- September 20, 2021
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Despite a weekend at Barber Motorsports Park that featured horrendous weather and difficult racing conditions, the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Series ended as it should have with Jake Gagne winning a record 17th race to put an exclamation point on a season like no other.
Gagne, who earlier in the season set a record with 13 straight wins, didn’t win his record-extending 17thrace in a row in Saturday’s race one, and he didn’t win it in race two on Sunday morning, but he did take that 17th victory in the season finale on Sunday afternoon at Barber Motorsports Park.
How’s this for a season? Twenty starts, 17 victories, 18 podiums and 445 championship points. That was Gagne’s year with the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha team as they simply scorched the competition in putting together a season that is unprecedented in AMA Superbike history.
The cherry on top is that Gagne’s victory in race three at Barber – the 17th of his season and career – on Sunday put him into a tie with Nicky Hayden for eighth on the all-time AMA Superbike win list.
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz had his best weekend of the year, despite crashing out of the lead but remounting to finish second in Saturday’s Mother Nature race. Scholtz made up for his Saturday miscue with his fourth career Superbike victory on Sunday morning (in a race that was stopped a few laps early when a deer ran across the wet track in front of Scholtz) and followed that up with a second-place finish behind Gagne in race three – another wet race – on Sunday afternoon.
Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz was also on the podium in both races on Sunday with a second-place finish in race two in the morning and a third in race three on Sunday afternoon. Baz doesn’t like to do things the easy way and his third-place finish came after a crash early in the race with an impressive fight back through the pack to follow.
With Scholtz, Baz and Gagne owning the podium in both races on Sunday, Saturday’s first-time winner Cameron Petersen was fourth in race two on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki, then crashed in race three, remounted and finished fifth, giving him a 1-4-5 weekend tally.
Jones Honda’s Ashton Yates came close to giving Honda a podium on his CBR1000RR-R in race three, but the Georgian gave up the spot late in the race to the flying Baz. Still, Yates had his best Superbike weekend ever with two fourths and a sixth.
Panera Bread Ducati’s Kyle Wyman ended his season with a sixth in race three to go with a seventh in race two, the New Yorker finishing well clear of HONOS HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander in race three.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong had a rough weekend and he ended it with two eighth-place finishes on Sunday. Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis wrapped up the Superbike Cup on Sunday and picked up his $25,000 check after finishing ninth in race three. Earlier in the day, Lewis had put his Stock 1000-spec GSXR-1000 into fifth.
Gagne’s Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha teammate Josh Herrin erred by fitting slick tires to his Yamaha YZF-R1 in race two and eventually pulled out of the race. On Sunday afternoon, with rain tires fitted, Herrin ended up 10th.
Superbike Race 2
Superbike Race 3
One of the most dramatic races in AMA Superbike history took place in a rainstorm at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday and it’s one that won’t soon be forgotten, especially if your name is Cameron Petersen. Or Mathew Scholtz. Or Loris Baz.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Petersen earned his first-career MotoAmerica Superbike win after surviving a crash in the downpour. Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz finished second after surviving a crash in the downpour. Oh, and Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz finished third after also surviving a crash in the downpour.
And that translates to the unbelievable fact that all three podium finishers crashed in the same race in which they podiumed for the first time in AMA Superbike history. Yes, all three podium finishers suffered a crash and finished on the podium. All three… well, you get the point.
Petersen’s first HONOS Superbike win made him the 62nd rider in history to win an AMA Superbike race and the second from South Africa. The win also went a long way to solidifying Petersen’s hold on third in the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship with two races left to run on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park.
Petersen also teamed up with Mother Nature to stop Jake Gagne’s win streak at 16 with the newly crowned 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion crashing out of the lead on the second lap, remounting, pitting for repairs, and then ending up 12th.
Petersen and Scholtz battled at the front of the pack after Gagne’s demise. Then Petersen crashed in turn one and Scholtz held court at the front by himself. Then came the fateful 15th lap and Scholtz was down, the South African sliding from the crest of the hill out of turn four all the way down to turn five. He remounted but Petersen had already splashed past and was on his way to victory.
Baz was fortunate to be able to race at all after a crash on Friday left him beaten up with a damaged right wrist. Since he wasn’t able to take part in the qualifying sessions, he was also forced to start from the back row. He charged through the pack and caught the battle between Scholtz and Petersen, before suffering his crash and remounting in ninth place. From there he charged again and worked his way back to third for his seventh podium finish of the season. The wet conditions made it a bit easier on his injured wrist, but the crash in the race left him with barely a nub for a right footpeg and a right handlebar that was bent almost to the tank.
Fourth place went to Jones Honda’s Ashton Yates on his Stock 1000-spec Honda CBR1000 RR-R, the Georgian earning the first top-five Superbike finish of his career. It also gave him the victory in the Superbike Cup and put a Honda in a top four that featured four different brands of motorcycles – Suzuki, Yamaha, Ducati and Honda.
Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis was fifth, which earned him the Superbike Cup crown (and the $25,000 that goes with it) for racers riding their Stock 1000-spec motorcycles in the HONOS Superbike races. It was a good day for the Superbike Cup riders with Disrupt Racing’s Danny Eslick ending up sixth.
FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony was seventh on his Superbike-spec Suzuki GSX-R1000 and less than a second ahead of Scheibe Racing BMW’s Hector Barbera.
Ninth place went to Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s Josh Herrin, who was another crasher able to remount and finish. M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong rounded out the top 10.
Superbike Race 1
SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup
The 2021 SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup Championship wrapped up on Saturday, and Scott Powersports/KTM rider Tyler Scott clinched the title in the best way possible, by also winning the race. The Pennsylvanian started from the pole, but he was overtaken by Veloce Racing Kawasaki’s David Kohlstaedt on the first lap. Scott bided his time in second, and Kohlstaedt crashed in the wet conditions on lap three of the seven-lap event, which handed the lead to Scott, who maintained it all the way to the finish line.
Second place went to 14-year-old female racer Kayla Yaakov, the BARTCON Racing Kawasaki rider becoming the first female rider to finish on a MotoAmerica podium since Jamie Astudillo finished third in race two at Road Atlanta in 2018.
Landers Racing Kawasaki’s Ben Gloddy, who had a mathematical chance to catch Scott for the championship until today, finished third. The New Hampshirite was hampered by a wrist fracture that he suffered a few weeks ago.
It’s been an incredible two weeks for M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider Sean Dylan Kelly. After clinching the 2021 Supersport Championship last weekend in New Jersey, Kelly started off the weekend with the announcement that he will race in the Moto2 World Championship next year. And then, on Saturday in Supersport race one, he not only overcame another classic battle with HONOS HVMC Racing Kawasaki’s Richie Escalante, but he also prevailed despite the race being red-flagged and restarted.
Weather was a factor in both legs of the race, and in the six-race second leg, Kelly was in the lead at the beginning, but Escalante overtook him with three laps left to go. On the final lap, Kelly got past Escalante to take the checkered flag by .040 of a second for the 12th time this season. Finishing third and a little over 2.5 seconds back was MESA37 Racing Kawasaki rider Stefano Mesa.
In the only Stock 1000 race of the weekend, which started race day one at Barber Motorsports Park, recently crowned class champion Jake Lewis overcame the wet track conditions to notch his sixth win of the season and fourth in a row. Lewis started from the pole and led from start to finish, deftly negotiating the very tricky race surface aboard his Altus Motorsports Suzuki. Chuckwalla Valley Raceway/Octane Lending Kawasaki rider Michael Gilbert finished second, and Motul/Travis Wyman Racing BMW’s Travis Wyman rounded out the podium in third.
Mini Cup by Motul
In the final round of the 2021 Mini Cup by Motul, which was held on a purpose-built racecourse at Barber Motorsports Park’s Proving Grounds skid pad, the 110cc class was swept by American Racing Team’s Kensei Matsudaira. Fernandez Racing’s Jayden Fernandez rode his Ohvale GP-0 to victory in race one of the 160cc class, while race two was won by Atlas Speed Factory’s Jesse James Shedden. And Shedden was also the winner of both races in the 190cc class.Matsudaira clinched both the 110cc and 160cc season championships, while Shedden was presented with the number-one plate for wrapping up the 190cc title.
Believe it or not, Jake Gagne made a mistake in Friday’s Q1 session at Barber Motorsports Park, the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha rider crashing out of the session and allowing someone else a shot at the top. When all was said and done, it was M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen taking full advantage of Gagne’s miscue to snag provisional pole position for this weekend’s three HONOS Superbike races.
Petersen’s best lap was his last lap, the South African turning in a 1:23.613 to lead fellow South African Mathew Scholtz by .567 of a second. Despite crashing early in the session, Gagne was still able to secure the third-fastest time – .682 of a second slower than Petersen.
Gagne’s teammate Josh Herrin and Scheibe Racing BMW’s Hector Barbera rounded out the top five on Friday.
Newly crowned Supersport Champion Sean Dylan Kelly earned provisional pole position in the class with the Floridian lapping at a best of 1:27.271 in Q1 on Friday. That lap put the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider .607 of a second faster than his rival Richie Escalante and the HONOS HVMC Racing Kawasaki. Landers Racing’s Rocco Landers ended the day third, just .057 of a second slower than Escalante.
Scott Powersports KTM’s Tyler Scott is close to being crowned as the SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup Champion and he took the first step towards that goal by earning provisional pole. Scott’s best lap was a 1:35.553, which was .174 of a second faster than Veloce Racing’s David Kohlstaedt. Scott’s season-long rival in the class, Benjamin Gloddy, was sixth fastest in Q1.
With 45 entries in the Stock 1000 class, the sessions were split with the majority of the faster riders taking part in Superbike Q1. The best of those ended up being Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis, besting Jones Honda’s Ashton Yates and Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman.
Robem Engineering’s Italian import Tommaso Marcon ended up as the fastest of the Twins Cup riders in a Q1 session shortened by lightning. Marcon lapped at 1:30.956 to lead Track Day Winner’s Jackson Blackmon by .095 of a second. Newly crowned class champion Kaleb De Keyrel was third fastest.
Rennie Scaysbrook | Road Test Editor Rennie Scaysbrook is our Road Test Editor. A lifetime rider, the Aussie made the trek across the Pacific to live the dream in the U.S. of A. Likes puppies and wheelies.
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