Hayden Gillim will begin defense of his 2023 MotoAmerica Stock 1000 Championship when the series gets started at Barber Motorsports Park, May 17-19. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

The MotoAmerica Stock 1000 Championship may be a late starter in 2024, but you get the feeling that it’s going to be worth the wait with 46 entries champing at the bit to finally get the series started at Barber Motorsports Park this coming weekend, May 17-19.

With all the other classes having started their championship seasons, only Stock 1000 and Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race. have yet to run a race in 2024. That will all change this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park with those two classes joining a full docket of Steel Commander Superbike, Supersport, BellissiMoto Twins Cup, and Junior Cup in a jam-packed MotoAmerica weekend on the picturesque track located on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama.

Stock 1000 – Who Can Beat King Gillim?

As the defending MotoAmerica Stock 1000 Champion, Real Steel Motorsports’ Hayden Gillim must be the odds-on favorite to repeat that championship. After all, he won six of the 10 races in 2023 to take the title by 25 points over Kaleb De Keyrel, who isn’t taking part in the series this year.

Gillim is on a new bike and in a new team for 2024, but he’s happy with both and rode his new Honda CBR1000RR-R SP to ninth- and sixth-place finishes in the two Steel Commander Superbike races in his first race outings on the bike at Road Atlanta. The Kentuckian is one of six riders in the class who will be chasing Honda contingency money on the CBRs.

So where will Gillim’s competition come from? How about Orange Cat Racing’s Travis Wyman, who was third in last year’s title chase with a lone win and five other podium finishes? Wyman has also switched teams but will stick with the trusted BMW M 1000 RR. Or Motorsport Exoctica’s two-time Stock 1000 Champion Andrew Lee, another who is BMW mounted.

And can you ever count out BPR Racing’s Bryce Prince, or Ashton Yates on the Jones Honda CBR1000RR-R SP? There’s also Gabriel DaSilva on a GMR (Geoff May Racing)/Jones Honda, Benjamin Smith on a FLO4LAW Racing Yamaha YZF-R1, and Ireland’s Richard Kerr on the AMD Motorsport RK Racing Honda.

You get the picture. The list goes on and on with a large group of riders who could challenge Gillim. The opening round should give us some answers.

Supersport – PJ Leads Them In

Rahal Ducati Moto’s PJ Jacobsen couldn’t have started his 2024 Supersport Championship campaign at Road Atlanta any better. How about two wins under two dramatically different circumstances? In race one, Jacobsen won in the dry. The following day he won in the rain, proving that so far it doesn’t matter what is thrown at him, the New Yorker can handle it.

And as if the smiles on the Rahal Ducati Moto team couldn’t get any bigger, Corey Alexander arrives at Barber second in the championship after finishing fourth and second in the series opener on his Ducati Panigale V2. The third member of the Rahal squad, Kayla Yaakov, wasn’t so fortunate at Road Atlanta as she finished ninth in race one and crashed out of race two.

Strack Racing’s Mathew Scholtz is hot off his first MotoAmerica Supersport races and is living proof that you shouldn’t give up. Scholtz’s debut in the class started horribly with technical difficulties sidetracking most of his practice and qualifying sessions and forcing him to start from the fourth row in both races. Although things didn’t fall into place until the race, Scholtz was ready for it, and he somehow fought through to finish third and fourth in the pair of races, and that puts him third in the series standings and just four points behind Alexander coming into Barber.

Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis also got his season off to a solid start with a sixth in the dry race one and a third in race two’s rainstorm, putting him fourth in the standings heading into round two.

N2 Racing/BobbleHeadMoto’s Blake Davis gave Jacobsen fits in race one and was in the hunt again in race two before crashing out. The youngster’s 20 points from finishing second in race one puts him fifth in the championship, albeit 30 points behind Jacobsen.

Forty-nine riders have entered the Supersport class for the Barber round.

BellissiMoto Twins Cup – It’s Still Rodio

While the majority of the MotoAmerica classes are just getting going, it already feels like midseason for the BellissiMoto Twins Cup riders as they have two rounds and four races already in the bank. And no one has more points than Rodio Racing – Powered by Robem Engineering’s Gus Rodio, who started his season with four straight podiums on his Aprilia RS 660 – two of which were victories in the series opener at Daytona International Speedway.

