The curtain will officially come down on the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship this weekend, September 17-19, at Barber Motorsports Park, but not before the series attempts to answer a burning question for the final time: Can anyone beat Jake Gagne?
So far in 2021, the answer to that has been a resounding no. After suffering an engine failure in race one at Road Atlanta, Gagne, and his Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha, has won every single race since, bringing his total to a record-tying 16 wins on the season. The Californian, who now calls Colorado home, has been so dominant he was crowned 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion in New Jersey last weekend with four races left to run.
At Barber Motorsports Park, Gagne gets three more shots at victory and could very well end up with an astounding 19-win season as the season will conclude at Barber with six Superbike races in a 14-day span from New Jersey to Alabama.
With his even 400 points, Gagne comes into the Barber round as champion, but don’t expect him to phone this one in. As he says, he rides every lap as hard and as fast as he can and that’s the way he will be in Alabama – title or no title.
Gagne’s points haul of 400 puts him 108 points ahead of Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz’s 292 points, with the South African locking up second in the title chase last week in Jersey.
Scholtz, who favors Barber Motorsports Park more than any other on the schedule, has been the closest to Gagne in the majority of the races and has finished second seven times, including the last four races in a row.
Third place is still up for grabs, and it might not be decided until Sunday afternoon at Barber Motorsports Park. Currently, it’s M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen holding down the spot with a 28-point gap back to Gagne’s Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha teammate Josh Herrin. Herrin returned to action last weekend at NJMP after missing two rounds due to COVID-19 but found success with two third-place finishes on Sunday.
Like his countryman Scholtz, Petersen has had the Barber round circled on his calendar all year as the place where he feels he has the best chance of winning his first career MotoAmerica Superbike race. He likes the track and he performed well here last year in the Superbike race despite racing his Stock 1000-spec Altus Motorsports Suzuki, battling with the top Superbikes until crashing in turn five.
Herrin is just a single point ahead of Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz and the Frenchman is only one point ahead of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong. Baz has six podium finishes on the season; Fong has three.
Scheibe Racing’s Hector Barbera is hopeful of ending his debut season in the MotoAmerica season on a high note, the Spaniard coming off sixth- and seventh-place finishes in New Jersey on the team’s BMW. Barbera is seventh in the championship, a spot he will likely end up with as he’s well clear of Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis.
Lewis, meanwhile, sits atop the Superbike Cup standings – the class within a class with racers competing on their Stock 1000-spec motorcycles – and is eighth in the HONOS Superbike Championship. Lewis doesn’t need to do much to earn the Superbike Cup title – and the $25,000 that comes with it – this coming weekend as he leads Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman by 70 points with 75 points up for grabs at Barber.
Panera Bread Ducati’s Kyle Wyman is ninth in the series standings after missing several races due to injury. He leads part-timer Toni Elias by 16 points with Elias, who raced both Wyman’s Ducati and the Attack Performance Yamaha at times this year, not entered to race in the season finale.
The first of three HONOS Superbike races at Barber Motorsports Park will be held on Saturday at 3 p.m. Sunday will feature two of the premier class races, the first at 10:15 a.m. and the second will close out the weekend and the season at 4 p.m.
Barber Superbike Notes…
Barber Motorsports Park played host to the MotoAmerica season finale every year since 2017 until COVID-19 forced schedule changes last year and the event ended up as the seventh of nine rounds. This year, Barber is back as the season finale with three HONOS Superbike races on the weekend schedule.
Cameron Beaubier won both races at Barber last year en route to winning his fifth MotoAmerica Superbike title. Beaubier beat his then-teammate Jake Gagne in race one and Mathew Scholtz in race two. Scholtz was third in race one and Bobby Fong took the final podium spot in race two.
Beaubier holds both the outright Superbike lap record and race lap record at Barber Motorsports Park. Beaubier’s best lap came in Superpole last year – a 1:22.676. In the second Superbike race, Beaubier lapped the 2.3-mile racetrack in 1:23.403.
Jake Gagne’s assault on the AMA record book continues this week. With victories in all three HONOS Superbike races last week, Gagne now has 16 wins on the season – and that’s also his career mark as all his wins have come this year. With his 16th win on Sunday afternoon, Gagne tied three-time 500cc World Champion and MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey for ninth on the all-time AMA Superbike win list. If Gagne wins one of the three races this weekend, he will tie Nicky Hayden for eighth on the list. If he wins all three races, Gagne will have 19 career wins and that will put him alone in eighth and only one win behind Fred Merkel for seventh all-time.
With his 16th win of the season coming last Sunday, Gagne also tied Josh Hayes and Cameron Beaubier for the most wins in a single Superbike season. Thus, a win at Barber will make Gagne the all-time leader in Superbike wins for a season.
Jake Lewis, who wrapped up the Stock 1000 title last weekend at NJMP on his Altus Motorsports Suzuki GSX-R1000, will likely emerge from the fray this weekend with the Superbike Cup title as well. Lewis has nine Superbike Cup wins and leads Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman by 70 points heading to Alabama. With his 10th place overall finish in the HONOS Superbike race, Danilo Lewis won his first-ever Superbike Cup race on Sunday at NJMP.