Team Releases: What They Said, Win Or Lose

Toni Elias leads his Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Roger Hayden at Road Atlanta on Sunday. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

Here are the team press releases from the opening round of the 2018 MotoAmerica Series…

The following is from Suzuki…

Toni Elias scored a perfect season-opening weekend in the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta. The defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion completed the weekend sweep by winning Sunday’s Race 2 in wet conditions on his Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing GSX-R1000.

It marked Elias’s 18th-career MotoAmerica Superbike victory. Combined with his win in Saturday’s season opener, Elias leaves Road Atlanta with a perfect 50 points, giving him an early 14-point lead in the standings.

Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden led much of Sunday’s race, but fell in the tricky conditions halfway through the race.

In a gritty performance, Hayden managed to re-join the race and rallied back to finish fifth.After a challenging weekend Hayden has some work to do to get back into the title chase. He goes to Austin next week ranked 11th in the series.

For Elias the weekend was especially encouraging since he won in both dry and wet conditions. In Sunday’s race he took over the lead from rival Cameron Beaubier with two laps to go and won by a margin of 1.639-seconds.

“This was a perfect way to start the season,” Elias said. “Of course the competition will be difficult this year, but after this weekend I am very happy for the work the team has done. We continue to make our racebike even better than it was last season and I am gaining so much confidence. This is the first rain race that I’ve won since 2001, so that also makes me very pleased to know that we can perform at the highest level no matter the conditions.”

This is the third consecutive season that Elias has opened the season with a weekend sweep. He did the same at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in 2016 and 2017 and now here in Georgia.

Hayden left Road Atlanta with the assurance that he has the speed it takes to win.

“Even though this was a tough weekend for me it felt good to lead the race in the rain,” Hayden explained. “I got a little lucky that I was able to get back into the race after the crash. I was surprised I was able to get back to fifth. It was important to score those points. We’ll go to COTA next week and start the work of getting back into this championship.”

The Elias sweep was icing on the cake at the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta. It marked a successful opening of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Yoshimura Suzuki’s formation. Superbike racing legend Wes Cooley was on hand as a special guest and spent much of the weekend signing autographs and talking to his longtime fans.

The series now heads to Circuit of the Americas next weekend, April 20-22, in Austin, Texas, for the combined MotoGP/MotoAmerica event.

 

The following is from Weir Everywhere Racing…

Travis Wyman won the opening round of the Stock 1000 race at Road Atlanta on his BMW. Photo by Michael Brock

Victory is often a product of preparation, relentlessness, and teamwork. Those three elements came together for the Weir Everywhere Racing BMW team on Sunday at Road Atlanta when it took the win in the first-ever MotoAmerica Stock 1000 class race. The team came into the first MotoAmerica event of the 2018 season with confidence after several strong performances in preseason club racing.

Rider Travis Wyman, who has now claimed two of his four professional motorcycle road racing victories at Road Atlanta, showed he had the pace to win right out of the gate. Wyman posted the second-fastest time in the class’ only practice session before claiming provisional pole in a dry Saturday afternoon qualifying session. Wyman’s pole position was finalized on Sunday morning when heavy bands of rain poured down on Road Atlanta, making it impossible for anyone to top Wyman’s time.

The team took a gamble by not going out for the wet Sunday morning qualifying session. Despite having no time racing in the rain on a literbike, Wyman slotted into second-place at turn one, and made a pass to take the lead for good on lap 2. Once out in front, Wyman built up a commanding lead over his nearest competitor and took the victory by over five seconds.

A race win is normally the highlight of a racer’s weekend. For Wyman, Road Atlanta was far more memorable for who joined his winning team for a weekend, as well as how Wyman joined another team looking for a big victory of their own. Travis learned about the plight of Alec Ingram, a 12-year-old boy who has been battling an aggressive form of cancer for three years, through one of his sponsors.

Alec is an avid motorsports fan, and Wyman was determined to do something to support and encourage Alec. Wyman flew Alec and his family to Road Atlanta for Saturday’s on-track action and made Alec a part of the Weir Everywhere Racing team for the weekend. For more information on Alec’s battle with cancer, as well as ways individuals and family can support Alec, please visit https://www.facebook.com/Alec-Ingrams-fight-with-Cancer-815312145216741/.

