Factory Yamaha and Suzuki racers finish first in doubleheader at Utah Motorsports Campus.
Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier moved out of a tie with 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden and into sixth on the all-time AMA Superbike win list with his 18th career victory in race one on a sunny Saturday at the Utah Motorsports Campus. A few hours later, however, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias turned the tables on his rivals to score the victory, his fifth of the season, in what was the second scintillating Superbike race of the day in Utah.
The margin of victory in both races – combined – was just .291 of a second.
Race one was the normal Superbike thriller with Beaubier’s teammate Hayes surprising even himself with a pace that had him at the front of the pack from the start and a pace that kept him there for the majority of the race. That was until Beaubier upped the pace with a 1:49.776 lap to take over at the front on the 16th lap. From there he was never headed, winning his seventh race of the season by just .171 of a second over Hayes. Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden was third, 1.1 seconds behind, with Elias a few tenths behind in fourth and seething with grip issues.
“I felt like I had a couple of areas where I was stronger than Josh (Hayes),” Beaubier said after race one. “But he had a couple of areas where he was stronger than me also. I knew Rog (Hayden) and Toni (Elias) were right there and I didn’t want to wait too long to try and make a move on Josh just because I know it’s just as easy for Toni and Rog to pass me on the brakes as it is for Josh. I wanted to at least lead going into the last lap and see what happens. I thought I threw it all away when I ran wide into five. I thought Josh was going to squirt up the inside of me, but I was able to get it stood up and on the fat part of the tire to squirt out of there.”
With his win and second-place finish on the day, Beaubier extended his championship points lead to 25 points (a race win pays 25 points) over Hayes, 253-228, with second, third and fourth separated by just two points. Elias is third with 227 points and Hayden is fourth with 226.
Fifth place overall went to Bazzaz Superstock 1000 class winner Josh Herrin, the Wheels In Motion/Meen Motorsports rider earning his sixth win of the season and his fifth in a row. Herrin now leads the Superstock 1000 title chase by 42 points over Bobby Fong, 268-226. Claudio Corti is third with 218 points.
Herrin barely bested Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, the South African racing to sixth overall and second in class in his debut for the team. Those two were just fractions ahead of TOBC Racing’s Danny Eslick, the Oklahoman third in class.
Superbike rider Jake Gagne was eighth on his Broaster Chicken/Roadrace Factory Yamaha R1 with Quicksilver/Latus Motors Racing’s Fong and Aprilia HSBK’s Corti rounding out the top 10 finishers.
A normally cheerful Elias was an irritable Elias even with a three hour cooling-off period as he started the second of two races. He took his anger out on the field, taking over the lead when Hayes ran off the track on the second lap and leading the majority of the way. Hayes would drop back to 16th but would recover to finish fourth by the end of the race.
Though he did most of the leading, Elias was never alone and both Hayden and Beaubier stuck their noses in on multiple occasions. Elias, though, was better when he needed to be and he beat Beaubier to the line by .120 of a second.
“I win, but I am still very angry,” Elias said. “For two hours after the first race I was completely angry because we work well this weekend. The first lap, no grip, the second lap, no grip. I tried my best but it was impossible. I couldn’t do anything and I had to accept finishing fourth.”
For race two, Elias had grip and it made all the difference in the world.
“We put new tires on and the bike was working perfect again,” Elias said of race two. “These guys are riding really strong and were pushing a lot, but we could win this race. But today was a day to reduce the gap of the championship and we lost points. We lost six or seven points. I am happy for the victory and also for my team, but I am not happy.”
Hayden did all he could on the day and ended up a close third in both races.
“The crew made a couple of little changes between races and it was definitely a little better so I have to thank them,” Hayden said. “Toni was stronger than me in a couple of spots and I was better in the last section. I wanted to lead the last lap. I got a good run on him and almost got under him and Cameron got by both of us and I lost the front end a little bit on the brakes. It was just a seesaw on the last lap with everyone just going for it. I would have liked to have done better, but we got third today. We got beat.”
With Hayes knifing his way through the field to finish fourth, fifth place went to Gagne, the Californian showing significant improvement in what was his best result since the New Jersey Motorsports Park round at the end of April.
Herrin was sixth and again on top of the podium in the Bazzaz Superstock 1000 class, the Meen Motorsports rider taking his sixth win in a row and his seventh of the season. Eslick was right with Herrin at the finish to earn seventh overall and second in class with Scholtz putting the Westby bike on the podium for the second time on the day in eighth/third.
Fong and Morais rounded out the top 10 finishers in race two.
If the two Superbike races were thrillers, the second Supersport race on Saturday was less so. That’s because JD Beach made the race all his from the get-go – for the second straight day. Beach led off the start, quickly opened up a margin over the field and held on to win by 1.98 seconds over his Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha teammate Garrett Gerloff.
