Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha’s Jake Gagne won his 10th MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike race of the year at Circuit of The Americas on Saturday, but he was just as happy for the two who joined him on the podium – podium first timer Richie Escalante and Gagne’s teammate JD Beach.
Gagne, who wrapped up his third MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship two weeks ago, won the 39th AMA Superbike race of his career on a steaming hot Saturday in Austin by 2.5 seconds over Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Escalante, the Mexican earning the first podium of his Medallia Superbike career after his near-picture-perfect race that was a popular result with the entire paddock.
Ditto for JD Beach’s third-place finish with the season-long flat tracker reaching the podium in his just his second race as the replacement rider for the injured Cameron Petersen. The podium was Beach’s first in the Superbike class since he finished second to Cameron Beaubier at New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2019.
Beach ended up just .172 of a second behind Escalante after hounding him in the closing laps and 4.38 seconds ahead of Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen.
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz was fifth, 18 seconds behind Gagne and 8.4 seconds ahead of Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Corey Alexander, the New Yorker righting the ship after a tough couple of rounds.
Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong was just a few seconds adrift of Alexander in seventh with Aftercare Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates was eighth, matching his best finish of the year.
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Stefano Mesa was ninth in his Superbike debut on Cameron Beaubier’s vacated BMW M 1000 RR with Thrashed Bike Racing’s Max Flinders rounding out the top 10.
Notable among the non-finishers were Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Josh Herrin and Vision Wheel M4 Suzuki’s Brandon Paasch. Herrin battled with Gagne early, then slipped back into the grasp of Escalante and then Beach and Jacobsen. While running fifth, Herrin’s Ducati suffered a mechanical problem that took him out of the race.
Paasch, meanwhile, crashed out of the race uninjured in the early laps.
Superbike Race One
Jake Gagne – Winner
“We’ve talked about it enough, but it’s nice to not have to think about the championship. That’s priority number one of the year. That’s the primary goal. To get that done, it feels nice. We can just kind of go racing. Obviously, there’s been some bummer luck for some of those guys. I feel like I’ve been on the lucky end all year. But regardless, I’ll take it. It was a tough, hot race for sure. The first lap was kind of wild. Me and (Josh) Herrin went back and forth a little bit, which was fun. I think even just going into turn one, he was up the inside. I released the brake, he released the brake, and we just kind of played that game for a little while. It was a bummer. I think he had a bike issue. Just kind of put my head down. I saw on the big board that it was Richie (Escalante) and JD (Beach) up there second and third after a few laps or mid-race. Congrats to both these guys. They really earned it. I know Richie has been at this Superbike game for a while now. The guy is so talented. And JD, he’s okay. Congrats to JD. It’s a great day for the team and Richie. It’s just cool to get up here on the podium with these guys. Tomorrow I’m sure will be another burner. I know these guys want to get a win, both of them. Hopefully we can learn a little bit overnight and go out there and put on a show again tomorrow.”
Richie Escalante – Second Place
“I think my team, Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki is still working. It’s difficult. The level is super high. I need 37 races to finally finish on the podium, so one year and a half. Working really hard, training hard, and finally I know the tracks when it’s more flow, more like sector one here. Smooth for my style. So, I know Pittsburgh, the Ridge, Laguna Seca, here are good tracks for me to battle for the podium. Finally, I finished in P2. Really difficult weekend. Super-hot out there. In the beginning, I felt very strong. I lost a little bit of time to pass (Josh) Herrin. Then I just tried to concentrate on my pace. In the last laps, I can ride the bike just waiting for finish the race. It’s spinning everywhere, on the limit. Everybody is in the same way. Super happy. I think when you feel the podium, you want more. So, I hope to stay there tomorrow. I know it will be difficult, but I’ll try my best. I know my team will push hard tomorrow in the 15 minutes (the Sunday warm-up session) more to improve a little bit more the grip, but super happy. Finally, P2.”
JD Beach – Third Place “It was a hot one. I’m so pumped. This team has worked so hard to help me, when they’ve got this guy (Gagne) going for the title, and even Cam P (Petersen). He’s been at the races and I’m riding his bike. He’s still trying to help and root me on. It’s been great to work with this team. They just work so damn hard. It feels so good to get this podium. I’m up here with the best guys in the US. To do that after five years, I can’t even put it into words. I think I’m just babbling right now. It’s so awesome. I hope I can do it again. It feels good to reassure myself that I can still do it. As a racer, there’s always self-doubt and these last few years I’ve had a lot. To come back out here two weeks on the bike and put it in third with it being 110 degrees out on a track that I think I was two seconds faster this weekend than when I was racing full-time before. So, it feels great.”
Mathew Scholtz – Fifth Place “Getting fifth in Saturday’s race wasn’t what this team was looking for nor what we expected,” Mathew said. “But we made some changes overnight and went into Sunday’s race two looking to put the Westby Yamaha on the podium. It didn’t quite go to plan, however, because I got hit by another rider’s bike, and there was nothing I could do to prevent it. I took a pretty rough tumble from the impact, but I was able to get back on my feet after taking a moment to recover. We’ve got one more round left in the season, and we’re as determined as ever to get the results this team and (team owner) Tryg (Westby) deserve. See you in New Jersey.”