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Eazi Grip

Cameron Peterson wins at MotoAmerica Barber

Leading 17 laps of a MotoAmerica Steel Commander Superbike race is tough enough. Leading 17 laps with three-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Jake Gagne breathing down your neck is flat out daunting. But Attack Performance/Progressive/Yamaha’s Cameron Petersen was able to focus on what was ahead and not what was behind to win Saturday’s first of three Superbike races at Barber Motorsports Park.

And in doing so, the South African never put a wheel wrong to top his teammate Gagne by .438 of a second after 20 laps. Since 20 minus 17 is three, who led those opening three laps? That would be Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Cameron Beaubier on his BMW M 1000 RR, but it didn’t last. Just when it was starting to look like the five-time series champion was going to romp away to victory, it all went horribly wrong on the fourth lap when Beaubier crashed out of the lead.

That left Petersen vs. Gagne with Petersen leading and Gagne giving chase, piling on the pressure to see if Petersen would falter. He didn’t. Instead, he was mostly perfect in earning his fourth MotoAmerica Superbike victory with three of those coming at Barber Motorsports Park.

Gagne ended up second, happy for his teammate while also knowing that he’d extended his championship points lead to 20 points over his title rival Beaubier, 65-45, after the first three races of the season.

Both Petersen and Gagne acknowledged that things would have been different if Beaubier hadn’t crashed.

Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati’s Josh Herrin came out on top of a three-rider scrap for the final podium spot. After moving past his teammate Loris Baz, Herrin disposed of impressive rookie Sean Dylan Kelly on the final lap to finish third.

TopPro Racing’s Kelly ended up .476 of a second behind Herrin and .502 of a second ahead of Baz. It was Kelly’s third top-five finish to start his rookie season of Superbike racing.

Spaniard Xavi Forés was sixth in his debut on the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki, riding in place of the injured Richie Escalante. Forés was well back from Baz and .8 seconds ahead of seventh-placed JD Beach and his Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW M 1000 RR.

Real Steel Motorsports’ Hayden Gillim was eighth with Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong and Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Brandon Paasch rounding out the top 10 finishers.

With three races in the books, Gagne leads Beaubier in the title chase, 65-45, with Petersen jumping up to third in the standings with 42 points. Kelly is fourth with 37 points, three clear of fifth-placed Herrin.

Sunday will be a busy day for the Steel Commander Superbike men with two races on the schedule.

Quotes

Cameron Petersen – Winner

“It feels good. I think this is three wins at this track. Got one in the dry, but honestly it feels so good. I know a lot of people know what I’ve gone through in the off-season and after the surgery. It’s been a tough off-season. The wrist is starting to feel really good on the bike. It just feels so good to get this monkey off my back. It’s been a questioning game, wondering if I did the right thing with the surgery. But it’s starting to pay off. Like Jake said, we had a really tough Friday. We were all kind of scratching our heads, and the boys did an incredible job. We definitely took a step forward today. We had a good race bike. We kind of got gifted that one a little bit. Cam had some incredible pace in the beginning there. He was starting to check out. For the rest of the race, I just tried to hit my marks. I knew if I do that and I was good on the brakes and didn’t make any mistakes, I kind of knew that I would have a good opportunity at it. So, just put my head down and did everything I could. With about five laps to go, I was just like, nobody is taking this thing from me. We’re too close to the end. I’ve led this whole thing. I just wanted it super bad. Congrats to the guys up here next to me. It’s always fun racing against them. Look forward to two races tomorrow.”

Jake Gagne – Second Place

“It was awesome. Cam (Petersen) rode a great race. He didn’t put a wheel wrong. I was sitting there kind of waiting for a mistake. He was good on the brakes everywhere, so there was not a whole lot I could do unless I really tried to stuff it in there. I was going to see if I could try to make a move somewhere on those last couple laps. Then it started sprinkling, so in the back it was getting dark. I just figured there was nothing I could do unless he made a mistake, and he didn’t. He wanted that one. Congrats to Cam. He earned it. Congrats to the team, to go one-two after our pretty rough day yesterday, actually. So, it was good to see the consistency there. Fun race, riding around with Cam. Obviously, my teammate and one of my great friends. So, congrats to him. But we got some work to do. See if we can improve some things tomorrow. (Cameron) Beaubier was unreal those first couple laps. I didn’t see what happened, but I hope he’s okay. Everybody is going to be going faster tomorrow, so we got to do our job.”

