The 44th annual Kawasaki Race of Champions played out at Old Bridge Township’s, Raceway Park, in Englishtown, New Jersey, October 2-4. This AMA featured event is one of the longest continually running amateur motocross event in the United States. It was first held in 1977.
Story and Photos by Scott Lukaitis
With many things up in the air in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was good to see the motocross community coming together to support the event. Kawasaki and the local participating Kawasaki dealers have been the title sponsor of the event since 1982. Team Green Technician Doug Douchette was on hand to support the Kawasaki racers, and four local dealers gave away six motorcycles on Sunday afternoon, including a KLX110 to a lucky spectator.
There were two full days of racing on Friday and Saturday for youth and amateur racing, as well as the vet classes. The big winners during the amateur portion included Bryce Shelly (Open Two-Stroke and Schoolboy 1), Barry Carsten (40+ A, 45+ and 50+), Gage Stine (250B and Schoolboy 2), Luke Roche (50cc 7-8 and 50cc Open), Drew Adams (Jr Mini and 85cc 9-11) and Canyon Richards (65cc 10-11 & 65cc 7-11).
Sunday’s racing was for the Pro Expert classes (250cc and Open), as well as intermission races for amateur and minibike riders.
In the first 450cc Pro-Expert moto, Aaron Lampi got the early lead and was out front for several laps of the 20-minute plus-two-lap motos. Yamaha-mounted Bobby Piazza, New Jersey’s Bryton Carroll and Michigan’s Marshall Weltin gave chase. Piazza eventually got Lampi and held on for the win. Carroll took second and Lampi ended up third.
In the second 450cc moto, Kawasaki-mounted Weltin led from start to finish. Piazza got a mid-pack start and came across the line on the first lap in eighth place. First moto runner-up, Carroll, was on the ground in the first turn and went across the line on lap one in 20th. Piazza closed on Weltin in the moto’s closing stages, but Weltin kept him in check and scored the second-moto victory. Piazza was runner up, followed by Cody Groves, Cory Carsten, and James Harrington, who rounded out the top five. Piazza took the overall with a 1-2, followed by Weltin (3-1), Groves (5-3), Carroll (2-7), and Harrington (6-5).
Racing in the 250 Pro Expert didn’t disappoint. Moto one saw Carroll jump out to an early lead with Weltin in tow. The two battled the entire moto until a slip-up by Carroll while trying to get around a lapped rider gave Weltin the window he needed to make the pass. Right behind chased Gabe Gutierres, Groves, and Harrington.
The second moto was another Weltin/Carroll battle, with Weltin again getting the upper hand, followed by Carroll, Groves, Harrington, and Dakota Kessler. Weltin’s 1-1 gave him the overall with Carroll (2-2) in second, Groves (4-3) in third, Harrington (5-4) in fourth, and Kessler (9-5) in fifth.
There were several special intermission motos to showcase some top amateur and youth racers. Based on their results Friday and Saturday, these racers earned their way into the Sunday program.
Those events included the Fast Fifties for 50cc racers. Wyatt Ptak won with Owen Powers and Luke Roche rounding out the podium. Canyon Richards won the 65cc Kessler Cup for the second year in a row. Zane Martin and Michael Gurda joined Richards on the podium.
Also, backing up his 2019 win was Kawasaki’s Drew Adams. He won the 85cc Top Gun Shootout, with Klark Robbins and Canyon Richards joining him on the podium.
Gage Stine won the Fun Center Powersports Ironman Classic, followed by Chase Yentzer and Matti Jorgenson.
For the second year, the sound of two-strokes echoed in the air with the 125cc All-Stars race. Bryce Shelly won won, followed by Parker Constable and Michael Corcoran.
1. Marshall Weltin (Kaw)
2. Bryton Carroll (Yam)
3.Cody Goves (Suz)
4. James Harrington (Yam)
5. Dakota Kessler (Yam)
1. Robert Piazza Jr. (Yam)
2. Marshall Weltin (Kaw)
3. Cody Groves (Suz)
4. Bryton Carroll (Yam)
5. James Harrington (Yam)