A weekend of highs and lows for the Altus Motorsports team at Sonoma Raceway in California.
Liqui Moly Junior Cup
Kevin Olmedo made a huge leap forward this weekend. “The kid has been running toward the front all year, but the adjustments he made before the Sunday race have put him in another league,” said George Nassaney about the young gun from El Salvador. Olmedo topped the timing charts in practice and qualifying sessions to start the Saturday race from Pole Position. In that race, he ended up in an exciting battle for second, managing to fend off attacks from two other riders on the last lap to hold the position over the line. However, Kevin doesn’t want to race for second; he wants to be battling for the lead. After reviewing video and data on Saturday night, the team identified some riding style and line adjustments that Olmedo could make. As a result, during the Sunday race, he was fighting for first. He led for a significant amount of the race and barely lost first place at the line. While disappointed to take second after all that time in the lead, Olmedo and the team are excited at the prospects for the remainder of the season.
Since the beginning of the season, an elusive electrical issue has plagued Miles Thornton’s GSX-R 1000. The team showed up at Sonoma confident that the work and testing they had done since the last round had fixed the long-standing problem. So in Practice one, that seemed to be the case. Every lap, Thornton gained more confidence and trust in the bike. As a result, he went faster in each sector of almost every lap. However, during Qualifying one on Sunday morning, the electro-gremlin returned, profoundly disappointing and frustrating the team. Between Q1 and Q2 the team decided to change the ECU. They quickly sourced another, swapped and updated it. During the second qualifying session, the bike was “the best it’s ever felt,” according to Thornton. Miles rode the bike to an 8th place finish in the lone Stock 1000 race of the weekend. With the bike trouble seemingly resolved, Miles is looking forward to racing in Pittsburgh in a few weeks.
Jaret Nassaney arrived at Sonoma Raceway extremely excited and confident. Coming off a phenomenal test a few weeks ago, Jaret was eager to grid up. “The bike was on rails!” said Nassaney about his performance at the CMRA event on July 28th. Unfortunately, on the first lap of the first practice session, Jaret hit the paint at the exit of turn four while on the gas. The consequence was sudden and catastrophic. The rear of the bike came around and spit the rider into the air. The bike was heavily damaged but could have been repaired for the next session. Sadly, the same is not true for Nassaney. Jaret suffered a dislocated (and possibly broken) left wrist. The injury will be evaluated later this week to determine if he will be able to return this season.
Unfortunately for Lucas Silva, his weekend was hindered by illness. Sonoma Raceway is a technical and physically demanding track. Lack of sleep and cold symptoms made the sessions extremely draining. Not feeling 100%, Silva made the wise decision to manage the weekend the best he could, riding well within his limits and gathering as many points as possible. In spite of his sickness, Silva was p9 and p10 in Practice and Qualifying, respectively. Race one had him finish in a lonely but solid 9th. In Race two, he collected a very respectable 10th. “Lucas was struggling with his symptoms and not getting much sleep. To show up and get two top 10 finishes is impressive,” said team-owner George Nassaney. Lucas is excited about the next few rounds. The series heads to tracks that he knows and likes.
“It was a crazy weekend. Jaret’s injury on Saturday was devastating, but we can’t focus on the negatives. Kevin continues to get better and faster. We think we’ve had a breakthrough on Thornton’s bike and Lucas had two more top 10 finishes in a very competitive class. As a team, that was a pretty solid weekend,” said George Nassaney. “We are looking at what to do with Jaret’s seat over the next few races. We made a commitment to our sponsors to field two 600s, and we plan to live up to that. There are a few exciting options.”
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.