Team Hammer enjoyed a near-perfect conclusion to a phenomenal weekend of MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship competition at Pittsburgh International Race Complex on Sunday.
Rising stars Sean Dylan Kelly and Alex Dumas each backed up their Saturday victories to complete the double double for the squad, while the team’s veteran riders, Bobby Fong and Jake Lewis, put in highlight performances of their own.
Despite hobbling around on crutches with injuries to his left ankle, foot, and back from Saturday’s terrifying highside, Fong not only made the start of Saturday’s MotoAmerica Supersport race, he actually got away in second place, running right behind his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate Kelly.
The two ran 1-2 aboard their identical GSX-R600s through the race’s first five laps before a red flag brought the action to a short halt while a crashed bike was removed from the track surface. When the action got back underway, the courageous Fong actually put a quick pass on Kelly and controlled the race from the front until the final lap.
At that point, the teammates executed a series of breathtaking passes on one another with the final pass coming from Kelly entering the final section. The two powered down the front straight side-by-side, with Kelly edging out Fong by just 0.005-second at the finish line.
“I want to say massive respect to my teammate,” 17-year-old Kelly said after scoring his second career MotoAmerica victory a day after earning his first. “I really can’t believe Bobby was riding that fast with how injured he is. I saw how much pain he was in all yesterday and all of today. He rode his heart out.
“I still can’t believe I won it, to be honest. I’m super pumped to get this double win. It’s still hard to take in. I’m just happy for the whole team, doing the 1-2. They all deserve this, so we’ll keep rolling like this.”
Fong, who didn’t think he could even ride and then was only hoping to minimize the championship damage on Sunday, actually stretched out his Supersport title lead with his gutsy effort. He now leads by 11 points with four races remaining.
After taking what was the most memorable of his 10 podium finishes this season, Fong said, “I woke up this morning, and I didn’t want to tell my team, but I was like, ‘No way am I going to be able to ride.’ Honestly, this is my first chance at a real championship, so I had to do it for my team. They’ve been fighting for a #1 plate for a long time. My team backed me the whole time. And congrats to Sean — he rode an awesome race. I didn’t know who had it at the line, but kudos to him. I’m looking forward to more battles yet this season.”
Roadracing World Young Guns Suzuki’s Alex Dumas proved unstoppable in Twins Cup action yet again, claiming his fourth victory in five races by a near double-digit margin. The Canadian pushed hard early to establish himself out front and then used his superior pace to break free of the pack. The win was Team Hammer’s 80th in AMA and MotoAmerica competition, and its 227th podium finish in the national series.
Dumas now leads the championship fight by nine points. He said, “My strategy was to try to lead and build a gap early. To do that, I knew I had to get a good start. I did, but I got passed. I managed to get back by pretty quickly and from there it all worked out to plan.”
After crashing in a chain-reaction incident in Saturday’s MotoAmerica Superbike race, M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis demonstrated the depth of his potential in Sunday’s rematch.
The talented Kentuckian got away in second place aboard his GSX-R1000R and moved into the lead on the second lap. He held the position for several laps before ultimately settling into an intense race-long scrap for the podium, running second, third, and fourth at various points of the race.
Lewis would take the checkered flag in fourth, less than a second behind third and just over four seconds behind the winner. The result was the best of his six top-five premier-class finishes in 2019.
The only stinging disappointment the team suffered on an otherwise standout Sunday was a nasty warm-up lap crash suffered by Autovest Suzuki’s Joseph Blasius prior to the Twins Cup race. Blasius was able to get up to his feet and walk off the track but was in obvious pain afterward. He was loaded up in the ambulance, and checked out at the track medical center before being taken by car to a local hospital for X-rays. He was then treated for a broken metacarpal bone in his left hand and released.
Team Hammer will next head to New Jersey Motorsports Park on September 7-8 for the penultimate round of the 2019 MotoAmerica season.
About Team Hammer
The 2019 season marks Team Hammer, Inc.’s 39th consecutive year of operating as a professional road racing team. Racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 80 AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National races, have finished on AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National podiums 227 times, and have won five AMA Pro National Championships, as well as two FIM South American Championships. The team has also won 135 endurance races overall (including seven 24-hour races) and 13 Overall WERA National Endurance Championships with Suzuki motorcycles, and holds the U.S. record for mileage covered in a 24-hour race. The team also competed in the televised 1990s Formula USA National Championship, famously running “Methanol Monster” GSX-R1100 Superbikes fueled by methanol, and won four F-USA Championships.