More, from a press release issued by MotoAmerica:
It’s Josh Hayes Day At VIRginia International Raceway
Four-Time AMA Superbike Champion Wins Again In Supersport Thriller
DANVILLE, VA (May 21, 2022) – Old age and treachery may not always beat youth and exuberance, but it certainly did on a scorching hot Saturday at VIRginia International Raceway when 47-year-old Josh Hayes beat 16-year-old Tyler Scott and 17-year-old Rocco Landers to win the Supersport race for the 84th win across all classes of the four-time AMA Superbike Champion’s stellar career.
It was the seventh Supersport victory of Hayes’ career and it puts him just two behind all-time win leader Miguel Duhamel and it took every bit of his experience to win the race. Will he do more races this season and take a shot at breaking Duhamel’s record? Who would be stupid enough to bet against it?
YUASA Stock 1000 – Gillim Gets It Done
Yuasa Stock 1000 race one started the day at VIR, and on-track incidents led to the race being red-flagged and shortened in length. With a nine-lap sprint to the finish line, Disrupt Racing Suzuki rider Hayden Gillim showed his prowess and racecraft by taking the victory in dominant fashion. The Kentuckian crossed the finish line more than four seconds ahead of second-place finisher Geoff May, who was aboard his VisionWheel/DiscountTire/KWS Honda. Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing BMW’s Travis Wyman completed the podium in third.
“It was a good race,” Gillim said. “Like Geoff (May) said, everybody is going so fast. You have to be on top of your game every single weekend, every single session. Luckily, the Disrupt Racing guys are making me go really fast. They’ve given me a really good bike. Having the Stock 1000 bike and the Superbike to kind of compare data and notes from is helping a lot. We’ll just keep pushing. It’s going to be a long season. We’ve got 12 more races left, or something like that. It’s a lot of racing, a lot of laps, a lot of little mistakes that are going to be made. In the past, I’ve been one of those guys to make mistakes. I’ve just to keep those to a minimum and try to be here for the long haul.”
Supersport – How Sweet It Is
Supersport race one at VIR was also red-flagged and restarted with 18 laps instead of 19. The event was quite literally one for the ages, as 47-year-old road racing legend Josh Hayes showed that he’s still got something left in the tank. The four-time AMA Superbike Champion went up against riders who are a third of his age, and he battled throughout the 18-lap event to emerge as the winner by a little over .7 of a second.
Racing for Squid Hunter Yamaha, Hayes held off the challenges of both 16-year-old Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider Tyler Scott, who finished second, and 17-year-old Landers Racing Yamaha rider Rocco Landers, who was third.
“I’ll tell you what,” Hayes said. “About five laps in, I thought, ‘Well, I’m getting fourth today. I’ve got nothing. I’ve got nothing anywhere on the track.’ Honestly, I felt like there was a point in the race where it kind of started to turn my way. I just focused on making one pass. I finally got some position on Rocco (Landers), which was really, really hard to do. When I got through, it seemed like Tyler (Scott) kind of came back to me not too crazy hard, and Josh (Herrin) was still right there, too. I can’t remember if that was before or after Sam (Lochoff) went off the track. When he came back on, it was a little scary. I kind of just missed him. That next lap, there were a few key pieces of racetrack where I was maintaining my speed and was able to bring him back to me a little bit. Then it was just a matter of positioning. I would put myself in a spot where I thought it was the right spot for a few laps, and then I’d make a mistake and couldn’t get there. But, eventually, I kind of was able to get to all the right places and then lead. It seemed like, when I led, we got into the 27s and I was just knocking out 27s, which I felt like were pretty hard to do. I felt like anybody that could make a move, there was a decent chance of mistakes, and I’d try to take advantage of those. I’m ecstatic. Squid Hunter did an incredible job. I was laughing on the podium. I said, ‘Hunting was good today.’ These guys are riding incredible and really, at the beginning of the race, it was almost like panic, like, ‘This is my station in life.’ Talking before the race, I said the second half of the race will be the key, and it came true. It’s going to take a while to wipe the smile off my face. 2017 here, and I did race a few other races, and I really wasn’t even that close. Part of it was back then and 2019 I couldn’t do race distance. I did a little bit of work, and in coaching Rocco, I got to spend quite a few laps riding at pace in-between Daytona and Atlanta, which kind of helped keep me sharp. I’m still, I think, getting better. I still think I can perform a little better tomorrow.”
SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup – Van, Again
As was the case with Yuasa Stock 1000 race one and Supersport race one, SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup race one was also red-flagged and restarted, which created a five-lap dash to the checkered flag. Road Atlanta Junior Cup race winner Max Van won his second race in a row aboard his SportbikeTrackGear.com Kawasaki. His teammate Joseph LiMandri Jr. finished second and just a little over .010 of a second behind Van. Bad Boys Racing Kawasaki’s Avery Dreher earned his first Junior Cup podium and became the first rider to move up from MotoAmerica’s Mini Cup and finish on the podium in one of MotoAmerica’s “full-size” race classes.
