CHRIS FILLMORE RACES THE KTM 450 SMR TO THE CENTER OF THE BOX AS THE NEWLY-CROWNED 2020 AMA SUPERMOTO OPEN PRO CHAMPION
AMA Supermoto National Championship
TUCSON, Ariz. – Returning to his Supermoto roots for the first time in over a decade, KTM North America’s very own Chris Fillmore clinched his first-career AMA Supermoto Open Pro Championship over the weekend with a noteworthy performance aboard his factory-prepped KTM 450 SMR. The newly-crowned champion led an all-KTM sweep in the overall standings as Jake Laforge and Dustin Hoffman earned second and third, respectively, aboard the KTM 450 SX-F.
Originally scheduled as a six-event series prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the AMA Supermoto National Championship was pared down to four rounds that all took place over the weekend in Tucson, Arizona. Alongside Fillmore’s resurgence in the Supermoto world came the welcomed prospect of KTM’s highly-anticipated new-generation SMR, which is set to arrive at Authorized KTM dealers as a 2021 model later this month.
On Saturday, Fillmore powered his KTM 450 SMR off the line to capture the race one holeshot as he led the field into the opening dirt section. However, he tucked the front-end coming out of the dirt section and crashed early in the race. He quickly re-mounted and charged through the pack to ultimately finish second in the opening round. With high winds and heavy rain starting to set in on Saturday, the second race got pushed into Sunday’s lineup to include the final three rounds of the series.
Day two was presented with much better conditions and the remaining races went off without a hitch. Fillmore got the holeshot in race two but he lost three positions on lap one, where he sat just outside the top-five early on. Settling into a groove, he began making forward progress up to second place but it wasn’t enough to make a strike on the leader and he finished second once again in race two. In the third race, Fillmore grabbed a third-place start and he quickly made his way into second coming through turn one. He put on a charge to catch the race leader and in a few laps was able to make a pass for the lead in turn one. Racing his way through a bad case of arm pump, Fillmore was able to hold on for the win. In the final race of the day, Fillmore shot off the line to secure the holeshot and he led every lap en route to a second-straight victory. At the end of the four rounds, the Michigan native sat tied at 94 points with fellow KTM rider, Jake Laforge, and the tie-breaker was awarded to Fillmore, who possessed the better score in the final race.
Chris Fillmore: “Overall, I was just happy to turn up at the races and put my ‘competition face’ on as a racer again. The competition was really tough and it made for exciting racing. For me, KTM coming out with the new-generation SMR was a great opportunity to get back to my roots of Supermoto, which began in 2003. Mitch Hansen of HMC Racing came out with me and to wrap up a championship with somebody who has done so much for me and my racing career is pretty awesome. I have to give a big thanks to KTM for staying true to their commitment of producing the most ‘READY TO RACE’ motorcycles – which was clearly evident with a KTM sweep in the Pro class this year – and for allowing me to swing a leg over the bikes and have some fun, too.”
KTM-mounted rider, Jake Laforge, gave Fillmore a run for his money all weekend long as the two riders swapped race-wins to come away with the same amount of points at the end of four rounds. By virtue of a tie-breaker, Laforge ended up with second overall, while KTM-mounted rider Dustin Hoffman rounded out the top-three with 4-4-6-3 finishes on the weekend.
Open Pro Results (Rounds 1 – 4)
1. Chris Fillmore, KTM, 2-2-1-1
2. Jake Laforge, KTM, 1-1-2-2
3. Dustin Hoffman, KTM, 4-4-6-3
2020 Open Pro Championship Standings
1. Chris Fillmore, 94 points
2. Jake Laforge, 94 points
3. Dustin Hoffman, 71 points