Virginia International Raceway has long been a frustrating venue on the MotoAmerica schedule for Cameron Beaubier. In the first eight races at VIR, Beaubier had rather amazingly only won one of them. On Sunday that all changed with win number two, a dominant victory over Toni Elias, his rival who beat him twice here a season ago. This one, however, belonged to Beaubier, the three-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion beating Yoshimura Suzuki’s Elias by 3.5 seconds on his Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing YZF-R1.
Both Beaubier and Elias had difficult Superpole sessions on the first two-day MotoAmerica event of the season. Beaubier crashed so early in the session that his lap that put him second on the grid actually came on race tyres – not very confidence-inspiring for those going slower than him on qualifying tyres. Elias, meanwhile, had bike troubles and was ultimately stranded on the track for the majority of the time. He started the race from the third row after qualifying eighth. Pole position went to Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff, the Texan’s second of the season.
Beaubier didn’t start the race in the lead, but he was in second place when race leader Mathew Scholtz crashed out on the second lap. From there it was all Beaubier, the defending champion inching away to ultimately win by 3.5 seconds for this second win of the season.
Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
“Just started off today feeling pretty good,” Beaubier said after the 34th Superbike win of his career. “I felt pretty comfortable on the R1 out there. We were able to get up to pace pretty quick. I feel like I’ve kind of struggled getting that pace here in the past. This one just feels really, really good. I know how fast these guys are at this track and this year. It felt really good to be able to win with a little bit of a margin. I’m sure tomorrow is going to be tougher. Both these guys are going to go back and it’s going to be a dog-fight tomorrow. Just in the past we’ve always been fast here. I feel like the R1 works pretty good here. I think I have one win to my name at this track in the past five years or something like that. That’s frustrating for a track that we know that we’re pretty strong at. This one felt really good. Got a couple things I might try in the morning depending on wet or dry. It’s going to be tough but looking forward to racing.”
Elias rebounded from his difficult day with second place, despite starting from the third row.
Gerloff was hot on Elias’ heels when he ran off in turn one, losing out on a chance to get second place.
Fourth place went to Attack Performance Estenson Racing Yamaha’s JD Beach, some four seconds behind Gerloff and 13.2 seconds ahead of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis.
Lewis, in turn, was way ahead of Scheibe Racing BMW’s Jake Gagne, who had his hands full to the finish with FLY Racing/ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony. Omega Moto’s Cameron Petersen battled muscle-cramping to finish eighth with KWR Ducati’s Kyle Wyman and Thrashed Bike Racing’s Max Flinders rounding out the top 10.
Superbike Race One Video Highlights
EBC Brakes Superbike Race One
Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
Toni Elias (Suzuki)
Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha)
JD Beach (Yamaha)
Jake Lewis (Suzuki)
Jake Gagne (BMW)
David Anthony (Kawasaki)
Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)
Kyle Wyman (Ducati)
Max Flinders (Yamaha)
Superbike Race Two
Sunday was all about JD Beach at VIRginia International Raceway as the two-time MotoAmerica Supersport Champion put a smile on everybody’s face when he earned his first career AMA Superbike victory with a 3.7-second win in the Championship of Virginia.
A week after winning his first career AMA Grand National Flat Track at the Super TT in Arizona, Beach went out and did it again, winning a race he’d been dreaming about since he was 16 years old.
Beach’s day was made even more emotional for three reasons: Today marked the anniversary of his good friend Ethan Gillim’s passing 12 years ago; Beach became the first rider to win a Superbike National and a Flat Track National in the same season since his good friend and hero Nicky Hayden accomplished the feat in 2002; and his best friend and housemate Hayden Gillim also won the Supersport race earlier in the day.
Beach was impressive in a race that started in iffy conditions but ended in bright sunshine and on a dry racetrack. Once he got past early leader Kyle Wyman, who had fitted rain tires to his KWR Ducati in the hopes that the track wouldn’t dry, and his old Supersport rival Garrett Gerloff, Beach put his head down and opened a four-second gap. He maintained that lead to the finish, besting Gerloff by 3.759 seconds and riding a wave of emotion that will last him until Road America in four weeks.
“It just feels like the stars just aligned this whole week,” Beach said. “For me to get my first win last week, and to get this win today with Hayden (Gillim) winning the 600 class, it’s just amazing. These guys are so fast. I looked up to Toni (Elias). He’s won the Moto2 World Championship, and Garrett (Gerloff) has kicked my ass so many times. Even with how this track was today, I was having flashbacks because he (Gerloff) lapped me when we had rain tires here. So, to beat him here, it’s just amazing. I just got to thank my team, the whole Attack Estenson Racing team. They believed in me. They gave me a shot on this bike when nobody else would. It feels good to get the win, but it feels good to reward them too. We’ve still got a lot of races to go. These guys aren’t going to let up. We’re going to keep fighting. We’ve got two dirt track races and then I’m going to Road America, so it will be fun.”
Beach compared the flat track win last week to the Superbike win this week.
“They’re both amazing,” he said. “The desire to win last weekend was like a childhood goal. It’s kind of like when you’re a kid you’re like, I want to be a firefighter or whatever. For me when I was a kid that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a dirt tracker. I wanted to win races, and I still do. To win this Superbike race is something I’ve looked forward to my whole adult life, since I was 16. So, they both feel amazing, but this has a little bit of a sweeter feel to it. To do it on the day that I did it and for the last person to do it (Nicky Hayden), it’s amazing.”
Gerloff was emotional in defeat and also fought back tears during the victory celebration as he was disappointed in the fact that this was one he thought he could have won.
Third place went to Toni Elias, the Yoshimura Suzuki rider holding back three others to the finish to earn the final podium spot. It was also good for his championship aspirations as his closest rival Cameron Beaubier, who won Saturday’s EBC Brakes Superbike race at VIR, crashed his Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing YZF-R1 and didn’t score any points.
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz was fourth, the South African nipping at Elias’ heels in the closing laps but coming up just short at the finish. Right behind those two came M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis, the Kentuckian barely holding off Omega Moto’s Cameron Petersen. Petersen ran as high as fourth in what was essentially a four-rider battle for the final podium spot.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Josh Herrin finished a disappointing weekend with a seventh place to go with his non-finish on Saturday. Thrashed Bike Racing’s Max Flinders, FLY Racing’s David Anthony and Wyman rounded out the top 10 with those three gambling on different variations of rain/slick tires.
As mentioned earlier, Beaubier crashed out of the battle for third and he now trails Elias by 24 points, 126-102. Beach is third in the series point standings with 78 points, six points clear of Gerloff. Lewis rounds out the top five with 62 points.
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