The MotoAmerica Stock 1000 class will next travel to the rolling hills and long front straight of VIRginia International Speedway May 4-6.

Brand managers and business owners who are seeking new marketing opportunities to strengthen or energize their brands with a proven, race-winning, and factory-supported MotoAmerica team may contact Travis Wyman about available sponsorship opportunities at twyman33@gmail.com.

Travis Wyman, rider for Weir Everywhere Racing, said: “We opted to sit out this morning’s session. The tricky conditions would have meant risking the bike and the forecast was calling for the rain to stop before the Stock 1000 race started. We knew it was a gamble, especially since I have never raced a literbike in wet conditions. However, I have been a strong wet weather racer throughout my career, and we as a team decided to put our faith in my ability and the incredible BMW S 1000 RR package we will be campaigning this year. Fortunately, the gamble paid off. I felt comfortable right from the start of the race. I made a pass early on for the lead and was able to start building a gap to the rest of the field. Track conditions were very difficult, and I had a couple close calls out there. Once I had my lead up to about 8 seconds I was able to back off a little and bring the Weir Everywhere Racing BMW home for our first victory of the season. I can’t thank my team enough. Steve Weir, Alex Torres, and I have worked incredibly hard to get our bike ready for MotoAmerica’s new Stock 1000 class, and I truly believe the BMW is the bike to have in this class. I am really looking forward the next round at VIR, as the track layout compliments some of the strengths of our BMW package. I believe my team and Lenny Albin from K-Tech Suspension will be able to get my bike dialed in again at VIR like they did today, and I expect us to be contending for the win again.”

The following is from Kyle Wyman Racing…

Kyle Wyman was happy with his opening round at Road Atlanta. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

The Lucas Oil/KWR team brought home solid finishes in the Road Atlanta season opener this past weekend for the first round of the 2018 MotoAmerica Series. Kyle Wyman scored 6th and 4th place finishes in the Superbike category while Bryce Prince placed 7th and 11th in Supersport races one and two, respectively.

For Wyman, the weekend started out dry on Friday and a 5th fastest time overall in the morning QP1 session aboard his Lucas Oil-sponsored Yamaha YZF-R1. He then matched his best time in the afternoon session on used tires, clocking his fastest time on the 18th lap of the Dunlop soft compound rear.

“Friday was going to plan,” Wyman said. “We were clicking off laps and working on the race setup. We didn’t have an opportunity to try for a fast time on new tires because of red flags ending our sessions early, but luckily we still had plenty of time to put in good work on the race tires.”

With that good work in the books, the KWR crew prepped the bike for Saturday morning’s FP3 session, in which Wyman had a small crash. The crew would have to fix the bike with only 40 minutes before the crucial Superpole qualifying session. Wyman re-grouped and qualified 7th, with his fastest lap time coming on the second qualifying tire lap.

“This year we get to use two qualifying tires, which I really like,” Wyman added. “Two chances to put in a time, and luckily I went faster on my second go. I had a huge wheelie out of the last corner that cost me time on my fast lap but overall I was happy – I still had gone about 7-tenths quicker than my qualifying time from 2017.”

In race one Wyman got a great start and stuck with the front pack until some electrical gremlins interfered with his race, ultimately costing him a top-5 result. Wyman dropped from his 4th spot back to 6th and rode a lonely race all the way to the end.

“Everything was going perfectly to plan off the start in race one,” Wyman said. “The chassis felt great – my KTR-4 forks were working amazing and I was right there with the lead pack in 4th. Unfortunately things got a little whacky with the bike and I had to adjust to it, it cost me some time but luckily not enough to put us any lower than 6th. Some attrition went in my favor and I was able to finally finish the first superbike race of the year, something I hadn’t done in 2016 or 2017.”

With higher hopes for race two, mother nature brought a wet-and-wild Sunday forecast that certainly delivered, in the way of nearly 2-inches of rain starting 5am Sunday morning. Wyman was confident going into the wet race since the team had tested in the wet conditions just two weeks prior at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California. Wyman was able to fight through the rain and avoid disaster on his way to a season-best 4th position in Superbike race two.