“I really enjoy this track and wanted to get off to a good start and just push,” Beach said. “I wanted to beat Cameron’s (Beaubier) lap time here so bad. On my dash it said I did a 53.3 and he did a 53.2 here. I knew I had to do it at the beginning of the race and I just couldn’t get it, but it helped me push to get a gap on Garrett (Gerloff), Valentin (Debise) and Joe (Roberts) and Cameron (Petersen). We just pushed and maybe I let up a little bit too much when I came up on the lappers and trying to be a bit too nice to them and Garrett closed the gap just a little bit. He’s been riding so well this year and he’s definitely not making it easy on me in these last few races to try and close the points gap. I’m here to win races and we’ll see what happens at the end of the season.”
Gerloff didn’t have things as easy in the fight for second as the two M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzukis of Valentin Debise and Cameron Petersen pressured him for the majority of the race. Debise had a run-in with a lapped rider at the end of the race that allowed Gerloff to gain some ground and the Texan ultimately crossed the finish line 3.5 seconds clear of the Frenchman.
Team H35 Honda’s Benny Solis Jr. finished a lonely fifth on his CBR600RR.
MotoAmerica crowned its first champion of the 2016 season with Riders Discount/Tuned Racing’s Bryce Prince winning the Superstock 600 battle to wrap up the title with three races left (one at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in July and two in New Jersey in September). Prince was sixth overall in the Supersport race ahead of seventh placed Richie Escalante, the HB Racing/Meen Motorsports rider who won Friday’s race one. Jason Aguilar, riding with five broken bones in his foot, filled the Superstock 600 podium with his brave third-place finish.
“I was able to get behind Richie (Escalante) and I just kept pushing him the whole time,” said Prince, who won his seventh race of the season. “Every once in a while I’d see him make a mistake and so I got ahead of him to see if I could lose him, but he latched on and picked the pace back up. He drafted past me with two laps to go and he was riding really good and I wasn’t sure where I could pass him. I was hoping to be as close as I could through the last sector, draft past him and outbrake him into one and that’s exactly what we did. We put down one of our fastest laps of the weekend on the last lap of the race.”
Altus Motorsports’ JC Camacho and HB Racing/Meen Motorsports’ Dakota Mamola rounded out the top 10 overall.
Georgian Ashton Yates won his second KTM RC Cup of the season in the red flag shortened race two on Saturday. Yates was in the mix for the lead with the two others who are always at the front – Brandon Paasch and Anthony Mazziotto III – but he didn’t have to rely on any last-lap strategy as this one was decided by Brazilian Renzo Ferreira’s crash in the final corner.
Yates was ahead at the right time, the completion of lap five, and that earned him his second win. Mazziotto ended up second to gain back four points in the title chase on Paasch, who finished third. Paasch now leads Mazziotto by 15 points, 246-231, with three races remaining in the series.
“No one knows when a red flag will happen, but it’s probably the first time that it’s ever turned my way,” Yates said. “I was feeling good all weekend and it feels really good to get a win. I like this track a lot and I’ll take the points to Laguna.”
SUPERBIKE RACE 1: Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha); 2. Josh Hayes (Yamaha); 3. Roger Hayden (Suzuki); 4. Toni Elias (Suzuki); 5. Josh Herrin (Yamaha); 6. Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha); 7. Danny Eslick (Yamaha); 8. Jake Gagne (Yamaha); 9. Bobby Fong (Kawasaki); 10. Claudio Corti (Aprilia).
SUPERBIKE RACE 2: 1. Toni Elias (Suzuki); 2. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha); 3. Roger Hayden (Suzuki); 4. Josh Hayes (Yamaha); 5. Jake Gagne (Yamaha); 6. Josh Herrin (Yamaha); 7. Danny Eslick (Yamaha); 8. Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha); 9. Bobby Fong (Kawasaki); 10. Sheridan Morais (Yamaha).
SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1. Cameron Beaubier (253/7 wins); 2. Josh Hayes (228/1 win); 3. Toni Elias (227/5 wins); 4. Roger Hayden (226/1 win); 5. Josh Herrin (128); 6. Claudio Corti (116); 7. Bobby Fong (112); 8. Hayden Gillim (84); 9. Danny Eslick (84); 10. Jake Gagne (74).
SUPERSPORT RACE 2: 1. JD Beach (Yamaha); 2. Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha); 3. Valentin Debise (Suzuki); 4. Cameron Petersen (Suzuki); 5. Benny Solis Jr. (Honda); 6. Bryce Prince (Yamaha); 7. Richie Escalante (Yamaha); 8. Jason Aguilar (Yamaha); 9. JC Camacho (Yamaha); 10. Dakota Mamola (Yamaha).
KTM RACE 2: 1. Ashton Yates; 2. Anthony Mazziotto III; 3. Brandon Paasch; 4. Alejandro Gutierrez; 5. Daniel Costilla; 6. Nolan Lampkin; 7. Josh Serne; 8. Jackson Blackmon; 9. Cory Ventura; 10. Benjamin Smith.