Road Atlanta Here We Come: MotoAmerica Support Course Ready For The Season Of Change
There will be new champions in Junior Cup, Twins Cup, Stock 1000 and King Of The Baggers and it all starts this weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
IRVINE, Calif. (April 29, 2021) – Even though he’s only 16, no one in MotoAmerica’s Junior Cup and Twins Cup history has won more races than Rocco Landers. And to the delight of riders in these two categories in 2021, Landers is moving on and taking his talents to the Supersport category, from this weekend when the MotoAmerica 2021 Series opens at the Michelin Raceway Road. Atlanta.
In his two years of racing in the Junior Cup SportbikeTrackGear.com category, Landers won two titles and 29 races. In just one Twins Cup racing season, Landers rose to the top of the winning list with nine wins and one championship. It all adds up to 38 MotoAmerica victories in two racing seasons for the young phenomenon… but now comes the challenge. Supersport. Where the big boys live.
When he steps onto the grid Saturday and Sunday at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for his Supersport debut, Landers will do so against stiff competition. And it starts with 2020 Supersport Champion Richie Escalante, the HONOS Racing Team driver who just finished his 13-game winning season en route to becoming the first Mexican driver to win an AMA road racing championship. Escalante wants to ride badly in Superbike and another dominant season would probably bring her one.
Escalante was beaten last year in the first race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta by rival Sean Dylan Kelly on the Suzuki M4 ECSTAR by just 0.052 seconds, but the Mexico resident bounced back in race two – beating Kelly by 6, 4 seconds. These two drivers were the only ones to win Supersport races in 2020 and it was a war in virtually every race. And often they were joined by Brandon Paasch.
While Paasch has crossed the Atlantic to compete in the British Superbike Series in 2021, the two domineers remain and if Landers can keep these two in sight, there is a lot to be learned from the pair.
Another rider to move on to Supersport this year is last year’s Landers Junior Cup rival Dominic Doyle. Doyle will ride a Kawasaki ZX-6R BARTCON Racing and he lines up knowing he was the only rider to beat Landers in the SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup last year.
Thirty Supersport bikes will line up this weekend at Road Atlanta and the talent pool is deep. In addition to the aforementioned Escalante, Kelly, Landers, and Doyle, there are others who can win. Racers such as Stefano Mesa from MESA37Racing and his last minute teammate Xavier Zayat; Sam Lochoff, the Suzuki M4 ECSTAR rider also jumping from the Junior Cup; Benjamin Smith of North East Cycle Outlet Racing; and many more, as the closest racing class to last year promises more of the same in 2021.
With Landers and Company in place and gone, the preferred rider for the 2021 SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior category is Landers Racing’s Ben Gloddy, last year’s top-ranked rider who is still in the class. Gloddy had eight podiums a season ago. He will face challenges such as Jack Roach of JR12 / Westby Racing, Cody Wyman of KERmoto, Max VanDenBrouck of SportbikeTrackGear.com, Blake Davis of N2 Racing and several other hungry youngsters.
The Stock 1000 entry list for this weekend’s races at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta has 34 riders. Once again, the defending champion moved up to the HONOS Superbike category with Cameron Petersen swapping his Suzuki GSX-R1000 Altus Motorsports for the Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike M4 ECSTAR. In his place is former factory Superbike rider Jake Lewis, the Kentuckian back in action after taking the majority of last season.
Although Petersen has moved on, the rest of the class remains pretty much intact, starting with 2020 Stock 1000 Series finalist Corey Alexander. Alexander claimed 10 podiums a year ago, including two wins, en route to the second in the title race, and he’s back on the HONOS HVMC Racing Kawasaki for the season ahead. Let’s not forget that Alexander’s two victories last year came at the Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Two-time Stock 1000 champion Andrew Lee returns to the class for 2021 and obviously does so as a favorite. Ditto for Travis Wyman of Travis Wyman Racing and his BMW S 1000 RR. Middle brother Wyman is the only rider other than Petersen and Alexander to win a Stock 1000 race last year.
The list of expected challengers is long: Michael Gilbert of Michael Gilbert Racing, Ashton Yates of Jones Honda, Stefano Mesa of MESA37 Racing, Wyatt Farris of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki, Danilo Lewis of Tecfil Racing Team, Geoff May of Geoff May Racing / VisionWheel. com, Hunter Dunham Racing’s Hunter Dunham… and the list goes on.
Like the Junior Cup, the Twins Cup will continue without its Landers champion. Plus, like the Junior Cup, there are plenty of riders ready to fill Lander’s boots. Twenty-eight of them, to be precise, at the opening of the series this weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Based on last year, top of the list has to go Kaleb De Keyrel, Minnesotan finishing second behind Landers in last year’s title race and the only other rider to win a race (he won three of four first to open the season, including that of Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta). The big change for De Keyrel is that he will be one of the eight riders of the new Aprilia RS 660 with its Robem Engineering / 1-833-CJ-KNOWS livery.
Hayden Schultz, third in the Twins Cup last year, is back and he also owns an Aprilia Robem Engineering; Jackson Blackmon, fourth last season, will ride a Yamaha FZ-07 / MT-07 in his own Jackson Blackmon Racing team; and last year’s fifth rider, Toby Khamsouk, is another set to kick his leg on a new Aprilia with the Robem Engineering team.
With the success of last year’s King Of The Baggers Invitational, the one-off race turned into a three-round series with title sponsor Mission Foods, and it all starts this weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The grid will include the majority of those who took part in the debut last year, led by 2020 race winner Tyler O’Hara, who will lead Indian’s assault on the title on his Indian Challenger Mission Foods S&S Cycle. .
Probably the biggest challenge O’Hara will face will come from the Harley-Davidson Screamin ‘Eagle Road Glide factory of MotoAmerica Superbike rider Kyle Wyman and the Vance & Hines Electra Glide ridden by Hayden Gillim, who was second behind O’Hara in the WeatherTech Raceway. Laguna Seca last year.
Track action kicks off Friday at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta with practice and qualifying starting at 8:30 a.m. and continuing through to the final practice session at 4:40 p.m. The first race of the weekend is Saturday at 1:00 p.m. with Stock 1000 Race 1, quickly followed by Supersport Race 1 (2 p.m.), HONOS Superbike Race 1 (3 p.m.), Twins Cup Race 1 (4 p.m.) and SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup Race 1 (4:45 p.m.)
Sunday the race starts at noon with Stock 1000 Race 2, Mission King Of The Baggers (12:30 p.m.), Supersport Race 2 (1:00 p.m.), SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup Race 2 (2:00 p.m.), HONOS Superbike Race 2 (3:00 p.m.) and Twins Cup Race 2 (4 p.m.).
MotoAmerica is the North American road racing series created in 2014 that hosts the AMA Superbike Championship. MotoAmerica is a subsidiary of KRAVE Group LLC, a partnership that includes three-time 500cc World Champion, two-time AMA Superbike Champion and AMA Hall of Famer Wayne Rainey, former rider and former Team Roberts manager Chuck Aksland, Marketing Director motorsport Terry Karges and businessman Richard Varner. For more information on MotoAmerica, visit www.MotoAmerica.com. Also, be sure to follow MotoAmerica on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.