It’s rare that you win a race and get overshadowed by your teammate who finished second, but that’s sort of what happened to Hayden Gillim on Saturday afternoon at Brainerd International Raceway in the Mission King Of The Baggers race.

As expected, given his pace at BIR all week, Gillim got the jump on the pack on his RevZilla/Motul/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson and never looked back. It was his first win of what has been a difficult season for the defending class champion, and it was well earned.

Some four seconds behind Gillim came his Mission King Of The Baggers rookie teammate Rocco Landers after an impressive final lap that saw him pass both of the factory S&S Cycle/Indian Challengers ridden by Tyler O’Hara and points leader Troy Herfoss on the final lap. Landers had earlier already disposed of the all-time winningest rider in the class, Kyle Wyman.

It was hard to not be impressed by Landers’ ride as his best finish coming into the Brainerd round was fifth in the first race of the year at Daytona International Speedway. Landers was as ecstatic as he should be and even those he beat were happy for him.

It was also a big day for the RevZilla/Motul/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team as they swept the top two steps on the podium.

Third place went to Herfoss, and it extended his championship points lead to 12 over Wyman, with the Harley-Davidson Factor Racing rider ending up fourth in the race.

Wyman’s teammate James Rispoli crashed out of second place early in the race.

“It’s been a rough, rough start,” Gillim said of his early season woes. “I think before this I had one podium. So not a great backup to the championship. It’s been a long road. I thought we were a little better off coming into the season than what we ended up being. We’ve been right there the whole time. Just missing a little bit. I knew the first few tracks we went to, Road Atlanta, COTA, Road America, Daytona were going to be difficult. Somehow, I pulled out some podiums last year at some of those tracks, but this year everybody is on top of their game. Both factories have really stepped it up. They haven’t really made many mistakes this year, so not much to capitalize on there. Coming into this weekend, I knew this was a really good track for me. I was ready to go, especially after how Road America went. To have one two Vance & Hines, it’s really good for the Motul RevZilla team. Good for this kid’s (Rocco Landers) confidence. He’s a confidence wave, man. If he’s on it, he’s confident and he’s going to be tough. Obviously, being up here with Troy (Herfoss) is really good for my confidence. I’ve got a lot of work to do to even hope of trying to get back in this championship. Really from here on out, we’ve talked about it. The only thing I can really do is try and win races and fight with these guys and capitalize where I can capitalize. Luckily my starts have been getting a lot better, so it helps a ton. I’m really excited. It’s been a really good weekend so far. Hopefully we can keep it going.”

Supersport – Scholtz Gets It Done

The level of competitiveness in this year’s Supersport class has increased fairly dramatically compared with last year as a handful of former Superbike riders are now competing in MotoAmerica’s middleweight class. Two of those riders – Strack Racing Yamaha’s Mathew Scholtz and PJ Jacobsen – are right in the thick of things at the top of this year’s championship standings.

One of last year’s major Supersport combatants, Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Tyler Scott, started from the pole, but he was unable to withstand the pressure from Scholtz and Jacobsen, causing Scott to crash out of the race on lap five of the 16-lap event. Meanwhile, Scholtz had already taken the lead, and he didn’t relinquish it, ultimately crossing the finish line eight and a half seconds ahead of Jacobsen. Scott’s Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate Teagg Hobbs finished third for his first podium finish so far this year.

For Scholtz, it was his third win of the season, matching Jacobsen’s wins total, and he is now just seven points behind points-leader Jacobsen.


“I knew that I was going to be able to do low 33’s for pretty much all 16 laps if I really, really had to, but I didn’t think that I was going to break them as soon as I did,” Scholtz said. “I think obviously being a little bit bigger with those conditions out there, the wind helped me muscle the bike a little bit more. I think I did get a little bit lucky with these guys battling, but overall, just really, really happy. We made a major change from Friday to qualifying two today, and it was I wouldn’t say a gamble, but it was one of the biggest changes that we’ve done over the last couple of seasons. Thankfully, everything paid off. I’d just like to thank all of the team, all the members back at the Strack Racing company. Everyone is really working hard, and they’ve given me a beautiful bike, beautiful package. This shows that we should be racing at the front of the Supersport class on the R6.”

Stock 1000 – Mr. Brainerd Does It

If Brainerd International Raceway wasn’t already defending Stock 1000 Champion Hayden Gillim’s favorite racetrack before this weekend started, it certainly has to be now. The Real Steel Motorsports Honda rider hasn’t put a wheel wrong in any session aboard his #1 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.

