Team Hammer recently signed four riders to its Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki program for the 2023 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship season. The riders include former World and MotoAmerica champion Toni Elias as a Superbike racer, Teagg Hobbs in the Supersports class, Tyler Scott in Supersport, and former MotoAmerica Supersport champion Richie Escalante.
Superbike ace Elias is one of the most successful and exciting racers in MotoAmerica history. The Spaniard originally took the series by storm in 2016, scoring three consecutive wins aboard the GSX-R1000R before winning the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike title in dominant fashion with ten wins and 18 podiums. Elias subsequently collected an astonishing 32 race wins and 60 podium finishes from 2016-2020.
Before Elias first turned a wheel in MotoAmerica, he was a global road racing star, winning the 2010 Moto2 World Championship, along with race wins in the MotoGP, Moto2, 250cc, and 125cc World Championships.
“I’m happy to have the opportunity to go back to racing and it is special to do it with Suzuki and a team I know in Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki,” said Elias. “It’s great they gave me this opportunity and I am excited and motivated. I am ready to start working hard. It won’t be easy but let’s do it! I know the bike well and know the good things about it. We’ll work hard to improve it even more and I can’t wait to get started.”
“We all know that Toni Elias is a MotoAmerica champion, and we have seen what he is capable of achieving,” said Chris Ulrich, Team Hammer Vice President of Operations. “He is a great talent, and our task is to give him the machinery and environment he needs to get to the front again. There is no doubt he has the ability, and we need to help harness it.”
Hobbs, age 20, will step up into Supersport duty aboard a Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R750 following an impressive three-year tenure in the MotoAmerica Twins Cup Championship. Hobbs earned three consecutive top-10 championship rankings – including a fourth-place finish in 2021 – while compiling 10 podium finishes highlighted by a pair of race wins.
A second-generation racer, Hobbs kicked off his racing career at age 14 and earned his first MotoAmerica top-10 in final points at the age of 16, by finishing eighth in the 2018 Junior Cup. The Manchester, New Hampshire native was part of the victorious WERA/N2 Lightweight Endurance race team at the 2022 WERA Grand National Finals and participated in an Aprilia Racing RS 660 Trofeo race at Autodromo Vallelunga in Campagnano di Roma, Italy.
“This will be my first season in Supersport and to go with Team Hammer and Suzuki is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Hobbs said. “When the opportunity arose, I couldn’t say no. Over the past couple of years, I had built a relationship with the team and loved riding their bikes. I really prefer the Suzuki and I am excited to see what we can do in one of the top MotoAmerica classes on a bigger bike. I am ready to learn and do my best.”
“Teagg is new to the team but not new to us,” said Chris Ulrich. “In the past, we supplied him with a Suzuki SV650, which he won races on. I know Teagg will benefit from a good team structure. Going into the season, the goal is for Teagg to be near the top five immediately and to be fighting for podiums by the end of the year.”
Tyler Scott will compete for the 2023 MotoAmerica Supersport crown aboard a Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R750. Richie Escalante will once again race the MotoAmerica Superbike class for Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki on board a Suzuki GSX-R1000R.
Just 17 years old, Scott was a revelation in his first season of middleweight competition after dominating the Junior Cup category. The Pennsylvania native quickly established himself at the front of the pack and was third in the final point standings. He earned nine podium finishes during the 2022 season, including his first Supersport victory earned at Road America.
“I’m super excited to be back with the team,” Scott said. “It’s for at least two years and I am happy about that. The plan is for a championship push in Supersport this year and, if all goes to plan, next year the goal is to give Superbike a shot. I will be working with Jeremy Toye as my Crew Chief in 2023, and I can’t wait for the first race. I had a good year last season, but this year the goal is no DNFs and to get as many podiums and wins as possible.”
“Tyler performed well during his rookie year,” said Chris Ulrich, Team Hammer Vice President of Operations. “He won and was a consistent podium contender. The team and Tyler expect him to improve in 2023 and to fight for more wins and podiums as he improves his skills.”
A native of Tizayuca, Mexico, Escalante became the first Mexican to win an AMA Pro/MotoAmerica National road racing championship in 2020 with a stunning 13-win, 16-podium Supersport campaign. His title defense was another strong campaign as he won three races and earned 14 podiums before joining Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki to race in the Superbike class.
“This off-season, I took some time to fully recover from my Brainerd crash and now I am fully fit. I am ready to test and get ready for the long season and happy about how things are shaping up,” said the 27-year-old. “I am glad to be coming back with the same team and the same bike. I feel like I know the tracks on a Superbike now and that is especially important for our results.
“We are really excited to have Richie back,” said Ulrich. “Going from the 600 to the Superbike is never easy but Richie gave maximum effort. By mid-season, he was closing the gap to the front and making progress before some crashes set him back. With another season together, we expect him to continue to close that gap and to fight for the podium.”