It’s Road America Time For MotoAmerica
If Cameron Beaubier’s future can match his past, then he goes into the Dunlop Championship at Road America as the hands-down favorite for victory in America’s Dairyland. After all, the three-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion has won seven of the last 10 EBC Brakes Superbike races in Wisconsin.
It’s Road America Time For MotoAmerica
Beaubier’s success at Road America is eclipsed only by seven-time AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin, the Australian having won nine times in Elkhart Lake during his career. A sweep of the two races in round four of the 2019 MotoAmerica EBC Brakes Superbike Series, May 31-June 2, would move Beaubier into a tie with Mladin, who won his first in 1997 and his last in 2009.
But it’s never easy at Road America as evidenced by the fact that Beaubier’s seven Superbike wins there have been by a combined margin of victory of just 1.770 seconds. Last year alone, his two wins over Josh Herrin were by only .002 of a second and .194 of a second.
As was the case last year, Beaubier needs a strong outing at Road America to bring some momentum back to him and his Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing team because right now the early season pendulum has swung to Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias, which shouldn’t come as a shock.
Elias always starts his season with a bang and this year is no exception as he arrives at Road America with two wins, three seconds and a third in the six races held so far. That equates to a 24-point lead on Beaubier, who has two wins, a second and two thirds in his 2019 tally. Beaubier’s crash in race two at the last round at VIRginia International Raceway is the difference between the two.
“We’ve had great success at Road America and that’s where I got my season jump-started last year,” Beaubier said. “I love the track and it seems to suit my R1. Going into every race weekend our goal is always to put ourselves in a position to win both races and that remains the goal at Road America.”
As it stands right now, this is a two-horse race for the title between Elias and Beaubier, but that could also change at Road America. Attack Performance Estenson Racing’s JD Beach is third in the title chase and already 48 points behind Elias, but he’s coming in hot with his first-ever AMA Superbike win coming in race two at VIR.
Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff is fourth in the title chase as the series heads to Wisconsin, the Texan just six points behind Beach with three podium finishes thus far in the season. Gerloff is, in turn, 10 points clear of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis, the only rider in the top five other than Elias to have scored points in all six races so far.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Josh Herrin and Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz head to Road America hoping their worst races are behind them. The two are tied for sixth in the championship but are 68 points behind Elias. Herrin has two non-finishes and Scholtz has one and the pair need to right the ship in Wisconsin.
FLY Racing/ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony has had a great start to his season, the Aussie transplant scoring in every round to sit eighth in the point standings. He’s four points clear of Omega Moto’s Cameron Petersen, the South African coming off a solid weekend at VIR where he battled for a podium finish in race two before finishing sixth. Kyle Wyman brings his KWR Ducati into Wisconsin 10thin the series points but fresh off a test that he’s hoping pays dividends with his still-developing Ducati Panigale V4R.
Finishing all four Supersport races has paid off for PJ Jacobsen and Richie Escalante thus far in the 2019 season with Jacobsen leading the championship on his Celtic HSBK Racing Yamaha R6 by five points over the equally consistent Escalante and his Hudson Motorcycles R6. Jacobsen won his first-ever MotoAmerica race at VIR a few weeks ago and Escalante, who is winless thus far, had his best ever finish of second in race one in Virginia.
Trailing Jacobsen by just seven points is Rickdiculous Racing’s Hayden Gillim, the only two-time winner on the season so far. Gillim has a non-finish on his ledger and that’s the difference between him and Jacobsen.
There have been three different winners in the four races so far and that third winner is M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong. Fong won race two at Road Atlanta but two crashes at VIR have set him back and he trails Jacobsen by 18 points. Fong is also just three points ahead of his teammate Sean Dylan Kelly, the 17-year-old collecting two podium finishes already in the first four races of his rookie season.
Ninja400.com/NortonMotorsports/Dr. Farr-backed Rocco Landers has won three of the four Liqui Moly Junior Cup races in 2019, but he struggled in the wet race two at VIR and his lead in the championship is just seven points over Quarterley Racing/On Track Development’s Dallas Daniels. Daniels has three second-place finishes and very nearly beat Landers in race one at VIR. Those two appear locked in a two-man battle for the title as they lead RiderzLaw Racing/Blud Lubricants/Finishline’s Jackson Blackmon by 46 points with the South Carolinian earning his first podium of the season in race two at VIR.
