Round 4 – Road America
Images by Brian J. Nelson
Toni Elias and Josh Herrin have shared the EBC Brakes Superbike race wins at Road America’s Round 4, with Elias heading to Round 5 in the championship lead. In Supersport Hayden Gillim and Bobby Fong shared the wins, while Rocco Landers dominated the Liqui Moly Junior Cup races.
Stock 1000 saw Geoff May take the Race 1 win, while Stefano Mesa claimed Race 2 victory. The Twins Cup only held one race over the weekend, on Sunday, with Draik Beauchamp taking the win.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias won his third race of the season today in the Championship at Road America, the fourth round of the 10-round MotoAmerica EBC Brakes Superbike Championship held in changing conditions in Wisconsin.
Elias came out on top of a battle that featured as many as seven riders at times and whittled down to four riders by the end of the race. At the finish line, Elias was .253 of a second ahead of his championship rival Cameron Beaubier to pull 29 points clear of the rider with six rounds and 12 races left in the title chase. Elias has 151 points to Beaubier’s 122.
Elias also earned his second pole position of the season earlier in the day during Superpole, doubling his amount of poles from a season ago. The win was the 28th Superbike victory of Elias’ career and it moved him into a tie with Ben Spies for fifth on the all-time list.
Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff was a shadow third, just .787 of a second behind Elias. He was some two seconds clear of Elias’ teammate Josh Herrin, the Georgian in the mix until the final laps when he and Elias nearly clashed, and Herrin got the worst of it. Herrin was visibly upset after the race, gesturing at his teammate on the cool-down lap. Herrin ran wide on the final lap while trying to beat Gerloff and slipped to fourth.
Mathew Scholtz was fifth, some four seconds behind Herrin and racing alone as he had a 4.3-second lead on his South African countryman Cameron Petersen on the Omega Moto Yamaha YZF-R1.
Seventh place went to JD Beach, the rider in the mix at the front until his bike shut off with a few laps to go. Beach was able to get it going again, but then ran into clutch issues and slipped back to seventh.
Scheibe Racing BMW’s Jake Gagne was eighth with David Anthony ninth. Jake Lewis rounded out the top 10.
EBC Brakes Superbike Race 1 Result (Saturday)
- Toni Elias (Suzuki) 27:17.351
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) +0.253
- Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) +0.787
- Josh Herrin (Suzuki) +2.805
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha) +6.890
Josh Herrin won Sunday’s EBC Brakes Superbike race in the Championship at Road America, but it was Cameron Beaubier who may have come away the biggest winner.
Herrin was solid throughout the 13-lap EBC Brakes Superbike race and it resulted in his second win of the year and the eighth of his AMA Superbike career, the Georgian holding off Beaubier by .506 of a second at the finish.
Herrin’s win moved him into a tie for 22nd with Tommy Hayden and Wes Cooley on the all-time AMA Superbike win list.
“I was comfortable sitting behind Toni (Elias). From just the glance I get at the monitors (JumboTron), it’s nicer to take a glance at the monitors than it is the pit board because it just shows you exactly where they are. I could see that we had a little gap on Cameron (Beaubier), I thought. I was just drafting Toni and then I’d kind of pull up alongside of him. One of the laps, I think he thought I was trying to race him down the back straight and maybe beat him on the brakes. I saw him shake his head and maybe getting frustrated. He just rolled off, like just go. That’s not what I wanted. I wanted to keep doing what you were doing and trying to break those guys because I know our bikes were running fast this year. But somehow it ended up working out in the end. I just knew that on the last lap I wanted to make a pass somewhere that for sure he wasn’t expecting it. I think where I did it was perfect and enough to kind of get him flustered. Then his whole plan kind of goes out the window. He was probably expecting me to go in on Canada Corner and come in a little hot and then cross back underneath him. So, it worked out perfect for me. It kind of felt like COTA all over again. I thought I was going to be able to break him after he made a mistake with three to go. I put my head down and did a couple 12.5s, but it wasn’t enough. I’m super happy with the result, obviously. But frustrated that it’s only my second podium of the year. Two wins are great, but we need more podiums. We’re far back in the points so the rest of the year we really got to put our head down. Now that I’m comfortable on the bike we just got to put our head down and hope for the best.”
