Before we get into our recap, we’d like to take a moment to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dani Rivas and Barent Martinez. Words can’t express the sorrow that our team feels, and we can only hope that the families of Dani and Barent are finding comfort and peace. R.I.P. Barent Martinez and R.I.P. Dani Rivas.

Over the last several seasons, our trips to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca have been in the company of either World Superbike or MotoGP. These events certainly make our normal job of racing a bit more hectic as there is a lot of hurry up and wait followed by decreased track time. This year, however, the schedule for the World Superbike riders and our Superbike/Superstock 1000 class worked out well. Jake and his 32Crew had their normal allotment of track time and they would have their doubleheader on Sunday as normal. So the team headed into this round optimistic and really looking forward to putting Miller Motorsports Park in the past. The long break allowed the team to make all the needed repairs and trace down that electrical gremlin that plagued Jake in Utah.

Rolling off the transporter on Thursday, everything was set for a great weekend in front of the world stage. Jake was pumped and his bikes were looking as fresh as they day they first appeared at the shop. The weather was looking to be the best the team has had all season. All signs pointing to another weekend of domination at one of Jake’s favorite tracks. A track that, by all accounts, doesn’t give an advantage to full factory-spec Superbikes. Anticipation of a close race with the factories was building. Throughout the Friday and Saturday practice sessions, Jake was on a blistering pace and at times was leading some factory Superbikes. Free practice times don’t really mean anything, however, as Superpole is where it counts. The free practice times determine which Superpole session a rider will be in, and Jake was in the Superpole 2 with the fastest Superstock 1000 and Superbike riders. It’s a quick 15-minute session, but by the end of it, Jake had grabbed Superstock pole position. This is the best possible situation as his points lead was damaged after Miller. A solid start and getting away from his nearest rivals would be paramount.

The weather that the team had enjoyed earlier in the weekend gave way to thunder and lightning on Sunday morning. With the first race scheduled for 9:40 a.m., it was a wet mess and now the teams would be forced to make the call on a rain setup, intermediate, or full slicks. It was chaos in the pits with teams scrambling to make the adjustments before the warm-up lap. With rain still falling and the track surface wet, Jake and his 32Crew went with a full rain set-up. This would prove to be the wrong way to go. Early on in the race, the rain had stopped and a dry line began to form. The riders who had chosen full slicks were now getting faster while those who had made the call for intermediates were needing to pit and change tires. Jake stayed the course and with his rain tires ripping apart and track positions falling he completed the race. It was hard to watch him slide farther back in the order as his riding became more aggressive as he tried to force his tires to perform. He would take the checkers in P11 and one lap down.

Fortunately for race two later in the day, the weather was beautiful and there would be no guessing as to the proper race setup. As the riders went out for their warm-up lap and gridded up, no-one knew what lay ahead. When the lights went out for the start of race two, tragedy fell upon the grid as a massive six-rider accident that we would learn later claimed the lives of two competitors, Bernat Martinez and Dani Rivas. The race would be restarted and shortened as there was considerable time taken to attend to the riders and track following the incident. For this race, Jake would make a clean start and immediately begin chasing the factory Superbikes. Within a few laps, Jake had passed Jake Lewis on the factory Suzuki and was trying to catch the lead group of Hayden, Hayes, and Beaubier. As the race came to a conclusion, Jake would finish in P4 overall and take the top spot on the podium once again. Back to his winning ways. It would appear, the demons of Miller had been slain.

First or Last – not really applicable anymore.

Jake Gagne, first in Superstock 1000 points: “Laguna turned out to be one of my favorite tracks to ride on the R1. I’ve always loved the track but going around on a big bike made it that much better. Practice and qualifying went pretty much according to plan and we were sitting on pole for the race.

“Sunday morning we woke up to some thunder and lighting and it looked like a whole new race day. Race 1 we were sitting on a wet grid and decided to go with rain tires for the start, which turned out to be the wrong call. I managed to bring it home for some points but I was bummed on my tire decision.

“Race 2 was a different story and a dry track let us go out and have a race according to plan. I’m stoked to get back to a win for all the guys after a tough couple of races.”

Danny Walker, Team Manager: “My heart goes out to Bernat’s and Dani’s families. We, as a racing community, grieve for their losses, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.

“This is always a pretty tough weekend for us in terms of schedule. But this year it almost seemed like a normal race weekend for us on the Superstock side. Hats off to MotoAmerica and Dorna for working out a good clean schedule!

“After Miller, we really needed a good strong weekend. Jake’s points had taken a hard hit after Miller, and we thought we had it nailed during practice sessions. He was flying on putting on his normal show. When we came to the track on Sunday morning, we thought, ‘No big deal.’ Jake goes well in the rain so we went with what we thought was the right setup given the changing conditions. We gambled and lost. It happens. Jake was disappointed as was his crew but we can’t predict the weather so it was best to just take the points and move on.

“Race two we saw Jake back to his winning ways. It was an awesome display, and I couldn’t be prouder of him and his crew. The goal now is to keep this up and hopefully by the time we hit New Jersey we’re in a more comfortable position. Indy is next and it’s a track that Jake has experience at so that’s a bit of an advantage for him.”