Josh Herrin – Third Place

“We kind of just went back to what we had on Friday and tried something small from that. We’ve been here three times now on this bike. We came here for the race last year, a track day earlier in the year, and then now. I’m just stuck at the time that I’m at. I just can’t do anything better. Having Baz here, it helped because for me, mentally knowing that it wasn’t just me, this is just a difficult track for us. The bike feels great, but I just can’t go any faster on it. It’s weird because I feel like I’m going really good, but then those guys are going quicker. So, I’ve just got to keep plugging away here and keep trying to get better, but just know that there’s better days ahead. We got Road America coming up next. It’s a hard pill to swallow, knowing that this is a three-race round. But the most important thing to me, as much as I love the guy, is to beat Baz. So, it was good motivation. I had a good battle with Sean at the end. It was just a really fun race. Huge thanks to my team for just the nonstop effort, trying to get it better. I don’t know if it’s something that we need to improve on the bike or if it’s just me not being comfortable. Historically, this is a good track for me, so it’s hard to understand. But, if you would have asked me yesterday or this morning, if I’d be happy with third, I’d be stoked. Especially after Atlanta. We had arguably the best race of my career, but it just didn’t look like it on paper. But catching those guys as much as I did and feeling as good as I did on the bike, I’ve got a really good head on my shoulders mentally going into the next couple of rounds. I’m happy and just hoping that tomorrow is better or maybe it rains, and then, maybe it helps us out. I don’t know.”

Superbike Race One

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

After crashing out of the lead on the third lap of Saturday’s Steel Commander Superbike race one at Barber Motorsports Park, things didn’t look so good for Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Cameron Beaubier. But what a difference a day makes.

On Sunday, Beaubier doubled down, winning both Steel Commander Superbike races in the tripleheader weekend to somehow take over the lead in the championship a day after he ended it trailing Jake Gagne by 20 points.

Beaubier dominated both races with consistently fast laps that led to him winning the two races by 3.099 and 4.648 seconds, respectively.

The five-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion also capitalized on his championship rival’s misfortune with Attack Racing/Progressive/Yamaha’s Jake Gagne suffering with arm-pump issues in both of Sunday’s races that left him frustrated and out of the points lead. The three-time defending champion persevered through both races on Sunday, finishing eighth and seventh in the two races after finishing second on Saturday.

With two rounds and five races completed, Beaubier now leads Gagne by 13 points, 95-82, with the series heading to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, in two weeks.

Beaubier’s first win on Sunday morning was the 61st of his AMA Superbike career and it put him in a tie with Josh Hayes for second on the all-time list. His win on Sunday afternoon was the 62nd of his career and it moved him out of that tie and into second place all alone. Australian Mat Mladin is the all-time leader in AMA Superbike wins with 82.

TopPro Racing’s Sean Dylan Kelly had himself a day, earning the first two Superbike podiums of his rookie season in the class. The Floridian was fast all weekend with Sunday’s second- and third-place finishes on Sunday bettering his fourth-place finish from Saturday.

Attack Performance/Progressive/Yamaha’s Cameron Petersen was barely beaten to the finish line in race two by Kelly for second and ended up third, a day after his win in race one. In race three on Sunday, Petersen crashed out of second while keeping pace with Beaubier. The South African remounted but his YZF-R1 had a broken foot peg that forced him out of the race.

Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong had a good Sunday with fifth- and second-place finishes in the two races.

The two Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati riders had up-and-down Sundays, literally. Josh Herrin crashed out of race two in the morning but bounced back to finish fourth in race three. Loris Baz, meanwhile, was fourth in race two, but crashed out of race three when he was struck from behind by Manny Segura.

Real Steel Motorsports’ Hayden Gillim was seventh and fifth in Sunday’s two races on what is basically a Stock 1000-spec Honda CBR1000RR-R SP.

Beaubier’s teammate JD Beach had a rotten Sunday. The Kentuckian crashed in race two and pulled out of race three, suffering from the effects of his Q2 near crash and his Sunday morning race-two crash.

Xavi Forés’s debut on the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki was also up and down. After finishing sixth in Saturday’s race one, the Spaniard crashed in race two and then finished sixth again in race three. His teammate Brandon Paasch was sixth and eighth, respectively, in the two races on Sunday.

With Beaubier leading the title chase by 13 over Gagne, Kelly sits third and 22 points behind Beaubier and nine behind Gagne. Fong is fourth, a further 13 behind Kelly with Petersen fifth, just two points behind Fong.

Superbike Race 2

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

Superbike Race 3

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

Quotes – Superbike Race Two

Cameron Beaubier – Winner

“After yesterday, just in the back of my head, I just didn’t want to do something stupid. Everything went great. I got a great start like I did yesterday. My bike was just hooking up there the first four, five laps, it seemed like. I think everyone is kind of dealing with the tire drop here. It seems like it drops quite a bit, and it just stays the same. Felt really good to win by a little margin after yesterday. That was pretty frustrating after yesterday, after the weekend was going so well and then end it in a gravel trap in three laps. This next race is going to be the toughest out of all of them. These guys are going really fast. I’m sure they’re going to go back and figure some stuff out to come back swinging in the third race. Congrats to both these guys. I’m super pumped for Sean (Dylan Kelly). I know all about struggling in Europe and coming back here and just feeling success and feeling that podium again. It’s pretty cool. Same for Cam (Petersen), getting that win yesterday. It’s a pretty stacked field this year. I know we keep saying it, but it really is. It’s going to make for a good season.”

