The 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike championship wrapped up at Barber Motorsports Park over the weekend, with challenging conditions ensuring plenty of spectacle. Jake Gagne’s run of wins was also brought to an end, with Cameron Peterson claiming the Race 1 win, Mathew Scholtz winning Race 2, before Gagne returned to the top step of the podium for the final race of the season.
Jake Lewis also won the Superbike Cup crown for competing on Stock 1000 machinery in the Honos Superbike class.
Sean Dylan Kelly won Race 1 in the Supersport class, with Gabriel Da Silva taking his debut win in the class in Race 2. Jake Lewis meanwhile claimed the final Stock 1000 win, marking his sixth of the season and fourth in a row, to add to the title.
Kaleb De Keyrel brought home the final Twins Cup win of the year, having also already won the championship. Tyler Scott won both Junior Cup races, with Kayla Yaakov becoming the first female rider on the podium since 2018, with second in Race 1.
Honos Superbike Race 1
One of the most dramatic races in AMA Superbike history took place in the rainstorm at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday and it’s one that won’t soon be forgotten, especially if your last name is Petersen, Scholtz or Baz.
Petersen earned his first-career MotoAmerica Superbike win after surviving a crash in the downpour. Mathew Scholtz finished second after surviving a crash in the downpour. Oh, and Loris Baz finished third after also surviving a crash in the downpour. And that translates to the unbelievable fact that all three podium finishers crashed in the same race in which they podiumed for the first time in AMA Superbike history.
Petersen’s first HONOS Superbike win made him the 62nd rider in history to win an AMA Superbike race and the second from South Africa. The win also went a long way to solidifying Petersen’s hold on third in the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship with two races left to run on Sunday.
Petersen also teamed up with Mother Nature to stop Jake Gagne’s win streak at 16 with the newly crowned 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion crashing out of the lead on the second lap, remounting, pitting for repairs, and then ending up 12th.
Petersen and Scholtz battled at the front of the pack after Gagne’s demise. Then Petersen crashed in turn one and Scholtz held court at the front by himself. Then came the fateful 15th lap and Scholtz was down, the South African sliding from the crest of the hill out of turn four all the way down to turn five. He remounted but Petersen had already splashed past and was on his way to victory.
Baz was fortunate to be able to race at all after a crash on Friday left him beaten up with a damaged right wrist. Since he wasn’t able to take part in the qualifying sessions, he was also forced to start from the back row. He charged through the pack and caught the battle between Scholtz and Petersen, before suffering his crash and remounting in ninth place.
From there he charged again and worked his way back to third for his seventh podium finish of the season. The wet conditions made it a bit easier on his injured wrist, but the crash in the race left him with barely a nub for a right footpeg and a right handlebar that was bent almost to the tank.
Fourth place went to Jones Honda’s Ashton Yates on his Stock 1000-spec Honda CBR1000 RR-R, the Georgian earning the first top-five Superbike finish of his career. It also gave him the victory in the Superbike Cup and put a Honda in a top four that featured four different brands of motorcycles – Suzuki, Yamaha, Ducati and Honda.
Jake Lewis was fifth, which earned him the Superbike Cup crown (and the $25,000 that goes with it) for racers riding their Stock 1000-spec motorcycles in the HONOS Superbike races. It was a good day for the Superbike Cup riders with Danny Eslick ending up sixth.
David Anthony was seventh on his Superbike-spec Suzuki GSX-R1000 and less than a second ahead of Hector Barbera. Ninth place went to Josh Herrin, who was another crasher able to remount and finish. Bobby Fong rounded out the top 10.
Honos Superbike Races 2 & 3
Despite horrendous weather, the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Series ended as it should have with Jake Gagne winning a record 17th race to put an exclamation point on a season like no other.
Gagne, who earlier in the season set a record with 13 straight wins, didn’t win his record-extending 17th race in a row in Saturday’s race one, and he didn’t win it in race two on Sunday morning, but he did take that 17th victory in the season finale on Sunday afternoon at Barber Motorsports Park.
Twenty starts, 17 victories, 18 podiums and 445 championship points. That was Gagne’s year with the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha team as they simply scorched the competition in putting together a season that is unprecedented in AMA Superbike history.
The cherry on top is that Gagne’s victory in race three at Barber – the 17th of his season and career – on Sunday put him into a tie with Nicky Hayden for eighth on the all-time AMA Superbike win list.
“What a way to finish the year. Yesterday was chaos. We all threw it down, but I couldn’t get it back up in time. The race earlier today, we weren’t too happy with it. We had some issues and we sorted it out and we were ready to go out there and try to win this thing in race three. Hats off to this team. It’s been an incredible year. Seventeen wins is unbelievable, especially against a field this deep and talented, these amazing teams. These guys are world-class riders. We did our work. We focused on what we needed to focus on and cranked out laps. I gave it my all every single lap of every single race, and it worked out most of the time. I feel blessed and I’m just lucky to have such a great crew, such an amazing motorcycle. I’ve had more fun than ever racing motorcycles, so life is good. It’s going to be nice to have a little break here, but we’ll be back to work and ready to keep fighting with these guys next year. It’s going to be hard to beat that year. Nothing but hard work to come and we’ll just keep chipping away.”
