Round 7 – Alabama
Images by Brian J. Nelson
MotoAmerica at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama saw Cameron Beaubier continue his winning streak, taking two race wins, in the opening race from Jake Gage and Mathew Scholtz, and in Race 2 from Scholtz and Bobby Fong. The result saw his lead expand to over 100-points, now 325-points to Gagne’s 222, while Scholtz is third on 221.
Cameron Petersen was unstopped in Stock 1000, taking both race wins, with Stegano Mesa and Corey Alexander completing the podium in Race 1. Race two saw Alexander runner up, while Michael Gilbert claimed the final podium position. Petersen sits on 215-points leading the standings, from Alexander (184) and Gilbert (125).
Richie Escalante was untouchable in the Supersport races, winning Race 1 by over 13-seconds from Sean Dylan Kelly, while Jason Aguilar was third. Race 2 was similar with Dylan Kelly over eight-seconds behind, with Brandon Paasch third. Escalante leads Dylan Kelly 311-271, with Paasch third overall on 201-points.
Rocco Landers won the Liqui Moly Junior Cup championship over the weekend, with another two wins to his name, sitting on 335-points, to Samuel Lochoff’s 226, while Dominic Doyle is third in the standings on 217-points.
Lander’s victories extended to the Twins Cup, where he won from Hayden Schultz and Jackson Blackmon in Race 1, and Kaleb De Keyrel and Schultz in Race 2. Lander’s holds a narrower lead to De Keyrel in the Twins, 227-points to 178, while Schultz is third on 134.
Superbikes Race 1
Cameron Beaubier celebrated his 50th win in the premier class of the MotoAmerica series in what was his 105th start, in Race 1 at the Alabama MotoAmerica round over the weekend at Barber Motorsports Park . That translates to a winning percentage of 47.6. In other words, Beaubier has won nearly half of the Superbike races in which he has started. Like the majority of his wins in 2020, it was a dominant one.
Beaubier ran wide on the opening lap in turn five, allowing Mathew Scholtz to squeeze past. The four-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion, however, wasted little time in re-passing the South African and from there he was never headed, winning his 12th race of the season by 4.5 seconds with a celebratory stand-up wheelie across the finish line.
Gagne ended up second in the 20-lap race, coming out on top of a battle with Scholtz and earning himself a 10-point lead over Scholtz in the battle for second in the championship. For Gagne it was his 11th podium of the year and his seventh second-place finish. For Scholtz it was podium number nine on the season.
Toni Elias finished fourth, 19.1 seconds behind Beaubier and 5.7 seconds ahead of Cameron Petersen, the South African impressive in putting his Stock 1000-spec Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the top five of a HONOS Superbike race.
Sixth went to Elias’ teammate Bobby Fong, some two seconds behind Petersen. Kyle Wyman was seventh behind Fong and well in front of Josh Herrin. Andrew Lee ended up ninth in his HONOS Superbike debut in his first ride on the team’s GSX-R1000 and his first ride of any kind on a Suzuki. Lee came out on top of a race-long battle with Travis Wyman by just 0.013 of a second.
Superbikes Race 2
Beaubier won his 13th race of the year on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park, and similar to the other 12 wins, the race saw with Beaubier jumping out front off the line, storming away at an unmatchable pace, and then maintaining that lead to the finish. At the line he was 5.125 seconds clear of second-placed Mathew Scholtz.
“I can’t even believe it. We’ve been on such a roll this season. I’m so grateful for the team that I have. My bike has been working awesome all year. It’s been on rails around this place. Obviously, my game right now is just to try to get out front early and try to take advantage of the good rubber and try to manage my gap if I have one. There towards midway I had a pretty good, I don’t know if they showed it or not, but I had a pretty good (front end) tuck. I almost crashed out of Charlotte’s Webb. The wind was kind of gusting. Some laps you’d go in there and you’d have a pretty big push, other laps you’d brake early. The wind was pretty tricky for me. I don’t know about these guys, but I was definitely getting blown around out there more than I was yesterday. After that happened, I just tried to kind of settle down. My gap started going down and Matty (Scholtz) started catching me a little bit. I just kept trucking along and brought it home. It’s been amazing. It’s just crazy. It’s crazy the year I’ve been having and just how fun and how hard the team is working. It’s so good to come in at the end of the session and you debrief with your guys and you take it seriously and all that, but then when they’re loading up the truck and leaving everyone’s just joking around. As a rider it’s so good to see those guys having a good time and enjoying their job like I am. It’s been an incredible year so far.”
