Just a little more than six months after suffering serious injuries to his right leg in a crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Westby Racing's Mathew Scholtz notched the victory in Saturday's Superbike race one at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Mathew, who is from South Africa but now lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area, considers Road Atlanta to be his home track. The proximity may have helped, but his and the team's off-season training and testing program were the biggest factors in getting the win, which the third Superbike victory of his MotoAmerica career.
After getting the holeshot at the start, Mathew led every lap of the race except one. On lap 14, he was overtaken by Loris Baz, but "The Scholtz Kid" was determined to regain his position at the front. On Lap 15, he dove under Baz going into the turn 10A/10B chicane. Baz didn't brake until well after Mathew on the run down the back straight, then Mathew let off the brakes and both were in hot and wide, with Baz tucking the front and crashing. After Baz's unsuccessful challenge, Mathew managed his gap to the rest of the frontrunners and took the checkered flag by more than three seconds over second-place finisher Bobby Fong.
"I got off the (starting) line good for once, which kind of gave me confidence there," Mathew commented. "It is definitely harder than it has been through the Friday practice and the morning Q2. I was sliding more than I had been previously, so I kind of wanted somebody to actually pass me so I could latch onto them. Jake (Gagne) passed me and then, unfortunately, I think his engine popped. So, I kind of knew that the next guy would be (Loris) Baz. I looked back with a couple laps to go, and I saw Baz following, and that kind of scared me a little bit. So, I knew I had to pick up the pace. I could see that Baz was catching me slowly. He actually caught me a couple of laps sooner than what I thought, and I just knew that I had to pass him back as soon as I could."
Sunday's Superbike race two is at 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 2 (FS2), as well as streamed on MotoAmerica Live+.
In Junior Cup, Jack Roach's first event in Westby Racing colors netted him a fourth-row starting position and an eighth-place finish in Saturday's race. The results were certainly not what Jack had hoped for, and he is determined to get a higher finish in Sunday's race two.
"My race was not what I wanted," Jack said. "But I scored points, which was the main goal. Starting from 11th on the grid was not ideal, but I made it work to the best of my ability. For race two, I'm really nervous and excited, but I know that I've got the pace to contend for the podium."
Junior Cup race two is at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast via tape-delay on FOX Sports 2 (FS2) this Tuesday, May 4, beginning at 9 p.m. ET., in addition to being live-streamed on MotoAmerica Live+.
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