Supersport Goes Long, And Fores, Beaubier And Dreher Try To Stay Perfect As MotoAmerica Invades Barber Motorsports Park For Round Two.
MotoAmerica’s Supersport class will feature an “extended” race (and pit stops) for the first time this coming weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, May 19-21, while the riders atop the championship point standings in all the classes after the Road Atlanta round are hoping for status quo. For three of them, that means sweeping to victories for a second time on the season. For the other, it means keeping a four-race podium streak and large points lead intact.
Supersport – It’s “Extended” Race Time
Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati’s Xavi Fores showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with in the Supersport class as he won both races in his series debut at Road Atlanta on the ex-Josh Herrin championship-winning Panigale V2.
With the first taste of MotoAmerica racing under his belt, Fores and the rest of the Supersport gang get to try something completely new at Barber Motorsports Park as the first “extended” Supersport race (and mandatory pit stop) is scheduled for 37 laps around the 2.266-mile track.
That new twist will test not just the rider and his/her team, but will make things interesting in a class that already garnered lots of interest based on the opening round at Road Atlanta.
Fores, and his 17-point lead after a perfect weekend in Georgia, will make his debut at Barber and it’s a track his competition knows well. The Spaniard also has an impressive World Endurance racing resume, so the length of the races and the pit stops won’t unnerve him. At the top of the list of those out to gain ground on Fores in the title chase are the two men who are tied for second after their fourth/second place and second/fourth place finishes in the two races at Road Atlanta – Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Stefano Mesa and Vision Wheel ECSTAR Suzuki’s Tyler Scott.
Fourth in the title chase, and just a point behind Mesa and Scott, is four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes and his Squid Hunter Racing Yamaha YZF-R6. Hayes had two third-place finishes in the opening round as he continues to hunt down that elusive 87th victory that will move him out of a tie with Miguel Duhamel to the top of AMA’s all-time win list across all classes.
Michael Gilbert Racing’s Michael Gilbert sits fifth in the title chase heading to Alabama after carding a pair of fifth-place finishes.
REV’IT! Twins Cup – Rodio Rages On
Although there have been four different winners in the four REV’IT! Twins Cup races thus far in 2023, only one rider has been on the podium in all four races. That rider is Gus Rodio and the result of those four successive podiums is a 26-point lead in the championship as the series heads to Barber Motorsports Park for round three.
Rodio and his Rodio Racing – Powered by Robem Engineering Aprilia RS 660 have proven to be the best of the field thus far with a tightly knit group giving chase. The best of the rest so far has been Cycle Tech’s Hayden Schultz, who ironically isn’t one of the four winners. Still, he’s the closest to Rodio in the title chase, but 26 points behind.
Just three points behind Schultz is defending REV’IT! Twins Cup Champion Blake Davis with the N2 Racing/BobbleHeadMoto rider winning race one at Road Atlanta but only mustering up an 11th place finish in race two to mar his points tally. Davis was fourth in both races at Daytona.
Next up is Daytona race two winner Stefano Mesa with the Floridian filling in admirably for the injured Kayla Yaakov on The WagBar MP13 Racing Team. Mesa is seven points behind Davis and is tied for fourth with Trackday Winner/Blackmon Racing’s Jackson Blackmon. Blackmon’s Road Atlanta outing was marred by a non-start in race two due to an electrical problem.
Steel Commander Stock 1000 – More Than One Beaubier
If you would have asked 10 people to pick the Steel Commander Stock 1000 Championship points leader after the opening round at Road Atlanta, there probably wouldn’t have been many choosing Ezra Beaubier. And who could blame them as the youngest of the Beaubier brothers had never finished better than fifth in any MotoAmerica class.
Orange Cat Racing’s Beaubier was red hot at Road Atlanta on his BMW M 1000 RR with two convincing victories over Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman in race one and the retiring Geoff May in race two. And the Californian, who will reside in Chicago during the season, arrives in Alabama with a nice little 14-point lead over May and a 17-point margin over Wyman.
Taylor Knapp Racing’s Taylor Knapp notched fifth- and third-place finishes that will likely ensure the Dunlop test rider’s full season in the championship as he sits fourth in the title chase, six behind Wyman and three clear of Beaubier’s teammate Kaleb DeKeyrel. DeKeyrel’s move from the REV’IT! Twins Cup class to Stock 1000 looks to be seamless as only a final-corner mistake cost him second place in race two at Road Atlanta. Still, fourth and fifth in the two races was a solid debut for the Minnesotan.