“There were guys crashing left, right and center,” Wyman said. “They were dropping like flies, and my plan was to go with the front guys but also to be cautious. I rode a smart race and feel like I didn’t take any risks at all. To come away 4th after so much attrition and different things that happened, without the risk, is a great result. We’ve got the first round out of the way now and I’m looking forward to COTA in just a few days.”

Bryce Prince Goes 7-11 In Supersport Series Opener

After a month of strenuous prep and planning, Bryce Prince finally made his KWR debut in the MotoAmerica Supersport category at Road Atlanta. Prince fought his way to 7th in a dry race one, and followed it with a 11th place finish in the wet race two.

“Atlanta was a very important weekend for me,” Prince said. “It was the first time back on a 600 at a National race on a brand new bike and team. I could not be happier with how it went. I had little to no issues with everything. On Saturday we were able to run the pace to be on the podium the whole race in a big group and came home 7th. Our dry setup had huge improvements we made for Sunday and we were confident to try and get on the box.

On Sunday Prince rode his Lucas Oil/KWR Supersport bike in the rain for the first time, ever.

“On Sunday it rained all day long,” Prince added. “And for me it was important to leave Atlanta with some good points. I finished 11th and rode a safe race, not having any wet time on the new bike so it was a big learning curve. We are tied for 7th in points and I’m really excited to head to VIR and Road America soon, those tracks really fit my style. I cannot thank Kyle Wyman Racing enough for all of the support. I have to personally thank my crew JR and Louis for all the hard work and flawless weekend. It was my first time working with them and they were incredible!”

The MotoAmerica series heads to Circuit of the Americas this coming weekend in Austin, Texas, April 20-22, 2018. Stay tuned for news and updates as the season progresses.

The following is from Yamaha…

Cameron Beaubier led Sunday’s Motul Superbike race for several laps and finished second. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

After a sunny Saturday filled with podium finishes by Yamaha’s bLU cRU road racers at the opening round of the 2018 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship at Road Atlanta, a storm front moved in during the night and heavy rain became a major factor in Sunday’s competition. Yamaha riders and teams quickly adapted and showed their strength, though, overcoming the challenging wet conditions throughout the day to reach the podium in the Superbike and Supersport races.

Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing Superbike Team

After a crash at the start of Saturday’s race and a ninth-place finish, two-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier kept his focus on important series points and rode smart in Sunday’s shortened 18-lap Superbike Race 2. As the green flag waved, he got off to a great second-place start and swapped podium positions through the first six laps. By lap seven, Beaubier had situated himself within striking distance of the lead and he soon moved his #6 R1 into the first-place position for eight solid laps until a hard-charging Toni Elias swept by going into lap 17. Beaubier kept his head down and crossed the finish line in a hard-fought second place.

Meanwhile, Garrett Gerloff’s hopes of beating Saturdays’ third-place finish in Race 1 were lost when he crashed shortly after the start of Race 2 on Sunday. Uninjured with his #31 R1 still in rideable condition, Gerloff managed to salvage ninth-place, adding valuable points to his title chase as a Superbike rookie.

Cameron Beaubier – #6 YZF-R1
“Road Atlanta was tough on us this year. I had three crashes throughout the weekend including Race 1. I went into Race 2 without a ton confidence but ended up feeling OK through the race. I am happy to finish the weekend salvaging some points and plan to hit the ‘refresh’ button for the next race at COTA!”

Garrett Gerloff – #31 YZF-R1
“It was a great learning weekend for me! I felt confident and really good on the bike all weekend. My team and I are working really well together. I had some first race nerves going into Race 1 but stayed loose and was able to get on the box in my very first Superbike race! Race 2 in the rain was a wild ride. I felt great on the first few laps, but misjudged the levels of rear grip I had and high-sided in turn 10. The Yamaha R1 is a such a durable bike, though, and I was able to pick the bike up and finish in 9th place. All in all, I’m content with my first weekend on the big bike and ready to build from here for the rest of the season. Let’s go to Austin!”

