SHELTON, Wash. – Rocco Landers ended up having the perfect weekend at the Ridge Motorsports Park, the 15-year-old Oregonian winning both Liqui Moly Junior Cup races and the lone Twins Cup race over the two days of the inaugural Komatsu Superbikes At The Ridge event.
Things didn’t go so well for runaway Supersport points leader Richie Escalante as the HONOS Kawasaki rider was taken out in the first corner on Sunday after winning on Saturday. That left his championship rival Sean Dylan Kelly to cruise to an easy victory on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki, his second of the season.
In Stock 1000, Cameron Petersen was dominant, taking the victory by more than 10 seconds.
After the close racing that occurred in Saturday’s Supersport race one, the expectation was that there would be a repeat performance in Sunday’s race two. However, an incident going into the chicane on the opening lap took out Saturday’s winner Escalante. The HONOS Kawasaki rider and current championship leader was unhurt but unable to rejoin the race. That left the battle for the lead to the other two frontrunners, Kelly and Brandon Paasch. Then, inexplicably, Paasch appeared to fall off his Celtic HSBK Racing Yamaha, which ended his day.
With both of his fiercest rivals out of the race, that left Kelly with a gaping lead aboard his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. At the checkers, he won by more than 18 seconds over his teammate Lucas Silva, who celebrated his first-ever podium finish. Third place went to a somewhat somber Aguilar Racing Yamaha rider Jason Aguilar, who appreciated the podium finish but wished that attrition hadn’t played a factor in his result.
In Sunday’s lone Stock 1000 race of the weekend, Petersen proved that he is now in a happy place with his Altus Motorsports Tucker Hagerty Suzuki. The South African rider notched his third win in a row and fourth victory of the season with a dominant performance that gave him a gap of more than 10 seconds over second-place finisher Michael Gilbert aboard his Michael Gilbert Racing Kawasaki. Ride HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander rode his Kawasaki to a third-place result.
The race was red-flagged due to an incident on the opening lap when Hunter Dunham took a nasty tumble, but thankfully, he did not sustain any serious injuries.
Sunday’s Liqui Moly Junior Cup race was another show of strength by defending class champion and current points leader Landers, who rode a flawless and fast race aboard his Norton Motorsports/Ninja400R/Dr. Farr/Wonder CBD Kawasaki to win by a margin of more than seven seconds over BARTCON Racing Kawasaki rider Dominic Doyle.
Speaking of Doyle, he played a part in the most exciting battle of the race as he and Celtic HSBK Racing Kawasaki’s Sam Lochoff diced for second place, with Doyle barely squeaking by Lochoff at the stripe after passing him in the final corner.
The victory was Landers’ seventh of the season so far and the 21st Junior Cup class victory of his career.