Cameron Beaubier Takes Honda Superbike Showdown Title
Monster Energy Graves Yamaha teammates Cameron Beaubier and Josh Hayes both came away with MotoAmerica Superbike victories on a sunny Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with Beaubier leaving the Monterey Peninsula with a 2016 Honda Civic Sedan while Hayes left with his 60th career Superbike win.
Beaubier won race one and finished second in race two and that earned him the Honda Civic as the winner of the three-race Honda Superbike Showdown that concluded on Sunday with the Honda Superbike Showdown of California. Beaubier amassed 127 points over the three-round (six-race)series to best Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias by 13 points, 127-114. Hayes ended up third with 99 points.
Hayes finished third and first in the two races at the 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but lost another four points to Beaubier in the race for the 2016 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship that resumes in six weeks with the season finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Beaubier takes a 29-point lead over Hayes to New Jersey with Elias another six points behind in third place. Elias’ Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Hayden basically took himself out of championship contention with a crash in race one and a fourth-place finish in race two. Hayden now trails Beaubier by 59 points with 50 championship points up for grabs in New Jersey’s two races.
Meen Motorsports’ Josh Herrin, meanwhile, became the second MotoAmerica Champion of the 2016 season as he was crowned after finishing eighth in race two. Herrin now has an insurmountable 50-point lead heading to the season finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Both races were thrillers in front of a Sunday crowd of 22,912 spectators (a three-day crowd of 61,052 attended the race that was held in conjunction with the World Superbike Championship) with Beaubier besting Elias by just .300 of a second in race one and Hayes beating Beaubier by a scant .257 of a second in race two. Hayes was 1.8 seconds behind in third place in race one with Elias 1.6 seconds adrift in third place in race two.
“At the beginning of the race, I was getting a little nervous,” Beaubier said after taking his eighth win of the season in race one on Sunday. “I was getting a gap put on me. I almost ran into Toni Elias on the fourth lap and I dropped behind Roger (Hayden) and had to catch up. I feel like at the beginning of the race their bikes were working better with the new tires and as the race went on mine seemed better than theirs. I’m really happy with the win and big thanks to my team.”
Fourth place in race one went to Wheels in Motion/Meen Motorsports’ Josh Herrin, the Bazzaz Superstock 1000 points leader moving up two spots with both TOBC Racing’s Danny Eslick and HSBK Aprilia’s Claudio Corti getting docked two positions for passing under yellow flags.
The penalties moved Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz to fifth overall and second in the Bazzaz Superstock 1000 ranks with Eslick and Corti bumped back to sixth and seventh. Quicksilver/Latus Motors Racing’s Bobby Fong, Team Rabid Transit’s Sheridan Morais and M4 Suzuki’s Jake Lewis rounded out the top 10.
In race two Hayden was fourth with Corti ending up fifth overall and first in the Bazzaz Superstock 1000 class. Scholtz was again second in class with Morais third. Herrin ended the race in eighth, but that was enough to earn him the 2016 Bazzaz Superstock 1000 title. Corti’s HSBK Aprilia team filed a protest against Herrin’s Meen Motorsports Yamaha, but the team’s Yamaha R1 was found to be legal.
Millennium Technologies/KWR’s Kyle Wyman and Lewis rounded out the top 10.
“Both races were very similar I thought and both races were a lot of fun,” Hayes said after winning race two. “This one had the end result that I was looking for in the first one so I’m really proud to win this race for my boys and to put on a show for all the fans who came out. It was an incredibly fun race. It was nerve-wracking. Like I said on the podium, I got tired of holding my breath and closing my eyes so much waiting for the Spanish Stud Missile over there. Every time I made a mistake it was like, ‘Oh no, here it comes.’ I got a bit of a surprise when it was Cam (Beaubier) going into the last turn. I knew I was pretty tight and I was like ‘He doesn’t like being down there.’ He’s a little bit smaller than me and still has a little growing to do so I was a little worried because I know he gets a good run off that last turn. So it was just getting it turned and get it pointed straight and accelerating as smoothly and as best I could. He had a pretty big one next to me so I was like, ‘Hang on little buddy.’ Even when that happened, I was still nervous that Toni was coming. I thought he was somehow going to still dive-bomb me before the finish line.”
Brayden Elliott carded 15th and 13th place finishes on the ADR GSX-R1000.
Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha’s JD Beach continues to pile the pressure on his Supersport Championship leading teammate Garrett Gerloff with the Kentucky resident reeling off his fifth win in a row to narrow the points lead to 14 points on the Texan with the two New Jersey races remaining. Beach was aided in his title hopes by Frenchman Valentin Debise, the M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki rider beating Gerloff to the flag for second place to take points away from the championship leader. Beach will still need some help even if he wins the final two races at New Jersey because he’d lose the title by four points if Gerloff finished second in both.
Debise’s teammate Cameron Petersen finished fourth in Sunday’s 21-lap race, the South African holding off Galfer USA/Team H35 Honda’s Benny Solis Jr. Sixth place went to Bryce Prince, the newly crowned Superstock 600 Champion beating HB Racing/Meen Motorsports’ Richie Escalante and ADR Motorsports/Fly Racing’s Nick McFadden to take his eighth class win of the season.
ModoBag/MD Racing’s Andrew Lee and Newton Racing’s Jay Newton rounded out the top 10.
Beach knows there’s work to be done, but he also knows he’s in with a shot of defending his Supersport crown.
“I still have got a lot of work to do to try and overtake Garrett in the points,” Beach said. “He still has a good gap. I still need to win the last two races, but we’re just going to keep trying. Now I owe Valentin (Debise) some money for beating Garrett because he got second. It’s a small fee now, but after the next couple of races if I can overtake the points the fee might go a bit higher. It’s kind of an incentive program for him (Debise).”
SUPERBIKE RACE 1: 1. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha); 2. Toni Elias (Suzuki); 3 Josh Hayes (Yamaha); 4. Josh Herrin (Yamaha); 5. Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha); 6. Danny Eslick (Yamaha); 7. Claudio Corti (Aprilia); 8. Bobby Fong (Kawasaki); 9. Sheridan Morais (Yamaha); 10. Jake Lewis (Suzuki).
SUPERBIKE RACE 2: 1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha); 2. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha); 3. Toni Elias (Suzuki); 4. Roger Hayden (Suzuki); 5. Claudio Corti (Aprilia); 6. Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha); 7. Sheridan Morias (Yamaha); 8. Josh Herrin (Yamaha); 9. Kyle Wyman (Yamaha); 10. Jake Lewis (Suzuki).
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