Scholtz earned his 10th podium of the season and moved to just one point behind Beaubier’s teammate Jake Gagne in the battle for second in the HONOS Superbike title chase. Gagne was in the battle early but ran into clutch trouble that slowed him to an eventual fifth-place finish.
Bobby Fong rode his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki to third place, the Californian getting back on the podium after a three-race hiatus from the top three. Fong closed on Scholtz at the end of the race, eventually finishing less than a second behind the South African.
Fong’s teammate Toni Elias ended up fourth, some 10 seconds ahead of the struggling Gagne, who in turn was some 22 seconds ahead of Josh Herrin. Corey Alexander was seventh with David Anthony ending up eighth. Travis Wyman was ninth, one spot better than his brother Kyle. Kyle Wyman was running in fifth when he had an off-track excursion.
Stock 1000 Race 1
In Saturday’s Stock 1000 race, championship leader Cam Petersen won his sixth race of the season and fifth in a row in dominating fashion. Starting from the pole aboard his Altus Motorsports Suzuki, Petersen got a good jump and led the 13-lap event from start to finish, taking the checkers by just over seven seconds.
The battle for second place was in contention throughout the race, and it wasn’t decided until Stefano Mesa and Corey Alexander crossed the finish line. The pair of Kawasaki riders swapped positions several times as the laps wound down, and Mesa put himself in position to accelerate just past Alexander at the stripe. The margin between Mesa and Alexander was just .012 of a second.
Stock 1000 Race 2
Sunday’s Stock 1000 race two was another command performance by Cameron Petersen, who started from the pole and built a big lead until the race was red-flagged by a crash and restarted with a six-lap sprint to the checkers.
In an effort to build another gap, Petersen was at the front again, but a mistake almost put him out of the race. The South African used his knee and elbow to lever the bike off the ground, and he continued on to take the checkers and record his seventh victory of the season with a comfortable gap of nearly five-and-a-half seconds at the finish line.
Second place went to Corey Alexander, who hoped to take the lead when Petersen looked to be down, but the New Yorker settled for the runner-up spot on the podium. Michael Gilbert Racing’s Michael Gilbert rounded out the podium in third place aboard his Kawasaki.
Supersport Race 1
Saturday’s Supersport race featured another close battle among the three frontrunners—at least in the beginning. Richie Escalante, Sean Dylan Kelly, and Brandon Paasch raced each other hard, and Escalante and Kelly even made contact at least once in the early going of the 20-lap event as they swapped the lead.
Escalante, however, took the lead for good on lap four and began to build his lead. Kelly and Paasch were in second and third until lap seven, when RiderzLaw Aguilar Racing Yamaha’s Jason Aguilar passed Paasch for third.
At the checkered flag, Escalante notched his 10th win of the season by more than 13 seconds over Kelly, with Aguilar crossing the finish line in third.
Supersport Race 2
Richie Escalante’s steamroller-like effort continued on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park. In Supersport race two, Escalante mimicked the pattern that he has followed in almost every race this year. Starting from the pole, Sean Dylan Kelly got a great jump off the line and took the holeshot by wheelying all the way down the front straight. Also, in the mix was Brandon Paasch.
Escalante put his head down, raced clear of his rivals, built a lead, and took the checkered flag by nearly nine seconds over Kelly, who finished second. Paasch, who was nearly 10 seconds behind Kelly, finished third. For Escalante, it was his 11th victory of the season.
