WAMPUM, Pa. (Aug. 26)— The KWR team brought home solid finishes this weekend at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Kyle Wyman finished 10th/8th in Superbike races one and two on his Harv’s/KWR Yamaha, while Bryce Prince scored his first ever podium results in the Supersport class with a 3rd/3rd on the weekend on his RiderzLaw/KWR Yamaha.
For Wyman, the weekend started out with a new suspension package on his Superbike. The KWR team went to work developing and working with the Ohlins forks and shock to get Wyman comfortable on the bike, trying multiple valving settings throughout the day. In Saturday’s Superpole session, Wyman was able to put his Yamaha 6th on the grid, his best qualifying result of the season.
“Friday for me was like starting over from scratch,” Wyman said. “Working with the new parts, we had to find my comfort with the suspension as quick as possible. By the time we hit Superpole, I already had a bike that I was more comfortable on than I had been all year. The results showed, and I was able to put the thing on the second row again, like we did all of last year. It felt good to have that view again on the starting grid.”
With that good work in the books, the KWR crew prepped the bike for race one. A surprise rain shower before the sighting lap soaked half of the race track, and the race was delayed slightly. With most of the track dry, the race would start as usual and riders would hit the track on slicks, despite the wet areas. Wyman got a good start and battled in the top-5 early on, but dropped back to 10th as conditions changed.
“Race one was a tough race and I feel like I rode pretty well,” Wyman said. “In the middle of the race I was pretty solid in 5th place and working into the track as it dried out. Those conditions are really sketchy. I was able to continue going faster each lap but was overtaken by a bunch of guys who simply were willing to take more risk than me.”
The Superbike warm-up session on Sunday morning was wet as well, and riders went out in a mix of different tire choices to prepare for the unpredictable weather forecast for Sunday afternoon. Luckily the race was run under beautiful sunny skies, and Wyman got off to a great start at the beginning of race two.
Wyman found himself 5th after the turn one shuffling, and remained right in the lead group for over two laps. It was the first time all year that he’d gotten off with the leaders and stayed there for a bit, and brought confidence to the entire KWR crew.
“I finally was able to get a great start, and starting from the second row helped a lot,” Wyman said. “I got aggressive in the first few corners and it paid off, I found myself following Cam (Beaubier) for the first two laps and was latched onto him pretty good.”
Wyman stuck in the lead group until an aggressive pass from Mat Scholtz pushed him wide in turn 6, and ultimately caused another overtake by Bobby Fong. Wyman battled arm pump from lap four on, and dropped back to 8th to finish race two.
Wyman’s fatigue was likely caused by overworking and overtraining, as he spent four days at Pittsburgh before the race weekend started, conducting two-up rides and coaching riders for the likes of N2 Track Days and Yamaha Champions Riding School. Wyman rode 7 of 9 days spent at the circuit total.
“Overall I’m super happy, because we’ve found a great direction with the bike,” Wyman said. “Our pace in the beginning of the race before I got arm pump shows that the bike is capable of fighting at the front. I overworked myself this week with all the coaching and riding, but those are just things I need to do to help me keep my race program going. My plan is to rest, recover and start with this new setting we’ve found on my Superbike and be ready to fight at the front at New Jersey.”
Asked about the prospect of another podium finish at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Wyman says he’s feeling even more confident than he did last year, where we scored his first career podium with a 2nd place finish in race two.
“Moving to another suspension brand mid-season was a big decision for us, a risky move, and one that I did not take lightly,” Wyman added. “I want to thank K-Tech for all of their support over the past few years, as we’ve had a lot of success together and their product is world-class. However, in light of this strategic decision, I feel like we now have our best chance for results in New Jersey, so we had to make this change for Pittsburgh. We basically used this race weekend as a test, and now we know exactly what we have and what the bike is capable of. You’ve got to pull an arrow back to shoot it forward, and I feel like we’ve invested our time wisely at this point.”
Wyman retains 7th place in series points standings.
The New Jersey MotoAmerica round is in two week’s time, September 7-9, 2018.
After a long season of progression and hard work, the RiderzLaw/KWR Supersport team finally achieved podium results at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Bryce Prince finished 3rd in both races over the weekend.
“Two podiums on the weekend is like a dream come true for me,” Prince said. “A few weeks ago I called Kyle (Wyman) and told him about my budget concerns, and at the time thought I would have to miss the Pittsburgh round in order to finish off the season. Luckily, with the support of RiderzLaw, we were able to make it here and I’m glad we were able to repay them with podium finishes in both races. Hard work has paid off for me and my crew.”
Prince battled hard with points leader JD Beach nearly flag-to-flag in race one, beating out the factory rider in a last lap duel, in spectacular fashion. A well-earned first podium for Prince gave him the confidence to repeat the feat on Sunday. Prince jumped to 4th in series points standings from 7th, and now is only 14 points shy of the third place competitor and Saturday race-winner Valentin Debise. Prince also earned the fastest lap of the race in Sunday’s race two.
“A podium, and fastest lap of the race on Sunday, it feels good,” Prince added. “Louis and Chris have been great to me all year, believing in me and the whole KWR team has supported me this year. To think where I was before the season and to be having these results is confidence inspiring for New Jersey. Next round can’t come soon enough!”
The MotoAmericaseries heads to New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J., September 7-9, 2018. Stay tuned for news and updates in the coming week.