Press Release from KTM: The 2016 KTM RC Cup concluded its 8-round series over the weekend in conjunction with the AMA MotoAmerica Championship Series finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park. With the title chase coming down to the final round, it was 15-year-old Brandon Paasch who emerged victorious after capturing his sixth victory of the season in Race 1 aboard a KTM RC CUP bike.
Anthony Mazziotto III, who also came into the final round with a chance to win the championship, began the weekend in a favorable way as he qualified in pole position just ahead of his biggest rival, Paasch. In Race 1, Mazziotto jumped out to the early lead with Paasch, Jody Barry and Ashton Yates close behind.
It was Barry who established dominance early on until he was joined by Benjamin Smith for an exciting lead battle. Smith led the way for the first time this season as he swapped the lead position with Barry several times throughout the 13-lap race. It was an exciting battle to the finish as Barry led an eager group of young racers into the last corner. However, Paasch made a last-minute move on Barry to overtake the lead as they exited the wide open corner side-by-side. Paasch maintained his composure ahead of Barry to finish less than one second ahead of the 2nd place rider.
As a result of his Race 1 victory, along with a mistake by the championship runner-up Mazziotto to finish 7th, Paasch was able to clinch his first-ever KTM RC Cup Championship with one race left to go.
“Most of the race I hung back in 4th or 5th and with three laps to go I started moving to the front,” Paasch said. “I worked through the last lap, made a pass in the last corner and I was able to hold him off to the line. We weren’t paying too much attention [to what place Mazziotto was in]; I was just riding my own race and it just so happened to work out for me.”
Following a breakout performance in Race 1, Benjamin Smith made his first-career podium appearance with a 3rd place finish behind Jody Barry. Yates finished close behind in 4th, while Jackson Blackmon rounded out the top five.
In race two, Blackmon got off to a great start where he went on to battle back and forth with Yates and Paasch for the lead position. Barry moved his way through the pack as he joined Paasch once again for the top position. With Paasch at the helm, the duo raced into the last lap nose-to-tail but this time it was Barry who patiently waited until the final corner and jumped ahead of Paasch to claim the Race 2 victory.
“It was an awesome battle all weekend with awesome racers,” Barry commented. “It was a fun way to end the season for sure.”
Yates and Smith battled it out for the final podium position, where Yates was able to secure the 3rd place spot in Race 2. Smith earned a solid 4th place finish, while Blackmon once again rounded out the top five. Mazziotto finished 6th in Race 2, where he ultimately secured 2nd overall in the championship standings with four race wins behind him. Yates secured 3rd in the standings with three race-wins, where he will join Paasch and Mazziotto in representing North America at the KTM RC Cup World Final taking place Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 in Assen, Netherlands.
For more information on the KTM RC Cup, please visit ktmrccup.com.
Race 1 Results
Race 2 Results
Championship Point Standings