Champions have been crowned in all four of the MotoAmerica support classes as the series rolls into WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the MotoAmerica GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Speedfest At Monterey, but the racing is far from over. While the champions come to Monterey wanting to end the season on a high, the challengers arrive wanting nothing more than to prevent that as they head into the off-season.
Case in point: The Supersport class. Nobody would like to end their championship season with a win more than Sean Dylan Kelly and Brandon Paasch. HONOS Kawasaki’s Richie Escalante wrapped up the Supersport title at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and left the facility with his 12th and 13th wins of a dominant season. Kelly and his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki have been Escalante’s biggest challenger this season but by no means are his three wins enough to satisfy him for what will be a long off-season. Ditto for Paasch, who has gone so far as to join Escalante’s team for the series finale at Laguna and will race a HONOS Kawasaki. How’s that for, if you can’t beat ‘em, join them?
To add a bit more fuel to the fire, the Celtic HSBK team is bringing in the winningest Supersport rider in the history of the MotoAmerica Series to ride the Yamaha YZF-R6 vacated by Paasch. That rider is none other than two-time MotoAmerica Supersport Champion JD Beach, who arrives in Monterey with 32 Supersport wins to his credit and plenty of pent-up aggression following a rather dismal season of flat track racing.
Understatement of the week: Expect a complete and utter barn burner for the series finale in the Supersport class.
The same can be said for the Twins Cup and Liqui Moly Junior Cup classes with both series being dominated by one rider: Rocco Landers.
In the Twins Cup Series, SportbikeTrackGear.com Roadracingworld.com Suzuki’s Landers beat out 1-833-CJKNOWS Accident & Injury Law’s Kaleb De Keyrel, reeling the Minnesotan in after getting beaten in three of the first four races. Once he started winning, De Keyrel never countered and Landers ended up winning seven in a row. A year ago, De Keyrel won his first-ever Twins Cup race and that win came at… WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. De Keyrel will roll into Laguna full of confidence from last year’s win and hungry to stop the Landers freight train. Again, expect a good battle from this one.
The story in Liqui Moly Junior Cup is eerily similar. BARTCON Racing’s Dominic Doyle won the first three races of the season, besting Landers in each of those three in ultra-close finishes. Then Landers turned the tables again and he hasn’t been beaten since, with the Norton Motorsports/Ninja400R/Dr. Farr/WonderCBD-backed Oregonian reeling off 13 wins in a row. If you don’t think Doyle would like to stop that streak in the series finale, then you haven’t been paying attention.
The two Liqui Moly Junior Cup races at Laguna will also determine who finishes second in the championship. Heading into Monterey, Doyle leads that battle over Celtic HSBK Racing’s Samuel Lochoff, but the margin is just two points. So that will bring a bit more intrigue to the finale.
The Stock 1000 Championship again proved that it’s not how you start but how you finish. Celtic HSBK Ducati’s PJ Jacobsen started out like gangbusters and won the first race of the season before a crash in round two at Road America 2 left him injured and out of contention for the rest of the season. At that point, it became a back-and-forth battle between Altus Motorsports’ Cameron Petersen and Ride HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander for the next three races. Then it became all Petersen with his six wins in the last seven races earning him the title. The only other rider to win a Stock 1000 race was Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after Petersen was given a time penalty for exceeding track limits. Those two bring a bit of bad blood between them to Laguna, so watch for potential fireworks there as well.