Round 8 – Championship of Pittsburgh
Images by Brian J. Nelson
The weekend saw a great round of racing at the Championship of Pittsburgh, comprising Round 8 of the 2019 MotoAmerica championship, with Garrett Gerloff taking the EBC Brakes Race 1 win from Cameron Beaubier at Pittburgh, with Toni Elias completing the top three.
Race 2 on Sunday meanwhile saw Toni Elias claim the win after Gerloff suffered a mechanical failure from the lead. Beaubier took second, while Josh Herrin completed the podium. The result saw Elias leave with a 35-point lead over Beaubier, with Gerloff a further 21-points in arears.
In Supersport Sean Dylan Kelly took the Race 1 win after Bobby Fong high sided out of contentiion, with PJ Jacobsen and Hayden Gillim completing the podium. Race 2 on Sunday saw the return of Fong, but he was regulated to second as Sean Dylan Kelly took another win, with PJ Jacobsen claiming the final podium position.
In the Liqui Moly Junior Cup Kevin Olmedo and Rocco Landers shared the race wins, with Landers leading the standings from Dallas Daniels and Olmedo.
Aex Dumas dominated the Twins Cup races, taking both wins from Draik Beauchamp, with the dup separated by nine-points, with Dumas leading. Andrew Lee took the Stock 1000 win, further extending his dominant lead in the class.
EBC Brakes Superbikes Race 1
Garrett Gerloff is most definitely on a roll, the Texan riding his Yamaha Factory Racing YZF-R1 to his third victory in the last five races with the latest one coming on Saturday in the Championship of Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh International Race Complex.
Gerloff came out on top of a race-long battle in the first of two EBC Brakes Superbike races with his teammate Cameron Beaubier, the three-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion ending up just .326 of a second behind Gerloff at the end of the 18-lap race. Championship points leader Toni Elias finished third on the Yoshimura Suzuki, the Spaniard ending up three seconds behind the two Yamahas.
Gerloff had already proven to be the fastest of the fast this weekend as he led every session except for Superpole, which went to Beaubier with a new lap record of 1:39.472 around the 2.7-mile Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Gerloff led early, pulled a slight gap and then gave it all back when he ran off the track in turn one on the fourth lap. But he was able to rebound, passing Elias and then battling with Beaubier for the duration.
With the two Yamahas finishing ahead of Elias, the championship tightened up. Elias now leads Beaubier by 30 points, 282-252, with Gerloff just a single point behind Beaubier. Beaubier was upbeat despite the close loss to his teammate, knowing that he’d chipped away on the gap to Elias. Elias struggled to keep pace at a track he says favors the Yamahas.
Jake Gagne had his best finish of the season, the laid-back Californian ending up fourth and just .804 of a second ahead of Mathew Scholtz. Then came JD Beach, the Yamaha rider 7.4 seconds adrift of Scholtz and some 11 seconds ahead of Josh Herrin. Herrin had remounted from a crash with Jake Lewis in the first corner on the very first lap. Cameron Petersen finished eighth with Max Flinders and Sam Verderico rounding out the top 10.
EBC Brakes Superbikes Race 2
Toni Elias thought he had two chances of winning the second EBC Brakes Superbike race in the Championship of Pittsburgh – slim and none. But Elias is Elias and by the time the dust had settled around him, he was at the front of the field and en route to his seventh win of the 2019 MotoAmerica Series.
And, more importantly, a 35-point lead in the championship after two days of racing on a track that he considers one of the more difficult for him and his Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Elias ended up beating his rival Cameron Beaubier by just .340 of a second after 18 laps of the 2.7-mile Pittsburgh International Race Complex, handing Beaubier his second straight second place finish on the weekend.
If the margins of victory were difficult for Beaubier so too was the fact that he came to Pittsburgh 34 points behind Elias and he leaves Steel City 35 points behind.
