What seemed like the improbable just three days ago turned into reality for Cameron Beaubier on a sunny Sunday in Alabama, the Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing rider winning a fourth MotoAmerica Superbike crown by five points over his rival Toni Elias with a sweep of the two EBC Superbike races at Barber Motorsports Park.
Beaubier did everything he needed to do in the Championship of Alabama. He needed to win both races and he needed Elias to finish third or worse in both. So, he needed help. And he got it with Elias struggling to a fourth-place finish on Sunday to give Beaubier the title.
Today’s victory was the sixth of the year for Beaubier and the 38thof his AMA Superbike career. More importantly, it earned him a fourth AMA Superbike title, which puts him in a tie with his former teammate Josh Hayes for second in AMA Superbike history. Mat Mladin is at the top of that list with seven AMA Superbike Championships.
For the second straight day, Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff finished second, the Texan again leading the early laps before playing good soldier and not putting up a fight when his teammate caught up. Beaubier, meanwhile, had made things difficult for himself by running off the track in turn one on the opening lap, but he got the job done.
“I couldn’t believe what happened off the start,” Beaubier said. “I’ve been feeling so good. My R1 has been working so good all weekend – Friday, Saturday, this morning, warmup, Sunday. I knew what I had to do. I knew I had to get in front and win the race and Toni (Elias) had to get third to win. I thought it was all out the door. I was in the grass. I tried to go around the outside of (Josh) Herrin and everyone knows you don’t go around the outside of Herrin. You end up in the grass. So that’s what happened. I got back on the track. I think I was like around eighth or something like that. These guys were riding so good. They were so hard to pass, and they were trying to pass each other as well. So, I made it really, really tough on myself, but I had nothing to lose. I just put my head down and pushed as hard as I could. I can’t even believe we were in this position going into this race – seven points out of the lead after yo-yo-ing to 30 points back on Toni (Elias), and we’re sitting here with the number-one plate. I just can’t believe it, really. It’s amazing. I just owe it all to my team Yamaha. It really is like a big family. I love all those guys. It’s Rick’s (Hobbs, his crew chief) last year. He’s retiring after this year. He’s been a huge key, if not thekey, to these four championships. I owe a huge portion of it to him. I’m really going to miss that guy.”
Gerloff was happy with his performance and his season, a year in which he finished third in the title chase and won four races.
“This has been a good season for me,” Gerloff said. “I definitely accomplished a lot of goals that I had going into the season. I feel like I had a pretty good year. Definitely some low points, but some really high points also. You can’t have one without the other. I’m really happy with my 2019 season. I really feel like I gelled with the R1 a lot better this year. I never give up and neither does my team. We’ve been working our butts off every weekend since last year to try to get the bike really where I like it and also just working on myself and working on my riding. A big part of that was having Josh Hayes help me out this year. He helped with a lot of different things, bike setup and also some mental stuff and everything. He’s been a huge part. Just can’t thank the whole team enough. I’m always looking for more, so I got bigger and better goals for next year. But just a big congrats to Cam. He’s been riding super consistent all year, super-fast. He’s definitely made me a faster rider. Like he said, it sucks to have a fast teammate sometimes because I was thinking the same thing. If I come in and he’s going a half a second faster than me and I’m like, ‘Dude, where the hell are you pulling this out of?’ But the challenge is always a closed door, but it’s a door that’s waiting to be opened for improvement. That’s the way I look at every challenge that I’ve had. I try to bust through those doors as fast as I can. It’s been a good year. I’m really excited with where we are and just really excited for what the future holds.”
Third place on Sunday went to Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, the South African some 10 seconds behind the Yamaha duo but almost three seconds ahead of Elias.
“It’s definitely good to finish up with a podium,” Scholtz said. “Spirits were really low yesterday. The boys were really pumped. I’ve had an up-and-down season. Started off, I wouldn’t say terribly, but nowhere near where we thought. I feel like the last couple races we’ve come on well. Just thank you to the Westby guys. They’ve been working hard. I’m just really happy to be back up here racing. We haven’t signed a contract yet, but 2020 is basically down for us. Just happy to be back here. After last year things went pretty well but just the normal checkbox on the Yamaha getting everything ready. The Yamaha factory guys stepped up the pace every single track. They were in a class of their own the last couple races. So, I feel like today if I maybe could have tagged on with them, I could have followed them, so that gives me huge confidence for next year that we can at least challenge for race wins occasionally. I think that’s the goal for us. To everyone watching back home, my friends, family, my fiancée, everyone, it’s been a dream come true racing here.”