One of the preseason favorites in the Steel Commander Stock 1000 series, Hayden Gillim, had a wretched beginning to his 2023 campaign on the Disrupt Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 as a non-finish in race one and a sixth in race two left him with just 10 points to show for his efforts. He is 40 points behind Beaubier heading to Barber, but there’s plenty of racing left and Gillim likely has his worst race behind him.
Round two will also mark the debut in the class of the Steel Commander Racing Team’s Gabriel Da Silva, the Floridian who won the Supersport series finale at Barber back in 2021 but didn’t compete in 2022.
Junior Cup – Dreher Leads ‘Em In
Avery Dreher’s name might appear at the bottom of the entry list with his #99 Bad Boys Racing Kawasaki Ninja 400, but his name is at the very top of the point standings after the opening round (and two races) at Road Atlanta.
Dreher won both races, but neither win came easily. Case in point: Dreher topped SportbikeTrackGear.com’s Max Van in both races by just .612 of a second and .949 of a second, respectively. And the battles at the front on both days featured at least four riders.
With Van finishing second in both races, the final spot in both went to Bicknese Racing’s Hayden Bicknese with the Missourian close to the top in both races.
With those three holding down the top three spots – Dreher (50 points), Van (40 points) and Bicknese (32 points) – fourth is held by 3D Motorsports’ Chase Black by virtue of his fifth- and fourth-place finishes. Black, meanwhile, is just three points ahead of Yandel Racing’s Yandel Medina.
Mission Mini Cup By Motul – The Kids Are Alright
The second round of the Mission Mini Cup By Motul series will take place at Barber Motorsports Park on a separate track than the one used by the rest of the MotoAmerica paddock and they will do so on Friday and Saturday afternoon.
The Mini Cuppers opened their season two weeks ago at Carolina Motorsports Park with the introduction of three new Stock classes – Stock 50, Stock 110 and Stock 125 – joining the two-Ohvale classes for the first time.
When the smoke had cleared after two days of racing in South Carolina, it was Cole Peterman, Nathan Bettencourt, Nathan Gouker, Ryder Davis, and Joshua Raymond leaving with the lion’s share of trophies.
Pre-Barber Support Class Notes
For the past two years, the Barber Motorsports Park round of the MotoAmerica Championship was the final round of the season. This year, the popular venue on the outskirts of Birmingham moves from September to May and is round two of the championship.
While the Steel Commander Stock 1000 class, Junior Cup and Supersport will race in their second round of the 2023 season at Barber Motorsports Park, the Alabama event is the third round of the season for the REV’IT! Twins Cup class as they held their opening round in conjunction with the Daytona 200 at Daytona International Speedway in March. Although the 200 featured Supersport-spec motorcycles, the race did not count toward the 2023 MotoAmerica Supersport Championship.
After a difficult opening round at Road Atlanta, Hayden Gillim will be hoping to turn things around and will welcome a return to the site of his doubleheader sweep of the two Steel Commander Stock 1000 races at Barber last year. Gillim won the pair of Stock 1000 races a year ago in the finale to tie Corey Alexander at the top of the championship. Alexander, however, earned the title by virtue of his seven wins to Gillim’s five in the tiebreaker.
Rocco Landers and Josh Herrin split wins in the Supersport class last September with those two finishing first and second in the championship. Herrin is not defending his crown as he moves to the Medallia Superbike class with the same Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati team. Landers, meanwhile, has returned to the REV’IT! Twins Cup Championship, which he won in 2021.
Blake Davis and Kaleb De Keyrel split wins in the REV’IT! Twins Cup class in the 2022 Barber round. It was Davis’s third victory of his championship-winning season and the lone win of the year for the defending class champion De Keyrel.
The two victors in last year’s pair of Junior Cup races were Kayla Yaakov and Gus Rodio. Both of those riders have made the move to the REV’IT! Twins Cup class for 2023 with Rodio leading the championship. Yaakov missed both the series opener at Daytona and round two at Road Atlanta with a leg injury.
Entries are high for all the classes competing this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park with 172 attempting to qualify. The biggest class of the weekend is the Steel Commander Stock 1000 class with 42 entries – one more than the REV’IT! Twins Cup class. The Junior Cup class will field 31 riders with 30 set to qualify for the extended Supersport race.
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