SIXTH 2021 WIN FOR M4 ECSTAR SUZUKI’S SEAN DYLAN KELLY AT LAGUNA SECA
Team Hammer extended its storming mid-season form, snaring another race victory and a pair of podiums as the 2021 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship season picked back up on Saturday at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.
It came as no surprise that the win was scored by the surging Sean Dylan Kelly aboard his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R600 in the day’s MotoAmerica Supersport contest.
‘SDK’ followed his typical script, leading from pole and fighting off an intense challenge to claim the checkered flag by a narrow 0.099-second. Despite feeling the pressure from close behind throughout, the Floridian only saw his rival come alongside on a single occasion on lap 14 of 19. Kelly countered immediately, striking back in the very next corner before keeping his opponent corralled behind him for the remainder of the race.
The win was Kelly’s third in succession and sixth overall in 2021, extending his championship advantage beyond a race at 26 points.
He said, “It feels so good to win again at Laguna Seca. It was definitely a hard race… The lap times have been really close and I knew it was going to be a tough race. It was close, but we’re here to show we can fight it out and win. A huge thanks to my M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team for getting my bike ready to go.”
Kelly was joined in celebration by his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate, Cameron Petersen. The South African, who earned his maiden MotoAmerica Superbike podium just five races back, already boasts a career tally of four thanks to another standout performance on Saturday.
Petersen suffered off the line despite his front-row grid position, dropping to fifth in the early stages of the race. However, an early red flag provided him another opportunity and he made the most of it. Petersen got away in second aboard his GSX-R1000 Superbike and quickly settled into third, where he would remain to the race’s conclusion.
“For sure, that red flag played to my advantage, big time,” Petersen said. “I got such a horrible start that first time and I could see the front three guys getting away. I was getting a little bit frustrated, but I made up for it on the restart. I managed to get a good start and put in a good race.
“Hats off to the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team. They keep working hard and keep giving me the best possible bike every weekend. That’s allowing me to show that I can do my thing and get on the podium in the Superbike class.”
Meanwhile, second Superbike pilot Bobby Fong and second Supersport rider Sam Lochoff added to Team Hammer’s points haul on the day with a seventh-place finish apiece.
Earlier, M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Wyatt Farris qualified 11th for Sunday’s Stock 1000 race with a best lap of 1:28.592.
All five riders will be back in action and clawing for top positions on Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
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 116 AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National races, have finished on AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National podiums 311 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.