Team Hammer underlined its multi-class excellence by placing two or more riders on the podium for the tenth consecutive MotoAmerica race day on Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
One rider who had unexpectedly yet to play a part in that remarkable feat finally broke through in a big way to contribute on Saturday; 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike champion Toni Elias earned his first top-three finish of the season aboard his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Elias got away in fourth and picked up a position on the opening lap. It was clear sailing from there for the Spaniard, who views the third-place performance as an indication of even better days ahead.
“It feels great to get back on the podium,” Elias said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but this is the first step. Thanks to my team for all the support. Let’s continue like this and, sooner or later, we will arrive back on the top step of the podium.”
Despite still suffering from the effects of an earlier fall, Bobby Fong put forth another courageous effort to put two GSX-R1000s in the top five. The reigning MotoAmerica Supersport king was forced to gamble on his set-up but still managed to fight for fourth well into the contest before turning his attention to securing fifth at the flag.
Meanwhile, Sean Dylan Kelly scored his tenth straight podium finish in MotoAmerica Supersport competition. It speaks well of ‘SDK’ and his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team that the Floridian encountered difficulties during the race, resulting in his worst finish since the season opener, and he still finished on box.
Kelly expected more than third after earning the pole on his GSX-R600 but was grateful to collect the points that he did. He explained, “I was looking for the win, but honestly, I’m just happy we made it on the podium today. We ran into an unexpected issue during the race and had to worry about not losing the podium spot.
“Obviously, third is not what we wanted and not what we needed, but this is racing. I’m happy we were able to salvage a podium and still be in the championship fight. We’re going to keep on fighting and come back stronger tomorrow.”
Behind Kelly, Ridge Race 2 runner-up Lucas Silva earned seventh, which extended his perfect season record of finishes inside the top ten.
SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki’s Rocco Landers concluded the day in brilliant fashion for Team Hammer with yet another blowout MotoAmerican Twins Cup win.
Landers opened a gap by the race’s second corner and instantly demolished any hopes the field may have entertained about contending for the victory.
Landers’ fourth triumph of the season elevated him into the Twins Cup championship lead.
He said, “We weren’t sure about our tire choice, so I tried to put in a good first few laps and then go into tire management mode. It was a great race, and I had a lot of fun. I was trying to manage the gap at about five seconds and I did pretty good at that.
“I have to give it up to my SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki team. The bike worked so well all weekend long and they put a great program underneath me every single weekend.”
Team Hammer will round out the MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing weekend at NJMP 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 95 AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National races, have finished on AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National podiums 269 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.