He earned the pole position earlier on Saturday with a record-setting lap that eclipsed his own record-setting lap set in Friday’s first qualifying session. And then, in Saturday afternoon’s 11-lap race one, Gillim also set a new race lap record on his way to winning by nearly seven-and-a-half seconds over runner-up Benjamin Smith aboard his FLO4LAW Racing Yamaha YZF-R1. Third place went to Jones Honda’s Ashton Yates.

“I like tracks that have just a flow,” commented Gillim when asked what it is about Brainerd that he likes so much. “Road America is not a good track for me. Road Atlanta, I tend to struggle a little bit. The kind of point-and-shoot tracks, I struggle with. For some reason, I feel like I’m good on the brakes but then I always seem to mess up the exit. So, this place doesn’t have much of that. Everything flows together really good. Turn one and two are fun. They’re two of my favorite corners in the world. It’s sweet because you just go in, roll out of it for a second, and then you’re back to pin. It’s a fun track. It’s a fun layout. For that reason, I go good here. I knew coming into this weekend it was kind of like going to Barber. I know I go really good at Barber. I know these guys are going to be gunning for it. These weekends, I’ve got to take what I can get and capitalize on the confidence that I’ve got coming in. When we get to Ridge and Laguna, I know those tracks, Laguna specifically, I go good there but I’m not great there. I don’t have a great track record there, so I’m trying to just capitalize at the tracks that I know are good for me and hopefully not have to bend it at the other tracks.”

BellisiMoto Twins Cup – Landers Unbeatable

Along with Hayden Gillim, another rider who just can’t seem to get enough of Brainerd International Raceway just so happens to be his Mission King Of The Baggers teammate and protégé Rocco Landers, who races the RevZilla/Motul/Vance & Hines Suzuki GSX-8R in the BellissiMoto Twins Cup Championship.

In Saturday’s race one, Landers started from the pole after going fastest in Friday’s first qualifying, and it was a record-setting lap for Landers, too. In the race, Landers got the holeshot and led all but one of the 11 laps to ultimately take the checkered flag by just under four seconds over Rodio Racing – Powered by Robem Engineering’s Alessandro Di Mario, with Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Rossi Moor finishing a very close third behind Di Mario.

Along the way, Landers ran the fastest lap of the race, which was also a new race lap record.

“Honestly, this result is probably going to be overshadowed by that Baggers Challenge race (in which he placed second a little earlier on Saturday),” Landers said. “That was one of the best races of my life even though it was only two laps. Considering where we started on this bike, we were P5 in race one. We were like P7 in one of the practices at Daytona. The thing was completely new to us. It was like a total street bike. But one thing we did have, was the direction to go. We’ve just been following the breadcrumbs, I should say. The thing has been getting better and better every round. Need to start doing more training on different bikes. Those first two laps are kind of hard because I’m adjusting myself from the Bagger to the Twin. It tends to lead to a couple mistakes, missing brake markers and that type of thing. But that was a good race for me. I just tried to get out there. I made a small mistake adjusting my clutch lever on the first lap. Rossi got up underneath me and Alessandro almost did. After that, I was just trying to see if I could lead the race, lay down some decent laps and do what I could. I didn’t really find my groove there until lap three or four, and then I started to feel solid. My whole team has just busted their butts completely. My mechanic Matt, my crew chief Steve, Motor Terry, my bagger mechanic Quentin, team manager Craig, and our fab guy, Josh. Every one of them is always busting their butts and making everything as good as we can go. We’re obviously heading in a decent direction, so I cannot wait until tomorrow.”

Junior Cup – Rain Leads To Chapin Win

Rain was in the forecast on Saturday at Brainerd International Raceway, but it held off, save for a few raindrops here and there, until the closing laps of Junior Cup race one. At the time, Bad Boys Racing’s Avery Dreher had regained the lead and looked to be headed for victory. Due to the rain, a red flag was displayed, and the race was stopped. By rules, the results reverted to the lap prior, and that happened to be when BARTCON Racing’s Matthew Chapin had just taken the lead.

It’s ironic that Chapin’s team owner is an Irishman because Chapin’s short time in the lead was just enough to be named the winner of the race. A stroke of Irish luck if there ever was one. For Chapin, who has now won four races on the season, he is definitely lucky AND good. That’s a solid combination.

Chapin’s good fortune was offset by Avery Dreher’s misfortune. But it was not all bad for the defending Junior Cup Champion. He made history on Saturday at Brainerd when he and his sister Ella became the first brother and sister to finish on a AMA road racing podium. Clearly it was a memory of a lifetime for the Dreher family. “I really had no idea if they were going to red flag it or not,” Chapin said. “I wanted to lead the race the whole time, but Avery and Ella were ripping. It was overall a good race, and it was fun riding with them.”