The 2021 MotoAmerica Series came to a close on a rainy day at the Barber Motorsports Park with a surprise victor in the final Supersport race of the season — Gabriel Da Silva.
Da Silva went head-to-head with newly crowned Supersport Champion Sean Dylan Kelly and came out on top with Kelly crashing out of their battle on the final lap of the race that was held in a downpour. Kelly, who will move to the Moto2 World Championship next year, was able to remount and finish second.
The win was 17-year-old Da Silva’s first in the MotoAmerica Series with his best prior result a sixth-place finish.
Supersport: Da Silva’s Surprise
The final Supersport race of the year will be one that GP Racing Yamaha rider Gabriel Da Silva will never forget. The 17-year-old, who started racing in the MotoAmerica Series at VIR earlier this year, won his first-ever MotoAmerica race, and he did it against the toughest competition in the class. Da Silva went toe-to-toe with 2021 class champion Sean Dylan Kelly, and Kelly crashed, handing the lead to Da Silva.
Kelly was unhurt and so was his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. He was able to rejoin the race in second place, but he was too far back to catch Da Silva, and he crossed the finish line nearly 16s after Da Silva. Third place went to Kelly’s teammate Sam Lochoff, who recorded the sixth podium of his rookie season.
“I knew the race was going to be good for us because the rain is an equalizer,” Da Silva said. “I had good pace here in the rain and the wet. Throughout yesterday’s race, we had a little bit of bad luck with P4 after the red flag, but I was able to come back today. Fought hard to catch up there. I knew it was a long race, so I was trying to take it a little easy. Eventually caught up to Sean, and I was able to make the move. I knew he was going to try something in the last few laps, so I was trying to be smart about it. We were spinning out and hydroplaning. But it was definitely a lot of fun. I knew I could do it, but it was something else to actually do it and put it on the box. Really happy and really grateful to be here.”
SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup: Scott’s 11th
On Saturday, Scott Powersports/KTM rider Tyler Scott clinched the 2021 SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup Championship, but he wasn’t done winning races for the season. In Sunday’s Race 2, Scott notched his 11th victory of the season and sixth win in a row, and he did it over his closest rival. Landers Racing Kawasaki’s Ben Gloddy was second on Sunday, and he ended up 44 points behind Scott. Third place went to Veloce Racing’s David Kohlstaedt.
All three riders did a great job handling the rain that fell throughout the seven-lap event.
“The track honestly wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating on the start,” commented Scott. “Yesterday, I wrapped up the championship, so today there was no stress. Me and Ben were locked into the championship, so I knew today he was going to be pushing even harder because if we crashed, it’s not like we’d be losing the championship. So, I knew everyone that was in the battle yesterday would be trying 110 percent today. It was a great race.”
Twins Cup: De Keyrel Does It Again
Robem Engineering Aprilia rider Kaleb De Keyrel capped off his Twins Cup championship season by winning the final race of the season. He successfully held off all challengers, which included the rain-soaked Barber racecourse that presented a formidable challenge from start to finish. Second place went to Righteous Racing Aprilia rider Jody Barry, who notched his fifth podium of the season. Hayden Schultz race his brand-new Yamaha YZF-R7 to third, and in doing so, he clinched second place in the class championship.
“On the last lap, my pit board still said plus zero, so I was like, ‘This is going to get interesting real quick.’ I was like, ‘I’m going to have to still push, obviously.’ I knew somebody was right there on the lap before because I could hear their engine. Then on the last lap going into Charlotte’s Webb, I couldn’t really hear anybody. So, I was like, “All right, just be smooth, calm, and keep it on two wheels.’ Then I got a little sketchy with a lapper over the bridge. I went around the outside of him and he was pushing me into the white paint. I was like, ‘Please don’t move over anymore.’ The paint is obviously super slippery, as we saw in the Superbike race yesterday. You touch that stuff, and you’re going down. It’s pretty slick. I felt the track conditions were a little bit better after the track crew brushed off the water a little bit.
“When we were doing our warmup lap, there was quite a bit of water on the back straightaway coming out of the museum corner. I was hydroplaning, and I was like, ‘I guess watch it right there in the race.’ After we went back out, I didn’t really have any issues with that. It was super nerve-racking that they made us restart because, obviously, I was out front, and somebody had just crashed right in front of me. Then they made us restart the entire race. Overall, I think it was just amazing to end this awesome season with a win and for my team. They’ve been working super hard giving me a super competitive bike week in and week out. Just super happy to clinch this last victory for them and move onto next season and whatever that brings.”
Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race: Lukacs Stays Perfect
The final race in the Royal Enfield Build. Train. Race. Championship took place on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park, and California rider CJ Lukacs got the hat trick by winning all three races in the series. Despite the fully wet track conditions, Lukacs successfully piloted her Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 around the Barber Motorsports Park racecourse and took the checkered flag .823s over Kayla Theisler, the converted sidecar racer recording her best finish of the three-race series. Trisha Dahl finished third and reached the podium for the third time in a row.
“I don’t think there are enough words to express what (this championship) means (to me), or even the amount that I’ve learned,” Lukacs said. “It’s beyond measure, obviously. It’s been a journey of a lifetime. To even have one win, and then another win, and then how I got this win, I’m beside myself.”