Tom Halverson – Team Manager
“Cameron had a good performance in the rain to lead the race and finish second in Superbike Race 2. It was a tough weekend for Cameron, but we leave here with him third in points in the championship and confident that he has what it takes to win. Garrett had an unfortunate crash in his first race in the rain on the Superbike, but like Cameron in Race 1, he was able to rejoin the race and gain valuable points for the Championship. Hats off to the team for working through a tough weekend with a great attitude and getting both riders on the podium. We are looking forward to racing for the win at the MotoGP event this weekend at Circuit of the Americas!

Monster Energy/Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha Supersport Team
Monster Energy/Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha’s JD Beach emerged from the opening round with a positive all-around performance to kick off the 2018 Supersport Championship. Beach qualified on pole, claimed victory in Race 1 on Saturday, and then followed up with a second-place performance in Race 2 on Sunday.

Beach continued his streak of great starts when the green flag waved for extremely wet Supersport Race 2 on Sunday, and the #95 R6 maintained the lead for the first four laps. On lap four, Rickdiculous Racing’s Hayden Gillim made a strong pass on his R6, and the duo rode all the way to the checkers in the 1-2 positions.

JD Beach – #95 YZF-R6
“Round 1 for MotoAmerica could have only been one spot better for me. We almost pulled off the perfect weekend! I qualified on pole and snagged the win in Race 1 but I brought it home safe in Race 2 and got second. It was a crazy race today in the rain and very stressful. It would have been awesome to get the win but we came away with some great points and feeling strong for VIR.”

Chuck Graves – Team Owner
“Overall, I think JD Beach and the R6 had a really good weekend. Qualifying on the pole, winning the first race, trading first and second place with Hayden Gillim – I think it was really success for Yamaha and for Graves Motorsports. It looks like there is a lot of parity in the Supersport class, so we should expect to see some really exciting racing moving forward there.”

Additional Yamaha bLU cRU Rider Notes
Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz rode his YZF-R1 to an eventful third-place finish on Sunday after he was forced off the track to avoid a crashing rider in turn one. Scholtz worked his way through the pack to finish on the podium for the second-straight day, placing him second in the championship points standings at the close of the weekend.

Josh Herrin’s Attack Performance/Herrin Compound/Yamaha R1 Superbike and spares never made it to Road Atlanta due to major mechanical issues leaving the team transporter on the side of the road in Louisiana. Not to be left out, Josh and his team prepped his 2016 YZF-R1S street bike for competition, which he rode to a very impressive 10th place finish in Superbike Race 1 on Saturday. In rainy Superbike Race 2 on Sunday, Josh rode to an incredible fourth place finish and captured valuable championship points.

With the Rickdiculous Racing R6 of Hayden Gillim on the top of the podium, and the Monster Energy/Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha R6 of JD Beach in second, Yates Racing’s Ashton Yates made it a podium sweep for the Yamaha bLU cRU when he clinched third place in Sunday’s Supersport Race 2 on his R6.

The challenge continued for Yamaha bLU cRU riders in the new Junior Cup class, where the right limiting balance between motorcycles of different engine sizes and configurations still needs attention from MotoAmerica. Chuck Graves and bLU cRU Rider Coach Josh Hayes provided guidance to the Graves/Yamaha YZF-R3 Support Program riders and teams in the wet conditions, and education was the focus of the day despite frustration with the lack of a level playing field.

“It was a little bit disappointing to see that the organizers hadn’t done their homework in balancing the two brands of motorcycles that have more powerful engines right out of the gate,” noted Chuck Graves when asked about the situation. “Instead, they chose to wait until after the weekend was finished to consider creating parity in the class. We understand that it is important to have those balancing features when there’s such differences, and had hoped they had done their homework before the race.”

Chuck also reflected on the positive attributes of the weekend, stating, “the Graves/Yamaha R3 riders soldiered on in the Junior Cup race, and all-in-all, we feel they improved their skillsets and capabilities with their teams. We had some really productive meetings, and it’s really exciting for the Graves Yamaha crew and me to work with so many new, young, up-and-coming talented riders and their friends and families. I expect that we’ll see some of these riders winning races on the R3 later on this year.”

