Since moving to the U.S. from South Africa, Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz has developed a special knack for learning new racetracks quickly. After all, Mathew had to learn ALL the tracks on the MotoAmerica schedule a couple of years ago when he first started racing in MotoAmerica. This weekend at the Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Washington, Mathew brought new meaning to the term “quick study,” as he finished second in Saturday’s MotoAmerica Superbike race one.
Starting from fourth place and on the second row of the grid, Mathew got off to a decent start and safely negotiated the tricky chicane at the end of the front straight, but unfortunately, there was a pile-up further back in the grid, and luckily, no one was seriously hurt, although the race had to be restarted.
On the restart, Mathew got an even better jump off the line than he did on the first start, and he maintained his fourth-place position while he developed a plan to move himself up in track position. Mathew bided his time and passed a fading Jake Gagne on lap 11. And then, on lap 13, which was the final lap of the race, going into the final set of turns before crossing the finish line on the front straight, Mathew made a daring pass on Bobby Fong and took over second place, which he held onto across the finish line.
For Mathew and the Westby Racing team, it was their third runner-up result in a row, their fifth-consecutive podium finish, and their sixth podium result out of nine races so far this season.
When asked how he likes Ridge Motorsports Park, Mathew commented, “Some of the corners are really fun. There are a couple of corners that are a little bit hard and a little bit bumpy. For the most part, it’s a really fun track. From corner 5 until the entrance of corner 13, it’s really awesome. It’s fast with long, flowing corners, and they all kind of link up well. It’s a really cool, fun track. I’m definitely loving it here.”
Continuing, Mathew explained his plan to try to pass Bobby Fong on the final lap, saying, “I was going to try to pass him in every corner that I got up next to him. I passed him into corner 11, but I ran a little wide. Then, in corner 12, I was planning to dive up the inside of him, but he went inside so I kind of went out wide and set up the apex going into corner 13. I got really close to actually running off the track, but I managed to save it and bring it home in second place.”
Sunday’s Superbike Race 2 is at 3 PM Pacific and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and Eurosport, as well as streamed on MotoAmerica Live+.
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