Escalante bounces back to claim first VIR Supersport victory of the year
As Richie Escalante of Parc Ferme said after winning the second of two MotoAmerica Supersport races on Sunday at VIRginia International Raceway, “Richie is back.
Two weeks away from the collarbone tackle, Escalante won his first Supersport race of the season on Sunday and not a minute too early as championship rival Sean Dylan Kelly had won three straight races to start the 2021 season.
Escalante wasn’t the only championship hopeful to return to the top step of the podium at VIR as Corey Alexander stepped out and won his first Stock 1000 race of the season after a tough start to the campaign.
As for the SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup and Twins Cup races at VIR, these were two first-time class winners at Cody Wyman and Jody Barry.
Stock 1000: Happy Birthday to Alexander
On his 27th birthday, HONOS HVMC Kawasaki rider Corey Alexander gave himself an invaluable and hard-fought gift by winning the second race of the Stock 1000 on Sunday at VIRginia International Raceway.
The winner of Saturday’s first race, Jake Lewis, nearly ruined Alexander’s birthday party when he nearly passed Alexander on the final lap, but Alexander maintained his position up front and kept Lewis and his Suzuki Altus Motorsports behind him, taking the pawns by 0.047 of a second over the Kentuckian. With Lewis in second, third place went to Michael Gilbert of Michael Gilbert Racing Kawasaki, who was just under a second behind Lewis.
“It was fun riding with these guys up front,” said Alexander. “You can kind of rely on them to at least give you some space. There wasn’t much there, but I knew (Lewis) wasn’t going to just kick me. So I was hanging on for a bit, and I knew I was dragging him through the grass and the only way I could really get the bike off him was to accelerate. Fortunately, I fell forward a bit. But otherwise, we went back and watched the race last night and sort of saw places where he was better than me. I don’t know if I really improved myself, but I knew I couldn’t let it go through me in these places, so I kind of tightened my lines a bit. The guys made a few changes to allow me to brake better, which was kind of my strong point I think today. I used that to make sure I could lead the race. I learned yesterday from Jake that catching up with those laggards and somehow keeping your race under a lead and going through them smoothly will put you in a position to win. So that’s all that really interested me. As soon as Geoff (May) walked past me, I needed to come back to him. Same thing with Jake. I knew I had to pass everyone on the brakes. I can’t ask for a better birthday. “
Supersport: Richie’s Return
Defending MotoAmerica Supersport champion Richie Escalante’s title defense got off to a somewhat difficult start. The HONOS Kawasaki rider finished second of two races at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, but then, just after that round, he broke his collarbone in a training accident on his bike. Despite the setback, Escalante not only raced at the VIR, but had a dominant performance in Sunday’s race, winning over seven and a half seconds over M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Sean Dylan Kelly, who could not be stopped. until now. .
Kelly was second, but he was clearly not happy with the result and felt that the changes they made to the bike overnight after Saturday’s race hadn’t improved the bike. Stefano Mesa of Mesa37 Racing Kawasaki, himself struggling with bumps and bruises, toughened it up and finished third but just over 11 seconds behind Kelly.
“I’m so happy,” Escalante said. “I think yesterday my confidence changed for today. By the time I started the race I felt like maybe I didn’t think it was a race. The first group may be very long. Today I feel good. I woke up more motivated, more relaxed. I feel good in my collarbone. So, I am so happy. My Honos Racing team is working wonderfully by giving me my motorbike. My feeling is the same as last year. So really happy. I push hard and passed Sean, then I just waited to pass myself again. I did my best in the first few laps. So hard in the last five laps that I had to ride my bike without looking at the people waiting to finish the race. I am so happy. Thank you to all my sponsors and people who support me. I am ready for the next round. It’s one of my favorite tracks, so let’s go. “
Twins Cup: Barry raises the temperature
Former KTM RC Cup competitor Jody Barry is back in the MotoAmerica paddock after a few years away, and Righteous Racing Aprilia rider is making a name for himself upon his return. After reaching the podium at Road Atlanta a few weeks ago, Barry claimed a decisive victory in the second race of the Twins Cup on Sunday at VIR. He passed Jackson Blackmon Yamaha rider Jackson Blackmon on the last lap of the 10-lap race and held onto the lead to win by just .166 of a second over second-placed Blackmon. Aprilia’s Kaleb De Keyrel of Robem Engineering was third, just under half a second behind Blackmon.
“I really thought I had to get on with it early because (Blackmon’s) Yamaha is no slouch in the straight,” Barry said. “I was praying for everything in there so that I could give him enough space so that he wouldn’t get past me. It’s really awesome. “
SportbikeTrackGear.Com Junior Cup: Wyman’s premiere
In Sunday’s second SportbikeTrackGear.com race, Kermoto / Madden Painting Kawasaki rider Cody Wyman finally claimed the decisive MotoAmerica victory that eluded him for a few years. The youngest of the Wyman racing brothers, Cody became a master of the draft, and he used it to perfection on the last lap to escape the herd of runners up front and put himself in perfect position to take the flag. checkered first. Wyman crushed second Ben Gloddy, who was in a Landers Racing Kawasaki, by just 0.049 of a second. Gloddy won the first race on Saturday and seemed to be heading for the double win until Wyman rushed in and took the win. Also in the lead group was Maxwell Toth of Veloce Racing Kawasaki, with the Californian rider taking third place just 0.113 seconds behind Gloddy.
“I have to thank the Westby team for taking a chance on me a few years ago,” said Wyman. “To get on a competition bike and become more comfortable, it’s really just the momentum to keep riding for the rest of the year. I thought I messed it up on the last lap when I really let myself go through the esses. I really pushed the braking zones harder than ever, and I was driving my life out of the last corner. Luckily the start / finish line is quite far there, because I really needed it. It’s great to get my first victory and to match the victories of my brothers. For the three of us, winning… it means a lot to the family.