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz had his best weekend of the year, despite crashing out of the lead but remounting to finish second in Saturday’s Mother Nature race. Scholtz made up for his Saturday miscue with his fourth career Superbike victory on Sunday morning (in a race that was stopped a few laps early when a deer ran across the wet track in front of Scholtz) and followed that up with a second-place finish behind Gagne in race three – another wet race – on Sunday afternoon.
Loris Baz was also on the podium in both races on Sunday with a second-place finish in race two in the morning and a third in race three on Sunday afternoon. Baz doesn’t like to do things the easy way and his third-place finish came after a crash early in the race with an impressive fight back through the pack to follow.
With Scholtz, Baz and Gagne owning the podium in both races on Sunday, Saturday’s first-time winner Cameron Petersen was fourth in race two on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki, then crashed in race three, remounted and finished fifth, giving him a 1-4-5 weekend tally.
Jones Honda’s Ashton Yates came close to giving Honda a podium on his CBR1000RR-R in race three, but the Georgian gave up the spot late in the race to the flying Baz. Still, Yates had his best Superbike weekend ever with two fourths and a sixth.
Kyle Wyman ended his season with a sixth in race three to go with a seventh in race two, the New Yorker finishing well clear of Corey Alexander in race three. Bobby Fong had a rough weekend and he ended it with two eighth-place finishes on Sunday. Jake Lewis wrapped up the Superbike Cup on Sunday and picked up his $25,000 check after finishing ninth in race three. Earlier in the day, Lewis had put his Stock 1000-spec GSXR-1000 into fifth.
Gagne’s Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha teammate Josh Herrin erred by fitting slick tires to his Yamaha YZF-R1 in race two and eventually pulled out of the race. On Sunday afternoon, with rain tires fitted, Herrin ended up 10th.
It’s been an incredible two weeks for Sean Dylan Kelly. After clinching the 2021 Supersport Championship last weekend in New Jersey, Kelly started off the weekend with the announcement that he will race in the Moto2 World Championship next year.
Then, on Saturday in Supersport race one, he not only overcame another classic battle with Richie Escalante, but he also prevailed despite the race being red-flagged and restarted.
Weather was a factor in both legs of the race, and in the six-race second leg, Kelly was in the lead at the beginning, but Escalante overtook him with three laps left to go.
On the final lap, Kelly got past Escalante to take the checkered flag by .040 of a second for the 12th time this season. Finishing third and a little over 2.5 seconds back was Stefano Mesa.
Sean Dylan Kelly
“For being in the rain, I think we were doing more passes than usual. From before the red flag, to even after on the restart, we were going head-to-head, and it was great. It was definitely a little bit scary, which we see a guy highside right in front of me. I thought the red flag was for him for a second, but he was able to get restarted. Once I heard there was a six-lap restart, I was like, it’s going to be a little sprint to the end. I had a really good feeling with my bike. I had a few moments before the red flag, and even after. Conditions were tough out there. I think there was more water on the track after the red flag. So, difficult conditions, but this is something that I’m pretty happy with. To be able to ramp up wins in the season, and then we have our first wet race in at least two years. To be fighting for the win and then end up with another victory, it’s something to be proud of. So, great fight. It was cool to have some fun up there.”
Supersport Race 2
The final Supersport race of the year will be one that GP Racing Yamaha rider Gabriel Da Silva will never forget.
The 17-year-old, who started racing in the MotoAmerica Series at VIR earlier this year, won his first-ever MotoAmerica race, and he did it against the toughest competition in the class. Da Silva went toe-to-toe with 2021 class champion Sean Dylan Kelly, and Kelly crashed, handing the lead to Da Silva.
Kelly was unhurt and so was his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. He was able to rejoin the race in second place, but he was too far back to catch Da Silva, and he crossed the finish line nearly 16 seconds after Da Silva. Third place went to Kelly’s teammate Sam Lochoff, who recorded the sixth podium of his rookie season.
Gabriel Da Silva
“I knew the race was going to be good for us because the rain is an equalizer. I had good pace here in the rain and the wet. Throughout yesterday’s race, we had a little bit of bad luck with P4 after the red flag, but I was able to come back today. Fought hard to catch up there. I knew it was a long race, so I was trying to take it a little easy. Eventually caught up to Sean, and I was able to make the move. I knew he was going to try something in the last few laps, so I was trying to be smart about it. We were spinning out and hydroplaning. But it was definitely a lot of fun. I knew I could do it, but it was something else to actually do it and put it on the box. Really happy and really grateful to be here.”