Sean Dylan Kelly – Second Place

“I wouldn’t even start by talking about being surprised or not. I just want to talk about how stoked I am to be up here right now. It’s been an amazing start to my Superbike career. We’ve been putting in a lot of work since lap one, and I’ve just felt pretty at home with this thing. The team is doing an amazing job to help me learn and just make moves forward. I obviously still have a lot to learn and adapt to. I got pretty emotional after passing that checkered flag. Last year was tough, not only for where we were and everything the last couple years, but last year with the injury and everything, I went through some pretty crappy times and some crappy weeks and months. So, to just look back at that, that was only a handful of months ago, and see where we’re at right now… it feels so good. I’m just super grateful for everyone that believed in me in the worst of times and just got me to this point. I know it’s not a win just yet, but we got to celebrate this first podium. Thank you to (Cameron) Petersen for the nice words. Obviously, it’s pretty badass for me to be sharing the podium right now with (Cameron) Beaubier, considering that we were teammates a couple years ago. I honestly look up to these guys a lot. To be here right now is absolutely badass.”

Cameron Petersen – Third Place

“I don’t want to sound like the guy making excuses, because I know we were all struggling with some rear grip towards the end there. We made a few changes from the bike yesterday. I was really struggling with the rear of the bike. Yesterday, I didn’t really have any issues with the rear coming around going into the corners, and today for whatever reason I was just struggling. But three podiums in a row, I can’t complain. Like you said, I’ve had way worse weekends than this. Just happy to be on the box again. Congrats to these two guys next to me. Congrats to SDK (Sean Dylan Kelly) on his first Superbike podium. I remember what that feeling is like. I think we know what we need to work on for race three today, and we’ll go give it our best shot.”

Quotes – Superbike Race Three

Cameron Beaubier – Winner

“With Jake (Gagne), I think he’s obviously dealing with something because that’s not like Jake. He’s obviously really fast here and has had a lot of success here winning a lot of races. His struggles… we capitalized on that today. It was really good to have two strong wins today after yesterday. I’m still learning with the guys. What I like with the TC and the torque maps, stuff like that. We’re still learning about each other. I’m just really happy with my bike, really happy with my team. It’s a great group of guys. I’m just super honored to be partnered up with them. Like I said earlier, it just feels so good to start the weekend on the front foot at all these tracks we went to last year, not throwing new swing arms on in qualifying and practice and stuff, just searching for grip and chasing the Yamaha boys. This race was really tough. Cam P. got a really, really good start. I was able to get by him going into turn one. Put my head down and I would pull away a little bit, but once I got to maybe 1.5, 1.2, it stuck there, and I was looking at my dash. I kept doing 23s and I was like, this is a really fast pace and I’m not pulling. He even pulled me back a couple tenths. Once we got to halfway, I was riding as hard as I could. Then I looked at the monitor and I saw him sitting up on the back straightaway. I came by and I had whatever plus three or plus five on the board. I’m bummed for him because he was riding so good. He was making me push hard. He rode incredible this weekend, along with these guys. We keep saying it, but this Superbike field is just really stacked this year. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Bobby Fong – Second Place

“From the first race to today, we made a big change out of Charlotte’s Web, (turns) four and five. I was just losing so much ground out of there. We basically turned down the bike a little bit out of that corner. It was less lively for the second race, and I could keep up a little bit closer going into the Museum corner. It was pretty good. We always feel good at the end of the race on this bike. We always set it up pretty good with used tires. We did a lot of laps this weekend on pretty worn-out tires, so I kind of knew what to expect going into this race. These guys are fast. I’m just doing everything I could to stay with these guys. The field is stacked this year, and it’s just good to get this Wrench ADR R1 on the box and just keep on improving. Hopefully battle with this guy for the win here soon.

Sean Dylan Kelly – Third Place

“The goal is always to be up here. It’s been a hell of a start to my superbike career. Still learning so much every time out. That pace in this second race was so, so fast the first half of the race. I really tried to keep up. (Cameron) Beaubier was opening up a little bit, and (Cameron) Petersen was trying to keep that pace and run him down. I was right behind Petersen. I even tried to pass him a couple times, but the pace was a lot. I’m happy that I was able to push through and put those 23s in, but it was definitely too much for what I had today in that race. It got a little bit complicated halfway through. Bobby (Fong) caught up. Once I saw that there was some room to behind, I was like, ‘We’ve got to make it home.’ First time for me doing two races in a day ever, since minibikes when I was eight years old. So, it’s been a while. Going to try and hit the gym a couple more times in the next couple weeks. But I’m really happy with everything I learned. Two podiums is amazing. Just super stoked with everything that I’m learning, with how we’re doing with the team, considering that it’s our first real, real time showing up. It’s been amazing, so just super pumped and looking forward to keeping it going.”

Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2024 in News

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