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Eazi Grip

Attack Performance Yamaha rider Cameron Peterson wins Race 1 and is on the podium in Race 2 at The Ridge

Race One

Rain races are difficult. Rain races when you’re not quite sure if they are going to stay wet are even worse. Turns out that the surprise rain on Saturday at Ridge Motorsports Park ended up truly surprising a lot of the field – but not the Attack Performance/Progressive/Yamaha Racing and Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teams.

The result was a runaway one-two finish for the Yamaha squad with Cameron Petersen beating his teammate Jake Gagne by just .032 of a second in the red-flag-shortened race that was already shortened because of the conditions. The two crews had fitted Dunlop rain tires to Petersen’s and Gagne’s YZF-R1s and it paid dividends.

Third place went to the other factory team that got it right with Xavi Forés earning his first-career MotoAmerica Steel Commander Superbike podium by splish-splashing his way to third on the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki with its full Dunlop rain tires. Forés ended up 9.5 seconds behind the Yamaha duo and some three seconds clear of Team Brazil’s Danilo Lewis with the Superbike Cup series leader also on rains.

The first of those using slick racing tires was eighth-placed Loris Baz on the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati with the Frenchman somehow keeping the Panigale V4 upright to cross the line a minute and 13 seconds off Petersen’s winning pace.

In between Lewis and Baz came AMD Motorsport RK Racing’s Richard Kerr, the Irishman at home in the conditions. Then came Stock 1000 podium finishers Ashton Yates with his Jones Honda and Real Steel Motorsports’ Hayden Gillim in seventh and eighth, respectively.

Forés’s teammate Brandon Paasch had rains fitted and came back from an off-track excursion to finish ninth. He was also given a five-second penalty for working on the bike on the grid.

Some big names who gambled with slicks paid the consequences, including Baz’s teammate Josh Herrin (11th) and Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong (14th).

Tytlers Cycle Racing’s JD Beach started from pit lane after opting to swap to rain tires after the warm-up lap. He rode through a lot of the pack to finish 10th, turning in the fifth-fastest lap of the race in the process.

Among the non-finishers were Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Cameron Beaubier and TopPro Racing’s Sean Dylan Kelly, both of whom opted out after starting on slicks and realizing it was a mistake.

With his third win of the season, Petersen jumps to third in the Steel Commander Superbike Championship with 135 points. Gagne, who has been struggling with arm-pump issues, got some reprieve with the rain, and his second-place finish moved him past Fong and into the lead, 150-138.

Ducati teammates Herrin and Baz are fourth and fifth, respectively, 124-109.

Superbike Race 1

  1. Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)
  2. Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
  3. Xavi Forés (Suzuki)
  4. Danilo Lewis (BMW)
  5. Richard Kerr (Honda)
  6. Ashton Yates (Honda)
  7. Hayden Gillim (Honda)
  8. Loris Baz (Ducati)
  9. Brandon Paasch (Suzuki)
  10. JD Beach (BMW)

Quotes

Cam Petersen – Winner

“Like Jake (Gagne) said, as a team, we kind of sat down and decided to go with the rains and it worked out. It definitely was the right choice. But it was just such a fun race. It’s really fun racing with JG (Gagne) when you know that nothing crazy is going to happen. Nobody is going to throw a shot at you that’s sketchy or dangerous. It was funny because literally, like Jake said, we locked eyes going down the straightaway. I looked into his eyes, and I just started cracking up. The team did an incredible job in the short amount of time they had, with getting the bike somewhat into a wet setting. Just a good day overall. Third win on the season. I think coming into this season, I only had three Superbike wins. So, super stoked to get that in one season. Just looking forward to tomorrow. Looking forward to a dry race. I’ve felt good all weekend here, so I think tomorrow should be a good one and a dogfight. Congrats to these two boys for being on the podium. Congrats to Xavi (Forés) on his first (MotoAmerica) Superbike podium. Let’s go get it tomorrow.”

Jake Gagne – Second Place

“The little sighting lap thing we had, it was already really sketchy. Just to kind of be safer, I thought it would be a good call. It was a tough call, but these bikes work really good in the rain. Like Xavi (Forés) said, it was only 10 aps, so even if it started drying, we could just burn up that tire. Fortunately for us, it kept raining. It got really, really tricky even on rains there at the end. Hats off to Cam (Petersen). It was fun racing him down to the wire again. Red flag caught me by surprise, too. I only saw his hand. But good day. Obviously, it’s been a tough couple races. To be back on the podium is good. One, two for the team is awesome. So, we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Xavi Forés – Third Place

“Honestly, when I saw the race distance was 10 laps, it was still light rain. I said, ‘We have to take the chance to go with wet.’ Also, I saw the guys (Petersen and Gagne) putting the rain tires and said, ‘Let’s do the same.’ It was not a very long-distance race. The track was a bit tricky at the beginning. If you got the chance to get the gap at the beginning with the rain tires, by the time they are catching you, the race is nearly finished. Then we had also a red flag. So, it was a little bit of a gamble, but we managed quite well. I was happy. The first part of the race, I tried to follow them, but I was taking so much risk. I was spinning a lot. We didn’t have the chance to go softer with the springs in the rear, so I said, let’s take this podium back home and get the feeling and start here. Tomorrow, maybe if it’s dry, we’re going to have another chance to stay in the top five. We made some good changes this weekend. I changed nearly the whole bike from yesterday to today. The pace is there, so I’m very happy. After Brainerd when I crashed, my shoulder is still not 100 percent. To be here on the podium is good. Pretty happy. Looking for more, for sure.”