In the only Stock 1000 race of the weekend, which kicked off the weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, recently crowned class champion Jake Lewis overcame the wet track conditions to notch his sixth win of the season and fourth in a row.
Lewis started from the pole and led from start to finish, deftly negotiating the very tricky race surface aboard his Altus Motorsports Suzuki. Kawasaki rider Michael Gilbert finished second, and Travis Wyman rounded out the podium in third.
“It dumped down rain this morning. I don’t think I’ve rode in the rain since 2018. For that first session, I was just going pretty slow, honestly. Struggled for the whole practice. Made some changes before the race. I just told them to soften it and I’ll just ride it. Luckily, it rained before the race and it dried out a whole lot, actually. There were a couple streams and stuff, but the first part of the track was really dry. Midway through the race, the thing was sliding around and moving around quite a bit, which is nice for me, growing up flat tracking, and I still ride in the woods a lot. It feels nice to win. I wanted to go out on top. It’s nice to click off four wins in a row at the end of the season. Like I said on the podium midway through the season, we made a change, and I’ve got to thank the mechanics by my side. That kind of lifted the program forward a whole lot. It feels good. Can’t thank the whole Altus Motorsports team enough for giving me the opportunity this year.”
Robem Engineering Aprilia rider Kaleb De Keyrel capped off his Twins Cup championship season by winning the final race of the season. He successfully held off all challengers, which included the rain-soaked Barber racecourse that presented a formidable challenge from start to finish.
Second place went to Righteous Racing Aprilia rider Jody Barry, who notched his fifth podium of the season. Hayden Schultz race his brand-new Yamaha YZF-R7 to third, and in doing so, he clinched second place in the class championship.
Kaleb De Keyrel
“On the last lap, my pit board still said plus zero, so I was like, ‘This is going to get interesting real quick.’ I was like, ‘I’m going to have to still push, obviously.’ I knew somebody was right there on the lap before because I could hear their engine. Then on the last lap going into Charlotte’s Webb, I couldn’t really hear anybody. So, I was like, “All right, just be smooth, calm, and keep it on two wheels.’ Then I got a little sketchy with a lapper over the bridge. I went around the outside of him and he was pushing me into the white paint. I was like, ‘Please don’t move over anymore.’ The paint is obviously super slippery, as we saw in the Superbike race yesterday. You touch that stuff, and you’re going down. It’s pretty slick. I felt the track conditions were a little bit better after the track crew brushed off the water a little bit. When we were doing our warmup lap, there was quite a bit of water on the back straightaway coming out of the museum corner. I was hydroplaning, and I was like, ‘I guess watch it right there in the race.’ After we went back out, I didn’t really have any issues with that. It was super nerve-racking that they made us restart because, obviously, I was out front, and somebody had just crashed right in front of me. Then they made us restart the entire race. Overall, I think it was just amazing to end this awesome season with a win and for my team. They’ve been working super hard giving me a super competitive bike week in and week out. Just super happy to clinch this last victory for them and move onto next season and whatever that brings.”
The 2021 Junior Cup Championship wrapped up on Saturday, and Tyler Scott clinched the title in the best way possible, by also winning the race. The Pennsylvanian started from the pole, but he was overtaken by David Kohlstaedt on the first lap.
Scott bided his time in second, and Kohlstaedt crashed in the wet conditions on lap three of the seven-lap event, handing the lead to Scott, who maintained it all the way to the finish line.
Second place went to 14-year-old female racer Kayla Yaakov, the BARTCON Racing Kawasaki rider becoming the first female rider to finish on a MotoAmerica podium since Jamie Astudillo finished third in race two at Road Atlanta in 2018.
Landers Racing Kawasaki’s Ben Gloddy, who had a mathematical chance to catch Scott for the championship until today, finished third. The New Hampshirite was hampered by a wrist fracture that he suffered a few weeks ago.
“It was definitely a little sketchy. More stressful, because I just wanted to keep the bike on two wheels and get points towards the championship. But I’m super happy with the result. I wasn’t expecting to lead most of the race, actually. I thought David Kohlstaedt was going to lead the race. I kind of would have let him win just to not risk any overtakes. But it was a great race and congrats to these guys.”
Junior Cup Race 2
On Saturday Tyler Scott clinched the 2021 SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup Championship, but he wasn’t done winning races for the season. In Sunday’s race two, Scott notched his 11th victory of the season and sixth win in a row, and he did it over his closest rival.
Landers Racing Kawasaki’s Ben Gloddy was second on Sunday, and he ended up 44 points behind Scott. Third place went to Veloce Racing’s David Kohlstaedt. All three riders did a great job handling the rain that fell throughout the seven-lap event.
“The track honestly wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating on the start. Yesterday, I wrapped up the championship, so today there was no stress. Me and Ben were locked into the championship, so I knew today he was going to be pushing even harder because if we crashed, it’s not like we’d be losing the championship. So, I knew everyone that was in the battle yesterday would be trying 110% today. It was a great race.”
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