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RoadRace Factory Race Report from MotoAmerica Round Two, Take One: SuperSport

| 25 April 2015 6:02 pm

MotoAmerica
Round 2: Road Atlanta

Courtesy of RoadRace Factory
Photos by GeoCrash Photography
BRASELTON, GA, APR. 17-19, 2015

After a three-year hiatus from the fast and flowing Road Atlanta, MotoAmerica made a historic comeback to the storied circuit situated in Braselton, Georgia. The teams and transports arrived just three days after the season opener in Austin, Texas, where they’d shared the world stage with the MotoGP Series. This round was the first of a dedicated MotoAmerica-only stretch that will see the best in the nation returning to other fan- and rider-favorite tracks that have not seen the National series in some time.

Welcome to Road Atlanta!

Welcome to Road Atlanta!

For now, the action is in Road Atlanta, and coming off the opening round, all members of the RoadRace Factory were seeking to improve. Not a team to be content with being merely competitive, the goal is always victory, and everyone was eager to achieve that goal. A major player for the weekend was Mother Nature; she would literally rain havoc upon the entire paddock and cause problems for everyone!

SuperSport
What more can be said to help set the stage for this class during this weekend? It was chaos mixed with uncertainty sprinkled with bravado. The RoadRace Factory trio had the absolute worst parts of the weekend’s weather to contend with, as almost every single one of their practice and qualifying sessions were run under different conditions. In fact, during their second free practice on Friday, it was all but a two-rider boycott, as the teams learned of their tire allocation just before setting out. No one wanted to chew up a set tires before the weekend got into full swing.

Looking to improve upon performances from the season opener, Tomy Puerta was the one rider in the garage who really had the fire in his belly on this day. A DNF at the Circuit of the Americas wasn’t sitting too well, and he knew he could do better. He’s a veteran of this track, and he was seeking a huge jump in the series points.

Ben Young, who put in a strong performance in the opener, wasn’t too concerned with the weather, as he had his sights set on climbing the points ladder as well.

As for Cameron Petersen, well, nothing can shake this rider, apparently. He wasn’t showing any signs of being bothered by another wet weekend. In fact, he was ready to ride the track during setup day.

After a less-than-stellar first round, Tomas Puerta (12) began to bounce back at Road Atlanta.

After a less-than-stellar first round, Tomas Puerta (12) began to bounce back at Road Atlanta.

To say that the practice and qualifying sessions were a loss wouldn’t be 100-percent accurate, but they really didn’t allow for any of the teams to do a proper setup. Come race one, it would be anyone’s guess as to who would climb on top of the box. Puerta is always strong in the rain, and with his crew preparing for wet races, it would be up to him to demonstrate his talents in the tricky conditions. Young had been strong all weekend in the few sessions leading up to the race, running inside the top 10 alongside his teammate Petersen, who was set to learn this new track under the pressure of racing conditions.

For race one, the weather provided the only really dry conditions of the entire weekend. Setup ready or not, the trio lined up on the grid and faced an uncertain first few flying laps. The red flag was pulled from the grid, the lights went out, and the field of SuperSport riders hurtled toward turn one and up the hill!

Puerta made a good start from his third-place position on the grid. Petersen launched well and was running midpack as the group crested the hill and headed into the back S’s. Young, on the other hand, got a terrible start and found himself at the back of the pack; as the race progressed, however, he would fight his way back up to eighth and stay there until the checkered flag was waved.

Petersen rode a strong race, putting in some decent battling with some class veterans on his way to finishing in sixth place.

Puerta was back on form and riding strong all race. The top three had checked out, and that left Puerta to battle with David Anthony for the fourth spot. At the line, it was Anthony taking that position, but Puerta was back in the top five again and looking strong.

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Race two would be a completely different ordeal. The rain had moved in on Sunday and created a major delay in the racing action. In the time it took for the riders to complete their sighting lap, the track had flooded and the rain had become relentless. It was looking like the day was going to be called, as the weather radar showed no signs of anything positive. However, there was a break in the clouds, the rain ceased, and the crews went to clear the drainage issues. Shortly, it was announced that a shortened SuperSport race was going to be held, and the riders were given the five-minute warning. It would be a grid-and-go situation, and the excitement was electrifying, as everyone had to spring back into life from the doldrums of the delay.

