Landers puts Rodio Racing – Powered by Robem Engineering Aprilia on top step of MotoAmerica Twins Cup podium Saturday, Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park
Fill-in rider Landers now has three victories in last four races, while teammate Rodio endures difficult weekend
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — It was a tale of two very different weekends at Barber Motorsports Park for Rodio Racing – Powered by Robem Engineering riders Rocco Landers and Gus Rodio. Landers made the most of his second round filling in for injured rider Ben Gloddy by winning both MotoAmerica Twins Cup races and climbing to within 12 points of the championship lead.
Rodio started the event with a big lead in the Twins Cup standings but did not score any points and endured two crashes. Thanks to his excellent results in the first two rounds of the season, Rodio remains one of the frontrunners in the championship battle. He’s now just two points adrift of the championship lead with eight races remaining in the 2023 Twins Cup season.
Rodio and Landers took turns topping the time sheets in the Twins Cup’s two on-track sessions Friday. Rodio posted the fastest time in Friday practice, with Landers less than two-tenths of a second off Rodio’s pace. For the Friday afternoon Qualifying 1 session, Landers moved into the top spot when he put in a best lap time of 1:29.946. Rodio’s best lap time — 1:30.422 — was more than a second better than the third-fastest rider in the session.
Saturday morning’s Qualifying 2 session saw Landers claim pole position with a blistering lap. He lowered his best qualifying time by almost a second to 1:29.135. Rodio was unable to match the pace he had on Friday afternoon and qualified third. He missed out on starting next to Landers for the weekend’s two Twins Cup races by 0.065 seconds.
The Saturday afternoon Twins Cup race started out very well for the Rodio Racing – Powered by Robem Engineering riders. Landers got a good start from pole, and Landers and Rodio were running in first and second place, respectively by the end of Lap 1. The pair changed positions twice on Lap 2, though Landers gradually built a gap to the rest of the field of about 1.5 seconds by Lap 4. On Laps 5 and 6, light rain began falling on parts of the track, and Rodio took the race lead. At the start of Lap 7, Rodio crashed heavily as he negotiated Turn 2, and the race was red flagged. Due to a decision by MotoAmerica Race Control, Rodio was not able to take part in the restarted five-lap race. When racing did get back underway, Landers put in an impressive ride to claim the race win. Though he took the restart from ninth on the grid, Landers was running in second place by the end of Lap 1 and took back the race lead on Lap 3. He went on to clinch the victory by a margin of more than a second.
Sunday’s Race 2 saw Landers back on the top of the podium while Rodio endured another setback in his quest for the Twins Cup title. Both riders got very good starts to the race and were the first two riders through the first turn. Rodio was running at or near Landers’ pace for the opening laps of the race, while Landers gradually began increasing his lead lap by lap. On Lap 8 of the 14-lap race, Rodio began losing pace and was caught by the end of that lap by a group of three riders. Unfortunately, another rider made contact with Rodio’s motorcycle as both riders entered Turn 14 on Lap 9, which resulted in both riders crashing. Landers had an uneventful end to the race, as he claimed his second victory on the weekend by more than five seconds.
The Rodio Racing — Powered by Robem Engineering team has an extended break in the 2023 schedule, as the Twins Cup is not slated to take part in the next MotoAmerica round at Road America. The next Twins Cup races take place at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Wash., on June 23-25.
Robem Engineering’s technical partners for 2023 include Aprilia Racing, Piaggio Group Americas, The Center for Plastic Surgery, Synchrony, Bitubo Suspension, Dunlop, Woodcraft Technologies, Dymag, Vesrah, Sprint Filter, DID, Magura USA, Sara Chappell Photos, NGK/NTK, Blud Lubricants, Millennium Technologies, Motovation USA and SC-Project.
More, from a press release issued by Levi Badie Racing:
Levi Badie makes history in MotoAmerica
Levi Badie has made history at Barber Motorsports Park by becoming the first Belgian to win a race in any MotoAmerica category and the first European to stand on the top step in the Junior Cup class.
The teenager competed in a handful of races last year. He is running the full season in 2023 and after missing the opening round due to logistical issues related to the shipment of his bike to the US signaled his intentions in style on his debut at the 2.38-mile circuit in Alabama – his debut at the venue.
Using practice to learn the circuit, Levi qualified strongly before finishing inside the top six on Saturday, but it was in Sunday’s second race where he shone. A solid start saw him at the back of the leading trio before a couple of perfectly executed moves had him out front. A tense final lap saw him use the slipstream to full effect – the #71 Badie Racing by MTM Kawasaki rider snatching victory in the one of the closest photo finishes in the series… 0.003s!
With thirty-five points on the board, Levi heads to Road America in a couple of weeks, a circuit he knows, full of confidence and with his eyes set on a repeat performance.
