WAMPUM, Pa. — Bellaire, Ohio, resident C.J. LaRoche put in the best performances of his professional motorcycle racing career when MotoAmerica — the nation’s official motorcycle road racing championship — visited Pittsburgh International Race Complex Aug. 7-9.
The owner of Bellaire’s LaRoche Tree Service scored 11th- and ninth-place finishes in MotoAmerica’s Supersport Class races on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. It was his first time finishing in the top-15 and top-10 in Supersport. He raced aboard a new-to-him 2019 Yamaha YZF-R6, which he had not had many opportunities to ride on a racetrack before the PittRace event.
LaRoche began racing professionally in 2016 and has competed part time in MotoAmerica’s Supersport and Superstock 600 classes. His previous best performances were two top-10 finishes in Superstock 600 at Pitt Race in 2017. Superstock 600 was a feeder class for Supersport, MotoAmerica’s premier middleweight class.
LaRoche had endured challenging weekends the last two years at his home round on the MotoAmerica schedule. He qualified 22nd and 18th in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In 2018, he finished 16th in one race and failed to finish the second contest. At the 2019 edition of the event, LaRoche finished 16th in the Saturday race and crashed out of the Sunday race.
LaRoche credits his improved racing performance to Ken Hill, a motorcycle road racing instructor LaRoche met through teaching at several Yamaha Champions Riding School events.
MotoAmerica’s Supersport Class features lightly-modified production-based motorcycles – road-legal sportbikes that can be purchased at a local motorcycle dealership.
MotoAmerica took over operating the AMA Superbike Championship in 2015 and features the nation’s top motorcycle road racers competing in five competition classes at racetracks across the country. The series is sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association, which also sanctions AMA Supercross and thousands of recreational and competition-oriented motorcycling events throughout the nation each year.
C.J. LaRoche / #20
“It was a great weekend and, without a doubt, the team’s most successful to date. There are a lot of very talented riders competing in MotoAmerica’s Supersport Class, and working with Ken [Hill] helped close the gap to them. I’m surrounded by a fantastic team that kept my Yamaha R6 in top condition. It felt great rewarding them for their hard work with two strong finishes. The entire team is looking forward to more good results at the Indianapolis round.”
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