For Gerloff the second race had a much worse outcome, the Texan suffering a mechanical failure while leading on the second lap. The non-finish puts a massive dent in Gerloff’s chances of earning a first EBC Brakes Superbike title as he now trails Elias by 56 points with two rounds and four races left on the calendar.
Third place today went to Elias’ Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Josh Herrin, the Georgian rebounding from his first-lap crash on Saturday and his seventh-place finish after remounting from his crash with Jake Lewis.
Elias didn’t hold back in admitting that he was very fortunate to come out of PittRace with a victory.
“It’s been the worst race of the year, talking about rhythm, talking about being comfortable, talking about being relaxed and not breathing. It was so difficult. I didn’t find the rear grip and the right traction since lap one, and everybody passed me. Then everyone start to (make) mistake. So, I’ve been lucky. Today I’ve been super lucky. With the team we are doing all we can. We pass two difficult (tracks) for us – Sonoma and this one. But we win, so that’s great. I didn’t expect this. The changes I did, we did for today, I choose them but looks like with the cold temperature everything works well so I was super confident, but it didn’t work for me. It was a disaster. So, I’m not going to use that again. I will change totally for the next races. It’s too early (in the championship). We keep the same advantage, so let’s continue like this.”
Beaubier had given it his all in the final two laps after his mistake in the chicane that sent him off track while it looked like he had the race in hand.
“At the start of the race I got shuffled back a little bit, made a couple moves, and then I saw Garrett (Gerloff) ran wide. It was kind of a jumble there at the beginning. I knew today it was going to be tough going in. I saw myself in the lead. I saw Toni (Elias) ran a little wide in turn one. I just put my head down from there. I kept seeing plus 2 on my board, plus 3, and plus 0. Then I just kept digging, kept digging. I went into the little chicane and I think I just knifed the brakes pretty hard and the rear end, I don’t know if it slipped or what, but I was in just way too deep. I didn’t want to cut the track because I knew I would have had to give a position. But I made it worse. I jumped a curb, went through the grass, ended up going a second back or whatever I was. I was just so mad. It’s just been frustrating because my bike has been incredible here and Sonoma. I made that stupid mistake Saturday at Sonoma. Today I made that mistake. I just feel like I have a really good bike under me, but I’m just not clicking as a rider. That’s frustrating when you have before. Just one of those times. We’re just going to keep fighting. We’ve got two rounds left. I really enjoyed the last two tracks, New Jersey and Barber. Just going to keep digging. Congrats to these guys and see everyone in Jersey.”
Herrin was happy to bounce back from Saturday’s disappointment.
“Me and Toni found the food and water today, it was a good race. Yesterday was a bummer but for some reason I wasn’t mad. I’m sure the team was disappointed, but after the bad luck at Sonoma, whenever I went in and moved over and hit Jake (Lewis) at Sonoma. Whenever I came sliding through the grass on top of his bike I was kind of laughing. When we got up, he was sitting there kind of bummed out and I’m like, ‘Get up! Let’s go! I don’t want to do this race by myself.’ His bike was all bent out of shape. Of course, I want to be battling more at the front. The last few laps I just had nothing left on the right side of my tire. Just overcooked it a little bit, I think. But for being the soft (tire)… I think me and Lewis were the only ones on the soft tire. I raced it yesterday. The main reason that I got up and finished that race yesterday is because I knew I needed to see how the soft would work for today. It worked. Like I said, just couldn’t stick with them in the chicane.”
Fourth place on Sunday went to Jake Lewis, the Kentuckian making up for yesterday’s crash that took him and Herrin out on the first lap. Mathew Scholtz was fifth, matching his performance from Saturday, some 10 seconds adrift of Lewis and three ahead of JD Beach, another who matched his result from the day before.
Jake Gagne was seventh on Sunday after finishing a season-best fourth on Sunday. He was on Beach’s tail at the end of the 18 lapper. Eighth place went to Kyle Wyman, the New Yorker bouncing back from a crash in Saturday’s race. David Anthony and Cameron Petersen rounded out the top 10 finishers.
