BRASELTON, Ga. – HONOS Kawasaki’s Richie Escalante rolled into Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta riding the high of winning four straight Supersport races, but M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Sean Dylan Kelly put an end to Escalante’s perfect Supersport season with a thrilling victory on a hot Saturday in Georgia.
With Escalante finishing second to Kelly it means that no one in the MotoAmerica Series is undefeated.
Saturday’s Supersport race was an absolute battle between Kelly and Escalante, with Kelly emerging victorious by .052 of a second to snap Escalante’s four-race winning streak. The race was red-flagged when Nolan Lamkin crashed in the early going, and it was restarted with the original starting grid and Escalante in the pole position.
Kelly got the jump on Escalante, but Escalante stayed close throughout the 18-lap event, and the two swapped the lead several times. On the final run to the checkers, Kelly had enough of a gap to hold off Escalante’s draft-pass move. Meanwhile, Celtic HSBK Racing Yamaha’s Brandon Paasch ran a solid race in third to round out the podium.
“First of all, I’m just super happy to finally get the win,” Kelly said. “I haven’t gotten one since Pittsburgh. At the end of the day, after waiting so long, you get hungry, and more hungry, and more hungry. Especially after the start to the season that we had. We definitely had a rough start at Road America 1, but we’ve just built on it ever since. Honestly, I owe it all to the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team. John and Chris Ulrich, Jeremy Toye, my crew chief. They’ve really put in a lot of work. We’ve just been moving forward ever since. I’m extremely happy. We still have work to do for tomorrow, but this is just taking it in. First win of the season. Really happy. Thanks to everyone that’s watching back at home, especially my dad who I obviously wish was here, but that’s all right. I know he’s still pretty emotional back at home.”
In Saturday’s Stock 1000 race, Ride HVMC Racing Kawasaki’s Corey Alexander notched his first MotoAmerica win. Second-place finisher Cameron Petersen hung with Alexander in the opening laps of the race, but his Altus Motorsports Tucker Hagerty Suzuki developed a technical issue, and Alexander was able to stretch his lead to nearly four seconds at the checkers.
Alex Dumas, the 2018 Liqui Moly Junior Cup and 2019 Twins Cup Champion, recorded his first podium result in the Stock 1000 class with a third-place result.
The final race of the day was Twins Cup, and Kaleb De Keyrel, who has won two of the first three races of the season, was victorious again aboard his 1-833-CJKNOWS Roaring Toyz Yamaha on Saturday at Road Atlanta. Second place went to Hayden Schultz Racing Yamaha’s Hayden Schultz for his second podium in a row.
Polesitter Rocco Landers had quite a ride aboard his Roadracing World Young Guns/Sportbiketrackgear.com Suzuki on the final go-around of the 12-lap race. The class rookie made an aggressive move to try and catch De Keyrel, but he very nearly crashed and had to make a miraculous save to salvage a podium in third.
Defending Liqui Moly Junior Cup Champion Rocco Landers started the MotoAmerica season with three second-place finishes to Dominic Doyle, but in race number two at Road America 2, Landers finally got the win. On Saturday, Landers put in a dominant performance to record his second-consecutive victory.
The Norton Motorsports/Ninja400R/Dr. Farr/Wonder CBD Kawasaki rider started from the pole, got the holeshot, and immediately started pulling a gap, which he extended to more than five seconds by the time he crossed the finish line. His pace was as hot as the temperature on Saturday at Road Atlanta, and the Oregonian broke the outright class lap record on his way to the checkers.
Current points leader Doyle got a bad start from the line and had to play catch-up aboard his BARTCON Racing Kawasaki throughout the majority of the 11-lap event. He raced hard, however, and managed to land on the podium in third. Second place went to Celtic HSBK Racing’s Sam Lochoff, the South African getting his best result of the year thus far.