Liqui Moly Junior Cup
From the first practice, Kevin Olmedo demonstrated why the team is proud to have him onboard. He was P2 in the first practice and again in qualifying. As a result, he started the races from the middle of the front row. Kevin spent most of Race 1 in a battle for the lead. Three quarters through the race, Olmedo was in first when he began to lose rear grip. After being passed, his initial instinct was to fight back but, with limited traction, he opted to do the smart thing and settle for third.
“When the tires started to go off, I figured it’s a long season, and it’s better to play it safe and collect some points,” said Olmedo.
Chaotic weather made tire choice for the Sunday race a gamble. With the sky cycling between rain and shine in minutes, teams had to choose whether to start on slicks or rain tires, and many riders were caught out. Olmedo was no exception. Starting the race on slicks, Kevin watched as many of his fellow racers pushed too hard and succumbed to the slippery asphalt. In a battle of ‘have’ and ‘have-nots,’ the riders who had chosen rain tires cleared off while the rest were left to manage the best they could. Olmedo once again showed his maturity and rode the bike to within the limits of the conditions and brought it home in 13th.
“Sure, it could have gone the other way. The sun could have come out, and we would have been battling for the lead again, but there was no way to predict it. We did the best we could and didn’t end up crashing,” said Olmedo.
The shortened schedule of MotoAmerica’s two-day event limited the Stock 1000 class to only 35 minutes on Saturday afternoon to find a setup. In spite of the minimal time, Miles Thornton and the team managed to put the Altus Motorsports GSX-R 1000 on the front row.
Unfortunately, after a good race start, Thornton was knocked out of the race on the second lap. Knowing he had podium pace, being collected so early in the race was deeply disappointing, but Miles isn’t one to dwell.
“I am looking forward to Road America. I did my first pro race there on a 600, and it’s become one of my favorite tracks. Putting the bike in P3 in qualifying here at VIR shows that we have a good machine and that I can run at the front. In Wisconsin, we have a doubleheader, and I’m looking forward to standing on the box and collecting some much-needed points,” said Thornton.
Lucas Silva completed the first free practice in an impressive P9. Even with a quick shifter malfunction, he managed 12th place in qualifying. After the first few laps of the Saturday race, Silva settled into a two bike battle for 7th; a battle he led every lap. With the long run to the line at VIR, Lucas knew he didn’t want to be leading out of the last corner on the last lap. On the penultimate lap, he strategically let the other rider by and used the draft to ensure he crossed the line with his best finish of the season. Sunday’s wet race got off to a rough start. After a good launch, a first lap incident pushed him off line and dropped him back into the pack. He kept his head down and managed to make up a few places bringing his Suzuki GSX-R 600 home in 11th place.
The abbreviated weekend schedule forced teams and riders to make every minute of track time count. Jaret Nassaney and crew did just that. They improved almost 2 seconds between the first practice and qualifying. Jaret started Race 1 from 17th on the grid but quickly jumped into a battle for a top 10 spot. He held 10th for most of the race but, ultimately, finished in 11th. Nassaney describes Sunday’s race and choosing a setup for the weather as a “crapshoot.” He admits they may have missed a bit on the rain setup, but he still managed to finish upright and in the points in 14th.
“I am really happy with our progress this weekend. Every round the bike feels better, and I am improving as a rider. I am very excited for Road America,” said Jaret.
Team owner/manager Janette Nassaney felt great about the weekend saying:
“We picked up a lot of momentum this weekend and we are rolling forward at a good speed. We are also having a lot of fun. And if you are not enjoying it, the results are meaningless. We are ready for Road America.”
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, Dunlop, Team Hammer, and Altus Factory Racing.
All Photos: Brian J. Nelson