The following is from KTM…

Alex Dumas won the first Liqui Moly Junior Cup race on Saturday at Road Atlanta. Photo by Michael Brock

As MotoAmerica’s junior class entered a new era, a familiar marque was the first to stand on the top step of the podium. KTM Orange Brigade rider Alex Dumas piloted his KTM RC 390 R to victory in the first-ever MotoAmerica Junior Cup race on Saturday at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. Dumas’ Orange Brigade teammate, Sean Ungvarsky, finished on the podium on Saturday and Sunday. The weekend’s results demonstrate the performance potential of the SSP300 Race Kit, which is available for purchase by amateur and professional competitors and teams.

While no longer the sole manufacturer in MotoAmerica’s developmental class, KTM has built upon its experience supporting the MotoAmerica KTM RC CUP from 2015 to 2017 to enjoy early success in the new class format. Both factory-supported Orange Brigade riders showed strong pace at the start of the weekend’s on-track action. The duo took the top two places in Friday’s qualifying session and Dumas went on to capture pole Saturday morning, prior to the class’ inaugural race Saturday afternoon.
Race one on Saturday saw Dumas take the early lead and never look back, capturing the first-ever Junior Cup victory by over five seconds. Ungvarsky brought his RC 390 R home in third-place, placing both KTM Orange Brigade riders on the podium for the opening race. Sunday’s race was an unfortunate affair for Dumas, as electrical problems prevented him from starting the race. Despite wet track conditions and a lack of experience racing in the rain, Ungvarsky was able to move up a step on the podium with a second-place finish.
The next MotoAmerica Junior Cup races are scheduled to take place at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. May 4-6, 2018.
Chris Fillmore, KTM Orange Brigade Team Manager: “The weekend went really well for the KTM Orange Brigade Team. We had some unfortunate luck with Alex’s bike on Sunday but overall it was a solid start to the season with both Sean and Alex on the RC 390 R. Our success at the opening round really demonstrates the strength of KTM’s Customer Racing program and reinforces the commitment and dedication that the Austrian R&D team has put in to develop a race-proven SSP300 Race Kit.”
Alex Dumas, #23 KTM Orange Brigade Rider: “Overall it was a good weekend for us. I was able to secure provisional pole on Friday. We made some changes to the bike overnight, and I was able to lock up pole position Saturday morning. I put my head down in the race one Saturday and brought home KTM’s first win of the year. Sunday did not go as well for me. I crashed in morning warm up but was able to get back on the bike and complete a few laps. I was feeling good on the bike, but the bike wouldn’t start for us before race two and we were unable to make the grid. I am looking forward the next round at VIR. I think it’s a track that really suits the KTM RC 390 R’s strengths, and I think I will be right back at the front like I was this weekend.”

Sean Ungvarsky, #48 KTM Orange Brigade Rider:“This was our first race weekend of the year and I wanted to bring home some solid points and gain valuable experience on the KTM RC 390 R. I knew Dumas had more pace than me going into race one, so I decided I would try to stay on the back of him and see what I could do at the end. Things didn’t work out that way, but I was still able to put myself and KTM on the podium alongside Alex. I was looking to step up my game in race two and ended up having a really good race. I had never run a full race in the wet before so I was glad to move up to a second-place finish in race two, despite the challenging track conditions. My plan at VIR is to make some adjustments to the bike and keep collecting as many points as I can so I can continue to be a contender in this championship.”

The following is from Yamalube/Westby Racing…

 

Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz had a strong opening round at Road Atlanta.Photo by Brian J. NelsonOn a rainy Sunday at Road Atlanta, Mathew Scholtz and the Yamalube/Westby Racing wrapped up their weekend in Georgia with another MotoAmerica Superbike podium finish to follow up the podium result that they earned on Saturday. Mathew’s second- and third-place results put him in second place in the Championship points standings behind defending Superbike Champion Toni Elias.