EBC Brakes Superbike Race 1
- Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha)
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) +0.326
- Toni Elias (Suzuki) +3.008
- Jake Gagne (BMW) +27.689
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha) +28.493
- JD Beach (Yamaha) +35.901
- Josh Herrin (Suzuki) +46.479
- Cameron Petersen (Yamaha) +1:13.868
- Max Flinders (Yamaha) +1:46.371
- Sam Verderico (Yamaha) +1 Lap
EBC Brakes Superbike Race 2
- Toni Elias (Suzuki)
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) +0.340
- Josh Herrin (Suzuki) +3.447
- Jake Lewis (Suzuki) +4.114
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha) +14.813
- JD Beach (Yamaha) +17.899
- Jake Gagne (BMW) +18.235
- Kyle Wyman (Ducati) +32.414
- David Anthony (Kawasaki) +57.627
- Cameron Petersen (Yamaha) +1:03.260
EBC Brakes Superbike Standings
- Toni Elias 307
- Cameron Beaubier 272
- Garrett Gerloff 251
- JD Beach 179
- Josh Herrin 173
- Mathew Scholtz 161
- Jake Lewis 139
- Jake Gagne 105
- Cameron Petersen 104
- David Anthony 91
Supersport Race 1
In Supersport, the 16-lap race was red-flagged when championship leader Bobby Fong highsided his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki out of the race.
Fong was unable to make the 10-lap restart, and his teammate Sean Dylan Kelly got the jump on the field off the line. Kelly, who is a 17-year-old rookie in MotoAmerica, went on to notch his first career Supersport victory.
As to who would finish second and third, the outcome was very much in contention until Hayden Gillim and PJ Jacobsen traded a little bit of paint on the run to the checkers. Jacobsen barely got the better of Gillim as the New Yorker got second over the Kentuckian.
Supersport Race 2
Sunday’s Supersport race two was arguably the event of the day with championship leader Bobby Fong coming back from a big crash in Saturday’s race one and very nearly winning the race aboard his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki.
Fong’s teammate Sean Dylan Kelly just barely nipped him at the line to get the double win on the weekend. Third place went to PJ Jacobsen.
Even though he beat the ailing Fong at the checkers, Kelly was sympathetic to his teammate.
Sean Dylan Kelly
“I can’t believe how much pain he was dealing with. I saw him yesterday after his crash, and I saw this morning how much pain he was in. Just huge respect, dude, 100%. I’m glad that we were able to get the 1-2 for the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team. Of course, I’m super pumped for myself and for my family and for everyone around me who helped me get this double-win weekend. It’s still kind of hard to take it in. Obviously, I think tonight I’ll be able to take it in a little bit. I just hope to keep it going like this and get to New Jersey feeling confident and strong and keep on with this pace.”
Supersport Race 1 Results
- Sean Dylan Kelly (Suzuki)
- PJ Jacobsen (Yamaha) +0.401
- Hayden Gillim (Yamaha) +0.448
- Nick McFadden (Yamaha) +13.648
- Cory Ventura (Yamaha) +21.724
- Braeden Ortt (Kawasaki) +22.041
- Benjamin Smith (Yamaha) +22.088
- Lucas Silva (Suzuki) +22.129
- Jason Aguilar (Yamaha) +22.300
- Richie Escalante (Yamaha) +28.607
Supersport Race 2 Results
- Sean Dylan Kelly (Suzuki)
- Bobby Fong (Suzuki) +0.005
- PJ Jacobsen (Yamaha) +0.258
- Hayden Gillim (Yamaha) +0.264
- Richie Escalante (Yamaha) +0.468
- Bryce Prince (Yamaha) +2.412
- Nick McFadden (Yamaha) +10.143
- Lucas Silva (Suzuki) +11.599
- Danny Eslick (Suzuki) +12.473
- Jason Aguilar (Yamaha) +13.384
- Bobby Fong 220
- Hayden Gillim 209
- Patrick (P.J.) Jacobsen 200
- Sean Dylan Kelly 175
- Richie Escalante 153
- Bryce Prince 128
- Joshua Hayes 105
- Nick McFadden 105
- Jason Aguilar 97
- Lucas Silva 74
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race 1
In Saturday’s Liqui Moly Junior Cup race, current championship leader and polesitter Rocco Landers got the holeshot, cleared off at the front, and looked to be headed for his 10th win of the season until he slowed dramatically towards the end of the race and rolled to a stop off the track, his Kawasaki experiencing a technical issue that put him out of the 10-lap event.
