Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Jake Gagne won his fourth MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike race of the season on a sunny Saturday at Ridge Motorsports Park, but it wasn’t as easy as the misleading 8.6-second margin of victory would have you believe.
With 13 of 16 laps in the books, Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW’s Cameron Beaubier had tracked Gagne down, trailing the two-time and defending series champion by less than a second and setting up what looked to be a thrilling finish. But going into turn one to start the 14th lap, Beaubier lost the front of his BMW M 1000 RR and crashed with hay bales and other debris from the incident bringing out the red flag.
The race was called complete, and the win was Gagne’s by 8.6 seconds over Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz. Beaubier, meanwhile, was given a 20 second time adjustment and that dropped him to seventh in the final standings.
A brave third place went to Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati’s Josh Herrin just hours after a big crash in Q2 that left him battered and bruised and forced to use his back-up Panigale V4 R. Herrin had briefly led Gagne in the left-right chicane off the start but ended up running wide a few laps later while trying to keep Beaubier at bay. The mistake put Herrin back in seventh place, but he battled through to fourth, which became third with Beaubier’s crash.
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Corey Alexander had the best Medallia Superbike race of his career, the non-defending Stock 1000 Champion riding his BMW M 1000 RR to fourth and just .441 of a second behind Herrin.
Almost a second later came Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante with the Mexican barely ahead of the third Tytlers BMW ridden by PJ Jacobsen.
With Beaubier seventh, eighth fell to Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim with Aftercare Scheibe BMW’s Ashton Yates and Thrashed Bike Racing’s Max Flinders rounding out the top 10.
Gagne’s win was the 33rd Superbike win of his career, and it moved him out of a tie with Miguel Duhamel and Toni Elias and into fourth on the all-time AMA Superbike win list. Gagne trails Mat Mladin, Josh Hayes and Beaubier on that list.
With his fourth win of the year and his fifth in a row at Ridge Motorsports Park, Gagne now leads the championship by 28 points over Beaubier, 136-108, with Beaubier now just two points ahead of Herrin. Scholtz is fourth, just five points behind Herrin with Jacobsen fifth and 54 points adrift of Gagne.
Notables not scoring points in the race were Gagne’s teammate Cameron Petersen, who crashed out of second place early in the race, and Wrench Racing’s Bobby Fong who was disqualified for ignoring a black flag.
Superbike Race One
- Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
- Josh Herrin (Ducati)
- Corey Alexander (BMW)
- Richie Escalante (Suzuki)
- PJ Jacobsen (BMW)
- Cameron Beaubier (BMW)
- Hayden Gillim (Suzuki)
- Ashton Yates (BMW)
- Max Flinders (Yamaha)
Jake Gagne – Winner
“I was keeping an eye on my pit board. I got off to a great start. The Yamaha gets off to a good start. I went inside because I know Josh (Herrin) is always going to be deep on the brakes. Then, somehow, he runs around the outside of me. I’m like, ‘I don’t even know how he got there.’ Fortunately, it’s tough to make that line so I squared him up and put my head down. I was really happy with the bike. Everything was working good. I was a little bit surprised to see, I know Josh was hurting and I was a little bit surprised to see the gap just kind of going a couple tenths a lap, and then it was up to a second and a half about halfway, and then it started dropping. Honestly, I thought it was Josh. I didn’t know with how fast he was going earlier. I thought it was him. I
couldn’t see who was behind me. I was surprised. I could hear the lap before the red flag up over the top chicane, I’m like, ‘Whoever is behind me is on me now.’ It was not a half second, or whatever it was. So, I was ready for a banger for the last three laps. I was going to try to put my head down. I was kind of riding everything I had to keep it on. Trying to get a couple more tenths a lap would have been pretty risky, I think. Unfortunately, it was a bummer to see Cam (Beaubier) go down and the red flag come out. I didn’t know until I got back who had crashed and who was second. A little luck on our side points-wise, but it would have been nice to bring that thing down to the last couple laps. I think that would have been fun racing. Tomorrow it will be the same. Everybody is going to step it up, so we got to step it up a little bit too. But I think we learned a lot from today’s race. I’m just stoked. Of course, after the last couple years, it’s nice to win all these races but I’m a racer and it’s awesome to see the class so stacked and so close. Practice here this weekend, all these guys within a couple tenths. So, it really comes down to figuring out how to do it consistently in the race. Just keep doing our job and look forward to more good racing.”
Mathew Scholtz – Second Place
“The first couple laps, I just was struggling. I felt like I was pushing the front end really hard. There were a couple spots where the bike was backing in. I felt like I nearly ran off the circuit a couple times, so I just had to steady everything and made a couple passes. It seemed like Jake (Gagne), Cameron Peterson and (Cameron) Beaubier and Josh Herrin were kind of going backwards and forward, so I knew that that was going to help me slightly. Then Josh (Herrin) ran wide. Cam Peterson crashed. I was kind of a couple seconds back and the next four laps or so I put down some pretty quick lap times. I managed to catch up to Beaubier a little bit then, but I think that he kind of noticed that and turned it up. I had a couple moments after that. I think the rear tire dropped off a hell of a lot more than I thought. So, it’s certainly something we have to look at now. But, after last race out, barely getting eighth in the first race and sixth in the second race, sitting up here in second place, this is a massive win for me and the Westby crew. We made a complete change on the front end of the motorcycle. Definitely seems to help me turn better than we have been. So, considering this is the first race on that setup I’m very, very pumped. I know that we have a lot more to gain there. So really looking forward to the second race. Hopefully I’ll be challenging Jake up at the front. I know Josh is going to pick up the pace. Beaubier will be there. Peterson will be there. I’ll be there. Richie (Escalante), Corey (Alexander), PJ (Jacobsen)… So, I’m looking to bang some bars tomorrow.”
Josh Herrin – Third Place
“On that sighting lap before we came to the grid with the crew, I told Bobby, (Shek), “I’m screwed.” He said, “Well, if it gets too bad, come in. It’s not worth it.” I think that fired me up. I’m like, “What? No, I’m fighting for it.” After the warmup lap, I took a bunch of tape off that the medics wrapped my foot up with and it actually helped it. I think that it was maybe too tight in the boot, and it was making it hurt worse on the sighting lap. So, I took all the tape off and I think it helped a lot. It was worse like twisting on the peg, but at least I could move, and I didn’t have pain. I got up there in the beginning and then I had some shifting problems at the top of the hill. That’s where I lost all the time. I just couldn’t get the gear to shift down. It happened a couple times in the race. I’m not sure if it was the bike or if it was just my foot. My left foot is a little banged up too, so maybe not being able to put enough pressure or something. But once I battled my way back up to fourth, I was kind of settled in. I was going to keep charging, but I settled in. Just got lucky with Cam (Beaubier) going down. Happy that he’s okay, but we really needed those points. I’m stoked to be up here. Just hoping that if we can ice it up enough tonight and take care of it that maybe the swelling will go down a little bit tomorrow and it will be better.”