday.

Mathew Scholtz, rider of the #11 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike, finished fourth in Sunday’s race two after crashing out of Saturday’s race one. “Samurai Sam” Lochoff, who finished fourth in Saturday’s Junior Cup race one aboard the #57 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R3, crashed out of Sunday’s race two. The net result for the team was two race finishes just off the podium and two results categorized with the dreaded acronym “DNF,” which unfortunately stands for “Did Not Finish.”

Mathew, who tweaked his right shoulder in his crash on Saturday, literally shrugged off the injury and battled among the frontrunners in Sunday’s race. Towards the end of the rain-shortened, 18-lap event, Mathew made a breathtaking pass on Toni Elias for third and a spot on the podium. Unfortunately, however, Elias turned the tables on Mathew, passed him right back, and maintained his advantage all the way to the checkered flag.

Sam, who fought for a podium result in Saturday’s Junior Cup race, got caught up in the attrition caused by the wet track conditions in Sunday’s race. A rider ahead of him went down, and Sam got caught up in the incident. In an attempt to avoid the downed bike, Sam was forced onto the wet and very slippery grass, which caused him to tip over and his race was done.

“I think, in general, the weekend was a little bit bittersweet, but we learned a lot,” commented Chuck Giacchetto, team manager for Westby Racing. “Sam showed that he has the speed. He rode really smart in Saturday’s race, brought home points, and he was the first Yamaha rider across the stripe. Unfortunately, on Sunday, he didn’t fare as well, but the crash wasn’t his fault. Mathew’s weekend was really good. We were super-happy with the start he got in Saturday’s race, and I know he was disappointed that he fell down, but the team wasn’t because he had the pace. On Sunday, he was fighting at the front and among the factory riders, so that was great to see. Overall, we had our ups and downs at VIR, and we know what we need to do leading into Elkhart Lake. We’ll fix a couple of bikes that are dinged up, get everyone healthy again, and be ready for Road America.” 

As Chuck mentioned, next up for Mathew, Sam, and the team is round four of the 2019 MotoAmerica Championship, which takes place at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on May 31 to June 2.

JD Beach won the first MotoAmerica Superbike race of his career on Sunday at VIR.

The following is from Attack Performance Estenson Racing…

Eight days after making history with his debut American Flat Track AFT Twins win at the Super TT, JD Beach executed a masterful race to win MotoAmerica Superbike race two aboard the Attack Performance Estenson Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 at VIRginia International Raceway on Sunday, May 5.

The forecast going into the day looked questionable, but rain or shine, Beach was ready for either. It turned out to be a mixture of both with heavy rainfall leading up to the race and sunshine as bikes went out for the Superbike sighting lap. The decision was made to go with slicks even though the track was still pretty wet and it proved to be the right call. Beach got off to a good start, checking out early along with fellow Yamaha rider and former Supersport championship rival Garrett Gerloff.

The pair swapped positions, but Beach was able to hold onto the lead and throw down laps to give him a 3.759-second advantage across the finish line. It was an emotional win besides just getting his first because it was the anniversary of close family friend Ethan Gillim’s passing, which is why he runs number 95. The victory also adds his name to the record books, becoming the first rider to win both a Grand National and Superbike race in the same season since Nicky Hayden in 2002 and the first rider to do so on a Yamaha since Kenny Roberts in 1980.

 JD Beach — MotoAmerica Superbike #95:

“It’s amazing. The dirt track win was something that I dreamed of when I was a kid. Since I was 16, this is something (the Superbike win) that I’ve worked hard for. I’ve set my sights on this. To get this first win on a Superbike is absolutely amazing. I can’t thank Estenson Racing and Attack Performance enough for getting behind me. They had no reason to. Tim [Estenson] had his whole dirt track program figured out, and he wanted to do this because he likes me, which is just amazing. Richard [Stanboli] at Attack, they were okay with not going racing this year. So for them to put the belief in me that many of these teams here wouldn’t, it just feels amazing. I know we’re still going to have our ups and downs this year, but it feels good to get this first win. I’m going to keep working hard and try to get that next one.”

PJ Jacobsen won his first career MotoAmerica Supersport race on Saturday at VIR.

