Sunday’s Supersport race at the MotoAmerica Championship of Utah couldn’t have gotten much closer.
Three thousandths of a second separated race winner Bobby Fong’s winning Suzuki from Hayden Gillim’s second-place Yamaha. For comparison’s sake, the blink of an eye takes somewhere between three and four tenths of a second. At full speed, it was roughly the length of Fong’s front wheel.
“I knew for sure that if I could get a good drive, I could get (Gillim) closer to the start/finish line,” said Fong, of Stockton, California. “Thank God it paid off.”
Gillim led most of the race, but could never pull away from Fong, his nearest competitor in the Supersport season points standings. Just when it looked like Gillim might complete the weekend sweep after beating Fong in Saturday’s race, Fong got a run out of the final corner of the final lap and barely edged Gillim at the line for his third victory of the season.
Waiting until the final lap to make his move was all part of the plan for the California rider.
“I did not want to lead,” Fong said. “I knew where he was a lot faster than me and I knew where I was strong. I knew for sure that I was going to show him a wheel and stuff, but I definitely didn’t want to lead. I could tell that his pace was dropping at the end of the race. We definitely had a little bit more pace, but I just wanted to stick to the game plan.
“I’m definitely thankful to put the Suzuki on top of the box. I didn’t know how the last lap was going to go. I kind of just winged it on the last lap.”
P.J. Jacobsen finished third in Sunday’s race, more than 10 seconds behind Fong and Gillim. Bryce Prince and Sean Dylan Kelly were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Gillim, competing for UMC- and Kentucky-based Rickdiculous Racing, beat Fong by 0.101 seconds in Saturday’s race for his fourth victory of the season. With this weekend’s results, Gillim maintains a seven-point lead over Fong through the first eight races of the season.
“Bobby (Fong) was really pressuring me,” said Gillim, of Philpot, Kentucky. “I just tried to make sure I didn’t mess up. I was able to keep both wheels in line pretty well. I could hear him get pretty close in a couple spots on the track, so I figured that was where he was going to be trying to go for something. The last lap I tried to push as hard as I could and try to do a little defensive riding, and it paid off.”
Gillim said racing at his team’s home track meant there were a few extra people rooting for him in the grandstands at UMC this weekend.
“With Rickdiculous Racing being based out of the track here, it’s really cool,” he said. “It’s cool to do it front of everybody here. It just helps a little bit having that extra motivation.”
Richie Escalante finished third in Saturday’s race, followed by Kelly and Jacobsen. Escalante is third in the season standings, with Jacobsen fourth and Kelly fifth. Those three riders are separated by a mere five points.