July 19, 2024

Hammonton’s Gus Rodio wins motorcycle race at NJMP | Local Sports

4 min read
Hammonton’s Gus Rodio wins motorcycle race at NJMP | Local Sports

MILLVILLE — Gus Rodio had an incredible finish Saturday.

The 17-year-old Hammonton motorcycle driver won the first STG Junior Cup race in the MotoAmerica SuperBikes at New Jersey at the New Jersey Motorsports Park. The three-day event ends Sunday, and the Junior Cup is one of the seven classes on the tour.

“We wanted this really bad,” Rodio said. “We wanted this worse than anybody. We are out here. We are winning. Home track! Let’s go! It feels amazing. The fans here are amazing, as always. I’m really stoked to do it.”

Rodio was in fourth place in the final lap but was able to stay with the leaders, accelerated past the three and just crossed the finish line first to earn a much-needed 25 points. Rodio won in 15 minutes, 14:52 seconds, about two seconds faster than the runner-up.

This was the 10th stop on the MotoAmerica SuperBikes tour and the last before the championship Sept. 23-25 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Some other stops included Texas, Atlanta, Virginia, Minnesota and Pittsburgh.

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Rodio entered the race in second place in his class with 199 points.

On Saturday, Junior Cup leader Cody Wyman’s bike ended up in the grass on about the third lap and was unable to be driven. Wyman now has 248 points. Rodio moved up to 224 with a chance for more Sunday when the class will race again.

The race Saturday was back-and-forth and exciting to watch.

“It’s really cool because the home crowd comes out,” Rodio said. “We get a lot of support here. We are trying to keep this momentum going (on Sunday).”

Rodio was not the only local professional motorcycle racer.

Anthony Mazziotto, also of Hammonton, competed in the 14-lap Rev’It Twin Cup series race. The 22-year-old entered the race in second place in his class with 172 points. He trailed Blake Davis, who had 173 points after the nine races.

Davis finished first in the race and upped his total to 198. Mazziotto placed fifth but still remains in second place. Representatives from Rodio Racing, the team Mazziotto and Rodio race for, declined to let Mazziotto speak after the race.

But this stop was still important for Mazziotto and Rodio. Hundreds of friends, family and local fans came out Saturday to cheer on the Hammonton racers. Both have raced at NJMP many times before.

And Mazziotto and Rodio are more than just teammates.

Both grew up in Hammonton and are close friends. Anthony Mazziotto Jr., Mazziotto’s father, recalled Rodio coming over to his house when the racer was 8 years old to hang out with his son.

Mazziotto is a 2018 Hammonton graduate. Rodio is homeschooled because he travels a lot for races, but he just started his senior year of high school. Rodio started racing when he was 10. Mazziotto began racing professionally in 2015 but began riding street bikes in 2012.

“Anthony and Gus have known each other practically their entire lives,” the elder Mazziotto said. “They rode minis and other stuff together. They have a brotherly relationship. Sometimes they hate each other, most of the time they love each other.”

It was special for the two friends.

“It’s really neat because we’ve been friends for so long,” Rodio said about being on the same team as Mazziotto. “He kind of helped me get into the sport and helped me to get better from the start. It is really cool to come together.”

Mazziotto and Rodio got their start together with New Jersey MiniGP, which starts children out on the smaller dirt track at NJMP and works them up to the big track and, in the case of the two friends, the professional level.

“Riding with (Rodio) all throughout the ranks, it has definitely been really cool,” Mazziotto said.

There were just so many local ties Saturday.

Mazziotto and Rodio both race for the same team, Rodio Racing, which is based in Hammonton. Rodio’s father, Kevin, owns the company. One of its biggest sponsors, Geoscape Solar, is based in Mount Laurel, Burlington County, but owner Lee Watson lives in Dennisville.

“It is very cool,” said Watson, who was born in England and is a former rider. “It is good for me as I am getting older to help the young guys coming up now. … It’s fantastic to help out the young talent in New Jersey.

“It’s really a local thing. We are a local company, so this is great. (Mazziotto and Rodio) are local guys. I am a local guy. Motorcycle racing has always been my passion since I was a kid and wanted to give it back.”

Brandon Paasch, of Freehold Township, Monmouth County, races in the Stock 1000 class. Paasch, Rodio and Mazziotto grew up together “riding dirt bikes and mini-road racing to full-sized road racing to professional-road racing,” the elder Mazziotto said

“Not only do I have a lot of time at this track, but it is cool when everyone comes together,” Gus Rodio said. “We all hang out here. We all have a good time. It’s cool to have the extra support we don’t normally get away from home.”

The other four classes in the event were Medallia Superbike, Supersport, Mission King of the Baggers and Royal Enfield Women’s Build Train Race. Mazziotto will also race in the Stock 1000 class Sunday, his first time racing in the class.

“It’s incredible. We get great support from (Watson) and his crew, and Anthony and Gus just hit it off right away,” Kevin Rodio said, noting that children who race tend to gravitate toward each other so they can “understand each other. “It’s really great.”

Fox Sports 2 will televise some of Sunday’s racing from NJMP.

Contact Patrick Mulranen: 609-272-7217

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Twitter @ACPressMulranen

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