The following is from Celtic HSBK Racing…

Celtic HSBK Racing left round two of the MotoAmerica SuperSport Championship at Virginia International Raceway leading the points championship. They went into the weekend in third and were able to rise to the top of the standings with a 5 point lead.

The team showed their commitment to helping grow the series by bringing their semi-hauler a big move for the single rider privateer 600 team. “We are excited to be back in the paddock. We feel like MotoAmerica is growing and we want to be a part of that growth,” said Bobby Shek, one of the team principals.

This was the first round with the short two day format making for a fast paced weekend. Saturday was busy with multiple track outings, but that didn’t stop the team from finding success. They finished practice one with the fastest times in class. In qualifying, rider PJ Jacobsen had the pace to put the Yamaha on pole, but hit curbing damaging the real wheel and was not able to put down faster laps after that. They went to the grid for the first race in P2. The team planned to start the race with the front pack and break for the lead with a few laps to go. However, a red flag after Bobby Fong’s crash altered plans a bit. After a regrid for an abbreviated 12 lap race, PJ pushed to the front from the start and opened a gap on the competition. PJ held the lead through the race and finished on top for his first MotoAmerica  win.

Sunday the fast and furious schedule was interrupted several times by weather. The team prepared to race in wet or dry conditions. PJ has a lot of rain riding experience and is very comfortable in wet conditions. Unfortunately, a technical problem hindered the bike’s performance on track. PJ managed to control the bike and safely complete the race without pushing the bike beyond his new limitations finishing 8th.

PJ commented on the weekend, “We had a very strong weekend, I’m thankful for the team, they made some steps and also myself. I feel like we have a very good package now to challenge for wins every race this year. I’m really looking forward to Road America, as I want to do the double there. Thanks to everyone for the support.”

To see updates throughout the race weekend, follow HSBKRacing on Facebook and Instagram.

Travis Wyman finished third in the Stock 1000 race on Sunday at VIR.

The following is from Weir Everywhere Racing BMW…

VIRginia International Raceway has been a track where Travis Wyman has had some of the best performances of his career, and he added to that record Sunday with a pole position and a third-place finish at the 2019 MotoAmerica Championship of Virginia.

The Weir Everywhere Racing BMW rider and 2018 MotoAmerica Stock 1000 Championship runner-up was hoping for a repeat performance of his dominating win at VIR in 2018 and started off Sunday’s on-track action for the MotoAmerica Stock 1000 Class by claiming pole position for the class’ only race of the weekend. Wyman’s pole time of a 1:26.700 was two-tenths faster than his pole-winning time in 2018.

In the race, Wyman got an good start and saved his tires to make a last-lap push for the win. He had made a pass for second place with two laps to go in the 12-lap race and was lining up a pass on the leader when his BMW S 1000 RR struck a curb at an odd angle. Wyman’s motorcycle began bucking uncontrollably, but he maintained his concentration, stayed in the throttle and rode his way out of the incident. He went on to finish the race in third place, adding valuable points to his championship effort.

After a three-week break, the team will be back on track at the Dunlop Championship at Road America, which takes place May 31-June 2. Wyman has two professional road racing wins at the historic Elkhart Lake, Wis., circuit, and he is aiming to add another win to that tally.

Travis Wyman / #24
“I was running in third place for most of the race and was saving my tires to make a late race charge for the lead. The pace was pretty comfortable, so I knew I’d have a chance to go for the win in the last couple laps. I made the move up to second, and thought I had more laps left to make a move on the leader. I was getting a pass lined up when I clipped a curb going through the esses and nearly lost control of my BMW. It was a wild ride, but I settled right back down and pushed as hard as I could for the rest of the last lap. I think we had a shot at the win today, but this podium finish is a positive result for the team, and we’ll be aiming for another podium or better at Road America.

“Our success this weekend would not have been possible without all the hard work of my mechanic Alex Torres of Fastline Motorcycle Performance. Our crew was short-staffed and Alex worked his tail off to help us score our first pole and podium of the season. He’s also helped driving our team’s rig this year, and we certainly wouldn’t be contending for a class title this year without all his hard work over the last two rounds.”