Bikes built by Team Hammer won their 98th and 99th AMA Pro/MotoAmerica races on Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park, with Altus Racing’s Cameron Petersen and SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki’s Rocco Landers earning victories on the day.
The venerable team, in the midst of its 40th consecutive pro racing campaign, will go for the century mark on Sunday.
Rocco Landers, a 15-year-old phenom, extended his run of domination in MotoAmerica Twins Cup action, scoring his fifth consecutive blowout victory in the class.
Landers’ scintillating pace aboard his SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki SV650 ultimately forced his primary rival into a mistake as he fought to make up the gap. That development opened the door to a nearly 20-second margin of victory and moved the rising star that much closer to the Twins Cup title.
Landers, who now boasts a 44-point advantage in the championship, said, “My SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki team has been working super hard and put a great program underneath us. I’m excited about the championship points. I couldn’t be happier right now.”
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Sean Dylan Kelly carried over the same fighting spirit he called upon to win the ‘race of the year’ last time out in MotoAmerica Supersport action at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
‘SDK’ exploited the agility of his Suzuki GSX-R600 to execute a series of passes for the lead in the race’s opening stages. His heroics would keep him in contention for only so long, however, as he was ultimately forced to settle in and power home to his 12th podium finish in succession.
After taking second, Kelly said, “I’m absolutely happy with the race today. We showed a good fight and that was the objective. I turned the fastest laps I’ve ever ridden here in the first few laps while battling for the lead. I’m glad we did what we did and there were a lot of good passes. But we need to keep on working. We made a good step forward for the race, and I’m sure we can do our homework and make another step for tomorrow. I’m really happy with my entire M4 ECSTAR Suzuki crew and I want to thank all my guys.”
Kelly’s Supersport stablemate, Lucas Silva, managed to keep his perfect season’s run of top-10s alive by finishing in 10th despite a crash earlier in the weekend.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Superbike aces, Toni Elias and Bobby Fong both showed the pace to pull off more top-five finishes, but Fong missed out due to a technical issue in the race. Fong ran in fourth aboard his GSX-R1000 early, well positioned to make a run at a podium position later in the race. Unfortunately, his pace faded down the stretch after encountering an electrical problem.
At that same time, former MotoAmerica Superbike and Moto2 World Champion Toni Elias was finding renewed speed. He made a pass for position and shook free from a three-rider fight for fifth. He then tracked down and overhauled Fong en route to a clear fourth-place finish. Fong soldiered on, losing just one more position before finally accepting sixth at the flag.
Finally, Joseph Blasius made an impressive Team Hammer return, battling for a podium position in the Twins Cup race dominated by Landers. Blasius was in contention for second deep into the race aboard the Autovest Suzuki SV650 before finally finishing fourth at the checkered flag.
The MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing weekend at Barber Motorsports Park will conclude on Sunday.
About Team Hammer
The 2020 season marks Team Hammer’s 40th consecutive year of operating as a professional road racing team. Racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 99 AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National races, have finished on AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National podiums 274 times and have won seven AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National Championships, as well as two FIM South American Championships (in Superbike and Supersport.) The team has also won 137 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.