Florida Motorcycle Road Racing Association’s 2018 season moved north for the season’s annual race at Jennings GP in Jennings, FL. After four race weekends at Palm Beach International Raceway, the racers were excited to lay down some rubber at the motorcycle-only Jennings GP track. Even with an ominous forecast of rain for Sunday’s race day, entries were up fifty percent for the ever-expanding series. After five rounds, MPH Racing is leading the 2018 Team Championship with 1101 points, with Hurrican Racing only twelve points behind and BPM Motorsports (869) and TopBox Road Racing (779) still close in contention.
The Sunday race schedule started with the twelve-lap SuperStock 600 Grande Corsa, and Christian Miranda proved his experience on his Dunlop-shod 2008 Honda CBR600RR. Taking the overall victory, the Miami Gardens-based Miranda took the podium with a six-second lead over the rest of the field. Topbox Road Racing teammates Daryan Martin and Jason Dai (on Pirelli and Michelin respectively) rounded out the Expert podium. The amateurs were strong in the mix, and ultimately Bridgestone-racer Jose Lloreda, Topbox Racing’s Doug Royce, and Drew Daly took home the hardware.
Next up was the Superstreet 300 and Moto 3 Grande Corsa race. After an hour lightning delay, the nine-lap race started on a wet track with continual showers. The wet track was a deciding factor and demonstrated quickly the varying levels of track experience and racer confidence. In the end, Jonathan Pellnitz took the Moto 3 Expert victory, while Seth Starnes chased Pellnitz and in the process laid down the fastest lap time nearly two seconds quicker than Pellnitz, with Alejandro Rei finishing in third. The SuperStreet 300 Amateur podium featured young-gun Michael Norman Jr, Dustin Richards, and Michael Norman, with Walter Ferreya bringing home the Expert SuperStreet 300 victory. Charlie Ohana lead Yvette LaMar to a victory in the Moto 3 Amateur class.
The rain was very heavy during the SuperStock 1000 race and a number of riders decided to move their entry to the Sunoco SuperBike 1000 Grande Corsa (Race 6), hoping for better weather and a chance at the cash payouts. Derik Johnson and Shannon Andrus braved the maelstrom and took home the hardware and points for their bravery.
The Sunoco SuperBike 600 class started out hot with Doug Royce, Christian Miranda, and Daryan Martin battling hard in the front. The wet track was an equalizer with Dustin Richards close on Martin’s heels. Jose Lloreda pushed hard and came up past the group into third place, running a wildly fast lap and getting comfortable on the wet surface quicker than the others in lap three. Miranda broke out in lap five taking a big gap over Royce, who had Lloreda snapping at his Michelin rear tire. On lap five, Lloreda dove inside Royce in the last corner and made it stick with his best lap of the race, continuing to gain some space. Royce put the pressure back on Lloreda in the next lap through the mid-section of the track and took back second around turn nine. Coming into turn thirteen, the momentum of the battle between Royce and Martin pulled them up on Miranda, and Royce took the top spot back from Miranda for a few turns. Miranda dug in and pulled it back with the two swapping positions and Miranda barely holding the lead across the line for the checkered flag. The top three dropped their times over five seconds as their confidence grew in the wet conditions and put on an incredible show for nine laps. Doug Royce took the amateur win (second overall), followed by Jose Lloreda (third overall) and Dustin Richards on his SuperStock Yamaha YZF-R6. Christian Miranda took the overall and Expert win (by .106 seconds) with Daryan Martin and Jason Dai rounding out the rain soaked Expert podium.
Hurricane Racing star Jonathan Pellnitz started from the pole in the combined Production and Formula Twins Grande Corsa race. Fellow Hurricane Racing team-mate Seth Starnes and Pellnitz spent the first five laps battling out for the overall lead until Pellnitz began to open up the gap and secured his top spot on the podium. The overall podium finished with Pellnitz, Starnes, and Brandon Gindlesperger on his Aprilia RSV twin.
Wrapping up the last Grande Corsa race, the Sunoco Superbike 1000, amateur standout Todd Wagner started from the pole. Josh Marino had a great holeshot and took the lead in the first corner. Coming onto the front straight at the end of lap one, Wagner lost the rear end in a puddle trying to take back the lead and low sided. Displaying his competitive spirit, he quickly checked the bike with the corner marshalls and returned to the track. Joshua Marino checked out from the rest of the pack and ended up taking home first place on his Pirelli-shod Yamaha YZF-R1. Fellow Pirelli-racers Shannon Andrus and Alex Irzyk rounded out the rest of the Expert Podium. Derik Johnson took the amateur win with MPH Racing teammate Todd Wagner a lap down but grabbing valuable points for him and the team.
The Euro Cup kicked off the six lap sprint races. Seth Starnes started from the pole and lead the field around the track in due order for the Euro Max class. The Euro Light podium was topped by Brandon Gindlesperger on his Ducati 848 Evo, followed by Carl Cohen on a Ducati Monster.
