Team Suzuki Press Office – August 31.
Brandon Hartranft: RM-Z450 – 9-9
Dilan Schwartz: RM-Z250 – 9-13
Preston Kilroy: RM-Z250 – 10-14
Twisted Tea/ H.E.P. Motorsports/ Suzuki’s Brandon Hartranft put his Suzuki RM-Z450 into the top 10 in both motos and on the overall results sheet to net his career-best finish in the 450 class at the Ironman AMA Pro Motocross Championship round at the weekend.
Teammate Max Anstie was unable to race after testing positive. The Englishman was improving his speed and results as the season progressed and the fans and team hope Anstie recovers quickly and passes the protocols to return to racing before the season concludes.
The BarX/ Chaparral/ ECSTAR Suzuki racers put their Suzuki RM-Z250s’ power to the Indiana soil to garner top10 moto finishes from both rookie riders: Dilan Schwartz his fifth overall of the year and Preston Kilroy earned his second top 10 moto finish after only three rounds.
After qualifying inside the top 10 in both sessions out of 73 total entries, Hartranft started up front in the first moto and battled hard right up to the flag. His second moto start wasn’t as strong, but the 450 rookie quickly pushed his way forward and held the top group’s pace to earn him his first 450-class top ten overall finish.
“It was a good day,” said Hartranft. “I ended up P9 overall, so that was a solid finish. I was pretty much in ninth to 10th spot throughout qualifying and racing. I really like this track, so I was pretty stoked to come here. I was in about sixth place at the start of the first moto, but then dropped back to ninth. In Moto 1 I didn’t really feel that well. I rode much better in Moto 2. I fought hard for ninth and almost got to eighth on the last lap. I’ll take the positives from this weekend and with the team we’ll look forward to the last two rounds and hopefully we can be back in the top ten.”
Dilan Schwartz continued to improve his speed and adapt to pro racing. In his first pro season he’s delivered top 10 overall finishes at half of the races and his pace around the high-speed Crawfordsville track indicated he has many more in store. Schwartz got off to a great start in the first moto, but a slight mistake on the opening lap dropped him out of the points. He quickly rebounded from outside the top 20 and climbed higher before the 30-minute plus two lap moto was over. Schwartz started the second moto with a costly tip over in the first corner, but he pushed his ECSTAR-protected RM-Z250 past the pack to secure a top 10 overall finish at the event; the performance moved him up one position in the championship points standings.
“It was a tough day for me,” recalled Schwartz. “In the first moto I was in fourth for about a quarter of a lap. Then I got tangled up with another rider and went down. I had a decent comeback to ninth place. In Moto 2 I crashed in the first turn and got ran over a few times; someone hit my bike and ripped the top of the brake line off, so I had no front brake. Then about halfway through the race the front brake line actually wrapped around my front hub because it was still attached at the bottom bracket. It locked the wheel on the face of a jump which caused me to crash. After that I was just in salvage mode and could only get up to 13th. I’m happy with the way I rode and with my fitness so I’m looking forward to a better day next weekend at Pala.”
In only his third pro race since a strong wrap up to his amateur career, BarX/ Chaparral/ ECSTAR Suzuki’s Kilroy continued to impress, running inside the top 10 in only his fifth pro moto of 2021. Kilroy couldn’t follow up his Moto 1 finish in the second moto but did earn more championship points and pushed forward on the season leader board.
“Overall, Ironman was pretty good!” said Kilroy after the second moto. “I’m slowly but surely starting to feel more comfortable each weekend. In Moto 1 I had a pretty good start but had a little bit of trouble finding my flow at the beginning. But then I was able to switch up my lines a little bit and put in some good laps during the final minutes, which put me in 10th place. In Moto 2 I didn’t have the greatest of starts but was able to make some passes. I was feeling good on the bike but went down trying to pass. I got up and ended up 14th. I just need to clean some things up and keep improving!”
“It was a step in the right direction for Brandon at Ironman this weekend,” said Twisted Tea/ H.E.P. Motorsports/ Suzuki Team Manager Dustin Pipes. “He was consistent all day, finishing ninth in the final qualifying session as well as in both motos for ninth overall. I felt that he could have raced within the sixth to seventh place range, but today was still a positive. With Max unexpectedly missing the race due to Covid, Brandon handled the pressure well flying the lone flag for the team. The staff worked cohesively all day, and everything is moving towards a strong finish to the year. My thoughts are with Max going forward as he looks to get over his illness.”
The race series now travels to California for the second round to be held at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.