Beaubier had been in the lead trio for the majority of the race and was handed second place on a platter when Herrin’s teammate Toni Elias, the winner of Saturday’s race, crashed out of the battle in the final corner. Elias’ miscue not only gifted Beaubier second, it also put the battle back into championship battle as Beaubier gained 20 points on the championship leader and now trails Elias by just nine points, 151-142.
“Coming into this round I had a lot of confidence, to be honest, just given the record that we’ve had here the last few years, we’ve won quite a few races. I think I have six or seven Superbike wins here. I just love this place. I love this track. It suits my R1 really well. It suits my riding style really well. We’ve just kind of been a little off all weekend. Like I said, I really wanted to win this weekend, but coming out of here with two seconds and riding as hard as I could, like I said earlier I left it all out on the track. I did everything I could just to stay on Josh and Toni’s wheel in the race today. I can be happy with that. Unfortunately for Toni, he crashed but gave us a pretty good chunk in points because we were pretty far back going into the race this afternoon. So now I think it’s nine points, so it’s going to be a dog fight the rest of the season. Both these guys are riding incredible, along with JD (Beach) and Matty (Scholtz) and a couple other guys going into some of the rest of the tracks this year. So, it’s going to make for some really good, exciting racing and I’m looking forward to it.”
Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff finished third for the second day in a row, the Texan ending up 6.172 seconds behind Herrin. In turn, Gerloff was five seconds ahead of Attack Performance Estenson Racing Yamaha’s JD Beach.
“Honestly, I’ve got to watch the race over again because I don’t know what happened, it was literally like I was there, felt good, dicing. We were all doing good times. Then just lost the draft. I can’t even remember where. I think it was three. I kind of ran a little bit wide in three and got just a few more bike lengths in-between me and Cameron and the draft was gone and that was it. Just shot off the back. It was kind of unexpected, I guess. It’s frustrating because I felt good. I felt like I had a good bike. Then for that to happen it just sucks. At least I was able to stay there. I figured something might happen on the last lap between these guys and it ended up being Toni’s own fault, I guess. Glad I was able to just keep it on two wheels and to get lucky today and be on the podium. Not ideal, but I’ll take it.”
Mathew Scholtz finished fifth for the second straight day, the South African ending up right on Beach’s tail. Kyle Wyman matched his best finish of the season, the New Yorker finishing sixth – just .069 of a second ahead of Jake Gagne, who had Jake Lewis hot on his heels. Cameron Petersen and Sam Verderico rounded out the top 10 finishers.
“We had a great win on Saturday and then I had the crash today because I flinched in the final turn when Cameron (Beaubier) came in, I could not finish because the handlebar broke off. I congratulate Josh for his win. He has worked hard and is very deserving of this. I am sorry to my team for my mistake, but we will come back and fight again to build back our lead.”
EBC Brakes Superbike Race 2 Result (Sunday)
- Josh Herrin (Suzuki) 28:53.289
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) +0.506
- Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) +6.172
- JD Beach (Yamaha) +11.111
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha) +11.538
EBC Brakes Superbike Standings
- Toni Elias 151
- Cameron Beaubier 142
- Garrett Gerloff 104
- JD Beach 100
- Josh Herrin 96
- Mathew Scholtz 80
- Jake Lewis 76
- Cameron Petersen 65
- David Anthony 59
- Wyman 48
Supersport polesitter Hayden Gillim grabbed his third victory of the season aboard his Rickdiculous Racing Yamaha, and in what has been a consistent theme in MotoAmerica’s middleweight class, the win did not come easily.
Gillim had to fight off a fierce challenge from Bobby Fong and Sean Dylan Kelly. Fong finished second while Kelly finished third, which was the rookie Supersport rider’s third podium result of his season.
