(Elkhart Lake, WI) – The Road America venue always brings great crowds of amazing fans to watch exciting motorcycle road racing. This year was no exception. And the excitement was shared in the Altus pits.
Liqui Moly Junior Cup
Kevin Olmedo was on fire again at Road America. He was top three in almost every practice session and showed great pace, poise and skill during the races. The track was still drying from a short rain when Race 1 started. As a result, riders were evaluating and re-evaluating grip and lines every lap. After the first few laps, Kevin found himself in a pack of bikes battling for the final podium spot. He began the final lap with work to do at the back of the group in 7th place. With the long, uphill run to the finish line, he knew he didn’t want to be leading but he needed to move himself into striking distance. And he did. It was planned to perfection; working through the group and leveraging the draft to finish. He snatched 3rd place at the line by thousandths of a second. In the second race, Kevin was part of an exciting 3-bike breakaway that spent most of the race trading positions. Olmedo took his turn at the front of the group on several occasions and lead most of the final lap. Unfortunately, during the long run to the line he lost first and finished in second place by less than a tenth of a second.
A gremlin in Miles Thornton’s GSX-R1000 caused frustration most of the weekend. Inconsistent throttle response made it difficult to find pace Friday and Saturday. He managed to be p6 in first practice and p7 in Q1. Qualifying 2 was wet and offered no time to track down the issue or find a setup. Despite the challenges, Miles brought the bike home in 7th in the Saturday race. That night, the crew decided to simply go after every possible cause of the issue – both analog and digital. They replaced the throttle and grip and then wiped and loaded a completely new map. Sunday the bike felt significantly better and Miles finished in a solid 4th. With more setup he feels he could have been on the podium. “We’re going to stay in Wisconsin on Monday and do some additional testing. We are all willing to do the work to perfect this package. I want to in Utah ready to fight for the top step,” said Miles.
The first practice session and Qualifying 1 had teammates Jaret Nassaney and Lucas Silva running almost identical lap times. Both floating around mid-pack and looking for improvements to get closer to the top 10. Q2 was wet and offered no opportunity to make dry-setup adjustments. In Race 1, Nassaney jumped up a few places and was battling for 12th. He began the penultimate lap confident he had a strategy to own that position across the line. Unfortunately, the bike began to sputter and finally stopped a few hundred yards short of the finish line completely out of fuel. Knowing there was a gap to the bikes behind and not willing to give up on earning a top 15 spot and some championship points, Jaret began pushing his GSX-R600 toward the waving checkered flag. As bikes went by, he realized he would not get the top 15 but he didn’t stop. Refusing to take the DNF, he crossed the line in 22nd and showed the heart that is at the core of the entire Altus team. For Nassaney, Race 2 went more to plan. It was almost a carbon copy of the previous day. Nassaney knew he didn’t want to be leading down the final straight, so he let his pursuer past and then drafted by to take p13 at the checker. Lucas struggled to find a setup for the fast Road America course. In Race 1 he managed to gather points and cross the line in 15th. Race 2 was similar, and he crossed the line in a lonely 16th. Silva has his sights set on the next round and is eager to be back in the top 10 fight.
The next round for the MotoAmerica series will be Utah Motorsports Park. While the location has been on the calendar for years, in 2019 they will be running a different configuration. “It will be a new track for almost everyone and with more corners it will level the playing field a bit. I am looking forward to it, “ said Supersport 600 rider Jaret Nassaney.
Team owner George Nassaney is happy with the direction the team is going. “We continue to learn and improve. Our team is really beginning to gel. We can’t thank the crew enough. The mechanics really worked their butts off to make this our smoothest weekend so far.”
The Altus Motorsports team is supported by our great family 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