Photography by Larry Lawrence
Jake Gagne had to win Saturday’s Daytona Sportbike race twice. He’d built over a seven-second lead when a crash by Joe Roberts in turn five brought out the red flag. On the three-lap restart Gagne had the attitude that he was “just going to have to put my head down and do it again.” That’s just what he did. In a spectacular final lap, Gagne pulled out a to a 1.318 second win. Garrett Gerloff held on for second in an epic last lap battle with J.D. Beach, Jake Lewis and Dane Westby.
On the restart Jake Lewis got the holeshot and held the lead until turn five where Gagne took back over the lead he had before the red. The lead group stayed together until the second half of the final lap when the battling over second gave Gagne a chance to pull out a gap.
Gerloff had to ride a new bike after totaling his primary machine in a qualifying crash. He overcame some slight handling issues to take the finger-biting second over Beach. Westby’s day came to a disappointing end when his bike blew up going down the back straight on the final lap.
Gagne backed up his victory of a year ago here at Road America.
The victory gave Gagne the series points lead even though he was 20 points behind Danny Eslick coming into this race. Daytona 200 winner Eslick dropped out early. Eslick’s Riders Discount Racing Triumph had been experiencing a high-speed miss earlier in the weekend.
AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Race 1 Results from Road America
1. Jake Gagne (Yam)
2. Garrett Gerloff (Yam)
3. JD Beach (Yam)
4. Jake Lewis (Yam)
5. Jason DiSalvo (Tri)
6. Blake Young (Yam)
7. Tomas Puerta (Yam)
8. Kyle Wyman (Yam)
9. Benny Solis (Yam)
10. Bryce Prince (Yam)