Supersport Race 1 Result (Saturday)
- Hayden Gillim (Yamaha) 26:05.871
- Bobby Fong (Suzuki) +0.646
- Sean Dylan Kelly (Suzuki) +0.687
- Richie Escalante (Yamaha) +7.115
- Bryce Prince (Yamaha) +13.693
Supersport – Sunday
In Supersport, Team Hammer’s M4 ECSTAR Suzuki squad had the measure of the field on Sunday, and its teammates Bobby Fong and Sean Dylan Kelly had a rousing battle for the win between themselves and also with Hayden Gillim.
All three led the 11-lap event, and in the end, Fong maneuvered his bike onto the final straight in order to break Gillim’s draft, while Kelly drafted past Gillim. Fong took the checkers and Kelly barely squeaked past Gillim to take second and shuffle Gillim to third.
“I thought it was a real good race, I knew Hayden was going to be up there. He’s real strong. He has more confidence in his front end than anybody I’ve ever raced with, so I knew he was going to be up there. He’s a hard charger. I knew my teammate would be up there. I knew I wasn’t going to pull away. I was just trying to hit my marks and just tried to ride a smooth race. The last lap, I was trying to ride defensive and go inside. Fortunately, we got the win today and we got 25 points, but I’m looking forward to a lot more battles this year.”
Supersport Race 1 Result (Sunday)
- Bobby Fong (Suzuki) 25:44.504
- Sean Dylan Kelly (Suzuki) +0.357
- Hayden Gillim (Yamaha) +0.379
- PJ Jacobsen (Yamaha) +6.856
- Brandon Paasch (Yamaha) +12.397
- Hayden Gillim 97
- Bobby Fong 90
- Richie Escalante 81
- Sean Dylan Kelly 78
- P.J. Jacobsen 76
- Bryce Prince 55
- Joshua Hayes 54
- Nick McFadden 45
- Jason Aguilar 43
- Braeden Ortt 34
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Saturday
In Liqui Moly Junior Cup, early-season over-dog Rocco Landers notched his fourth victory in five races over his rival Dallas Daniels, who has finished second in all four of the races that Landers has won.
Landers, who started from the pole aboard his Kawasaki, got the holeshot, with Daniels close behind. The pair of Ninja warriors battled each other throughout the entire seven-lap sprint, and with Daniels was in the lead on the final lap. Landers made a perfect draft pass around Daniels on the run up the hill to the finish line to take the checkered flag in dramatic fashion.
Meanwhile, Kevin Olmedo was in a battle with Damian Jigalov, and Olmedo prevailed to round out the podium in third.
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race 1 Results (Saturday)
- Rocco Landers (Kawasaki) 19:27.143
- Dallas Daniels (Kawasaki) +0.095
- Kevin Olmedo (Kawasaki) +5.380
- Damian Jigalov (Kawasaki) +5.386
- Dominique Doyle (Kawasaki) +5.528
Liqui Moly Junior Cup – Sunday
In Sunday’s Liqui Moly Junior Cup race, the odds-on favorite to win was Saturday’s victor Rocco Landers, and the Kawasaki rider lived up to the hype by drafting into the lead on the final stretch to the finish line.
Dallas Daniels led throughout the majority of the seven-lap contest, but he fell victim to Landers’ draft maneuver for the second day in a row, and on Sunday Kevin Olmedo also snuck past Daniels, which resulted in Olmedo finishing second and Daniels taking third.
“Today, I did have a plan from about two laps till the end. Right after they passed me, I was just going to try to hang in there and see what was going to happen. Then, after I got past Dallas, I was just going to try to get as good of a run out of the last corner to get to him. It was a great race.”
