Cameron Beaubier showed today that he really is unbeatable at Sonoma Raceway, the Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing rider sweeping to his second Motul Superbike win of the Cycle Gear Championship of Sonoma and running his win streak in Northern California’s wine country to four in a row.
Since MotoAmerica brought AMA Superbike racing back to Sonoma Raceway last year, Beaubier is unbeaten, going a perfect four-for-four with another runaway victory on a sunny Sunday Sonoma day. Beaubier’s two wins here combined with his two wins at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca last month also make him undefeated in California (at the two tracks he calls his home tracks) for the 2018 season.
Today’s win was the seventh of the year for Beaubier and the 31st of his AMA Superbike career. The Roseville, California, resident won yesterday’s race by 7.2 seconds after breaking the track record en route to pole position during Superpole. Today he won by 6.5 seconds after leading by 1.1 seconds after one lap, 4.3 seconds after three laps and 6.4 seconds after five laps. The lead would continue to grow to over 10 seconds before the two-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion slowed his pace.
“It really was a perfect weekend,” Beaubier said. “We were able to lead every session and win both races. It feels really good. I knew this morning going into today both these guys would make a step. I know Toni (Elias) and his team always work really hard to make a step Sunday, so we were kind of scratching our heads to figure out what we can do better. But we really didn’t change much.
“I just put my head down at the beginning of the race because I knew that Toni made an improvement this morning, and I knew Josh (Herrin) was really good yesterday at the start of the race. So I knew I needed just to get out front and put my head down and just try to run with it, and we were able to do it. Hats off to my crew. They’ve been working so hard. We’ve had a really good string lately. I just want to keep the momentum going into the last three rounds.
“I’m really just enjoying my bike and enjoying racing right now. I feel like last year when I kept crashing and trying to come up with something and trying to race Toni and Roger (Hayden), it was tough because I found myself on the ground at least once a weekend. I’m just happy with the position we’re in right now, and I just want to keep going.”
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias and Attack Performance/Herrin Compound’s Josh Herrin again fought to see who was second best to Beaubier and today that was Elias, the Spaniard turning the tables on Herrin after the Georgian beat him for the spot on Saturday. Herrin fought to the end, running off in the chicane with just a few laps to go.
“Today was a little bit better than yesterday,” Elias said. “I think the pace was much faster. We did a great job. I gave all I had. Of course, it’s not what we want, but we improved from yesterday. This is the most important thing. The championship right now… we have to forget it. These guys are so strong. Today and yesterday all we could do was fight for the second or third position. The only thing we can do is go home, try to prepare new things and come back and just try to create a different situation.
“Right now, it’s really tough. Thanks to my team because they are making an incredible effort. That’s it. Congratulations to Cameron (Beaubier) and his team. We had two great battles yesterday and today with Josh (Herrin). Today, I was in a different strategy. I felt uncomfortable more so than yesterday. I was trying to open a gap. When I did it, I found the lappers and we fight. Luckily, he was still a little bit behind, but it was a great battle until the last corner.”
Herrin had fought hard to the end, running off in the chicane with just a few laps to go.
“Not much of a battle,” Herrin said of his battle with Elias. “He passed me and I tried to pass him a couple times into the chicane and I couldn’t do it. He’s super good on the brakes when he wants to be, and then when you’re following him it seems like I’d get sucked in. I don’t know if it’s because I’m looking too far ahead or what it is, but he’s good on the brakes whenever he needs to be. I couldn’t get by him. He pulled a little bit of a gap, I don’t know how big, a half second maybe gap. Then we got the lapper coming down the back stretch and it allowed me to suck back into him. I was pretty close to him that next lap and just was going to go for it because I didn’t know if I was going to be able to hold onto him for the rest of the race, so I wanted to at least try and scrap with him the last couple laps and then I just ran off.”
Garrett Gerloff again finished fourth on the second factory Yamaha, the Texan in the mix for second early on but eventually finishing some four seconds behind the Elias/Herrin battle. He in turn was 2.7 seconds ahead of Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, the South African barely beating M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis for fifth place.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden finished a lonely seventh, well behind his Kentucky neighbor Lewis but well ahead of Scheibe Racing BMW’s Danny Eslick, the Oklahoman barely beating Lucas Oils/KWR’s Kyle Wyman. Just .230 of a second separated Eslick and Wyman in the battle for eighth.
For the second successive day, Jayson Uribe put the Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda in the top 10 with his 10th-place finish.
With seven of 10 rounds complete in the 2018 MotoAmerica Motul Superbike Championship, Beaubier leads Elias by 63 points, 298-235. Herrin is third with 187 points, 24 ahead of Scholtz. Gerloff rounds out the top five with 157 points, six behind Scholtz.