Elias was extremely gracious in defeat, especially considering he’d led this championship from the second race until the start of the 20thrace.
“First of all, I want to congratulate Cameron (Beaubier) and Yamaha,” Elias said. “They did an amazing end of the season and they deserve this win. For me it is not nice – it’s hard and sad. It will take some days to digest this loss and accept it. We tried hard. We did everything we could. The whole team gave 200 percent. We tried to find grip where there was no grip. I also want to say thank you to my teammate Josh Herrin. He tried to help and did a great job, but it was not enough. I’m very proud of my team, every single person. It’s very difficult for them as well, but we must accept that we tried our best and be content with that fact. We will come back and work harder next year and try to win another championship for Suzuki.”
Kyle Wyman was fifth on Sunday, his best result of the season on his KATO Fastening/Ducati Richmond/KWR Ducati. Wyman was on Elias’s rear wheel as they crossed the line and was just ahead of Omega Moto’s Cameron Petersen, who also enjoyed his best result of the season in sixth.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Josh Herrin faded to finish seventh, less than a second head of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis. FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony and Thrashed Bike Racing’s Max Flinders rounded out the top 10.
Supersport: Fong Crashes, Wins
The final Supersport race of the season was red-flagged with five laps to go in the race when M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider Bobby Fong, who clinched the 2019 championship with his win in Saturday’s race one, crashed out of the lead. Fong was able to successfully remount his bike and ride it back to the pits, which, by rule, meant that he was declared the winner of the race.
There was understandably confusion on the podium, but the final results from race control declared Fong the victor with 2 Wheel Legal – Hudson Motorcycles Yamaha rider Richie Escalante finishing second and Celtic HSBK Racing Yamaha’s PJ Jacobsen finishing third.
Liqui Moly Junior Cup: Landers Gets His 14th
In Liqui Moly Junior Cup, 14-year-old phenom Rocco Landers matched his age with the number of class victories he won on the season as capped off his 2019 championship with his 14th race win out of 17 total races. Landers won the pole aboard his Ninja400R.com/Norton Motorsports/Dr. Farr Kawasaki, won Saturday’s race one, and then dominated Sunday’s race two where he took the checkered flag by more than three seconds over second-place finisher and BARTCON Racing Kawasaki rider Dominic Doyle, who also finished second on Saturday. Third place on Sunday went to Quarterley Racing/On Track Development Kawasaki’s Benjamin Gloddy, the New Hampshire rider scoring his first MotoAmerica podium result after finishing fourth on Saturday.
“I think I kind of had faster pace today,” Landers said. “I was just getting a little more consistent with my times. I saw a plus-one, and I was like, ‘Stay consistent and see what we can do.’ Then I had, like, a two-second gap. I was like, ‘Just maintain this.’ I had a really good first lap. It was a really, really, really fun race. Everyone was going super-fast. It’s super rad for Ben (Gloddy) to get his first podium. I just couldn’t have done it without my mom and dad, Ninja400R.com, Norton Motorsports, Hot Bodies, Dr. Farr, Bell Helmets, Mithos Leathers, Lee Cycle, Barnett clutches and cables, Wonder CBD, Fuzzy and Natalie.”
Stock 1000: Lee Victorious Again
There was virtually no denying Franklin Armory/Graves Kawasaki rider Andrew Lee from defending his Stock 1000 Championship and, even after clinching the title two weeks ago at New Jersey, Lee came into Barber Motorsports Park, earned the pole position, won Saturday’s race one, and finished out the season with one more win in Sunday’s race two, which was his 8th victory out of 11 races on the season. The Sunday podium was a carbon copy of Saturday with Team Norris Racing’s Michael Gilbert and Mesa 37 Racing’s Stefano Mesa finishing second and third, respectively, for the second consecutive day.
