Sean Dylan Kelly (40) leads Benjamin Smith (88), Richie Escalante (1) and Stefano Mesa (97) during Supersport action on Saturday at VIR. (Brian J. Nelson Photo)
Sean Dylan Kelly (40) leads Benjamin Smith (88), Richie Escalante (1) and Stefano Mesa (97) during Supersport action on Saturday at VIR. (Brian J. Nelson Photo)

Kelly Stays Undefeated In MotoAmerica Support Action

DANVILLE, Va. – M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Sean Dylan Kelly continues to strike while the iron is hot, the Floridian keeping his perfect season alive with another MotoAmerica Supersport victory Saturday after a closely fought battle at Virginia Int’l Raceway.

While Kelly remains the only unbeaten rider in the MotoAmerica Series, Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis became a first-time winner in the Stock 1000 class, the former MotoAmerica Superbike rider ending a winless drought that dates back to 2017.

In the other support classes, it was a case of repeat winners as Ben Gloddy earned his second win of the season in the Junior Cup race; and Teagg Hobbs emerged victorious from a brawl in Twins Cup for the second straight race.

Kelly had a perfect weekend in round one at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, earning the pole and winning both races, and he also earned the pole on Saturday at VIR, then followed up his number-one starting position with the win in Saturday afternoon’s race one. And he did it in dominant fashion, leading the 19-lap race from start to finish.

Stefano Mesa crashed his MESA37 Racing Kawasaki during morning final qualifying, but he managed to get his bike repaired and set aside the pain in his bruised body to take second in the race after a heated battle with North East Cycle Outlet Racing’s Benjamin Smith. The Yamaha rider and former KTM RC Cup Champion was delighted to get his first podium result in MotoAmerica’s middleweight class.

“First of all, happy to be in the P1 spot again,” Kelly said. “For sure this was a little bit of a different race than Atlanta in one way. Honestly, I’m happy about this because I came into the weekend with a bit more question marks. As I said on the podium, I was actually in bed for the last two weeks after Atlanta. So obviously that kind of screws with you mentally and I wasn’t really sure how I was going to show up here. Feeling good to be able to get through it. The heat really wasn’t helping, but I’m not one to talk. Stefano (Mesa) is hurt, Richie’s (Escalante) hurt, so those guys are in worse positions than me, I think. Either way, we came in here working. Ben (Smith) has been doing really good. Congrats to him for his first podium and also Stefano, just to finally be back on the podium together after Indy last year.

“It’s been definitely a tough race. I actually had no idea what the gap was. I was confused with the board and the information the team was giving me. I didn’t know if it was zero seconds or .2 seconds or two seconds or 20 seconds. I had no idea. I could only see twos. But I looked back with five laps to go and I saw that it was a little bit of a distance, but they were right there. So, I tried to be as consistent as I could. Honestly speaking, I didn’t feel as good as I was expecting. I thought the pace was going to be a little bit better from my point of view. I’m going to do my homework. I know there’s some things to improve to get that pace better, or more as I was expecting. Just going to do our homework and come back stronger and recover for tomorrow. Just got to thank my team and everyone around me for making this happen.”

Saturday’s Twins Cup race one was a close-fought contest throughout the 13-lap event. In the end, it was Innovative Motorsports/Mike’s Imports Suzuki rider Hobbs who got the victory, which was his second win in three races thus far. Second place went to Jackson Blackmon Racing Yamaha’s Jackson Blackmon, who missed round one at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta due to injury. GCP Suzuki rider Chris Parrish, who lent one of his spare engines to race winner Hobbs after Hobbs’ own engine expired at the beginning of Friday’s morning practice session, finished third.

In Stock 1000 race one, Altus Motorsports Suzuki’s Lewis was victorious after only his third race back from a nearly-year-long MotoAmerica hiatus. The Kentuckian started from the pole but was overtaken by HONOS HVMC Racing Kawasaki’s Corey Alexander. Lewis regained the lead on lap 10 and held his advantage all the way to the checkered flag in the 14-lap event.

Alexander maintained his position in second to finish as runner-up, and third place went to Geoff May Racing/ Honda rider Geoff May, the Georgian finishing on the podium for the second race in a row.

In what was arguably the best race of the day, MotoAmerica’s entry-level class, Junior Cup, featured a tight battle between the top six riders. Landers Racing Kawasaki’s Gloddy withstood a strong challenge from Veloce Racing Kawasaki’s David Kohlstaedt and Scott Powersports KTM’s Tyler Scott. At the checkers, Gloddy took his second win of the season by a scant .115 of a second over Kohlstaedt, who in turn, took the runner-up spot by just .134 over Scott, who finished third.

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