MILLVILLE, N.J. (Sept. 12) — The KWR team triumphed this past weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park, where Kyle Wyman scored his first career Superbike podium finish. Wyman overcame a 6th place finish in race one and rode a brilliant race aboard his Yamaha Champions Riding School/Cambr/KWR Yamaha YZF-R1 to claim 2nd place overall in Sunday’s race two.
The weekend started with a high as Wyman put his YCRS steed at the top of the time sheets Friday morning in the first qualifying practice, more than a half a second adrift from the field.
“Things were just clicking right off the truck,” Wyman said. “The bike felt really good straight away and we just started grinding out the laps. The K-Tech suspension was working amazing and we were able to find a huge chunk of time at the end of the session on a new tire. By the end of the day we were third overall and only two tenths off provisional pole.”
Wyman headed into Superpole full of confidence. With a Dunlop Q-tire, he was able to lap the NJMP circuit in a personal best lap time of 1:20.826 to claim the 4th overall position on the starting grid.
That afternoon in race one, Wyman got off to a strong start early and ran in the 4th position, before finding himself in a scrap with fellow Superbike riders Josh Herrin and Jake Gagne. A mid-race drop in lap times by Wyman would cost him a few seconds over time, and he would have to settle for 6th overall on the day.
“In race one I had high hopes of staying right with the factory guys,” Wyman said. “I made a small mistake and broke too early on the second lap, and that let Josh [Herrin] and Jake [Gagne] by. I had pace on both of them the first half of the race but toward the end I was just losing the front end everywhere. I could barely ride the bike the last few laps.”
With higher hopes for race two, the YCRS/Cambr/KWR crew rallied for Sunday morning warm-up with some small changes to the front end of the bike, hoping to pick up grip in the latter stages of the 23-lap race. In the 10-minute session Wyman found the changes positive and the team would implement them for the 3:30pm scheduled race two.
Wyman got off to a great start in the last race of the weekend, finding himself in third through the first section, he then passed for second place and glued himself to the rear wheel of the factory rider of Roger Hayden. Wyman followed Hayden closely for 20 straight laps.
“After the first few corners when everyone was shuffling around, I found myself second and just grinding out laps behind Roger,” Wyman said. “I felt really comfortable sitting there, and could see the gap growing on my pit board. I was just flowing out there, implementing the techniques we teach at YCRS, putting in consistent laps. About lap 18 I started to see my gap closing behind me.”
That gap was closed by Toni Elias, newly crowned 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion, who was charging through the field from his mishap on the first lap that gifted Wyman 2nd. Elias passed Wyman with three laps to go and charged after Roger. On the last lap Elias put a move on Roger that forced Roger into the grass and off the track. Wyman was handed back 2nd place in an instant and was able to bring home the YCRS/Cambr/KWR R1, only 1.946 seconds off of Toni.
“I was nervous seeing my gap closing, because I wanted to finish on the podium so bad,” Wyman said. “I thought maybe whoever was coming up behind me might be bringing company, and that would threaten my race for the podium result. Luckily we had nearly 10 seconds back to fourth place so we were safe in the end. For a moment I thought Toni and Roger both would be off the track on the last lap but Toni kept it on for the win.”
In addition to his first ever podium result in the Superbike class (the highest level of road racing in the United States), Wyman was also credited with the fastest lap of the race, at a 1:20.910 which was on lap two.
“Obviously I’m just super elated,” Wyman added. “It’s been a really long road to get here, racing the Harleys and 600’s, not really having much success on 600’s. I found the Yamaha R1 that I’ve fallen in love with now, and me and the team are working really well together. Today was my day, and now I know I can do it. I know we will push even harder from here to find our way to the top step of the podium at Barber Motorsports Park next weekend.”
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The MotoAmerica series heads to Barber Motorsports Park this coming weekend, September 15-17, 2017. Stay tuned for news and updates as the season progresses.
For more information about YCRS, visit www.champschool.com