Saturday’s partly sunny skies gave way to persistent rain on Sunday, and Mathew took his spot in the first position on the grid for Superbike Race 2, which was the result of him winning Saturday’s Superpole qualifying session. After the start, the wet track conditions immediately came into play as, on the first lap, a rider crashed, and Mathew had to take evasive maneuvers to avoid the incident. Despite the off-track excursion, Mathew deftly kept his #11 Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike upright as he rode through the grass and mud, returning to the tarmac unscathed, but shuffled to the back of the pack.

Undaunted, the “Durban Dynamo” gave his R1 some time to shed itself of the mud it had collected during the impromptu detour, and then he got down to the business of improving his track position. During his spirited charge to the front, Mathew recorded the fastest lap of the race up to that point in the event. By the time the checkers flew on Lap 18, he had passed rider after rider and made it onto the podium for the second consecutive day.

Commenting on his race, Mathew said, I think that Jake (Lewis) highsided coming out of the first corner, and I had to just pull out wide, trying to avoid him. He sort of slid into my bike, and I had to run off the circuit. Fortunately, I kept it upright, and I came back on. It took me a couple of corners to get all the mud off the tires, and then, I just carried on. I put my head down and caught a couple of guys. A couple of guys crashed, which definitely helped me. So, all in all, I am happy to be sitting on the podium, and I want to give a big thanks to my whole team and all of our sponsors, including SBS Brakes, Superbike Unlimited LLC, and Biothermal LLC.”

The Yamalube/Westby Racing team will now travel to the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, for Round 2 of the 2018 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship this weekend. Mathew and his MotoAmerica Superbike competitors will race on the world stage during the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, which begins on Friday.

Jamie Astudillo (right) finished third in Sunday’s Liqui Moly Junior Cup race at Road Atlanta.Photo by K.B. Kistler

The following is from Quarterley Racing/On Track Development…

Jamie Astudillo said it herself, “I couldn’t have had a much better weekend than this.” After qualifying 12th on Friday, she sat down with her riding coach, Dale Quarterley. He said, “She listened, took the criticisms well, and then we just had to wait and see what she did on the track.”

Astudillo took that information and rode herself from 12th to 4th in the first race of the Junior Cup Championship. Having an exceptional first lap moving from 12th to 8th then gaining 2 more positions in lap two she kept her head down and found herself three wide on several occasions coming out of turn one up the hill. The 4th place finish was an amazing feeling she lets her team know. After a moment of celebration, her rider coach sits her down, congratulates her, and explains tomorrow would be a whole different race in the rain. The crew Ron Barrack, Paul Arciszewski, and Mark Reynolds went to work on strategy for bike and tire setup for the rain.

After practice, Astudillo felt confident, but knew she would have to settle herself down come race time. She started, “i don’t want to override it, it will put me on the ground, but I need to get everything I can out of the bike on the track today.” There is no disputing that. Astudillo and her teammate Dallas Daniels were third and fourth for much of the shortened ten lap race. When the second place rider went down, Daniels had no where to go. With quick reaction time Astudillo avoided the wreck and finished 3rd in the second race for the weekend. Dale Quarterley stated, “I asked her to change her riding 180 degrees, and she was able to change it 190 and put herself on the podium.”

Astudillo will remain in the history books as the first female to podium for MotoAmerica.

The team is looking forward to the rest of the season. The next place you can see these two riders is VIR on April 5-7.

Thanks to our sponsors FBF, Fast Bike Industries, Yoshimura, Defiance Lifestyles, medAge, Dynojet, Apex, Beta, Vanson Leathers, Arai, Woodcraft, Regina Chain, Motul, and roadracingworld.com

The following is from Rickdiculous Racing…

Hayden Gillim won Sunday’s wet Supersport final. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

The opening round of the MotoAmerica Championship at Road Atlanta saw the RiCKdiculous Racing team debut 2 new riders and new crew for 2018. Hayden Gillim and Jason Aguilar were added in the off season for the Supersport class onboard Graves built Yamaha R6’s and Gauge Rees was chosen to pilot the Yamaha R3 in the Junior Cup.

