Suzuki Motor USA and Team Hammer ended the 2022 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing season at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday in trophy-winning fashion.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Tyler Scott continues his rapid development with a podium performance while competing in among the most challenging conditions imaginable to close out his maiden Supersport campaign.
Faced with a wet-but-drying track, Scott charged into the race’s opening corner in second aboard his GSX-R750 shod with wet-weather tires. Tentative initially, Scott dropped outside the top five before increasing his confidence at the 2.38-mile circuit.
As the track continued to dry out, the 16-year-old rookie upped his speed and fought his way back up to third and was closing on second position by the time he ultimately took the checkered flag.
The result was Scott’s ninth podium of his breakout season, including a debut victory scored earlier in the year.
Scott, who finished the year ranked an impressive third in the Supersport points standings, said, “I didn’t feel that great in the beginning of the race, but the track started to dry out and I started to get more and more pace. I thought I might be able to even get second by the end, but I just ran out of time.
“I want to give a big thanks to the whole Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team for giving me the opportunity this year. I took full advantage of everything they had, and it’s a great feeling to put it on the podium for the last race of the year. I think I learned a lot about bike set-up this year working with the team. Everyone has been a big help and I’m really happy with the progress I made.”
Suzuki GSX-R750s ultimately secured four of the race’s top five positions, headed by 3D Motorsports LLC’s Luke Power. The rider who completed the top five was Scott’s Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate, Sam Lochoff.
Lochoff, who continues to fight his way back to form and fitness following a lengthy injury-forced layoff, battled for the podium for much of the race before eventually earning an encouraging fifth.
“It was a fun race, but it was crazy. I have often raced in the wet, but never on a dry track with rain tires. Call that one a learning experience, but I was glad to get fifth.” Said Lochoff. “I had dropped back to about seventh at one stage but I came back through the field. I thought I was going to make a pass for third, but I had no front tire left. The left side of the front tire was totally gone and the handlebars were moving back and forth even when I was on the straight.”
Despite missing several races, the South African ended the season ranked ninth with three podiums and five top-five finishes.
Third Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Supersport entry Liam Grant had a more difficult time with the conditions. Grant took the risk of beginning the race on dry tires, ultimately fading from his grid position inside the top ten down to 16th. The youngster ended his rookie Supersport season ranked 13th on the strength of eight top-ten finishes, highlighted by the best result of sixth.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Superbike duo of Richie Escalante and Jake Lewis ended the year in formation, taking the final checkered flag of the season in sixth and seventh position, respectively.
Premier-class rookie Escalante made a late pass on his veteran teammate to end the year with a promising sixth. The result was Escalante’s 12th top ten in a year that saw him finish ninth in points while scoring five top fives, including a pair of fourths.
“The beginning of the race was a little difficult,” said Escalante. “With the rain in the morning, the temperature was cooler today and we chose a different tire. Sometimes you have to take a risk and it did not work out at the beginning. As the race went on, I got stronger, and I was able to go faster and be the top Suzuki finisher. I am happy with the year, learning step by step with a great team. Now is the time to take what I learned and train hard to get ready for next season”.
Lewis held sixth for much of the race over Escalante. His seventh was his 15th top ten. The Kentuckian ended the year ranked seventh, boasting three top fives on the season, including a podium.
ABOUT TEAM HAMMER
The 2022 season marks Team Hammer’s 42nd consecutive year of operating as a professional road racing team. Racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 129 AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National races, have finished on AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National podiums 344 times and have won 11 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.