The 2018 MotoAmerica Series ended on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park with a Motul Superbike race that was a fitting finale and one of the best of the season. When all was said and done, it was Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias taking his ninth win of the season but not without a frantic final two laps by Motul Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier, the three-time champ coming up just .333 of a second short at the finish.
The win was the 25th of Elias’ MotoAmerica Superbike career and he will start the 2019 season just three behind World and AMA Superbike Champion Ben Spies, who is fifth on the all-time list.
“Honestly, I was thinking to open a gap, but at the end he (Beaubier) was there doing incredible lap times in the last part of the race,” Elias said. “Today was fun. It was fun because all of us,we didn’t think about anything – just go push over the limit. We show each other today was not any jokes. Some elbows, some hard-braking areas. Was fun. We enjoyed it. Finally, I won but also I could lose. But I’m lucky to finish the championship in this way. Yesterday I able to manage second position in the championship. Good job this year for Josh (Herrin). Incredible job for Cameron (Beaubier). He deserves the number one. This morning I was joking about this afternoon I want his number one out. I want to put that my number to start on Tuesday. I will be happy in two years with that number again. It’s been a nice year. Difficult. I learned a lot. My team, too. Thanks, because even in the difficult times, we are a family, we are a group. I feel all the time the support. They work like animals. That for me, win or lose, is the best. Thanks Roger Hayden for his career, but more to be a great human. He is an amazing teammate. We are friends. Now one day will be my time, but today arrive his time. Now time to go rest, to enjoy the family, create family, travel, as he said. I wish him all the best and Dana (Hayden’s wife). He comes from an amazing family. Nicky, Tommy, all the sisters. Amazing people. I’m very lucky to meet them. Thank you.”
Elias had his hands full for the duration with Attack Performance/Herrin Compound Yamaha’s Josh Herrin early, then Beaubier late as the three diced it up for the entire race. Beaubier made a mistake in turn five with two laps to go and it allowed Elias to pull out a lead. But the newly crowned champion put his head down and turned in two stellar laps to pull Elias back in. It was too little too late, however, and Beaubier was forced to settle for what was his 16th podium finish of the year.
“Yeah, absolutely. I would say so,” Beaubier said when asked if he surprised himself with his effort considering his heavy crash in yesterday’s race. “Yesterday was a pretty good off. Definitely the biggest one I had all year, probably in a couple years. I fell on my head pretty good. I wasn’t really too sore, honestly. My ribs were a little sore when I woke up this morning. Throughout the day I took some Advil and stuff like that. It wasn’t too bad. I feel like my confidence was a little low there at the beginning, going into that corner where I crashed, and also going into the last section with the water seeping up out of the seams. But my confidence kind of improved throughout the race. I knew Toni (Elias) was going to have really good pace there towards the end of the race after watching yesterday’s race. So hats off to both these guys. They rode so good all year. It’s been dog fights all year. A really fun, tough, rewarding year. Just getting beat up there at the beginning of the year and keep getting second places and third places to Toni and Josh (Herrin), it was tough, man. But we were able to fight back and went on a little winning streak and clinched that championship. Like I said on the podium, I can’t put into words how good it feels to bring this number one plate back to Yamaha. It’s been an amazing season. I gave it everything I had those last two laps. I was pushing the front. I was sliding the rear on the entries. I was just going for it. I had nothing to lose. I wanted to try to get up close to Toni and try to see if I could do something in the last section, but he had that last section dialed today. It was a really fun, rewarding season.”
At the end of the 21-lap race, Herrin was three seconds behind the lead duo but a comfortable third. It was the Georgian’s 12th podium of a season that included two victories.
“I got a massage yesterday at like 1:00 or something,” Herrin said of his back woes from Saturday. “I think it set it off. It was pretty deep in there. She got in there pretty hard. Maybe it just got me dehydrated or something, I’m not sure. It was really bad yesterday. Today I drank a lot more water last night. Stretched it out today. Put some Tiger Balm on it before the race. It helped a little bit more. It didn’t really flare up until the very end. It was a bummer, but I’m happy to finish the year on the podium, to finish the year with a bike that’s not smashed up. Like I said on the podium, I didn’t really think about it too much in the middle of the year, but now to be looking at it at the end of the year it’s pretty special, I think.”
Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz rode well to finish fourth, climbing to within a second of the top-three battle at the halfway mark but eventually finishing 9.5 seconds behind Herrin. M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis was fifth, some 10 seconds behind Scholtz and some six seconds clear of Scheibe Racing BMW’s Danny Eslick.\
Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda’s Bobby Fong ended his trying 2018 season with a seventh-place finish.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden ran off track on the opening lap of the final race of his career and spent the rest of the race making up for it. He ended up finishing eighth, honored on his final run down the front straight to the finish line with crews from every team lined up against the pit wall and cheering him on.
CCFOfficeSolutions.com’s Geoff May and Ben Young Racing’s Ben Young rounded out the top 10 on their BMWs.
Among the notable non-finishers were Fong’s teammate Cameron Petersen and Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff. Both riders crashed: Petersen crashed alone in turn one and Gerloff was taken down by Elias early in the race.
The final standings have Beaubier with 390 points, 51 more than Elias. Herrin ended the season third, 50 points clear of Scholtz. Gerloff rounded out the top five, just one point ahead of Lewis.
Supersport – Gillim, Again
In Supersport, Saturday’s winner Hayden Gillim won again on Sunday aboard his Rickdiculous Racing Yamaha, but it wasn’t easy. Monster Energy/Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha’s JD Beach, the already crowned 2018 Supersport Champion, gave Gillim all he could handle, and the two even came together on the final lap, with Gillim getting the better of Beach to take the checkers for the second time this weekend. M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Valentin Debise just beat Bryce Prince at the line for third.
“We had a really good battle,” Gillim said. “JD made some good passes on me, and I made some good passes on him. On the last lap, I had one place to go and that was it. Unfortunately, we came together. That wasn’t supposed to happen. It’s racing, like he said. We both came across the finish line. We’re both healthy. It was a good race weekend for us. To get the double was pretty incredible. It’s always fun racing with these boys and being at the front.”
Liqui Moly Junior Cup – Dumas’ Double
In Liqui Moly Junior Cup, it was yet another balanced podium as riders from three different brands were represented, with KTM Orange Brigade/JP43 Training’s Alex Dumas winning his second race of the weekend, and his 10th of his championship season. BARTCON Racing Kawasaki rider Damian Jigalov scored his second podium result of the season with a second-place finish, and MP13 Racing’s Cory Ventura completed a double-podium with a third after finishing second on Sunday.
“Today was good,” said Dumas. “I set some good pace in the front. Didn’t know what to expect. It’s a little bit colder than yesterday, so the tire felt better with the grip. I’m just excited to win. Next weekend I’m going to France and the last round of the World 300 Supersport class. I’m excited to go there and see how I’m going to do there.”
Stock 1000 – Lee Caps It Off
Already crowned 2018 Stock 1000 Champion Andrew Lee continued his winning ways when he notched his third victory of the season aboard his RiderzLaw Racing Kawasaki. Lewin Estates Yamaha rider Chad Lewis was second, and New Zealander Shane Richardson rode his Woolich Racing Kawasaki to third place for his third podium this season.
“Coming into this round, I knew I had already wrapped up the championship, so the goal was to get a win… to end the season with another win,” Lee said. “We had a slow start, just a string of seconds, but at the end of the day, it got me the championship so that’s what matters. Leading into the first round, we weren’t even too sure if we were going to make the first round. So doing my first full season as a pro, it’s fantastic. Couldn’t have asked for anything more. I want to thank RiderzLaw for getting behind me this year. Spidi, Arai, Graves Motorsports, everyone out there was just super-supportive of me this year, so thanks to everyone.”
- Toni Elias (Suzuki)
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
- Josh Herrin (Yamaha)
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
- Jake Lewis (Suzuki)
- Hayden Gillim (Yamaha)
- JD Beach (Yamaha)
- Valentin Debise (Suzuki)
- Bryce Prince (Yamaha)
- Richie Escalante (Yamaha)
Liqui Moly Junior Cup
- Alex Dumas (KTM)
- Damian Jigalov (Kawasaki)
- Cory Ventura (Yamaha)
- Jay Newton (Yamaha)
- Gavin Anthony (Yamaha)
- Andrew Lee (Kawasaki)
- Chad Lewin (Yamaha)
- Shane Richardson (Kawasaki)
- Garrick Schneiderman (Yamaha)
- Travis Wyman (BMW)