This weekend marked the halfway point of the Florida Motorcycle Road Racing Association’s 2018 season. After four exciting race weekends, Team Hurricane Racing Dunlop-mounted Seth Starnes holds the Overall Expert Championship by sixty-four points over Dunlop racer Max Angles with 504 points scored. In the Overall Amateur Championship, MPH Racing Todd Wagner continues to impress with his continually improving talent and dropping lap times. This weekend Todd smashed his personal and class records in multiple classes, including a 1:18.363 in the Superstock 1000 Amateur division on Dunlop-shod Yamaha YZF-R1. This season has seen numerous lap records set at the Palm Beach International Raceway rounds. Most notably at Round Three, when Stefano Mesa broke the long-standing overall track record by nearly .7 seconds with a 1:15.034 on his Pirelli Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R during the Sunoco Superbike 1000 sprint (claiming one of the first Pirelli Track Record Bounties for the 2018 race season in the process).
The Sunday race schedule started with the twelve-lap Grande Corsas, and right off the bat Topbox Racing Daryan Martin on his Pirelli Yamaha YZF-R6 (2017 FMRRA Amateur Overall Champion) proved his well-earned Expert plates starting from the pole position. Martin had a great start and held the lead into turn one over Brad Gordon on his Pirelli Suzuki GSX-R600 followed closely by Christian Miranda (in his FMRRA debut) on his Dunlop Honda CBR600RR and a pack of Superstock 600 racers. Christian Miranda overtook Gordon in the first lap while Martin pulled away with an early gap. Three laps a downed racer caused a restart in which Martin again showed his dominant launch skill. Gordon and Miranda traded positions for second place before Miranda got the upper hand and was able to close the gap on Martin. On lap nine, Christian Miranda took the lead with a pass on the front straight and was able to hold on for victory (and class payout) while Martin and Gordon rounded out the Expert podium. Team BPM Racing William Wend on his Bridgestone-shod Yamaha YZF-R6 led the amateurs with Team MPH Racing Adrian Mitchell on his Dunlop Yamaha YZF-R6 and MPH Racing teammate Mikey Hannon on his Michelin Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R chasing his tail for the podium. William Wend took the Amateur win followed by Adam Diaz on his Pirelli Yamaha YZF-R6 (with a late surprise charge) and Adrian Mitchell in third spot on the podium.
Next up was the Moto 3 Grande Corsa race. Amateur young gun Dunlop racer Alexis Olivera, started from the second qualifying spot for the Moto 3 class. She is an upcoming talent to keep an eye on as her racing career progresses. Fellow young gun Bridgestone Moto 3 Expert racer Gabriel DaSilva worked his way through the traffic into second place on the next lap. In Lap seven, Olivera passed DaSilva for second overall only to have DaSilva take it back in Lap 8. Alexis nipped at his heels, but DaSilva held the lead over the line by a margin of .029 seconds with Fabian Alvarez taking second on his Westside Performance Yamaha YZF-R3 and Jonathan Pellnitz on his Dunlop-shod Hurricane Racing Team Yamaha YZF-R3.
In the Superstock 1000 Grande Corsa, Stefano Mesa on his Pirelli Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R started from the pole with veteran Sean Dwyer qualifying second on his new Pirelli Suzuki GSX-R1000R after racing all last year on a Kawasaki ZX-10R. Amateur phenom Todd Wagner on his R1 made a big move on the start after qualifying third overall to take the holeshot into turn one followed closely by Sean Dywer and Stefano Mesa. Dwyer and Mesa were able to get by Wagner and then battled wheel to wheel with only .095 seconds separating the two until lap five. On lap five, Mesa made a bold move to the inside in turn 4 and was able to build a gap on Dwyer. Meanwhile, Todd Wagner opened a lead in the Amateur class over second place NSL Motorsports Mario Gonzalez on his Dunlop Aprilia Tuono. Michael Zumbrum on his Dunlop CBR1000RR and Team MPH Racing Derik Johnson on his Michelin Yamaha YZF-R1 had a great wheel to tail battle fighting for the third spot in the amateur class. Mesa was able to hold off Dwyer for the expert podium with Dwyer in second followed by Cory Heflin on his Michelin Yamaha YZF-R1 for third place. Wagner took the Amateur podium followed by Gonzalez for second and Zumbrum for third.
