M4 ECSTAR Suzuki and Suzuki Motor of America teams raced to a total of seven podiums at the weekend’s fifth round of the MotoAmerica AMA Superbike Championship at The Ridge, Washington that included victories from M4 ECSTAR’s Sean Dylan Kelly, Altus Motorsports Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen and Rocco Landers.
This was also backed-up by two podiums by Bobby Fong in the premier Superbike class on his M4 ECSTAR GSX-R1000, another podium from Dylan-Kelly – second in the opening Supersport race on his GSX-R600, plus a sensational second place for Kelly’s M4 ECSTAR team mate Lucas Silva in Sunday’s second race, heading-up a Suzuki one-two. ‘SDK’ was in top form throughout the weekend, securing pole position aboard his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R600, and trading places up front en-route to a Saturday second position; then racing home with an 18-plus-second margin of victory on Sunday.
The Florida native sprinted ahead at the start, which crucially moved him clear of a first-turn incident just behind his rear wheel. He then pressed forward with a punishing pace, which broke the challenge of another rival, opening the path to a walkaway win.
“I’m happy to be in the P1 spot and pick up 25 points,” Kelly said. “I wasn’t too aware of what was going on behind me. I did hear something in the first corner, and it sounded really close so I thought it might be one of the guys right behind me. I just focused on my own race and went as hard as I could. I definitely had a better pace compared to yesterday.
“I’m really happy to get my second victory on the season, but we know we still have work to do. We have a long way to go to get what we want this season. We’re working really hard, and I want to give a huge thanks to my whole M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team for believing in me.”
Adding to the team’s joy was the fact that Kelly’s ever-improving Supersport stablemate, Silva, gave M4 ECSTAR Suzuki a magnificent 1-2 in the race.
Silva did well to avoid the early-race drama and then demonstrated a hot race pace more than a half-second stronger than his qualifying best.
The runner-up result marks Silva’s first career MotoAmerica Supersport podium and he continues his perfect season streak of top 10s, including a Saturday sixth.
He said, “Honestly, I have no words. With everything that happened in the race, I had to keep my focus. I tried to do my best to hang with the leaders in the first few laps, and once I saw there wasn’t anyone behind me, I just maintained my pace.
“Man, I don’t even know what to say. This is amazing. I did the whole cool down lap smiling and crying. Thank you to everyone.”
Another standout performer mounted on a Suzuki GSX-R was Altus Motorsports’ Petersen, who dominated the weekend in the Stock 1000 class. Petersen won pole and then took charge of the red-flagged race to win by over 10 seconds.
Said Petersen: “We’ve made some pretty big steps this weekend with the motorcycle and the way it handles. It’s made me feel more at home, It feels like it’s my motorcycle now. It’s been nothing but good vibes this weekend.”
Meanwhile, in the MotoAmerica Superbike class, Bobby Fong collected a pair of thirds that were as impressive as victories under normal circumstances.
Fong put on a brave face despite still riding in considerable pain after injuring his left hand at the previous round. Despite the added difficulty, the Californian put up a serious fight in both races. He battled for second to the last lap on Saturday, and then did the same on Sunday, registering his fastest lap of the entire weekend on the final lap to close to within a half-second of second place.
Said Fong: “What can I say? My M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSXR-1000 made me look good. This double podium definitely feels like a win after going down in Pittsburgh. I’ve got to give it up to the Lord, my crew, my coach, and all the doctors looking after me this weekend.”
Former series champion Toni Elias finished fifth on the track each time out, including a spirited battle in Sunday’s race that saw him make a pass for position on the last lap. Elias was docked one spot, however, when he ran straight through the turn one chicane after the race was over and was classified in sixth.
With all the highs, the team also suffered a low on the weekend. The meteoric rise of Alex Dumas was placed on a temporary pause when he suffered a broken bone in his right arm after getting caught up in a first-corner incident in Saturday’s Superbike contest.
As a result, the French Canadian was unable to take his front-row grid position and seek his maiden Stock 1000 race win in Sunday’s class contest.
Rocco Landers won the 12-lap Twins Cup race at the Ridge, bringing home his Sportbike TrackGear.com Suzuki seven seconds ahead of the competition.
After the race, polesitter Landers said, “My SportbikeTrackGear.com Roadracing World Suzuki SV650 has been awesome this weekend. The team worked super hard prepping the bike and getting it ready for the race and we made the right tyre choice. It’s only due to a few small hiccups that we’re not leading this championship right now, so we’re just going to keep pushing and see what we can do.”
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki, Altus Motorsports, and the rest of the MotoAmerica paddock will now travel across the country for Round 6 of the 2020 MotoAmerica AMA/ FIM North American Road Racing at New Jersey Motorsports Park on September 11-13th.