Supersport – Life’s A Beach Again
In Sunday’s Supersport race, Monster Energy/Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha rider JD Beach used his flat-track-perfected starting skills to get a perfect jump off the line and immediately into the lead, which he never relinquished for 19 laps all the way to the checkered flag. It was the ninth race win of the year for Beach, and the most victories in a single season for the Kentuckian, who now holds a triple-digit lead in the championship with a 100-point advantage.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider Valentin Debise finished second on Sunday, just as he did on Saturday, and Rickdiculous Racing/Yamaha’s Hayden Gillim also repeated his result from Saturday with another third-place finish on Sunday.
“This year’s been great,” said Beach. “I’ve learned a lot the last couple years. I’ve learned kind of the limit I’ve got for how hard I can push myself at home. I think I over-trained a bit last year and it’s just because I want to win bad. I think this year just everything is kind of falling together. I’ve got a great crew and a great bike. I feel great. The weekend started out so good and then qualifying third again kind of had me bummed out, but I love to race and when that light goes out it doesn’t matter where I start from. I’m here racing. These two guys have pushed me hard, not only this weekend but all year. It’s been a great time. I’m really looking forward to these last three rounds because I think we’re all getting really strong. I think we all want to win bad. I think it’s going to keep the racing exciting.”
Liqui Moly Junior Cup – Ventura/Yamaha’s First
Local rider Cory Ventura, who races for MP13 Racing/Yamaha, showcased the skills he worked on at the recent Yamaha VR46 Master Camp that he attended, as he won Sunday’s Liqui Moly Junior Cup race for his first victory of the season and the first win of the year for the Yamaha YZF-R3. Second place went to KTM Orange Brigade/JP43 Training rider Alex Dumas, the current points leader who came back on Sunday from crashing out of Saturday’s race. Yates Racing’s Ashton Yates raced his Kawasaki Ninja 400 to third place, completing a balanced podium with three different makes of motorcycles in the top three.
“Honestly, I feel speechless,” Ventura said. “I’m still thinking in the moment. I’m so excited. I’ve been waiting for this moment ever since last year at Barber (Motorsports Park) when I crashed in the last corner. I’ve just been hungry for more. Now that we’re finally back up here, I feel like I can continue to be up here. I have a little bit of confidence that’s been going through me this weekend. I’ve just felt amazing. I had a really good race here last year, as well. I was so happy. That was probably my favorite race of last year. To have a race like this this year, it means so much to me in front of my family and friends. It’s huge.”
Stock 1000 – Finally It’s Lee
Local-rider race wins was a common theme of the Cycle Gear Championship of Sonoma as Andrew Lee joined Cameron Beaubier and Cory Ventura in notching victories at their home track. Lee’s win came in the weekend-concluding Stock 1000 race aboard his RiderzLaw Racing Kawasaki. The Clovis, California, rider, fresh off his podium finish in the Suzuka 8-Hours endurance race, took the checkers by more than 11 seconds over Team Lewin Estates’ Chad Lewin aboard a Yamaha. Weir Everywhere Racing/BMW rider Travis Wyman finished third.
Lee, Wyman, and Lewin are currently ranked first, second, and third in the championship, respectively, with three races remaining in the season.
“Coming into this weekend, I had a little bit of nerves,” Lee said. “I had a good showing over in Japan doing the Suzuka 8-Hour, so I knew I had a good confidence coming in here and coming into my home track. So, having the family and friends out here for my first win was also pretty amazing. (Crew chief) Derek Keyes and the team really hammered down. Brad Stokes at Ohlins came in and saved the day right before qualifying. Got a good qualifying coming into the race. I knew I had to get a good start. But there’s one thing: I just wasn’t really confident on the new clutch. Thankfully, I got a holeshot and I just put my head down and tried to finish the race as fast as I could.”
Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
Toni Elias (Suzuki)
Josh Herrin (Yamaha)
Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha)
Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
JD Beach (Yamaha)
Valentin Debise (Suzuki)
Hayden Gillim (Yamaha)
Richie Escalante (Yamaha)
Bryce Prince (Yamaha)
Liqui Moly Junior Cup
Cory Ventura (Yamaha)
Alex Dumas (KTM)
Ashton Yates (Kawasaki)
Jay Newton (Yamaha)
Gavin Anthony (Yamaha)
Andrew Lee (Kawasaki)
Chad Lewin (Yamaha)
Travis Wyman (BMW)
Andy DiBrino (Yamaha)
Chad Swain (BMW)