Max Angles started from the pole in the Sunoco Superbike 600 Grande Corsa race. After getting the holeshot Max Angles checked out building a twenty second gap on the rest of the field. Veteran Dunlop racer Tim Hunt and Daryan Martin fought hard for the second position through the first two laps with Hunt opening a gap after a late braking pass into turn nine. NSL Motorsports amateur Maykel Perez on his Pirelli Yamaha YZF-R6 led the amateurs followed by Hurricane Racing Dustin Richards on his Michelin Yamaha YZF-R6 and Hurricane teammate Adrian Mitchell duking it out for second place in the early laps. Max Angles took a definitive victory with a margin of twenty seconds over Tim Hunt and Daryan Martin in the Expert class. Maykel Perez sealed the Amateur victory with Dustin Richards and Mikey Hannon rounding out the podium after Mitchell suffered a lap nine mechanical.
Seth Starnes started from the pole in the combined Production and Formula Twins Grande Corsa race. Team 45 Carl Cohen on his Dunlop Ducati Monster started from the second position in the Production Twins Grande Corsa. After the starting lights went out, former class-record holder Hurrican Racing Jonathan Pellnitz and Carl Cohen led the pack for the Production Twins class in their ever-continuing rivalry. On lap eleven, Carl Cohen passed Pellnitz for the Production Twin lead with a lap within .003 of the Production Twins class record. Carl Cohen was able to hold off Jonathan Pellnitz for the win in Expert Production Twins in the latest installment of their racing saga. In Amateur Production Twins, Sam Purkis on his Dunlop Suzuki SV650 set a new class record of 1:30.145 to take the win over Michael Deroche on his Dunlop Suzuki SV650. Seth Starnes took the overall win in Expert Formula Twins and Monkey Works Cycle Performance Brandon Gindlesperger on his Aprilia RSV-1000R won the Formula Twins Amateur class.
In the final Grande Corsa race before lunch, the Sunoco Superbike 1000, Stefano Mesa started from the pole in the big payout race. Not making it easy for Mesa, Max Angles stayed right on his tail spread by less than a second with Sean Dwyer in tow. Todd Wagner continued to display his dominance in the Amateur ranks leading Brian Gomez and Mario Gonzalez by a healthy margin early on in the twelve-lap race. Stefano ultimately took the victory by 8.961 over Max Angles and Sean Dwyer. Todd Wagner won the Amateur class with Brian Gomez and Mario Gonzalez in second and third respectively.
After Lunch, the Euro Cup race led the start of the six-lap sprint races. Seth Starnes started from the pole and lead the field of European exotics around the track. Carl Cohen held a strong lead from the start in the Euro Light (under 999cc) class. For the EuroMax (1000cc+) podium, Seth Starnes, Miles Tyler (in his FMRRA debut), and Brian Gomez both on BMW S1000RR’s stood on the box. Carl Cohen and Trey Bailey on his Pirelli Ducati 848 led the victors in the Euro Light division.
Jumping off his Ducati, Seth Starnes quickly threw a leg over his Superstreet 300 ride for the next sprint. Twenty-One Bikes took the grid, with Starnes on the 300 pole, Alexis Olivera in Moto 3, and Miguel Chirino on the Superstreet 250 pole. Daniel Ossa lead the Superstreet 300 Amateur class decisively through the whole race. Three deep clusters of riders switched it up all throughout the race however at the end: Seth Starnes and German Vacca won the superstreet 300 class. In Moto 3 the three young guns Alexis Olivera, Fabian Alvarez, and Gabriel DaSilva took the podium. Miguel Chirino took a clean win over Alex Ehrenstein and Mike Weickert in the Superstreet 250 class.
In the tough Superstreet 1000 sprint, Sean Dwyer started from the pole after Stefano Mesa had a late arrival to the grid. In lap two, Todd Wagner set a 1:18.363 class record for superstreet 1000 Amateur. After picking his way through the pack, Mesa was able to pass Dwyer on the back straight and take the overall victory. Jason Campbell ran a strong race and claimed Expert third behind Mesa and Dwyer. Todd Wagner won the Amateur class with Miles Tyler taking second and Brian Gomez taking third.
