Round 5 – Championship of Utah
Images by Brian J. Nelson
Toni Elias claimed the round win at the MotoAmerica Championship of Utah, with Cameron Beaubier having to settle for second in Race 2 after a red flag saw the race restarted as a sprint. In Supersport Hayden Gillim and Bobby Fong shared the wins, with each taking to the top spot on the podium as well as claiming a runner up position.
Rocco Landers took the Race 1 win in the Liqui Moly Junior Cup, but in Race 2 it was Dallas Daniels on the top step, with his first win of the season. In the Stock 1000 class it was defending champ Andrew Lee who took the win, while in the Twins Cup – which also only ran a single race on Sunday – Alex Dumas, who recently moved up from the Junior Cup, took the win.
EBC Brakes Superbike Race 1 (Saturday)
Toni Elias lost a boatload of points when he crashed out of race two at Road America two weeks ago, but he almost made all of those back with a thrilling victory in Race 1 of the Championship of Utah at the Utah Motorsports Campus.
In a race that featured as many as eight riders in the lead pack for nearly the duration, Elias emerged from the pack to win by 1.9 seconds after dropping as far back as seventh early in the race. But his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 got better as the race wore on and he was where he needed to be when it counted, earning the 29th victory of his MotoAmerica Superbike career – a mark that moves him to fifth on the all-time win list.
Once he worked his way to the front, he was able to pull a slight gap over the rest fighting behind him. In the end, the battle for the final podium positions went to Mathew Scholtz and Garrett Gerloff.
Scholtz’s race was a lot like Elias’ in that he also was back in the pack early in the race but was able to move his way forward. Both Scholtz and Elias were also helped a bit by Gerloff’s pass on JD Beach, with Gerloff forcing Beach and himself wide which allowed Elias and Scholtz to pass. Scholtz also had a come-together with Josh Herrin on his way through the pack.
Gerloff was having issues with his bike midrace and it cost him. Still, he ended up on the podium after passing his teammate Cameron Beaubier late in the race. Defending three-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion and pole-sitter Beaubier ended up fourth after leading the early laps.
Elias now leads the title chase by 21 points over Beaubier, 176-155. He came into the weekend just nine points ahead of Beaubier after his Road America race-two debacle.
EBC Brakes Superbike Race 1
- Toni Elias (Suzuki) 35:10.727
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha) +1.969
- Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) +2.463
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) +5.473
- Jake Lewis (Suzuki) +22.984
EBC Brakes Superbike Race 2 (Sunday)
Toni Elias knew he was beaten by Cameron Beaubier in the first half of the EBC Brakes Superbike race and he was just about to do the unheard of – settle for second place. But things changed when the red flag came out on the 13th lap, giving new life to the Spaniard who took full advantage to hold off Beaubier in a thrilling 10-lap sprint race to the finish.
The win gave Elias a clean sweep of the two EBC Brakes Superbike races at UMC, the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion extending his championship points lead to 26 points on Beaubier, 201-175.
Elias ended up just .303 of a second ahead of Beaubier at the finish with Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff just as close in third – .502 of a second behind Elias after those three scrapped for the entire 10-lap restart.
“Of course, it’s been a big help,” Elias said of the restart. “I don’t want to see that, but unfortunately it happened. When we saw the red flag, I start to be more comfortable like yesterday. Same thing I had to wait 12, 13 laps, 14 laps to start to be there. When I enter in my feeling, in my place, we could start to produce something every lap. I didn’t know if I was able to catch him or not because he was so strong. He did an amazing job from yesterday. The flag helped us. Then we played our cards. Luck fell on my side with increasing the gap in the championship. But it is long. Anything can happen. Thanks to my team.”
“I felt great as soon as the lights went out, I just put my head down and pushed there at the beginning. I had a two and a half second gap and I was pretty comfortable at that pace. I was really comfortable. My R1 was just hooking up everywhere. So that was pretty frustrating to see the red flag come out. I knew it was just going to be a dog fight until the end with these two guys, and I knew (Josh) Herrin was back there too. Like I said, it’s frustrating coming in second, but that was an amazing battle. Obviously, I wanted to win, but that was one I’ll definitely look back on. I’m just happy that we were in contention today and we had good pace. I think we had a little pace on everyone. Today we were going in the right direction, and onto Laguna.”
Herrin held on to finish fourth, dropping over nine seconds off the pace after an off-track excursion. He finished a second clear of JD Beach, who in turn was just a tick in front of his Kentucky neighbor Jake Lewis.
