Sean Dylan Kelly won MotoAmerica Supersport Race 1 Saturday at Ridge Motorsports Park.
Photo By Brian J Nelson.
CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER SEAN DYLAN KELLY WINS AGAIN IN WASHINGTON
Sean Dylan Kelly and Team Hammer were in red hot form as the 2021 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship season resumed on Saturday at Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Washington.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki ace Kelly scored a clutch victory in a MotoAmerica Supersport contest waged under blazing conditions, surviving an intense late-race scrap before shaking free on the final two laps to grab his fourth checkered flag of the young season.
‘SDK’ jumped out to the early advantage on his Suzuki GSX-R600 from pole only to be tracked down at mid-distance by his chief rival. Kelly was overtaken momentarily, but immediately countered with a slick inside pass in the ultra-tight left at the top of the hill. A follow-up assault was ultimately dismantled by SDK, who put his head down and eked out the decisive gap at the race’s conclusion.
Kelly’s second consecutive Ridge Motorsports triumph extended his championship advantage to 16 points. He said, “What a tough race — mentally and physically. It feels like it’s 200 degrees out here, but this is what I train for. It was such a difficult race keeping the pace, but I did. I kept the pressure on, I knew what I could do, and I was comfortable at the front.
“I’m really happy with the whole M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team and the work we are doing. Thank you to my guys.”
Kelly’s Supersport teammate, Sam Lochoff, registered yet another impressive ride in his rookie season in the middleweight class. Lochoff chased after Altus Motorsports Suzuki’s Kevin Olmedo for the bulk of the contest as the two chased after the final spot on the podium.
That honor ultimately went to Olmedo as he, SDK, and Lochoff combined to put three Team Hammer-built Suzuki GSX-R600s in the race’s top four.
Meanwhile, M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cam Petersen continued his ascension to MotoAmerica Superbike stardom. After securing his first- and then second-career premier-class podium at the previous round at Road America, the South African upped his podium streak to three on Saturday.
Petersen, who qualified on the front row aboard his GSX-R1000 Superbike, went from second to third to fourth to second in a chaotic opening lap. He then settled into third, where he would remain to the checkered flag.
“I wanted to be patient today and I think maybe I was a little too patient,” said Petersen. “I felt like I was holding the guys up the first two laps. Once someone came by, my plan was to just sit behind him and see where he was strong and where I was losing. He kept gapping me, but I found my rhythm and got used to the tires and started closing the gap back down, but I made a little mistake going into the chicane with about five or six laps to go and that was the end of my race for second. We settled down and brought it home in third for the boys. Once again, I can’t thank my crew enough. Honestly, I feel it’s the best crew in the paddock, and I’m so blessed to have them. Thanks to the whole M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team.”
His teammate Bobby Fong salvaged some crucial championship points despite being hampered due to a heavy crash suffered during Thursday’s test. After pushing for a top-five position in the opening stages of the race, the Californian lost feeling in his hand due to lingering issues from the crash. Fong persevered to make it to the finish line in eighth.
Earlier, M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Wyatt Farris raced his way up to ninth position in the day’s Stock 1000 race. Olmedo’s Altus Motorsports Suzuki teammate, Jake Lewis, powered his Team Hammer-built GSX-R1000 to second place to maintain a 17-point lead in the Stock 1000 championship standings.
Team Hammer will be back gunning for more wins and podiums in Sunday’s rematches at Ridge Motorsports Park.
About Team Hammer
The 2021 season marks Team Hammer’s 41st consecutive year of operating as a professional road racing team. Racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 114 AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National races, have finished on AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National podiums 307 times and have won nine 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.