Kevin Olmedo, who was poised in second place, inherited the lead and pressed his advantage all the way to the checkered flag to notch his first win of the season and second career victory in the Liqui Moly Junior Cup class.
Second place went to Dominic Doyle with third going to Dallas Daniels. With Landers unable to finish the race, Daniels narrowed the gap to the championship lead by 16 points, though the lead is still 60 points.
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race 2
In Sunday’s Liqui Moly Junior Cup race Rocco Landers won his 10th race out of 13 thus far in the season, and he did so with another one of his patented performances where he took off from the pole position and started immediately building a gap.
Saturday’s race one winner Kevin Olmedo finished second aboard his Kawasaki, and Jackson Blackmon got his second podium finish of the year in third.
“It feels great to be able to bounce back to the podium, super, super, super stoked for these guys, too. I know they ran super hard. I was trying to get as much of a gap as I could the first couple laps, just see if I could manage that. I did decent times. Can’t thank everyone enough. It’s just super, super, super great for the team. We’ll see what we can do in New Jersey.”
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race 1 Result
- Kevin Olmedo (Kawasaki)
- Dominic Doyle (Kawasaki) +2.492
- Dallas Daniels (Yamaha) +15.169
- Jacob Stroud (Kawasaki) +16.163
- Gauge Rees (Kawasaki) +16.274
- Jackson Blackmon (Kawasaki) +16.605
- Hunter Dunham (Kawasaki) +16.733
- Benjamin Gloddy (Kawasaki) +35.080
- Teagg Hobbs (Kawasaki) +35.087
- Jamie Astudillo (Kawasaki) +36.412
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race 2 Result
- Rocco Landers (Kawasaki)
- Kevin Olmedo (Kawasaki) +8.187
- Jackson Blackmon (Kawasaki) +17.923
- Damian Jigalov (Kawasaki) +17.946
- Hunter Dunham (Kawasaki) +19.005
- Dallas Daniels (Yamaha) +19.510
- Gauge Rees (Kawasaki) +27.834
- Toby Khamsouk (Kawasaki) +35.396
- Benjamin Gloddy (Kawasaki) +38.519
- Isiah Burleson (Kawasaki) +38.553
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Standings
- Rocco Landers 275
- Dallas Daniels 200
- Kevin Olmedo 198
- Gauge Rees 118
- Jackson Blackmon 105
- Dominic Doyle 103
- Damian Jigalov 85
- Hunter Dunham 75
- Marc Edwards 63
- Isaiah Burleson 63
Twins Cup Race 1
In the first of two Twins Cup races scheduled for the weekend, 17-year-old Alex Dumas, aboard his Roadracing World Young Guns Suzuki, got his third victory of the season and his fifth straight trip to the podium, which vaulted him into the championship lead with just five races left.
Draik Beauchamp got the holeshot in the race, and he and Dumas battled in the early going until Dumas took the lead and pressed his advantage to create a gap of nearly six seconds by the time he took the checkers. Beauchamp hung onto second place over Quarterley Racing’s Michael Barnes, who had a miraculous save after nearly highsiding his Ducati in the closing laps.
Twins Cup Race 2
Last year’s Liqui Moly Junior Cup Champion Alex Dumas needed a few rounds in the Twins Cup class to acclimate to his bigger motorcycle, and in the latter half of this season, the 16-year-old French rider has come on like gangbusters.