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race 2 Results (Sunday)
- Rocco Landers (Kawasaki) 19:07.887
- Kevin Olmedo (Kawasaki) +0.092
- Dallas Daniels (Kawasaki) +0.152
- Damian Jigalov (Kawasaki) +9.400
- Dominic Doyle (Kawasaki) +12.381
Liqui Moly Junior Cup Standings
- Rocco Landers 130
- Dallas Daniels 109
- Kevin Olmedo 65
- Dominic Doyle 56
- Damian Jigalov 56
- Gauge Rees 55
- Jackson Blackmon 53
- Samuel Lochoff 46
- Cameron Jones 34
- Teagg Hobbs 33
Stock 1000 – Saturday
Saturday’s Stock 1000 race saw the return of former factory Superbike contender and World Superbike rider Geoff May to the top step of the podium. It had been 11 years since the Georgian had won an AMA-sanctioned road race, and he was understandably emotional in the winner’s circle.
May, who was aboard a Kawasaki sponsored by his “day-job” employer Ameris Bank, for whom he is a mortgage banker, held off Stefano Mesa to get the win. Third place went to Andrew Lee.
Stock 1000 Race 1 Results (Saturday)
- Geoff May (Kawasaki) 18:23.735
- Stefano Mesa (Kawasaki) +0.015
- Andrew Lee (Kawasaki) +15.466
- Travis Wyman (BMW) +15.578
- Michael Gilbert (Kawasaki) +20.087
Superstock 1000 – Sunday
In MotoAmerica’s Stock 1000 class on Sunday Stefano Mesa moved up a spot from the second-place result that he got in Saturday’s race to grab the victory on Sunday.
Andrew Lee finished second and Kawasaki rider Corey Alexander was third. Ironically, neither Mesa nor Alexander have been regulars in the MotoAmerica series, and both of them finished on the AMA Supersport podium at Road America seven years ago when Mesa won.
“The bike and I worked very well this weekend, so we’re happy with the progress,” Mesa said. “Hopefully, we can keep going this season, since we’re leading the championship now.”
Stock 1000 Race 2 Result (Sunday)
- Stefano Mesa (Kawasaki) 18:29.506
- Andrew Lee (Kawasaki) +0.174
- Corey Alexander (Kawasaki) +12.573
- Miles Thornton (Suzuki) +33.482
- Aaron Risinger (BMW) +33.492
Stock 1000 Standings
- Stefano Mesa 81
- Andrew Lee 74
- Michael Gilbert 56
- Travis Wyman 42
- Rhett Norman 34
- Corey Alexander 26
- Geoff May 25
- Miles Thornton 22
- Bradley Ward 21
- Garrick Schneiderman 21
At a track that favors top speed and horsepower, the expectation in MotoAmerica’s Twins Cup class was that Michael Barnes and his Quarterley Racing Ducati Monster 797 would dominate Sunday’s race. As it turned out, Barnes was at a disadvantage against the smaller-displacement bikes due to their ability to draft past the Ducati.
Draik Beauchamp got a great jump at the start and kept himself in the lead pack throughout the eight-lap sprint. He was challenged by both Barnes and Alex Dumas. Beauchamp took the lead and kept it to record his first career Twins Cup victory, while Dumas’ second-place finish was his first career Twins Cup podium, while Barnes finished third.
“I started off on the second row in sixth. My main goal was just to get up there and be part of the fight and have something for the guys out front. I got up there and I actually had more pace than I thought. I was like, okay, let’s get up there early and just keep them behind me at that point. I ran that strategy. Kept them behind me. I was like, let’s run this all the way home. So I did and we got the job done. I want to thank my team, my sponsors, everybody, my dad for busting his butt out here. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and hopefully sitting back in this seat again.
Twins Cup Race Result (Sunday)
- Draik Beauchamp (Yamaha) 20:19.647
- Alex Dumas (Suzuki) +0.319
- Michael Barnes (Ducati) +0.372
- Kris Turner (Suzuki) +0.459
- Darren James (Yamaha) +4.620
Twins Cup Standings
- Chris Parrish 69
- Michael Barnes 66
- Draik Beauchamp 64
- Curtis Murray 63
- Alex Dumas 41
- Joseph Blasius 31
- Jason Madama 30
- Jeffrey Tigert 30
- Robert Fisher 25
- Chris Bays 25