Saturday Qualifying found Hayden in the 2 spot behind long time friend and Yamaha Rider JD Beach. The stage was set for an epic battle. In race 1, a mistake by another rider put Hayden on the ground in the early laps. A red flag later that lap saved his hopes of a podium run. The crew headed by Robert Ward and mechanic Shawn Keene went to work on pit wall and had the bike repaired and ready to ride in short order. With a full restart and shortened race, Gillim had little time to waste. After a tremendous ride to the front of the pack, Hayden was able to hold on to the 2 spot only .223 seconds behind Beach. Jason Aguilar was able to hold on to a top 10 spot and score valuable points for the Championship.
The Junior Cup race was going to be a learning experience for young Gauge Rees. With minimal lightweight bike racing action, his main goal was to gain experience and learn drafting strategy. At the end of the race he scored 11th position and ran the 2nd fastest R3 lap time of the race!
Sunday’s races were set to be run in rapidly changing conditions even seeing races delayed by downpours. When asked about the conditions, Gillims mechanic Shawn Keene said, “My guy is a fish, bring it on!” When the green flag dropped Gillim made it to the front of the pack in a few short laps, then began to check out on the field. The end of the race put Gillim ahead of 2nd place by nearly 12 seconds and lapping the field to 11th. This put Gillim tied for the Championship with JD Beach going into the next round at Virginia. “Today was awesome. It’s my first win in four years, and it’s on a 600 again, and I am loving riding this thing. I’m just so pumped right now. Hopefully, it doesn’t change anything between JD and I (laughs). We’ll see how that goes when we get home.” said Gillim.
Jason Aguilar struggled a bit in the rain, but brought his RiCKdiculous Racing Graves R6 back to the pits in perfect order and awaiting battle in Virginia! “Road Atlanta was a struggle for us. We couldn’t put together a good race from start to finish and our qualifying pace was a bit off. The team worked extremely hard this weekend to make sure everything went as planned, but some things you can’t always control. We are hoping to be back on track come next round at VIR. Big thanks to the team and all our sponsors for making this all possible.”
The Junior Cup race found Rees battling for 10th and finishing in 12th. “Overall, the first round of the season went pretty well. Before this weekend, I didn’t have any experience racing in a big pack, dealing with the draft, or racing a 300 in the rain. I learned a ton and now that I have those tools in my arsenal, I’m really looking forward to jumping back on the Rickdiculous Racing Graves Yamaha R3 in Virginia and pushing to the front of the Junior Cup grid.” Said Rees.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the team and all their hard work! The process works!” Said Adam Bronfman, the team’s owner. “We all believe in the system Ken [Hill] has created, and Josh and I have worked really hard to put the pieces around Ken to allow the program to flourish. Everyone on the team that Kelly assembled is beyond professional, and it showed all weekend. Despite some setbacks for every rider and crew, they all walked away from Road Atlanta with their heads held high and looking forward to Virginia. We also couldn’t be more proud of Hayden Gillim and his crew for his RiCKdiculous ride in the rain, where he earned RiCKdiculous Racing their first win at the professional level! We are very proud of Jason and Gauge for their successful weekends and look forward to Virginia!”
“All of the hard work the entire team did in the off season is paying off. Right after last season ended, we were able to evaluate the Rick riders and build their off season training program so they could out of the gate strong. Hayden came out swinging and both Jason and Gauge had strong Saturday performances. The Rick crew Kelly Rees assembled is beyond amazing. Every member worked together as a team and each deserve equal credit for the weekend’s results. We’ll take what we learned and train harder for VIR!”
“I was very proud of my guys this weekend.” Team manager Kelly Rees said. “Hayden rode like we all knew he could. Seeing him have a solid start to the year and a great crew behind him has me very optimistic about the season. Aguilar will be right there with him, he just needs to settle in and he will be fighting for the front. Gauge has an uphill battle in the Jr. Cup. MotoAmerica and FIM must do something with the rules package to bring some parity to the class. We all saw the massive disparity the KTM and Kawasaki 400 have created this year both in MotoAmerica and the WSS300 race held this weekend. “
Rickdiculous Racing would like to thank its sponsors and partners for their continued support. Galfer brakes, Graves, Yamaha, Yamalube, Motion Pro, Superbike Unlimited, Dunlop, MotoStation and Dianese.