Round one of the MotoAmerica Championship concluded on Sunday at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta with the fortunes of Westby Racing’s two team riders going in opposite directions. Superbike rider Mathew Scholtz finished a strong second in his race, while Junior Cup rider Samurai Sam Lochoff crashed out of his race on the final lap. Thankfully, Sam was unhurt in the incident.
After Mathew’s fourth-place result in Saturday’s Superbike race, he and the team worked on his #11 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike overnight, tested it in the damp morning practice, and reaped the rewards of their hard work when Mathew earned a spot on the podium in second, smack-dab in the middle of two of the series’ four factory Superbike riders.
With Saturday’s rear tire issues put to rest, Mathew ran a solid race and led the entire field at one point in the 21-lap feature event. Eventually, Yoshimura Suzuki Factory rider Toni Elias got past Mathew and notched the win, but Mathew hung tough and finished the race in second over defending Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier, who was aboard his factory Yamaha. The result puts Mathew in third place in the Championship points standings with nine more rounds to go in the season.
“I was following Toni, and I kind of thought that there were one or two places where I could pass him,” Mathew commented. “It would have been sketchy, but I think it would have been possible. So I was trying to save it for the final lap. Then, unfortunately, going into corner six, Cameron passed me and then we were coming up on a lapped rider. I was hoping that Cameron was going to pass him and actually stand him up, or the lapped rider would follow Cameron and I could draft him and sort of get up next to Cameron and pass him and set up the final lap. Cameron touched him, which kind of let me pass Cameron, but then the lapped rider sort of moved from the right side to the left, and we both got balked. Then, I was worried about JD catching us. On the final lap, I passed Cameron, and Toni was maybe about one or two seconds in front of us. I knew I was never going to catch him, so I was riding pretty defensively after that. I’m very, very happy to finish in second place after yesterday’s fourth. So we’ll just keep on moving forward and aim to finish on the podium at every race.”
Samurai Sam, who notched a podium result in his first-ever MotoAmerica race on Saturday, had a great battle going throughout the majority of Sunday’s race. And then, on the final lap, he tried to make a pass between two riders while going into the track’s final turn before the finish line. Unfortunately, the rider on the outside of the corner turned into Sam’s rear wheel, and both riders went tumbling into the gravel. Sam was unhurt, but his race was over.
“My first MotoAmerica race weekend and first time racing at Road Atlanta was a great experience for me. In race two, I got a bit of a bad start and was battling the whole race against the Kawasaki’s, which definitely have an advantage over us in straight-line speed. When I got to the last corner on the final lap, we were three-wide going into the turn, and I got hit from behind, which crashed me out of fourth place. So, I’m disappointed that I couldn’t get a result that was as good or better than the third-place finish I got in race one.”
The Westby Racing team will now travel to the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, for Round 2 of the 2019 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship this weekend. Mathew and his MotoAmerica Superbike competitors will race on the world stage during the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, which begins on Friday.
The other MotoAmerica race classes, including Junior Cup, are not on the schedule for COTA, so Sam will not race again until Round 3 at VIRginia International Raceway on May 4-5.
MotoAmerica Superbike Standings
- Toni Elias – Suzuki – 45
- Cameron Beaubier – Yamaha – 41
- Mathew Scholtz – Yamaha – 33
- JD Beach – Yamaha – 29
- David Anthony – Kawasaki – 20
MotoAmerica Junior Cup Standings
- Rocco Landers – Kawasaki – 50
- Dallas Daniels – Kawasaki – 40
- Dominic Doyle – Kawasaki – 27
- Gauge Rees – Kawasaki – 21
- Sam Lochoff – Yamaha – 16