Photography by Larry Lawrence
Jake Gagne rode a spotless race in Daytona SportBike action Sunday at Road America. He capitalized on a late-race mistake by rival Cameron Beaubier to nail down the victory by 4.191 seconds. It marked the first victory this season for Gagne, who rides for the RoadRace Factory Yamaha squad. Beaubier lost for the first time this year, but with his second place finish remains the series leader. It was a photo finish for third with Jake Lewis edging his buddy JD Beach by inches at the line.
In the early going it was Gagne taking the early lead. By the second lap a five-rider breakaway was established with Gagne leading Beaubier, Lewis, Rispoli and Beach. On the third lap Beaubier made his move to the front going into turn one. Beaubier and Gagne went back and forth several times on the brakes and exiting corners that lap.
A little past mid-point it appeared that Beaubier would pull away to his third straight win, but then he made a major error and nearly high-sided. That gave Gagne the chance to get back in front and the battle was on. With two laps to go going into turn 11 Gagne led, Beaubier went hard on the brakes, nearly hit the back of the leader and ran off the track.
That was the race. Gagne held a 3.5 second lead on the white flag and he rode home to the win.
“It was a helluva race,” Gagne said. “Cam rode his ass off, but anything he gave me I was there and tried to make a pass. With a few laps to go he made the mistake and I saw my pit board that I had an over three second lead, so I was stoked.”
Beaubier was gracious in defeat.
“Jake rode awesome today,” said the series leader. “I almost high-sided and broke my windscreen. And then I almost ran into Jake coming down the hill, got my rear wheel in the air, but what can I say, he had it today and my hat’s off to him.”
The battle for the final podium spot came down to a draft race to the flag.
“I led coming out of the last turn and JD started to draft by me,’ said Lewis, a former AMA Horizon Award winner. “I got a little side draft and was able to just get him at the line.”
Beach was fourth and then there was a big gap back to Garrett Gerloff who held off Dane Westby and James Rispoli for fifth.
Daytona SportBike Results – Sunday, June 02, 2013
1 32 Jake Gagne San Diego, CA Yamaha YZF-R6 13 Laps
2 6 Cameron Beaubier Roseville, CA Yamaha YZF-R6 +04.191
3 85 Jake Lewis Princeton, KY Yamaha YZF-R6 +12.016
4 95 JD Beach Philpot, KY Yamaha YZF-R6 +12.024
5 8 Garrett Gerloff Spring, TX Yamaha YZF-R6 +17.993
6 5 Dane Westby Tulsa, OK Honda CBR600RR +18.122
7 43 James Rispoli Londonderry, NH Suzuki GSX-R600 +18.287
8 40 Jason DiSalvo Batavia, NY Triumph Daytona 675 +55.686
9 21 Elena Myers Discovery Bay, CA Triumph Daytona 675 +1:05.528
10 86 Ben Young Thornbury, Ont., CanadaYamaha YZF-R6 +1:18.076