In Sunday’s weekend-concluding Twins Cup race, Dumas got his third win in a row and sixth-consecutive podium aboard his Suzuki.
Michael Barnes looked to be headed for a second-place result until Draik Beauchamp seemingly appeared out of nowhere and beat Barnes to the finish line to take second and relegate Barnes back to third.
“I knew (Draik’s) strategy was to go out there and try to lead and take the gap at the beginning. The start was really important. I knew I had to get a good start and just lead the whole race. That’s what I kind of did. Draik passed me in turn three, and I followed him for a lap and managed to pass him and just kept on getting a gap on Michael and Draik to the end.”
Twins Cup Race 1 Results
- Alex Dumas (Suzuki)
- Draik Beauchamp (Yamaha) +5.733
- Michael Barnes (Ducati) +6.162
- Joseph Blasius (Suzuki) +6.202
- Chris Parrish (Suzuki) +6.822
- Darren James (Yamaha) +12.815
- Jason Madama (Yamaha) +19.512
- Cooper McDonald (Yamaha) +21.365
- Jerry Reeves (Suzuki) +42.772
- Kris Lilligard (Yamaha) +42.923
Twins Cup Race 2 Results
- Alex Dumas (Suzuki)
- Draik Beauchamp (Yamaha) +9.464
- Michael Barnes (Ducati) +9.680
- Chris Parrish (Suzuki) +10.700
- Kris Turner (Suzuki) +11.358
- Darren James (Yamaha) +17.230
- Jason Madama (Yamaha) +18.096
- Curtis Murray (Suzuki) +18.616
- Cooper McDonald (Yamaha) +24.247
- Kris Lilligard (Yamaha) +39.487
Twins Cup Standings
- Alex Dumas 157
- Draik Beauchamp 148
- Michael Barnes 138
- Chris Parrish 102
- Curtis Murray 97
- Joseph Blasius 79
- Jason Madama 76
- Cooper McDonald 53
- Kris Turner 53
- Jeffrey Tigert 40
Stock 1000 championship leader Andrew Lee stretched out his advantage on Sunday with his fifth race win of the season and his fourth victory in a row aboard his Kawasaki. Meanwhile, Lee’s two closest competitors in the point standings, Stefano Mesa and Michael Gilbert, crashed into each other and out of the race.
Stock 1000 newcomer Ashton Yates, in only his second race in the class, challenged Lee for the win aboard his Yamaha, and finished second. Another class newcomer Corey Alexander, who raced in the Stock 1000 class at Road America earlier in the season, finished third.
“First of all, it’s a shame to see those guys go down. That’s not how you want to win a race. It looks like, judging by how close these guys were in the last stages, that it was probably going to be a really good race with those three. So, I’m a little bummed out about that, but Ashton and Corey really kept me honest that race. I was starting to drop off a little bit with the tire, and it just turned into management. My pit board said that they crashed out. So I didn’t know in what form, but I hope they’re all okay. Moving forward, it’s looking like my lead is 48 points. It’s a good margin, healthy. Hope to keep it up.”
Stock 1000 Race Results
- Andrew Lee (Kawasaki)
- Ashton Yates (Kawasaki) +0.283
- Corey Alexander (Kawasaki) +4.881
- Miles Thornton (Suzuki) +14.163
- Travis Wyman (BMW) +14.212
- Bradley Ward (Kawasaki) +46.495
- Brad Burns (Kawasaki) +56.589
- Corey Heflin (Yamaha) +59.200
- Jeffrey Purk (Yamaha) +1:10.374
- Jeremy Kolewski (Kawasaki) +1:16.837
Stock 1000 Standings
- Andrew Lee 174
- Stefano Mesa 126
- Michael Gilbert 98
- Travis Wyman 90
- Geoff May 81
- Miles Thornton 61
- Bradley Ward 43
- Corey Alexander 42
- Rhett Norman 34
- Ashton Yates 29