EBC Brakes Superbike Race 2
- Toni Elias (Suzuki) 15:12.714
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) +0.303
- Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) +0.502
- Josh Herrin (Suzuki) +9.582
- JD Beach (Yamaha) +10.515
EBC Brakes Superbike Standings
- Toni Elias 201
- Cameron Beaubier 175
- Garrett Gerloff 136
- Josh Herrin 119
- JD Beach 111
- Mathew Scholtz 100
- Jake Lewis 97
- David Anthony 66
- Cameron Petersen 65
- Kyle Wyman 55
Supersport Race 1 (Saturday)
Hayden Gillim came away with his fourth Supersport win of the year in Race 1 at the Utah Motorsports Campus on Saturday, the Kentuckian coming out on top of a race-long battle with his championship rival Bobby Fong.
Fong, on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki, gave Gillim all he could for the 14 laps of the 2.2-mile East Course but came up .101 of a second short. Gillim now leads Fong by 12 points in the championship point standings, 122-110.
Third place went to the man who sits in third in the championship – Richie Escalante. Like Gillim, Escalante also had his hands full with an M4 ECSTAR Suzuki – with this one ridden by rookie Sean Dylan Kelly. Escalante beat the 17-year-old Kelly to the line by 0.628 of a second.
Supersport Race 1
- Hayden Gillim (Yamaha) 21:46.777
- Bobby Fong (Suzuki) +0.101
- Richie Escalante (Yamaha) +10.925
- Sean Dylan Kelly (Suzuki) +11.553
- PJ Jacobsen (Yamaha) +19.967
Supersport – Race 2 Sunday
Sunday’s race was a story of the hunter and the hunted. Bobby Fong got the jump on polesitter Hayden Gillim in the beginning of the 19-lap race, but Gillim managed to get past Fong in fairly short fashion. Fong stalked Gillim until the final turn on the final lap and drafted past him to snatch the victory by .003 of second.
It was Fong’s third Supersport race win of the season. PJ Jacobsen finished third when Fong’s teammate Sean Dylan Kelly, who looked to have the final spot on the podium clinched, experienced a mechanical issue on the final lap.
“I knew for sure I did not want to lead. I knew he hasn’t seen my cards yet. I did not want to lead. I knew where he was a lot faster than me and I knew where I was strong. I knew for sure that I was going to show him a wheel and stuff, but I definitely didn’t want to lead. I could tell that his pace was dropping at the end of the race. We definitely had a little bit more pace, but I just wanted to stick to the game plan. I knew as soon as I passed him, he’s such a demon on the brakes. We have been figuring stuff out on the Suzuki to brake a little bit deeper out there. I knew for sure if I would have passed him, he would have countered and taken me on the inside on the hard brakes. The plan, it did definitely change but I was sizing it up at least going out of the corner onto the start/finish line. That’s kind of all she wrote. But I’m definitely thankful to put the Suzuki on top of the box. I didn’t know how the last lap was going to go. I kind of just winged it on the last lap. If there was nobody, I was going to take it. I knew for sure that if I could get a good drive, I could get him closer to the start/finish line. Thank God it paid off, but it’s going to be a long season.”
Supersport Race 2
- Bobby Fong (Suzuki) 29:32.860
- Hayden Gillim (Yamaha) +0.003
- PJ Jacobsen (Yamaha) +10.264
- Bryce Prince (Yamaha) +10.809
- Sean Dylan Kelly (Suzuki) +12.319
- Hayden Gillim 142
- Bobby Fong 135
- Richie Escalante 107
- P.J. Jacobsen 103
- Sean Dylan Kelly 102
- Bryce Prince 78
- Joshua Hayes 72
- Nick McFadden 59
- Jason Aguilar 56
- Braeden Ortt 47
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race 1 (Saturday)
Rocco Landers won his sixth race in seven starts in the Liqui Moly Junior Cup race on Saturday at UMC, the Oregonian fighting through from a poor start to beat Dallas Daniels by just .142 of a second.
For Daniels it was sixth podium of the year and his fifth runner-up finish to his rival Landers. The pair are now separated by 26 points, 155-129.
Kevin Olmedo earned his fourth podium of the season and his third in a row with a close third-place finish over Isaiah Burleson, his best-ever MotoAmerica finish.