Race Two

Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati’s Josh Herrin won his second Steel Commander Superbike race of the season on Sunday at Ridge Motorsports Park, and it vaulted him into championship contention in what is arguably the closest Superbike Championship in AMA history at this point in the season.

After two races at Ridge Motorsports Park, four riders are separated by just eight points and there’s just a single point between first and second, making it anybody’s game with a two-week break before the series returns at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, July 12-14.

Herrin won his second race of the year in typical Herrin fashion. He got out front early, made a gap and held it, crossing the line with a tick over five seconds in hand. In addition to being his second win of the year, it was also his sixth podium of the year and his 12th career AMA Superbike victory.

Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong worked his way to second place with 11 laps to go when he passed Attack Performance/Progressive/Yamaha Racing’s Cameron Petersen. Fong set sail after Herrin and was able to pull back some ground but was never close enough to threaten.

However, second place on the day was enough to move Fong back into the lead in the 2024 Steel Commander Superbike Championship points lead after losing it in what was a rainy debacle for the Californian on Saturday.

Third place went to Petersen, a day after the South African won his third race of the season on Saturday. Petersen was some four seconds behind Fong and another four some seconds clear of Herrin’s teammate Loris Baz. His two podiums in the two races put him squarely in the hunt for the title.

Fifth place went to a rather lonely Sean Dylan Kelly on the TopPro Racing BMW M 1000 RR.

Real Steel Motorsports’ Hayden Gillim was an impressive sixth on his Stock 1000-spec Honda CBR1000RR-R SP after barely beating Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Xavi Forés with the Spaniard finishing seventh.

Five-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier rode through the pain of his surgically repaired broken right heel to finish just off the back of Forés and seven seconds clear of three-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Jake Gagne with the latter still struggling mightily with arm pump.

Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Brandon Paasch rounded out the top 10 finishers.

About that championship we were talking about earlier. How’s this for close? Fong leads Gagne by a single point, 158-157. Petersen is next with 151 and Herrin is fourth with 149, and that all translates to the fact that the top four in the championship point standings are separated by just eight points.

Superbike Race Two

  1. Josh Herrin (Ducati)
  2. Bobby Fong (Yamaha)
  3. Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)
  4. Loris Baz (Ducati)
  5. Sean Dylan Kelly (BMW)
  6. Hayden Gillim (Honda)
  7. Xavi Forés (Suzuki)
  8. Cameron Beaubier (BMW)
  9. Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
  10. Brandon Paasch (Suzuki)

Quotes

Josh Herrin – Winner

“Obviously, I wish I was further ahead and didn’t do so bad in all four of the rain races we had, but it’s exactly what the championship needs with a fight like this with a bunch of different manufacturers. So, I’m excited for that, especially since Laguna Seca is all of our home rounds. So, it’s going to be a lot of our family there cheering us on. It should be an exciting weekend. Race went great. Tires were great. Everything just clicked today, just like Road America. Like I said all year, we knew Barber was difficult, but every other race we’ve been right there with the exception of the rain. Maybe Dunlop will let us go use the rain track for the end of the year and try to get a little bit better. It’s mainly my fault with all the stupid choices I’ve made with tires the last couple years, running slicks in the rain. I’m just happy to be up here, happy to claw back in the points again. This is the closest we’ve been all year. Thank you to my entire team. Really excited to go to Laguna, not just for the race but Ducati DRE on Monday and hang out with all the Ducati fans and riders. Can’t wait to see you there.”

Bobby Fong – Second Place

“Like Josh said earlier, I need to capitalize on these rain races. I’ve done terrible, and it’s all on me. It’s something that I need to work on. To win this championship, you can’t just be getting 10th in the rain races. I’ve got to do better. That’s plain and simple. I’ve got to do better. But today was great. We rode good. I felt like the bike was quite good. We tried a new swingarm this morning and I was really unsure of it. I’m still unsure of it, but it worked great. We’re always pretty strong at the end of these races. The class is so tight now, you’ve got to qualify on front row to do something, unless you have crazy outright speed. Everybody is so close. When you’re trying to make your way up to Josh (Herrin), it’s basically too late. It’s like World Superbike nowadays. You got to qualify good, like MotoGP. I need to work on my qualifying. I’ve been struggling in qualifying a little bit. What can I say? We’ve got the points lead, but there’s still a lot of races to go. Each weekend, there’s a dogfight up front. You never know what’s going to happen. We’re all on the limit, so anybody can make a mistake. We’re just going to try to stay consistent.”

Cameron Petersen – Third Place

“Yeah, great weekend. Can’t complain with two podiums. The only reason why I’m a little bit frustrated was just we had a bike that was capable of winning both races. The bike felt really good in the beginning. I felt comfortable. Even when Josh (Herrin) came past me I felt like I had a really good rhythm and pace. Was just losing a little bit in the last sector. I was really good everywhere else. About halfway through the race, my left arm just completely locked up. My hand came off the handlebar a few times. It got a little bit scary out there. Just super stoked at the weekend. Like you said, points are close. So, overall, a great weekend. We learned a bunch this weekend and look forward to the rest of the season. Congrats to Josh (Herrin) and Bob (Fong). They rode an incredible race. I think it’s going to be a dogfight for the rest of the season every race we go to, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Posted on Monday, July 1st, 2024 in News

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