The 2020 Crash Report: Highsides, Lowsides We Have ‘Em All

When lean angle exceeds traction. Volga Murmut gets overly familiar with the Ridge Motorsports Park. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

There’s an old racing adage that goes something like this… “if you ain’t crashin,’ you ain’t tryin’.” So, without further ado, it’s time for our MotoAmerica season crash review for the recently completed 2020 season.

Okay, let’s get this out of the way early: if you’re on this list, don’t get your feelings hurt. One hundred and 27 of your peers also crashed in 2020. That’s right, 128 MotoAmerica riders experienced that awful sound of bodywork succumbing to gravity at least once in 2020.

First things first: the tracks. MotoAmerica held nine races in 2020 at eight different racetracks (there were two rounds at Road America). There were 20 HONOS Superbike races, 18 Supersport and Liqui Moly Junior Cup races, and 12 Stock 1000 and Twins Cup races. The crash count, however, is from every practice session, qualifying session, morning warm-up and race.

The grand total of crashes from the nine rounds? 318.

The track with the most crashes was Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which makes sense since it was the first time at the track for most of the MotoAmerica racers. There were 53 crashes on the Brickyard road course. It also makes sense the corner with the most crashes was turn two, a slow right-hander (slow corners always claim more than fast corners, it seems). That corner was the site of 16 crashes.

Second on the list of tracks with the most crashes was the Ridge Motorsports Park, with the track in Washington State making its debut on the MotoAmerica schedule. There were 50 crashes at the Ridge with 12 of those in turn one.

Barber Motorsports Park ended up third on the crash list with 40, 13 of which occurred in turn three.

The least amount of crashes at a single track? Surprisingly, that would be Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, which has historically been one of the tracks with the highest amount of crashes (though inclement weather has been a factor in that). It was turn seven where most of the crashes happened with four taking place there over the course of the three days.

Okay. It’s time to name names.

The MotoAmerica racer with the most crashes in 2020 was (insert drum roll here) … Aden Thao. Yes, the young Liqui Moly Junior Cup racer led the way this past season as he vacated the seat of his Calishine Racing Kawasaki Ninja 400 eight times, which in a way seems rather low when you consider all the track time these guys get. The Liqui Moly Junior Cup Series consisted of 18 races and all the practice and qualifying sessions that go along with those 18 races.

Next on the list was HONOS Superbike racer Jeremy Coffey with the Superbike Underground rider tossing his BMW on the ground seven times.

Those two were in good company, however, as three HONOS Superbike stars were next on the list with Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong and KWR’s Kyle Wyman all tipping over six times on the season. And as proof that even the very best stumble, five-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier crashed four times on the season with three of those coming at one racetrack – Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

With Coffey leading the HONOS Superbike class and Thao ruling the roost in Liqui Moly Junior Cup, the other classes had fewer crashes, though in the case of Twins Cup and Stock 1000, they also had fewer races. In fairness, however, a lot of the Stock 1000 racers also took part in Superbike – thus doubling their chances of crashing at some events.

The top Supersport crashers ended up in a three-way tie for the honor with Benjamin Smith, Alejandro Thermiotis and Kevin Olmedo all crashing five times on the season. In Stock 1000, five was also the high-water mark with Alex Dumas claiming the top spot.

In the Twins Cup class, it was another tie with Jackson Blackmon and Cliff Ramsdell both finishing the season with three crashes.