Latus Motors Triumph’s Bobby Fong staged a faultless performance in the Dynojet Pro Sportbike race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, taking the win more than five seconds ahead of second-place finisher Garrett Gerloff of Yamaha Extended Service. Team H35’s Benny Solis rounded out the podium.
“We have an awesome crew and a lot of momentum and confidence coming off the Daytona 200 and last weekend’s win at Auto Club Speedway,” said Fong. “Sonoma’s my home track, and I’m going to attack it with everything I’ve got to bring home another win.”
Fong led the way from start to finish, aided in part by Gerloff’s early mistake which caused his YZR-R6 to shut off completely. Gerloff missed a shift and his machine over-revved and as a safety precaution the bike turned off. He was able to get it started again quickly, but had lost the chance to contend for the win.
“I got a good launch and kind of missed a shift into second gear,” said Gerloff. “The bike revved and stopped running, so that put me in a difficult situation. I didn’t give up, though, and I decided to just work on putting down fast lap after fast lap. I was happy that I was able to get back up to second place and get on the podium, but not so happy that I had a bad start.
“If I could have been a bit little closer to the front, I might have been able to fight for the win. I’m glad that we have a race next weekend at Sonoma because I’m so hungry for a win!”
GEICO Honda’s Jake Zemke crossed the line in fourth after battling with the front-runners early on in the competition.
“Sunday definitely was not the result we were looking for," said Zemke. "With only having two practice sessions and one qualifying attempt before the race, I think missing that first practice session definitely put us a little bit behind. In the race we were lacking a lot of rear grip, so the tire was spinning up quite a bit. We just couldn't get the bike to drive forward off the corner and that's really what hurt us overall.”
Gerloff’s teammate, JD Beach, finished in fifth, two-tenths of a second ahead of CM Motorsports’ Chad Lewin in sixth. M4 Sportbike TrackGear.com’s Joe Roberts took seventh. The 16 year-old rider was an unstoppable force in the few AMA SuperSport races he contested in 2013 and has been gaining his footing in Sportbike since Daytona earlier this year.
"It went well,” said Roberts. "We made a lot of progress on the bike and figured out a lot of things about the bike and continued to get it dialed. I think we made a big jump. We were one second off the pace for the win, which is closer than we were at Daytona. Some really good riders were here so this is the fast pace and we’re closer.
“I feel like we’re in good shape for the next races as we continue to make progress. This race today was a lot of fun and I am glad we had the opportunity. I haven’t been to Sonoma before so it will be good to get a shot there as well. I am looking forward to it. I have plenty of experience getting up to speed at tracks I haven't raced before so I think we will do fine."
Yamaha SoCal Nationals Dynojet Pro Sportbike Results 2014
1. Bobby Fong (Triumph)
2. Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha)
3. Benny Solis (Yamaha)
4. Jake Zemke (Honda)
5. JD Beach (Yamaha)
6. Chad Lewin (Yamaha)
7. Joe Roberts (Honda)
8. Jason Aguilar (Yamaha)
9. Andre Ochs (Yamaha)
10. Michael Gilbert (Yamaha)
11. Mario Alvarez (Yamaha)
12. Luis Quinones (Yamaha)
13. Melissa Paris (Honda)
14. Joshua Picard (Yamaha)
15. Ryan Harper (Yamaha)
16. David Christensen (Yamaha)
17. Andrew Artola (Yamaha)
18. Ryan Matter (Yamaha)
19. Bryce Prince (Yamaha)