BRAINERD, Minn. — Travis Wyman’s introduction to racing at Brainerd International Raceway started with an engine failure Thursday. Yet, the Irv Seaver BMW-sponsored rider bought, broke-in and raced a new engine at the July 30-Aug. 1 round and scored championship points in every race he contested.
Though he didn’t record his usual race results, the Las Vegas resident remains in contention for the MotoAmerica Stock 1000 and Superbike Cup titles.
While Wyman’s championship rivals were putting in laps on the 2.5-mile Brainerd circuit Thursday in advance of the series’ first event in Minnesota, the engine Wyman used to win the Stock 1000 race three weeks ago at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca broke beyond repair.
With his back-up engine having been delayed in shipping, Wyman found another BMW team in the Brainerd paddock that had a spare engine – which was mounted in an off-the-showroom-floor new BMW S 1000 RR. Wyman used the Friday Stock 1000 practice session to break in the new engine to be ready for qualifying Friday afternoon.
Friday afternoon’s Stock 1000 Qualifying 1 session was Wyman’s first opportunity to put in fast laps on the Brainerd circuit. He was the eighth-fastest rider in the session, with his best lap time about a second off the session leader’s pace. In Saturday’s Qualifying 2, Wyman was unable to improve his qualifying position and had to settle for ninth on the Stock 1000 starting grid.
It wasn’t long after Saturday qualifying that the Stock 1000 Class’ only race of the weekend got underway. While Wyman got a good start, he got shuffled back several positions on the opening lap and finished Lap 2 in 12th place. Wyman gradually worked his way up the running order and was in ninth place at the start of the last lap. However, a mistake at the penultimate corner of the race caused Wyman to run off track, and he finished the race in 12th place.
Later Saturday, Wyman was back out on the Brainerd track for the day’s Superbike race. From 18th on the starting grid, Wyman got off the line well and passed three riders on the first lap before the race was red flagged. Relegated back to 18th for the restart, Wyman moved up one position during the first lap and picked off two more riders before the race ended to claim a 15th-place finish.
Sunday’s Superbike race was Wyman’s best performance of the weekend. Starting in 16th place, the BMW rider made a late-race charge that saw him move up from 15th place with six laps to go to a 12th-place finish.
Though he no longer leads the Superbike Cup standings, Wyman’s efforts to get as many points as possible given his circumstances have kept him in the title hunt. He’s now just 11 points adrift of the class leader with eight Superbike races to go in 2021. In the Stock 1000 Class, Wyman is now in fourth place and still in the battle for that championship.
Next up on the Travis Wyman Racing BMW schedule is MotoAmerica’s Superbikes at Pittsburgh round, which is slated to take place Aug. 13-15 at Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum, Pa.
Travis Wyman / No. 10
“My team and I endured a lot of setbacks, but I’m really happy with how we never caved to the challenges and found a way to get the results we did this weekend. It was a bummer to have missed out on a top-10 finish in the Stock 1000 race, but Sunday’s Superbike race was the most consistent race I’ve run in my career. My team did an awesome job giving me the best motorcycle they could, especially since the back-up engine we were supposed to have for Brainerd did make it to the track in time. We’ll have that engine in the bike and ready to go for the next round at Pittsburgh, which is a track I really like. I was in contention for a win there last year until my injured elbow slowed my pace, and I think we’ll be able to make up some of the points we missed out on at Brainerd.”
Header photo credit: Paul Phillips