Cameron Petersen (45, left) and Ben Young (86, right) on the Road Atlanta course.

Cameron Petersen (45, left) and Ben Young (86, right) on the Road Atlanta course.

The riders were held on the grid as the revs went up; then the lights went out and the thundering herd charged the hill again. This time, Young got a great start and was dicing with the lead group right away. Puerta made a brilliant start and was in the lead going into turn one and heading through the back section. Petersen held his starting position and, like Young, was sticking with the lead group.

The conditions on track weren’t ideal, as it was declared a “wet” race, but the riders didn’t seem to notice. The painted curbing was a bit slippery, but other than that, the riders showed no signs of slowing.

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Puerta was passed by J.D. Beach and relegated to fourth place. He held on to this position throughout the race and crossed the line to take a huge jump in the points.

Meanwhile, Young was looking content to be riding around in a lonely sixth until his teammate Petersen came up on him. For a few laps, it looked as if Petersen wouldn’t make any forward progress on Young, but on the final turn of the final lap, Petersen made his move: He closed in on the brakes and got a better drive out of turn 12 and, as they raced to the line, he made the pass and took sixth away from Young by half a front wheel’s length. What a fantastic showing for the RoadRace Factory SuperSport riders!

Ben Young sits fifth in the series’ points standings.

Ben Young sits fifth in the series’ points standings.

“Overall, on the two weeks away, it was good and a solid start to a long season ahead,” Young said. “After limited dry time at ATL, I feel we were just shooting in the dark with a setup in race one, and it seemed to be good. After the worst start of my life, it was a hard race to try my best to get as high up as I could; one more lap and I could have gotten seventh, but it is what it is. Race two was good and I enjoyed the passes shared with Cam. [There will be] many more this year, I’m sure.”

Tomy Puerta is now sixth in the series points.

Tomy Puerta is now sixth in the series points.

“Road Atlanta was a great weekend for us,” Puerta said. “After having the DNF in COTA, we just wanted to be competitive and finish both races, and that’s what we did! Getting my first front-row qualifying this weekend was a good feeling! Did a couple mistakes in race one and couldn’t keep up with the first three riders but rode a strong race and [garnered] good lap times, finishing fifth and getting my first top-five. Second race was better, leading the pack in the first lap and trying my hardest to keep with the lead group was a little hard but put my head down and rode strong for a fourth position in the wet. I’m really happy with the crew I’m working with this season. We are getting stronger and more competitive every time we get on track, and that’s a really positive thing. I just can’t wait until VIR [Virginia International Raceway] and keep working with my crew. Thanks a lot to the RoadRace Factory team all my sponsors – Addict by Bosi, Indeportes Antioquia, Cards for Caring, and everybody on the team that makes this possible!”

Cam Petersen is eighth in the points standings.

Cam Petersen is eighth in the points standings.

Team owner Danny Walker.

Team owner Danny Walker.

“Road Atlanta was a tough weekend for me, as I had never been to the track before and had to learn it in tricky conditions,” Petersen reported. “I felt pretty good in the wet, but it dried up for the first race and made it a bit harder for me, as that was pretty much the only dry track time I got. So I had to get up to speed quickly and ended up in sixth. I felt a bit more comfortable in race two in the wet, but a bad start put me a long way back in the field, so I had a lot of work to do, but Sean and the RoadRace Factory crew gave me a great bike, so I was able to fight back up to sixth, passing my teammate Ben on the last lap.”

Wrap It Up with Danny Walker
“I’m real pleased with the progress of our SuperSport guys,” said team owner Danny Walker. “Tomy is working his way towards the front, where he needs to be. Ben and Cam just had their heads down all weekend, and by working with their crews they are starting to show what they are capable of. Ben had a bad start in race one but came back to a strong finish. Cam – I’m really impressed with his adaptability. You know, racing in South Africa, he never got too much rain experience, but the first two races of this series [were wet ones] and he’s placed well. I’m looking forward to seeing him in the dry.”

[For more from this event, please see “RoadRace Factory Race Report from MotoAmerica Round Two, Take Two: SuperStock”… Editor]

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