“Very fun race again, my start, again, was so bad and then I needed to take recovery very fast. I looked this morning and Sean (Dylan Kelly) improved in the morning warmup and I said, ‘Maybe the race is more difficult to stay with him in the first laps.’ I know Sean is very strong in the first laps. I tried to pass very quickly and then tried to go. Sean is braking really good today. Then I passed and I pushed hard, and I see in my bike 26 (a 1:26 lap time). It’s really good. Thanks to my team. My crew chief and my mechanic gave me a very good bike this weekend. They’re all working hard to give this very good package, so we’ll continue. Two rounds more, four races more. The championship is not finished. Keep working and be ready for Indy.”
|2||Sean Dylan Kelly||SUZ||13.21|
|2||Sean Dylan Kelly||SUZ||8.765|
|2||Sean Dylan Kelly||271|
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race 1
Last year’s Liqui Moly Junior Cup Champion Rocco Landers is on the verge of repeating his 2019 feat, and it’s been a steamroller-like campaign for him during this 2020 season. In Saturday’s race one, the 15-year-old Oregonian started from the pole, and led every lap to take his 10th victory in a row. It was another dominant performance for Landers as he crossed the finish line with a gap of nearly 12 seconds over second-place finisher Sam Lochoff.
Meanwhile Lochoff, who was aboard his Celtic HSBK Racing Kawasaki, raced neck and neck with Benjamin Gloddy, with each rider taking turns in second place. At the checkered flag, it was Lochoff, who clinched the second step on the podium with Gloddy across the finish line in a very close third.
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race 2
With his 11th win in Liqui Moly Junior Cup so far this season, Rocco Landers clinched the 2020 class championship, successfully defending the title that he won in 2019. And, he did it in dominating fashion aboard his Norton Motorsports/Ninja400R/Dr.Farr/WonderCBD Kawasaki. He started from the pole and, after scrapping for the lead, he got out front and eventually built a gap of more than three seconds by the time he took the checkers.
Dominic Doyle came back from a crash in Saturday’s race to fight for the lead early and finish second, while Ben Gloddy finished third for his second podium finish of the weekend.
“Honestly, after Road America 1, I didn’t expect this to happen. We didn’t think we would do the full season. We thought we would miss Atlanta and Pittsburgh. Then, all of a sudden, we couldn’t get a COVID test, so we were like, ‘All right, why not go to Atlanta and see what happens?’ After that race, we’ve had a really good year. Lots of wins, lots of lap records. It’s been so fun racing with Dominic and Ben, Sam (Lochoff), and everyone else all year. This is my last year racing small bikes. I’m happy to be able to come out with the championship.”
|10||Joseph LiMandri Jr||82|
Twins Cup Race 1
Junior Cup race one winner Rocco Landers competed in back-to-back races on Saturday, the youngster also lining up for the afternoon’s Twins Cup race one. Landers, who is the points leader in both race classes, rode his Suzuki to victory, and at one point, Landers was being caught by Kaleb De Keyrel until De Keyrel crashed out of the race, unhurt.
That handed the battle for second place to Hayden Schultz Racing’s Hayden Shultz, who barely nipped Robem Engineering Suzuki’s Jackson Blackmon at the line in a near-photo-finish for the pair, with Blackmon settling for third.
Twins Cup Race 2
The race weekend at Barber Motorsports Park concluded with Sunday’s Twins Cup race two, and Rocco Landers went a perfect four-for-four on the weekend as he followed up his two victories in Liqui Moly Junior Cup with two victories in the two-cylinder class. And, as he did with the season championship in Liqui Moly Cup, Landers very nearly wrapped up the Twins Cup title, as well. He is now only one point away from getting his second #1 plate.
With Landers winning Sunday’s race two by nearly 6.5 seconds, the rest of the podium was filled by Kaleb De Keyrel in second and Hayden Schultz in third. De Keyrel rebounded from a crash on Saturday to finish as runner-up on Sunday, and Schultz recorded his second podium result of the weekend.
“It’s funny because I’ve never really liked this place at all. I’ve done well here, but I’ve never enjoyed the track. But, this year, I’m finally feeling good here. Perfect weekend. Lap record. Championship in Junior Cup, almost a championship in Twins Cup. Talking about the race, I knew Kaleb would bounce back stronger after his crash so I knew I had to just work as hard as I could for a few laps and try to settle in the low 31, high 30 pace. Just tried to do as well as I could. We’re happy with this weekend.”
|10||Ryan Max Johnson||YAM||40:19.2|
|2||Kaleb De Keyrel||YAM||6.488|
|9||Ryan Max Johnson||YAM||47:31.2|
|2||Kaleb De Keyrel||178|