In the SuperStreet and Moto 3 sprint Seth Starnes again started on the pole, this time onboard his Dunlop Yamaha R3, with Daniel Ossa holding the pole for the SuperStreet 300 running a Yamaha R3 on Bridgestone rubber. The weather made the racing challenging and the race finished with Starnes, Pellnitz and Rei sharing the Moto 3 Expert Podium. Charlie Ohana and Yvette Lamar recapped their Moto 3 Amateur result from the earlier Grande Corsa. In the SuperStreet 300 Amateur class, Michael Norman Jr. finished at the top, followed by BPM Motorsports racer Daniel Ossa and Dustin Richards. The SuperStreet 300 Expert Class featured German Vacca, Vaughn WIlson, and Chase Mollak in the end.
Right from the start, the competition was high throughout the field in the SuperStock 1000 sprint. Alex Irzyk made an early pass, taking advantage of his Pirelli rubber, in turn six grabbing the lead from Todd Wagner. Wagner felt the pressure immediately from Shannon Andrus who was pushing him hard to hold second place. In lap three Andrus was able to make a move and took Wagner in turn ten, holding it for a lap before amateur Daniel Gorley made a late race charge coming up into second place from behind (running laps nearly three seconds faster than the leader). After five close laps, Wagner passed Andrus for the final spot on the overall podium. MPH Racings’s Alex Irzyk took the overall win with amateurs Gourley and Wagner putting in an impressive display of their young talent in challenging wet conditions. Expert Podium results showed Alex Irzyk in first, Shannon Andrus in second and Joshua Marino in third. Daniel Gourley claimed the Amateur win followed by MPH Racing team-mates Wagner and Johnson.
The Formula 40 600 race was a demonstration of the experienced talent in the paddock. Expert Alejandro Rei took the victory followed by Brad Gordon and German Vacca. In the Amateur field Maykel Perez took the gold followed by Justin Thorpe.
William Wend started from the pole in the Bridgestone Cup 600 sprint race packed full of BPM Motorsports racers. BPM Team Founder German Vacca passed Wend on his Yamaha R6 thanks to a great launch, but Wend put on the pressure and took back the lead in lap third. Continuing to stretch the gap to second, Wend finished on the top spot of the podium followed by Vacca and Nofal Dawahara.
The Production Twin and Formula Twin Sprint race started off with Jonathan Pellnitz proving his skill from the pole onboard his Dunlop-shod Suzuki SV650. After six laps, Pellnitz took the overall victory demonstrating why he is in talks for a seat in some MotoAmerica rounds this season. The Formula Twin podium consisted of fellow Dunlop racers Seth Starnes and Shawn McAlees with Brandon Gindlesperger taking third.
In the Formula40 1000, Dewain Thomas had a close race with Expert Kirk McConnell and ended up claiming the top spot on the podium by .331 seconds after six hotly contested laps. Ricardo Sune rounded out the podium for third.
The rain finally let up in time for eighteen bikes to take the SuperStock 600 grid (down from thirty pre-entries). Christian Miranda had a fantastic start on his Dunlop Honda CBR600RR and took off from the pole with Doug Royce on his Michelin Kawasaki ZX-6R in tow. Further back, the battle for third and fourth was close with Jose Lloreda, Jason Dai, Daryan Martin, and Joshua Marino all in the mix. Martin charged in lap four to move into fifth place over Dai, while Marino passed Lloreda for third. On the last lap things changed after Lloreda had a mistake that cost him a few spots and the field swapped positions aplenty. The Expert Podium finished with Christian Miranda, Daryan Martin, and Jason Dai. The amateur podium featured Doug Royce (second overall), Jose Lloreda, and Frank Custureri.
The rain picked back up going into the Formula 50 1000 race and after six laps Alejandro Rei took home the victory over Kirk McConnell and Ricardo Sune.
The Sunoco Superbike 600 Sprint was dominated by Jason Dai and his teammates from TopBox Road Racing, but further back there was some fierce competition with a large field testing the grip of their rain tires. The Amateur division was hotly contested with several passes and position changes, but at the end Doug Royce took the victory with Jose Lloreda and Frank Custureri close behind. TopBox Road Racing demonstrated their prowess and swept the Superbike 600 Expert class with Dai, Martin, and Turgeon sharing the podium and the glory for the team.
After a long, rainy day of racing the Sunoco Superbike 1000 racers took to the grid for the final sprint race of the day. Kirk McConnell, who had a fantastic weekend, finished off in style and capped off the weekend with a first place finish in the now pouring rain. Shannon Andrus and Alex Irzyk finished behind McConnell. The amateur podium featured another team sweep with MPH Racing riders Todd Wagner, Mikey Hannon, and Derik Johnson taking home the hardware and the points that put them in the Overall Team Championship lead after this weekend.
Florida Motorcycle Road Racing Association returns to Palm Beach International Raceway for Round 5 on May 5-6 before the first appearance of the series at Homestead Miami Speedway on June 10th for Round 6 and the double points Roebling Road Raceway finale on June 23-24, 2018.