It seems that the demise of middleweight motorcycle road racing has definitely been greatly exaggerated. As we head into round four of the 2019 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North America Road Racing Championship, the entry list for the Supersport class is 32 riders strong and chock-full of talent.
Along with current championship leader PJ Jacobsen, current second-place challenger Richie Escalante, 2018 championship runner-up Hayden Gillim, and teammates Bobby Fong and his young padawan Sean Dylan Kelly, who collectively make up the top five, the “600” class will be hella-strong at Road America.
We previously announced that 2016 MotoAmerica KTM RC Cup Champion Brandon Paasch will compete in the MotoAmerica Supersport class at Road America aboard the #21 TSE Yamaha YZF-R6. The British Superbike Championship’s HEL Performance Motostar Moto3 class, in which Paasch currently competes, is on hiatus, which enables the New Jersey rider to race again in America’s Dairyland.
Scanning the Supersport entry list for Road America reveals that MP13 Racing has apparently secured the funds necessary for four-time AMA Superbike Champ Josh Hayes to follow up his Supersport adventure at VIRginia International Raceway with a trip to Road America, which is the Mississippi Madman’s favorite track. Once again, he’ll race in pursuit of the all-time AMA race victories record currently owned by his good friend Miguel Duhamel, which stands at 86 wins to Hayes’ 82.
Also returning to MotoAmerica competition and making his debut in the Supersport class is former MP13 Racing team member Cory Ventura, who will be aboard the #28 CV28 Racing Yamaha YZF-R6. Ventura, who hails from northern California, commented in a post on his Instagram account, “I am super pumped to say I will be making my MotoAmerica 600 Supersport debut at Road America in 2 weeks!!!! I have been working extremely hard on getting my program back on two wheels and it is great to get it rolling.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise on the Supersport entry list for Road America is Danny Eslick, who will be aboard a BARTCON Racing/Farrell Performance Kawasaki ZX-6R. Eslick, who raced a BMW for Scheibe Racing in last year’s MotoAmerica Superbike class, is also making his return to MotoAmerica competition.
Since the aforementioned Gillim has the #69 on his Yamaha in the Supersport class, Eslick will race with the #34 instead of his trademark number 69. We asked Eslick why he chose 34, and he said, “That’s my buddy Michael Barnes’ traditional number, and since he’s running the #111 in Twins Cup, I’m going to run the 34 in honor of him.”
Eslick, who has raced pretty much every brand of motorcycle at some point during his extensive career, will be aboard a Kawasaki middleweight sportbike for the very first time.
“I raced a Kawasaki ZX-10R in both England and South America a few years ago, but I’ve never raced a Kawasaki 600 before,” Eslick commented. “It’ll be fun to race their bike.”
Eslick will be teamed up on the BARTCON Racing/Farrell Performance squad with Liqui Moly Junior Cup rider Damian Jigalov.
“I’m the new member of the team that Damian races for,” Eslick said. “Besides BARTCON and Farrell, they’re also sponsored by ARCH Motorcycles, which is the bike company owned by Keanu Reeves. Ironically, Keanu hired me a few years ago to test one of his company’s motorcycles for him, so it’s great to be reunited with him again.”