Before we get into our recap, we’d like to take a moment to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dani Rivas and Barent Martinez. Words can’t express the sorrow that our team feels, and we can only hope that the families of Dani and Barent are finding comfort and peace. R.I.P. Barent Martinez and R.I.P. Dani Rivas.

Over the last several seasons, our trips to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca have been in the company of either World Superbike or MotoGP. These events certainly make our normal job of racing a bit more hectic as there is a lot of hurry up and wait followed by decreased track time. This year, however, the schedule for the World Superbike riders and our Superbike/Superstock 1000 class worked out well. Jake and his 32Crew had their normal allotment of track time and they would have their doubleheader on Sunday as normal. So the team headed into this round optimistic and really looking forward to putting Miller Motorsports Park in the past. The long break allowed the team to make all the needed repairs and trace down that electrical gremlin that plagued Jake in Utah.

Rolling off the transporter on Thursday, everything was set for a great weekend in front of the world stage. Jake was pumped and his bikes were looking as fresh as they day they first appeared at the shop. The weather was looking to be the best the team has had all season. All signs pointing to another weekend of domination at one of Jake’s favorite tracks. A track that, by all accounts, doesn’t give an advantage to full factory-spec Superbikes. Anticipation of a close race with the factories was building. Throughout the Friday and Saturday practice sessions, Jake was on a blistering pace and at times was leading some factory Superbikes. Free practice times don’t really mean anything, however, as Superpole is where it counts. The free practice times determine which Superpole session a rider will be in, and Jake was in the Superpole 2 with the fastest Superstock 1000 and Superbike riders. It’s a quick 15-minute session, but by the end of it, Jake had grabbed Superstock pole position. This is the best possible situation as his points lead was damaged after Miller. A solid start and getting away from his nearest rivals would be paramount.

The weather that the team had enjoyed earlier in the weekend gave way to thunder and lightning on Sunday morning. With the first race scheduled for 9:40 a.m., it was a wet mess and now the teams would be forced to make the call on a rain setup, intermediate, or full slicks. It was chaos in the pits with teams scrambling to make the adjustments before the warm-up lap. With rain still falling and the track surface wet, Jake and his 32Crew went with a full rain set-up. This would prove to be the wrong way to go. Early on in the race, the rain had stopped and a dry line began to form. The riders who had chosen full slicks were now getting faster while those who had made the call for intermediates were needing to pit and change tires. Jake stayed the course and with his rain tires ripping apart and track positions falling he completed the race. It was hard to watch him slide farther back in the order as his riding became more aggressive as he tried to force his tires to perform. He would take the checkers in P11 and one lap down.

Fortunately for race two later in the day, the weather was beautiful and there would be no guessing as to the proper race setup. As the riders went out for their warm-up lap and gridded up, no-one knew what lay ahead. When the lights went out for the start of race two, tragedy fell upon the grid as a massive six-rider accident that we would learn later claimed the lives of two competitors, Bernat Martinez and Dani Rivas. The race would be restarted and shortened as there was considerable time taken to attend to the riders and track following the incident. For this race, Jake would make a clean start and immediately begin chasing the factory Superbikes. Within a few laps, Jake had passed Jake Lewis on the factory Suzuki and was trying to catch the lead group of Hayden, Hayes, and Beaubier. As the race came to a conclusion, Jake would finish in P4 overall and take the top spot on the podium once again. Back to his winning ways. It would appear, the demons of Miller had been slain.

First or Last – not really applicable anymore.

Jake Gagne, first in Superstock 1000 points: “Laguna turned out to be one of my favorite tracks to ride on the R1. I’ve always loved the track but going around on a big bike made it that much better. Practice and qualifying went pretty much according to plan and we were sitting on pole for the race.

“Sunday morning we woke up to some thunder and lighting and it looked like a whole new race day. Race 1 we were sitting on a wet grid and decided to go with rain tires for the start, which turned out to be the wrong call. I managed to bring it home for some points but I was bummed on my tire decision.

“Race 2 was a different story and a dry track let us go out and have a race according to plan. I’m stoked to get back to a win for all the guys after a tough couple of races.”

Danny Walker, Team Manager: “My heart goes out to Bernat’s and Dani’s families. We, as a racing community, grieve for their losses, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.

“This is always a pretty tough weekend for us in terms of schedule. But this year it almost seemed like a normal race weekend for us on the Superstock side. Hats off to MotoAmerica and Dorna for working out a good clean schedule!

“After Miller, we really needed a good strong weekend. Jake’s points had taken a hard hit after Miller, and we thought we had it nailed during practice sessions. He was flying on putting on his normal show. When we came to the track on Sunday morning, we thought, ‘No big deal.’ Jake goes well in the rain so we went with what we thought was the right setup given the changing conditions. We gambled and lost. It happens. Jake was disappointed as was his crew but we can’t predict the weather so it was best to just take the points and move on.

“Race two we saw Jake back to his winning ways. It was an awesome display, and I couldn’t be prouder of him and his crew. The goal now is to keep this up and hopefully by the time we hit New Jersey we’re in a more comfortable position. Indy is next and it’s a track that Jake has experience at so that’s a bit of an advantage for him.”