Quarterley Racing - On Track Development expands its winning streak to 6 races in Moto America KTM R
The team added a third successful weekend to the season title chase with taking the top podium spot in both races once again, making it six for six in the win category. Starting out with Friday’s Q1 in dry conditions, the pace was quick with Benjamin Smith coming out on top once again with an impressive 2:49.661. Behind Benjamin were his teammates “Action Jackson” Blackmon in second spot with a 2:50.544 and Draik Beauchamp third at a 2:51.091. Series rookie Jake Leahey made fast work of learning the 4 plus mile circuit with an impressive 2:51.963 to secure 7th position.
A strong weekend for the whole team and I was pleased with my own effort. Race 1 had an unfortunate turn as it would have been fun to battle with Jackson to the end. Race 2 involved another duel with Jackson and this time included Cory Ventura. My last lap strategy didn't quite work out but the race was exciting none the less. – Benjamin Smith
After a morning of heavy rain, Saturday’s Q2 session provided a valuable preview of wet and drying conditions for the cup riders to deal with and provisional grid positions from Friday were secured for the race. A big thanks to Moto America for a well-timed change to the tire allotment policy on Saturday morning, relieving riders of using stickers for rains and leaving them with the two sets of DOT’s for the races.
Saturday’s strong headwind up the front straight affected the small displacement spec class bikes but the race was filled with excitement. Unfortunately, Blackmon crept slightly at the start and as a result was served a ride through penalty. The race was a runaway battle straight off between Smith and Blackmon, the two pairing up to use the draft needed to run up front on the long RA course. Blackmon wisely held off on his ride through until the last possible lap but unfortunately exceeded the 36 MPH limit on the long distance from pit in to the exit, resulting in a 20 second penalty on top of the ride through itself. Smith saw the situation and went on to cruise to a convincing win with a fast lap of 2:50.979 and Blackmon with a fast lap of 2:50.871 settled for damage control with a 9th place finish and managing valuable points. Beauchamp secured third place with a fast lap of 2:52.397 putting in a great ride after a race long battle with Gavin Anthony. Leahey followed up with a great battle within the pack with a fast lap of 2:52.226 and a solid 4th place finish in his first visit to RA.
Amid all the action on the track, Jake Leahey takes a moment to acknowledge Roger Hayden; Your ability to fly Nicky’s flag in the honorary remembrance lap right before your first race, shows us that regardless of what life throws your way, the race still goes on. It was an honor to stand on the track to take in this especially emotional ride.
Sunday, under sunny skies and ideal race conditions brought out several record lap times within the class. A three way battle took place between teammates Blackmon, Smith, and Cory Ventura. Position changes were happening as each rider fished for a plan for the prime opportunity to make a strategic move at the right time. A clean and well executed job by all three ended in Blackmon making the final move to secure his second win with fast lap of 2:48.167 and a tiny margin of victory over Ventura then Smith with a fast lap and new track record of 2:48.092. Blackmon’s win kept his championship hopes alive despite being out of the first round due to a pre-season injury and Saturday’s unfortunate mistake. Ventura took a close second with Smith on his rear tire rounding out the podium. Beauchamp took 4th after a poor start, then tracking down the large second group or riders with a fast lap of 2:49.378, resulting in a great battle and he kept his championship points chase strong. Leahey, impressively finding his new speed as he has with each new track, struggled a little but put in a fast lap of 2:49.584 while dicing with a large pack and finished 10th.
Man what a weekend full of ups and downs! Race 1 was very eventful: I jumped the start, served a pass through penalty, and went back out and still finished second, but then I was penalized 20 seconds for speeding on hot pit and ended up 9th. It was a bit of a disappointment, but I learned from it. Race 2 was most likely my best race and most fun race to date. Ben, Cory, and I had pulled away from the others and were battling the whole race. It was an awesome, nice, clean racing. I went for the gamble to lead and it worked out great with the win! – Jackson Blackmon
With three rounds in the books, the team leads the points with Smith in first at 107 points. Beauchamp in second with 94 points, Blackmon in third with 77 points and newcomer Jake Leahey in 10th with 45 points.
I was excited to get back to one of my favorite tracks: Road America! I was hoping to have a great performance like the previous 2 rounds. Unfortunately, I got off to some rough starts and some hard fought battles, but still ended up 3rd and 4th. I’m happy that I’m still 2nd in the points and hope to close the deficit at Utah! – Draik Beauchamp
Dale Quarterley, Team Captain feels it is well on the way to accomplishing the goal of molding riders for the future with the KTM RC Cup as a training ground for pro racing.
The team offers Moto America full support on a team owned “Ready To Race” 390 Cup bike for a Wild Card entry or multiple events.
Contact is firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 610-217-9926.
photo credit: Brian J Nelson