Rodio arrives in Alabama with a handy 22-point lead, but this is far from over considering that the first of the chasers is RevZilla/Motul/Vance & Hines Suzuki’s Rocco Landers – the 2020 Twins Cup Champion and the class leader in victories with 16. Landers and his new Suzuki GSX-8R won for the first time in 2024 in race one at Road Atlanta.

Giaccmoto Yamaha Racing’s Dominic Doyle is the lead Yamaha rider at this point in the season as he’s slotted into third in the title chase with his first win of the year coming in race two at Road Atlanta. Doyle and his YZF-R7 are six points behind Landers and 28 behind Rodio.

Rodio’s teammate Alessandro Di Mario is fourth in the championship, 15 points clear of TopPro Racing’s Avery Dreher and Koch Racing’s Sean Ungvarsky with those two tied for fifth.

Junior Cup – Medina By A Point

Other than the Steel Commander Superbike series, which has Cameron Beaubier and Jake Gagne tied for the lead in the championship, the Junior Cup Championship is the closest one as its series heads to its second round at Barber.

New York Safety Track Racing’s Yandel Medina sits atop the standings but by just a single point over Wolfe Racing’s Ryan Wolfe and by just seven points over BARTCON Racing’s Matthew Chapin.

Medina has the points lead by virtue of his two podiums at Road Atlanta – a third in race one and his first career MotoAmerica victory in race two. Wolfe, meanwhile, was the model of consistency with two second-place finishes in Georgia. Chapin was another first-time winner at Road Atlanta with the Maryland rider winning race one before struggling in the wet race two to finish seventh.

The biggest surprise from the opener was Bad Boys Racing’s defending class champion Avery Dreher. And for all the wrong reasons. Dreher crashed out of what appeared to be victory in race one and then salvaged a fifth in the rain in race two. He is 30 points adrift of Medina heading into round two.

Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race. – Moore To Come

It would take a brave person indeed to bet against Mikayla Moore in the Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race. series opener at Barber Motorsports Park. After all, she not only won last year’s title, but she also won every single race for a perfect seven-win season.

However, who knows who lurks beneath the Royal Enfield canopy for the series opener as 13 of the Continental GT 650s will line up for two races at Barber with most of those new to the program.

The highest finishing returnee other than Moore is Aubrey Credaroli, the Utah resident racing her Continental GT 650 to sixth in the championship with a best finish of third at Road America.

Pre-Race Barber Support Class Notes…

Yamaha leads the way in the number of entries for the first round of the 2024 Stock 1000 Championship with 14 Yamaha YZF-R1s entered. BMW is second with seven S 1000 RRs and six M 1000 RRs entered while Honda jumps up to six entries for CBR1000RR-R SP racers. Suzuki and Kawasaki, meanwhile, have five entries each for the GSX-R1000 and ZX-10R, respectively.

Last year’s two Stock 1000 races were won by Hayden Gillim. Gillim beat Ezra Beaubier and Kaleb De Keyrel in race one and De Keyrel and Ezra Beaubier in race two. The wins were Gillim’s first of the year after he suffered through a dismal opening round at Road Atlanta. He left Barber trailing Beaubier by 26 points.

The Supersport class last year at Barber was one of two “extended” races that featured pit stops. MotoAmerica has axed that and has gone back to the traditional sprint-race doubleheader. Last year’s extended race was won by Xavi Forés over Stefano Mesa and Anthony Mazziotto.

It was a clean sweep last year for Rocco Landers in the BellissiMoto Twins Cup races with the then-Aprilia RS 660-mounted Landers besting Kayla Yaakov and Dominic Doyle in race one before beating Blake Davis and Yaakov in race two.

In Junior Cup action in 2023 it was Avery Dreher and Levi Badie splitting victories. Dreher topped Max Van and Yandel Medina in race one with Baddie besting Hayden Bicknese and Dreher in race two.

The Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race. program didn’t compete at Barber last year as their opening round wasn’t until the Road America round the first weekend in June.

Hayden Gillim (1:24.183) is the Stock 1000 lap record holder at Barber; Tyler Scott (1:26.348) has the lap record for Supersport; Kaleb De Keyrel (1:29.088) has the fastest lap for a Twins Cup bike; and Rocco Landers (1:34.782) is the lap record holder for the Junior Cup class.

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