“It’s been a great start to my season,” said Van. “But to be honest, this has been a dream. I’ve worked so hard for this. I lost 25 pounds over the off-season. Working nine hours a day, trying to graduate high school, working out for three hours a night is really paying off. I can’t wait for the rest of the season. I’m happy because yesterday in qualifying one, I said I was going to be on top of the box and guess where I am? And I did it today. So, definitely a lot of momentum going for the rest of the season and tomorrow. I can’t wait for it.”
Twins Cup – Barely Barry
The day concluded with Twins Cup race one, and as usual, MotoAmerica’s middleweight, twin-cylinder class did not disappoint. Polesitter Jody Barry won his second race in a row, but it was far from easy. The Veloce Racing Aprilia rider battled all the way to the finish line against a hard-charging James Rispoli aboard his Cycle Tech/Speed Weaponry/Mydigitalli Yamaha, and Barry beat Rispoli in a photo finish by just .020 of a second. Rispoli’s teammate Hayden Schultz finished a close third.
“Coming up to the last turn I was definitely all about it, because I knew I could get past him before the line,” Barry said. “Lappers were, like he (Rispoli) said, he was just stuffing them and they were getting in my way a little bit. We had to do what we had to do. Thankfully just put us in the right position. Coming up to the line, though, I was quivering in my boots a little bit. I was like, ‘Uh oh. Did I not play this right?’ The whole cooldown lap, I thought that he got it. I totally thought that. Amazing riding with these guys. All the passes were clean. The pace was fast. I am toasted. It’s definitely good racing out there.”
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:
SUZUKI GSX-R750 PODIUMS AT VIRGINIA MOTOAMERICA
Jake Lewis: GSX-R1000R – 5th
Sam Lochoff: GSX-R750 – 12th
Tyler Scott: GSX-R750 – 2nd
Liam Grant: GSX-R750 – 10th
Richie Escalante: GSX-R1000R – DNF
Team Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki played a lead role in a day of drama as the 2022 MotoAmerica AMA/ FIM North American Road Racing Championship resumed at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday.
16-year-old prodigy Tyler Scott was the headliner for the squad, earning his first-career MotoAmerica Supersport podium in only his third race and his first on the Suzuki GSX-R750.
Scott was joined in a spirited multi-rider battle for victory by his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammate, Sam Lochoff. The two opened the race from Row 1 aboard their Suzuki GSX-R750s and immediately jostled for position in a five-rider fight for the lead.
Despite recovering from a recently broken leg, Lochoff took the lead on lap five but was pushed off into the grass by another rider moments later, recovering back in fifth position. Scott picked up the fight and the rookie found himself sandwiched between two former premier-class champions while running second at one point.
Scott dove into the lead with three to go but lost a pair of positions when he was forced to make a miracle save of a near highside just to stay upright with a little over two laps remaining.
Lochoff, who fought his way back into contention, took up the challenge in second at that point, only to crash out of the position on the race’s final lap. That handed the runner-up result back to Scott to secure his maiden class podium.
“It was an incredible race,” Scott said. “It was really hot and the tyres were sliding all over the place. I’m really happy to get some decent points after a tough opener, and it feels really good to be on the podium.
“I’m super excited to be on the GSX-R750 – the bike feels great. Overall, it was a great race, and I couldn’t have done it without the entire Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team.”
Lochoff managed to rejoin the fray to finish in 12th. He said, “It was very hot, but I felt amazing in the race. It’s disappointing that the team and I worked so hard but did not get a good result. There were a lot of positives about the race. We qualified well and I was able to work into the lead. Another rider then sent me off into the grass. It is concerning how someone rode so irresponsibly because this sport is dangerous enough without that type of riding. If I crash or run off, that’s on me and I always take full responsibility for my mistakes but, in my opinion, that is not what happened earlier in the race. We’re looking forward to seeing how well we can do tomorrow.”
Even with Lochoff’s misfortune, Team Hammer-built next-generation GSX-R750s accounted for two positions in the top five, and three in the top ten with Altus Motorsports Suzuki’s Jaret Nassaney finishing fifth and Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Liam Grant taking tenth.
Saturday’s MotoAmerica Superbike race was a similarly mixed affair. Premier-class rookie Richie Escalante battled inside the top five aboard his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000R before an early crash knocked him out of the race.
Teammate Jake Lewis registered a measured ride in sweltering conditions, ultimately earning a lonely fifth. The result was the Kentuckian’s fourth finish of sixth or better early in his Superbike return as he continues to return to top form.
Team Hammer will be back in action on Sunday at Virginia International Raceway with the aims of fulfilling its race-winning potential.