Tim Hunt started from the pole in the Formula 40 600 Superbike race and stayed up front with a definitive lead. Maykel Perez worked his way through the amateurs in lap 3 and took the lead. The race was ended early (over half the race completed) after Tim Hunt had a hard fall in Turn 8 while leading the race. The final results showed Brad Gordon, Alejandro Rei on his Pirelli CBR600RR, and Bob Damerau on his Pirelli Yamaha YZF-R6 as the top three Experts. Maykel Perez, Dunlop CBR600RR mounted Doug Ford, and David Aronow on his Triumph 675R took the podium for the amateur division.
The Bridgestone Cup sprint race was a battle among BPM Motorsports teammates. Alex Aguilar was able to take the win on his BPM Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R6 followed by BPM Motorsports German Vacca and William Wend close behind both on Yamaha YZF-R6’s.
Seth Starnes started the combined Formula and Production Twins Sprint race from the pole after his Saturday qualifying performance and was able hold the lead to capture the Formula Twins win with Brandon Gindlesperger capturing the Amateur Formula Twins win with Monkey Works Cycle Performance Teammate Gabriel Figueroa on a Pirelli BMW taking second place. In Expert Production Twins, Jonathan Pellnitz passed Carl Cohen on the last lap to take the win and get redemption over the earlier Production Twins loss to Cohen in the morning Grande Corsa race. Sam Purkis took the Amateur Production Twins podium.
In the Formula 40 1000 sprint, Jason Campbell on his Dunlop Kawasaki ZX-10R started from the pole. Surprisingly, the normally close class was practically a parade for six laps with few, if any, changes in order. The lineup ended much like the qualifying grid results: Jason Campbell, Ricardo Sune taking home the Expert class and Yamaha YZF-R1 mounted Robert Rubsky, Gabriel Figueroa on a Pirelli BMW S1000R, and Christopher Dooley on a Pirelli Suzuki GSX-R1000R completing the Amateur Podium.
The hotly contested Superstock 600 class started with twenty-three bikes on the Grid. Max Angles took the lead box, while Daryan Martin and Brad Gordon completed the front row. Gordon picked off Martin with a great start to move into second place. Max Angles broke the class track record on three consecutive laps and ultimately set the new benchmark with a 1:18.854! Seth Starnes and Brad Gordon rounded out the Expert Podium after an intense six lap sprint. Frank Custieri on a Pirelli Yamaha YZF-R6 took victory in the Amateur field followed by Maykel Perez and Jon Holloway.
Alejandro Rei lead the senior Formula 50 1000 class with the pole; however, Ducati mounted Ricardo Sune worked his way towards Rei passing him for the lead on lap three. The two diced it up at the lead out in front of the field, with Sune taking the victory by a 1.708 margin. Robert Rubsky won the amateur class followed by Michael Zumbrum and Chris Hair on his Team Hurricane Racing Pirelli Suzuki GSX-R750R.
The Sunoco Superbike 600 Sprint was dominated by Max Angles on his Dunlop Yamaha YZF-R6, but further back there was some fierce competition. Daryan Martin and Carlos Lorenzo on his Westside Performance Dunlop Yamaha YZF-R6 rounded out the expert podium. The Amateur division was hotly contested with several passes and position changes, but at the end Adam Diaz took a close win over Frank Custureri with Alex Aguilar trailing close behind.
The day ended with the fast and furious Sunoco Superbike 1000 Sprint. Stefano Mesa was able to take the win on his Pirelli Kawasaki ZX-10R. Max Angles pushed Dwyer hard for a last lap pass around the outside in turn nine but was not able to make it stick and low sided giving Dwyer a hard-earned second to Mesa. Todd Wagner dominated the amateur field with Miles Tyler and Brian Gomez in tow.
The Pabst Blue Ribbon podium ceremonies were enjoyed by all with cash prize money distributed to the overall podium victors from three of the Grande Corsa classes.