Rickdiculous Racing’s Gauge Rees is fourth in the championship with Dominic Doyle Racing’s Dominic Doyle rounding out the top five heading into Road America.
The Stock 1000 class entries have bulged to 29 for Road America and it’s VIR winner Michael Gilbert who leads them into Road America with the points lead. Gilbert, on his Team Norris Racing Kawasaki, won his first Stock 1000 race at VIR and he leads Road Atlanta winner Andrew Lee and his Franklin Armory/Graves Kawasaki by seven points. Lee raced at VIR with a badly damaged pinkie finger on his left hand and the three weeks between races should help the young Californian get back on pace in Wisconsin. Stefano Mesa is just nine points behind Gilbert after two podium finishes in the first two races. For the first time, the Stock 1000 class will race twice at Road America.
The Twins Cup Championship after three races is led by last year’s champion, Chris Parrish. The Ghetto Customs rider is five points clear of RBoM Copoulos Built’s Curtis Murray, the pair on the podium in all three races. The other rider to win a race other than Parrish is Michael Barnes, the veteran racer winning both races at Road Atlanta but failing to finish the lone race at VIR. Murray trails Parrish by five points with Barnes 11 points behind.
Road America Notes…
Road America’s first official race was in September 1955, which was an SCCA-sanctioned auto race. Motorcycles began racing at Road America in June 1980.
That first AMA Superbike race in 1980 was won by three-time World Champion Freddie Spencer, the first of 25 different racers who have won the 58 Superbike races held at Road America.
The official track length of Road America is 4.048 miles, which is the longest road course on the MotoAmerica schedule.Road America features 14 turns, and sections of the track have colorful nicknames such as Moraine Sweep, Hurry Downs, The Carousel, The Kink, Kettle Bottoms, Canada Corner, Thunder Valley, and the Bill Mitchell Bend.
Mat Mladin has the most Superbike race wins at Road America, with nine victories. Eight of those wins came on Yoshimura Suzukis with his first victory in Wisconsin coming on a Fast By Ferracci Ducati in 1997. Mladin also holds the motorcycle racing lap record at Road America, his 2:11.208 set during race two at Road America in 2006.
The next two in line behind Mladin are active MotoAmerica racers Josh Hayes (with eight) and Cameron Beaubier (with seven). With Hayes now in the Supersport class, it is Beaubier who has the opportunity to move up. Two wins at Road America this weekend and he will be tied with Mladin on nine wins. Beaubier has swept the Road America doubleheader twice (2016 and 2017), joining Nicky Hayden, Hayes, Mladin and Duhamel as the riders who have won two Superbike races on the same weekend in Wisconsin.
As far as manufacturers go, Yamaha has the most Superbike wins at Road America with 19, followed by Suzuki (15), Honda (12), Ducati (eight) and Kawasaki (four). Of late, Yamaha has won seven of the last eight races in Elkhart Lake.
Road America is known for its high speeds and close race finishes. And you don’t have to look farther than last year with Cameron Beaubier beating Josh Herrin by just .002 of a second in race one and then beating Herrin again the next day by just .195 of a second. The average margin of victory for Beaubier’s seven MotoAmerica wins at Road America? Just .252 of a second as he won those seven races by a combined margin of only 1.770 seconds.
Cameron Beaubier earned pole position for last year’s EBC Brakes Superbike race with his lap of 2:11.422. Beaubier’s best was .240 of a second faster than Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias with Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff completing row one in third.
As mentioned previously, Beaubier won both races last year besting Herrin and Gerloff in race one and Herrin and Roger Hayden in race two.
The two Supersport races a year ago were won by Valentin Debise and JD Beach. Debise is no longer competing in the MotoAmerica Series and Beach has moved up to the MotoAmerica EBC Brakes Superbike Series. The two Liqui Moly Junior Cup races last year were won by Alex Dumas and Ashton Yates. Dumas is now racing in the Twins Cup class with Yates racing Supersport. Jason Madama and Shane Richardson were the winners of the Twins Cup and Stock 1000 races, respectively, last season at Road America.