Last year, Richie Escalante came to the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with the Supersport Championship already in his pocket after a dominating season that saw him win 13 races. Sean Dylan Kelly, meanwhile, came to Monterey hoping for a few victories to end a season in which he came out second-best to Escalante. By the end of the weekend, Kelly had won both races and left feeling good about himself, despite losing out on the Supersport title.
Now things are flipped. Now it’s Kelly who comes to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Speedfest At Monterey with the hot hand and with the championship lead and it’s Escalante who finds himself on his back foot and really needing two victories in Monterey.
The points gap is 21 points with M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Kelly winning five out of the eight races, including the last two at Ridge Motorsports Park a few weeks ago. HONOS HVMC Racing’s Escalante has won two races with MESA37 Racing’s Stefano Mesa winning the only other race – race one at Road America in early June, when Kelly and Escalante both crashed.
Kelly’s M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate Sam Lochoff is third in the title chase, but he’s 77 points behind Kelly and although it’s still early, this is – as it was a year ago – a two-man race for the championship.
Mesa, who didn’t make the trip to Ridge Motorsports Park and won’t be racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, is fourth in the title chase but will likely drop a couple of spots as Landers Racing’s Rocco Landers and North East Cycle Outlet Racing’s Benjamin Smith are nipping at his heels.
The most hotly contested championship so far in 2021 can be found in the SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup class where Tyler Scott and Benjamin Gloddy are separated by just two points as the series arrives in Monterey. Scott Powersports/KTM’s Scott has three wins to Gloddy’s two, but Landers Racing’s Gloddy has seven podiums to Scott’s six.
Forty-four riders will attempt to qualify for the Stock 1000 class at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with just 25 points separating the top four in the championship. HONOS HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander leads the title chase by eight points over Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis, with the Kentuckian suffering a DNF in the last round in Washington that cost him the points lead. Michael Gilbert Racing’s Michael Gilbert is third and 16 points from first. Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman is just a single point behind Gilbert with Jones Honda’s Ashton Yates fifth and nine points adrift of Wyman.
Four riders have won Stock 1000 races this year: Alexander (three), Lewis (two), Gilbert (one) and Wyman (one) on three different brands of motorcycles – Kawasaki (four), Suzuki (two) and BMW (one).
The Twins Cup Championship standings are almost as close as Junior Cup with the top two separated by just three points heading into their eighth race on Saturday afternoon at Laguna. Robem Engineering’s Kaleb De Keyrel is on top with 113 points to Jackson Blackmon Racing’s Jackson Blackmon’s 110. De Keyrel has two wins to his credit with Blackmon taking his two wins in the last round in the Pacific Northwest.
The Mission King Of The Baggers Championship will be decided on Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as 16 of the big V-twins will have the final race of their three-race season. H-D Screamin’ Eagle’s Kyle Wyman has a 16-point lead over Vance & Hines’ Hayden Gillim, an 18-point lead over Roland Sands Design Indian Motorcycle’s Frankie Garcia and 20 points over Mission Foods S&S Cycle Indian Challenger’s Tyler O’Hara.
With a 16-point lead, you’d think this title chase would be over, but that’s only if you didn’t know that Kyle Wyman crashed his Superbike at Road America on June 13 and suffered a badly broken elbow. Wyman underwent surgery a few days later and will attempt to ride his Harley for the first time since the injury on Friday at Laguna.
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Support Class Notes…
There are some 177 entries signed up for the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca round of the 2021 MotoAmerica Series. The biggest class, as it has been all year, is the Stock 1000 race with 44 signed up to do battle.
With 16 Mission King Of The Baggers entered, there are some new/old faces to be found in the paddock. Among those having their first taste of Mission King Of The Baggers action this season are former AMA Superbike Champion Ben Bostrom and fast couple Cory West and Patricia Fernandez. When she takes to the track for Sunday’s race, Fernandez will become the first female to take part in a MotoAmerica Mission King Of The Baggers race.
As mentioned earlier, Sean Dylan Kelly won both of the Supersport races at WeatherTech Raceway in 2020; Rocco Landers won both of the SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup races and the lone Twins Cup race; and Cameron Peterson won the Stock 1000 race.
Last year saw the debut of King Of The Baggers with Indian’s Tyler O’Hara hunting down the Harley-Davidson of Hayden Gillim to take victory in the Invitational race.
The four-round Roland Sands Design 2021 Super Hooligan National Championship QuaTTro will begin this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as a support class for the MotoAmerica Series round. The series will consist of the road race round (this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway) and three flat track rounds – a TT, Short Track and Half Mile.