Jo Shimoda won the hole early in the second set, but almost fell, hitting the berm in the first turn. Behind him were Jett Lawrence, Ty Masterpool, Justin Cooper and RJ Hampshire. Shimoda led the first laps, pushing back Jett Lawrence but the No.18 managed to pass as they passed through the mechanics area. RJ Hampshire passed Masterpool, then he rounded Cooper to take third place and went for Shimoda. They would fight for second place for the last third of the race. Hampshire finally overtook Shimoda after their long duel. Cooper was stuck in fourth position as the Hampshire / Shimoda accelerated as the # 32 was left in the dust. Levi Kitchen made his way into fifth after passing Masterpool, but then ran into a problem as he slowed down and came into the pits. He will eventually return to the track but only completed 11 laps to finish 35th. Masterpool took the heat from Forkner, who then relieved the GasGas rider with an excessive bouldering pass where he really slowed down and made contact with Masterpool. Dilan Schwartz was running just outside the top ten when he crashed in front of the finish line and lost several positions not only due to the error but also a quick pit stop that followed. While Forkner was late earlier this season, he has continued to push for the past several weeks. At the end of the race he caught up with Max Vohland and quickly caught up with him after Duck’s Truss. This section turned out to be the key today as this is where Hampshire made the pass to Shimoda and we really saw some great battles in every race. As Jett clinched an eight-second victory over Shimoda, the 18-year-old stood up, slowly tore a tear off, held it, then threw it into the wind as he took the checkered flag . His 1-1 results today were his first overall motorcycle sweep, and he now reclaims the championship lead from Cooper as he is now 11 points ahead of the # 32 Yamaha rider. With Jeremy Martin breaking his wrist, Hunter Lawrence is now third in points. There are only four races left and Jett has taken one step closer to the Gary Jones 250cc National Championship trophy.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said during his day. “It shows that I’m not giving up … I hope I can continue like this for the rest of the season.”
And as promised after being the fastest qualifier, the Australian has kept his promise.
“Anything I can do to help I will do it,” he said as he donated his scholarship money to win the overall standings at the Racers 4 Waverly Foundation. “We all have good days, but we all have bad days too.”
The crowd surrounding the podium started chanting, “Let’s go Jett! as he left the podium.
Shimoda’s 2-2 puts him in second overall (tying his career best result with Southwick National last month) ahead of Cooper’s 4-4. Shimoda said it was his debut combined with the improvements he and the team had made to the bike to make him feel comfortable.
“The improvement on the bike was incredible,” said Shimoda. “It was nice to ride. … It was a good day for me. Improvements. I will do it again.
The songs “Let’s go Jett!” turned into “Let’s go Jo!” chants after the interview on the podium of the Japanese native.
Cooper was not happy with his day, but knows he can still win the title if he accelerates it for the remaining two laps.
“I just have to keep fighting,” Cooper said. “It’s not going to be easy. Jett was really good today and I had nothing for him. …It is not finished yet. I’ll just keep digging.