Levi Badie: “I had a bad start on Saturday and got caught up in the second group. The gap was too big and with the lack of experience on the track I had to focus on being at the front of group two. It was solid points in my comeback race in the USA, but I felt I had the pace to run in the lead group. I told myself to be more aggressive in the opening lap and that’s what I did. I was able to latch on to the leaders and then just took my time and tried to be smart. The group started to pull away from the guys behind and it was a case of just waiting for the laps to tick down. I decided to lead for a while and see if they attacked but I have to say it was a clean battle, no stupid moves like I saw last year with some riders, and it was a lot of fun. I couldn’t break away and so I knew it would be down to the last lap. It was a lot hotter on Sunday and when I saw the white flag I kept thinking, keep pushing. I dropped to second, but Hayden (Bicknese) made a mistake, and I got such a good run out of the final call, and I was able to win. I am so happy, and I honestly cannot thank everyone around me who is helping me. I have to say a special thank you to Rodio Racing for transporting the bike for me and to Rob and Tosha from Bison, not only for the great leather suit but for all the other things that they are doing – even cooking breakfast! I am staying in the US until after the next race so it’s time now to relax a little, but I am really excited for the next round in Road America as I know the track. Thanks again to everyone back home for their support – RIJE RUDY!”
More, from a press release issued by Chris Clark Racing:
Podium pace at Barber Motorsports Park gives Chris Clark confidence for rest of year
Chris Clark backed up his pace from round one of the MotoAmerica Junior Cup series with a spirited and hard fought seventh in the opening race of round two at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday, an incredible recovery after an FP1 spill saw him miss valuable track time.
The youngster, competing in his first full season of MotoAmerica continues to impress, his natural riding talent clear for all to see.
Bouncing back to qualify twelfth, Clark raced hard to take nine points in the opening eleven lap encounter at the undulating 2.3-mile circuit located near Birmingham, Alabama. A rocket ship start to Sunday’s second race saw the #27 rider latch on to the front group. Looking comfortable a crash midway through the race put paid to his podium challenge. Despite the race two DNF, Chris is satisfied with the weekend and is looking forward to lining up on the grid for round three at Road America in a couple of weeks.
Between now and then the talented teen will compete in the R3 Yamaha bLU cRU championship in Thailand after being invited to race as a wildcard entry!
Chris Clark: “Practice one wasn’t the best. I had a small crash after a couple of laps which put us on the backfoot, but I was determined to bounce back in qualifying. We progressed in Q2 and improved our lap time and it put me twelfth on the grid. I started on row four and finished seventh and I was super proud of what me and the team were able to do considering how things went on Friday. Race two was great despite a crash halfway through. I got an incredible start and was in the first group after working my way through the pack. It was the first time I had been able to do that, and it was awesome. I had the top five and maybe even a podium in sight but unfortunately, I crashed. I proved to myself and a lot of others that I have the speed to be at the front in MotoAmerica and I can’t wait for the next round.”
More, from a press release issued by Kreece Elliott Racing:
Kreece produces the race of his MotoAmerica career to date at Barber
Colorado teenager Kreece Elliott raced to his first top ten of the season in the latest round of the 2023 MotoAmerica Junior Cup championship at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday, his third point scoring ride of the year.
Buoyed from his double points finish at Road Atlanta a few weeks earlier Kreece was in confident mood from Friday’s opening Free Practice session which saw him running inside the top six at the half way point.
Improving his lap time in Q1 and then again in Q2 the #47 Kawasaki rider was locked in a multi rider fight for the top ten in Saturday’s opening race before a technical issue forced his retirement. Unfettered he went even faster in Sunday morning’s warm up before, with just minutes left in the session, he was taken out by a fellow competitor. Great work by the team saw the bike repairs and despite being battered and bruised Kreece lined up on the grid for the second race of the weekend – and what a race it was. An incredible opening lap saw him gain several positions before he slotted into the lead group with a lap time over a second faster than he had ever achieved at the 2.38-mile circuit. Running as high as eighth he eventually finished a more than respectable tenth after a nail biting final two laps.
The result underlines the step made by the sixteen-year-old over the winter and with round three at Road America in a little over a fortnight Kreece is keen to keep the momentum going.
He also announced on the MotoAmerica Live+ broadcast that he has a merch range coming soon. Further information will be published in due course.
Kreece Elliott: “Race one didn’t go to plan. From the start I had issues and as the race went on, they got worse. I tried my best to keep going but, in the end, I decided to pull off to prevent any major issue with the bike and out of safety for me and the other riders. Race two went really well. I got a great start and positioned myself on the outside for turn one. I fought the whole race and was super happy with how I was riding and how I attacked straight away when I got passed. I finished in the top ten and the result was like a mini victory, especially when you consider how the weekend went. I also achieved a personal best lap time by almost a second and showed that we have the speed to fight close to the front. I am really motivated for the next round, and I want to thank everyone around me that believes in me and is supporting me.”