Riding two completely different bikes at the Lucas Oil Superbike Challenge held at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, Team RidersDiscount.com’s Taylor Knapp got a win on the Yoshimura Suzuki-prepared GSX-R1000 and a second place finish riding the RidersDiscount.com-prepared Triumph Daytona 675.
Having qualified second in GTU, Taylor was confident he could get a win on the Daytona 675. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding about the start procedure and, believing that a few riders had jumped the start, Taylor got off the line after three rows of bikes had already passed. Still, Knapp managed to run down everyone but Wood. Taking advantage of the Triumph’s speed he came within one-and-a-half seconds of the race-winner before another rider’s crash ended the race early while also setting the unofficial fastest lap on the red flag lap. Having run out of time, second place would have to do.
Sunday’s Lucas Oil Superbike Challenge GTO race proved to be better. With the start procedure that went the way it was explained in the riders meeting, Taylor, riding the Yoshimura-prepared GSX-R1000, stalked Jeremy Toye for the first half of the race, well clear of Geoff May and Chris Peris who were slowing each other up while fighting for position. With May and Peris behind him and having conserved his tires for the first half of the race, Knapp made his move on the BMW-mounted Toye into Miller’s turn five where Toye reacted by tucking the front and crashing out of the race. With May and Peris battling for what was then second place, Taylor put his head down to take the win a handy seven seconds ahead of the next best finisher.
Taylor Knapp – “We starting setting up the bikes at the WERA weekend before the Larry Miller Challenge and, especially with Triumph, things were really close out of the box – we only had to tweak it a little to get it into the 54’s. I really have to thank Mike Fitzgerald from ?hlins USA, he was a big help in getting both bikes handling the way I wanted. For the GTU, they changed the starting procedure to go with the lights after the official riders meeting. So, in the race I roll up to the starting line and I’m waiting for the yellow to come on [as per instructions during the second, unscheduled riders meeting] but only the red came on and went off right away, so I was caught way off guard – I don’t even think I had it in gear. Then I realized that we were supposed to be going but it was such a delay that two or three rows went by me and Jimmy Wood was just gone. Once I got going, I kept it at a three second gap behind the leader for most of the race and just after halfway I started closing in [on Wood] because he was beginning to fade back a little bit and I kept going faster. I had it closed down to a one second gap and that’s when they threw the red flag. It would have been close because I was starting to reel him in. I actually had the fastest lap time, but they reverted back a lap so Jimmy actually got that one. But the Triumph is awesome, it was just rolling – I wish I could have got that on top of the podium.
For the GTO race, I got a good start and stayed behind Toye until about halfway. I guess May and Peris were going at it behind me and slowing each other down, so I checked out on them. With Toye, I wasn’t really showing him much, I just saved my tire riding behind him in second. After halfway, I made my move by pulling him on the brakes coming into corner five. I think he saw me coming up the inside and tried to out-brake me and tucked the front when I stuffed him. After he crashed, I tried to finish the race as best I could and in the end I had a seven second gap on Peris. Now, I’m feeling pretty confident going to Road America. We’ll start where we left off with the GSX-R1000 and I think we’ll have a lot more for the races there. It should be a good weekend!”
Brian Gibson, owner RidersDiscount.com – “We had a very successful event racing both the Suzuki GSX-R1000 and the Triumph Daytona 675. Coming into an event as competitive as the Lucas Oil Superbike Challenge, we can’t say enough about how good the Yoshimura-prepared GSX-R1000 is; they gave us everything we needed to get up front. And we’re especially pleased with the work of Seamus Taaffe, who spent many hours meticulously preparing the Triumph to give a Taylor a fantastic bike straight off the truck. We’d also like to thank Mike Fitzgerald from ?hlins USA for spending a lot of time with Taylor because, without his expertise, it’s doubtful that we would have been as successful as we were. Now, we head to Road America with great enthusiasm since we have a lot of data we can use to get Taylor closer to the front.”