“I couldn’t have imagined a better way to do it, to end off the season that way,” Lee said. “It’s just been a long one. Both these boys next to me have been kicking butt all year. I know Mike had a little slump halfway through the year, and I think he would have been there at the end. I’m really grateful for the team behind me. My crew chief, Derek Keyes, he’s been there basically three years now. I wouldn’t be here without him. I just want to put it out to him, my family for always believing in me. I feel bad for them. Sixteen years of dealing with me with racing. It’s a dream come true to be here and win the championship this year, especially with the competition we had. Hopefully, we have some good things planned out for next year. Hopefully start figuring that stuff out here pretty soon. I’m just really happy to cap it off this way.”
Twins Cup: Parrish Wins, Dumas Crowned
In the final MotoAmerica race of the season, Roadracing World Young Guns Suzuki rider Alex Dumas clinched the 2019 Championship with his third-place Twins Cup result. Meanwhile, Chris Parrish, who started the season on a Suzuki and concluded it on a Ghetto Customs/AP MotoArts Yamaha, notched his second win and fourth podium of the year. Second place went to Michael Barnes, which was his eighth podium this season.
About his Twins Cup title, Dumas said, “I’m happy about the championship and I’ve really got to thank (team principals) Chris and John Ulrich. I had the best bike out there. Overall, the season, I’m really happy to come back home with the championship. I’ve also got to thank (my riding coach) Jason Pridmore, too.”
2018 Twins Cup Champion Parrish summed up his season and day, saying, “It’s okay. To give it up (the championship) to Dumas is all right. At the beginning of the season, (the Suzuki) was powerful enough, but when all these guys started stepping their game up I just didn’t have the funds or the time to step my game up so I just ended up on the short end of the power. I over-rode the bike a couple times and ended up crashing, so it just threw me out of the points and basically out of the series. My buddy Jeff Fisher threw a fundraiser together. Everybody donated and it kept me in the racing, and that’s what all the names on the side of the motorcycle are, all the people who sponsored the last three rounds. So that’s pretty neat. I just gave Andy Palmer a call like, ‘You got a bike I can ride?’ He kind of hesitated, then he said, ‘Sure.’ He showed up to Jersey with a bike that he built in three days. This is how we ended up. So I just want to thank the crew that’s stuck with me all season. Beth (Braun), especially. She’s traveled every mile with me. All the sponsors. All my helmet sponsors that have helped me pay for tires through the year. Shoei, Baseline Motorsports, Red Fox Racing. I really appreciate it. I’ve had fun. Thanks, MotoAmerica, for having this class. It gives us old guys something to do.”
EBC Brakes Superbike
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
- Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha)
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
- Toni Elias (Suzuki)
- Kyle Wyman (Ducati)
- Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)
- Josh Herrin (Suzuki)
- Jake Lewis (Suzuki)
- David Anthony (Kawasaki)
- Max Flinders (Yamaha)
- Bobby Fong (Suzuki)
- Richie Escalante (Yamaha)
- PJ Jacobsen (Yamaha)
- Sean Dylan Kelly (Suzuki)
- Nick McFadden (Yamaha)
- Hayden Gillim (Yamaha)
- Jason Aguilar (Yamaha)
- Lucas Silva (Suzuki)
- Nolan Lamkin (Yamaha)
- Jaret Nassaney (Suzuki)
Liqui Moly Junior Cup
- Rocco Landers (Kawasaki)
- Dominic Doyle (Kawasaki)
- Benjamin Gloddy (Kawasaki)
- Kevin Olmedo (Kawasaki)
- Daniel Cano Flores (Kawasaki)
- Gauge Rees (Kawasaki)
- Jackson Blackmon (Kawasaki)
- Damian Jigalov (Kawasaki)
- Teagg Hobbs (Kawasaki)
- Cody Wyman (Yamaha)
- Andrew Lee (Kawasaki)
- Michael Gilbert (Kawasaki)
- Stefano Mesa (Kawasaki)
- Geoff May (Kawasaki)
- Miles Thornton (Kawasaki)
- Ashton Yates (Yamaha)
- Bradley Ward (Kawasaki)
- Alan Phillips (Kawasaki)
- Rhett Norman (Yamaha)
- Manuel Segura (Kawasaki)
- Chris Parrish (Yamaha)
- Michael Barnes (Ducati)
- Alex Dumas (Suzuki)
- Kris Turner (Suzuki)
- Draik Beauchamp (Yamaha)
- Curtis Murray (Suzuki)
- Jackson Blackmon (Suzuki)
- Cooper McDonald (Yamaha)
- Joseph Blasius (Suzuki)
- Jason Madama (Yamaha)