Altus Motorsports Team ends 2019 MotoAmerica season on high note at Barber Motorsports Park.
(Birmingham, AL) – The MotoAmerica 2019 season wrapped up in Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. The recent repave meant that every rider in every class would be on a learning curve. Results from the weekend went as follows.
Liqui Moly Junior Cup
Kevin Olmedo’s goal for the weekend was to collect enough points to secure second place in the championship. Barber has been a good track for him in the past, but this weekend he struggled to find a setup that worked with the new surface and the allocated Dunlop tires. He started Race 1 from P3 and held that position for most of the laps. With two laps to go, he was in a large group battling for the final podium spot when a rider crashed directly in front of him. With nowhere to go, Olmedo also ended up on the ground. On Sunday, Kevin was in an epic race-long 6-bike battle for third place. He finished the race in 4th and missed 3rd by only a few hundredths of a second. Olmedo summed up the 2019 season by saying, “It was great. We were consistently fighting for the podium this year. Altus builds a great Ninja400, and the support was amazing. I can’t thank the team enough. And the entire MotoAmerican paddock – it’s like family. It was an amazing year, and I cannot wait to come back in 2020.”
Miles Thornton finished the 2019 MotoAmerica season on a high. Building on the confidence and a bike setup from the two previous rounds, Miles managed to qualify in the 6th position on the second row. Unfortunately, off the start of Race 1, he got stuck behind a slower rider, and by the time he made the pass, the lead group had pulled a gap. He finished the race in a lonely but respectable 5th. Sunday’s race began in a similar fashion. Thornton got shuffled back to seventh. And, again, it took a few laps to clear the slower traffic, putting him at a four-second deficit to the group fighting for 3rd. All season, Miles has known he has the experience to fight for the podium, and this was the final race of the year. With nothing to lose, Thornton put his head down and went for it. From lap 7 to the finish, every lap was faster than the previous as he closed down on the pack ahead of him. His final lap was his fastest of the weekend by almost one second and put him in the race to the line for 3rd place. He crossed in 5th. “Miles really showed what he is made of today. If he had one more lap, at the pace he was running, I think he could have taken that 3rd place,” said team owner George Nassaney. Miles Thornton had this to say: “This was the toughest year of my career for me, personally. But I learned a lot. I’m happy to end on a real positive note, and I’m looking forward to next season.”
Lucas Silva spent the practice and qualifying sessions finding a setup for the new Barber track surface. He started Race 1 in P12 and finished in 11th. In Race 2, he started from 11th and grabbed another top 10 finish in 8th. Silva closes out the 2019 season in 11th overall, just 3 points out of the top 10. “The beginning of the year was a bit of a challenge. It was my first year on the Suzuki, and I was learning the GSX-R. But after a few rounds, we clicked with the bike, and we were consistently fighting for top 10 finishes,” said Lucas Silva.
Jaret Nassaney’s goal for the final MotoAmerica round was to get back to the pace and confidence he had before his crash at Sonoma. With his wrist still recovering, it was a big ask. Finishing the first practice in 13th was a good sign. And placing 13th and 14th in the two qualifying sessions was confirmation. While his pace was good, Jaret was struggling slightly to find a good race setup with the new pavement and Dunlop tires. Hoping to have grip at the end of the race, he chose the harder option tires for Race 1. Unfortunately, on the second lap, the rear lost traction and quickly spit Nassaney off. Starting from 12th position on Sunday, Jaret and another rider began battling for 9th. In the final laps of the race, they were closing in the distance to the rider ahead of them. With only four laps to go, Jaret had moved into 9th when a red flag reverted the results back to the previous lap, making his official position 10th. Nassaney Finished the season in 14th overall and considers 2019 a ‘breakthrough season’ for him.
“What an amazing way to finish the season. We had a great weekend. Kevin locked down second place in the Junior Cup; Lucas and Jaret both rode great and seeing Miles show what he is truly capable of in the very last race was fantastic. We had a great group of people on the team this year. I want to say ‘thank you’ to MotoAmerica for their continued commitment to our sport. Every season gets better. At Altus, we share that commitment, and we plan to be back in 2020 bigger and better than ever,” said George Nassaney.
The Altus Motorsports team is supported by this great group of sponsors: Altus Motorsports, Tucker Powersports, TerpTastick.com, Conquest CBD, VP Lubricants, RS Taichi, Arai, Moto D, Bonamici, Hotbodies Racing, SBS Brakes, Vortex, Motion Pro, STACYC, Law Tigers Oklahoma, BrakeTech Rotors, M4 Exhaust , Braking Rotors, Yoshimura R & D, Dunlop, Team Hammer, and Altus Factory Racing.
All Photos: Brian J. Nelson.