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race 1
- Rocco Landers (Kawasaki) 13:46.193
- Dallas Daniels (Kawasaki) +0.142
- Kevin Olmedo (Kawasaki) +8.382
- Isaiah Burleson (Kawasaki) +8.455
- Gauge Rees (Kawasaki) +17.022
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race 2 (Sunday)
Sunday’s Liqui Moly Junior Cup race featured the same riders at the front who have been consistent protagonists throughout the season, but Dallas Daniels, who started from the pole, successfully held off Rocco Landers and notched his first win of the season.
Landers, who was Saturday’s winner and the victor in six of the seven races prior to Sunday, finished second after nearly beating Daniels to the finish line. Meanwhile, Kevin Olmedo matched his Saturday third-place finish with another third-place finish on Sunday.
“The last section was definitely, I think, where I was the best. I was just kind of watching all race because I knew right from really the first sector, I was really losing time. He would get away from me just enough to where once we’d get to where I was good, I was just too far back to make something happen. So, I kind of dialed in where I was slow. Once I got in the lead, I didn’t really care what was going on. I just wanted to stay up there. I led the last four laps and when we got to the last lap, I knew he was right there because on the Jumbotron you could see him going into the left before the last two corners. So, I just tried to cut the best last two corners of the whole race. I was actually having some tire issues, kind of slipping a little bit. I was able to get the win and ‘finally’ is pretty much the way to put it. It feels really good.”
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race 2
- Dallas Daniels (Kawasaki) 16:57.419
- Rocco Landers (Kawasaki) +0.044
- Kevin Olmedo (Kawasaki) +9.674
- Marc Edwards (Kawasaki) +17.495
- Benjamin Goody (Kawasaki) +17.787
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Standings
- Rocco Landers 175
- Dallas Daniels 154
- Kevin Olmedo 97
- Gauge Rees 72
- Dominic Doyle 71
- Damian Jigalov 63
- Samuel Lochoff 62
- Jackson Blackmon 54
- Isaiah Burleson 51
- Toby Khamsouk 39
Stock 1000 Race 1 (Sunday)
Defending Stock 1000 Champion Andrew Lee showed why he has the big number one as he bided his time after the start of Sunday’s race, passed polesitter Geoff May aboard his Ameris Bank Kawasaki and pulled a healthy gap at the front, which he was able to maintain all the way to the finish line.
May finished second and Stefano Mesa was third. The win vaulted Lee into the points lead, and Mesa is now two points adrift in second place.
“I kind of knew where (May) was a little bit stronger. He had my number on the last part of the track, so I knew if I was going to make a move that would stick, I had to do it in the first four corners. That first section, it’s a pretty hairy section. It’s pretty quick. After some qualifying issues I’m just happy that my team got us back together. The Franklin Armory/Graves Kawasaki was really handling really well in the race. So, I’m just happy to be back in that first spot. Hopefully, we can continue the momentum.”
Stock 1000 Race 1
- Andrew Lee (Kawasaki) 21:50.278
- Geoff May (Kawasaki) +2.958
- Stefano Mesa (Kawasaki) +6.922
- Travis Wyman (BMW) +12.021
- Michael Gilbert (Kawasaki) +16.369
Stock 1000 Standings
Twins Cup Race 1 (Sunday)
The MotoAmerica Championship of Utah proved to be a pivotal round for Alex Dumas, who moved up to the Twins Cup class after winning the 2018 Liqui Moly Junior Cup Championship.
The Roadracing World Young Guns Suzuki rider not only earned both the provisional and final pole position, but he made the most of his number-one starting position, got a great start of the line, and pulled a gap, which he stretched out to more than 14 seconds by the time he crossed the finish line.
Michael Barnes finished second, which enabled him to take over the lead in the championship, and Cooper McDonald notched a breakthrough third-place finish aboard his Team AP MotoArts Yamaha in only his fourth professional motorcycle road race.
“The M4 guys put me on a nice bike. We’ve been improving the bike a lot since the last couple of weekends. I had a lot of fun at this race to just be in front. I’m excited for the next race and the rest of the season. I really want to thank everybody from M4 and Roadracing World. I’m really excited.”
Twins Cup Race 1
- Alex Dumas (Suzuki) 21:07.834
- Michael Barnes (Ducati) +14.331
- Cooper McDonald (Yamaha) +21.266
- Joseph Blasius (Suzuki) +21.983
- Draik Beauchamp (Yamaha) +27.123
Twins Cup Standings
- Michael Barnes 86
- Draik Beauchamp 75
- Curtis Murray 72
- Chris Parrish 69
- Alex Dumas 66
- Joseph Blasius 44
- Jeffrey Tigert 40
- Jason Madama 37
- Chris Bays 30
- Robert Fisher 25