Cameron Beaubier won his third MotoAmerica Superbike Championship in style on Sunday, the 25-year-old Californian taking his eighth Motul Superbike win of the year on a wet and dreary day at New Jersey Motorsports Park in the Championship of New Jersey.
Beaubier led from the start and was never headed, the Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing rider never putting a wheel wrong in harrowing conditions on the 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway. At the end of the shortened, 18-lap race, Beaubier was 13.65 seconds ahead of Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden. The win was the 32nd of Beaubier’s AMA Superbike career, a mark that puts him in a tie for third on the all-time win list with Miguel Duhamel.
“Honestly, going into both these races I was kind of running pretty low on confidence,” Beaubier said. “I just didn’t really have the best feeling in the wet after I crashed going into yesterday’s race. Also, this morning in warmup, just the feeling wasn’t there. When the feeling’s not there in the wet, it makes it really tough.
“I’ve never wrapped up a championship with a win before. It’s an amazing feeling. I just have so many people to thank. There’s a long list, starting with my entire team. They work so hard. We got beat up pretty good last year. These guys (Toni Elias and Roger Hayden) were riding so good. The Suzuki team, they were so strong last year and the first part of this season. I’ve never got pushed so hard in my life. We were just constantly scratching our heads after qualifying and practices. Then I ended up getting hurt last year and then it was kind of the same story at the beginning of this year. So, to be able to turn around and keep fighting and just digging deep and never giving up, and to come out with the title again, it just feels so good. Hats off to everyone that’s behind me, and big thanks to my family.”
The second-place finish was Hayden’s fourth podium of the year and his best result of the season. Hayden’s run to the flag got a lot easier when Broaster Genuine Chicken Honda’s Cameron Petersen crashed while chasing the Suzuki in the closing stages of the race. That left Hayden some breathing room and he ended up some 14 seconds ahead of his teammate Toni Elias.
“Yeah, it definitely was pretty slick,” Hayden said. “I got a really good start today and a couple guys… Mathew Scholtz crashed which put me in second. I just kind of was pulling away on (Cameron) Petersen and we got about a three-second gap on him. I could see he was pulling away in fourth place. I was having a lot of moments, but the bike was so much better for me than yesterday. Yesterday, I wasn’t very comfortable so I was excited. I can usually tell by the fifth corner in the wet if I’m going to have a good day or a bad day. When I went out on the warm-up lap, I got to turn six and I said, ‘today is going to be a good day.’ This morning I didn’t feel very good in the wet. I’m just really happy for my team. They had a good race. Just had nothing to lose and just kept going for it. There was only one mistake. With two to go my board said plus-14 and I thought it said plus-1.4, so I started to push again and come around and see plus-17. So, the last lap was nice. I didn’t have the pressure. It’s good to be on the podium. My guys were stoked. Don’t have too many more opportunities left, so it’s cool.”
Elias trailed Beaubier’s Yamaha teammate Garrett Gerloff for a lot of the 18 laps, but was able to get around the Superbike rookie to finish third. At the finish line Elias was some four seconds ahead of Gerloff.
“This is not the first time I lose a championship,” Elias said. “When that happens, you learn a lot. So, I think we did a really strong part of the championship when Cam (Beaubier) and Yamaha were struggling more. They’ve been smart enough to take second positions, third positions… to be consistent taking the points. When the situation gets changed, we didn’t. We always talk as a team when we win, when we lose. When things got a little bit more difficult, we didn’t finish on the podium. We didn’t finish some races. That is at the end not good thing if you want to win the championship. We improve. We learn. We will try to be better next year.”
Gerloff was fourth across the line, well clear of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis. Fly Street Racing’s David Anthony was sixth, matching his best effort of the season. Cambr/KWR’s Kyle Wyman crashed twice and still finished seventh with Danny Eslick eighth on the Scheibe Racing BMW.
Thrashed Bike Racing’s Max Flinders and Fly Street Racing Sam Verderico rounded out the top 10 finishers.
Beaubier’s path to victory got easier before the race even started when yesterday’s Motul Superbike winner Josh Herrin couldn’t get his Attack Performance/Herrin Compound Yamaha YZF-R1 to fire and he was a non-starter. The other notable non-finisher was Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, the South African crashing out of the race early while trying to chase down Beaubier.
Supersport – Beach Takes A Wet One
In Supersport, 2018 Champion JD Beach, who clinched the title with a second-place finish on Saturday, won Sunday’s race aboard his Monster Energy/Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha. Saturday’s winner, Rickdiculous Racing Yamaha rider Hayden Gillim, was second on Sunday. Third place went to YCRS/Motorcycle Mall Yamaha rider and New Jersey native Anthony Mazziotto III to complete the all-Yamaha podium.
“I’ve been wanting to get a win in the rain, but that’s not the way that I want to do it,” Beach said. “Hayden (Gillim) was going damn quick. It was all I could do to keep up with him the first four laps or whatever it was. I saw him just make a small mistake. It was small. I knew the crash wasn’t bad. I know Hayden so I knew he was going to be a little pissed off, and he was going to pick the bike up and get going again. So, the next lap, going into turn 11, I spotted his suit and stuff and I knew where he was at. I just tried to ride my own race and keep not a fast pace, but just one that I felt like I could finish the race. Each lap I could see at first he wasn’t really gaining a lot of time on me and then after that he started making some more time every lap. His helmet kept getting closer and closer. But we were able to finish. I know he wants to get a win in the dry. I hope it’s dry in Barber. I think for the last round it’s going to be some good racing, because that’s basically our home track so I think it’s going to be fun.”
Liqui Moly Junior Cup – Newton Wins, Dumas Crowned
In Liqui Moly Junior Cup, KTM Orange Brigade/JP43 Training rider Alex Dumas rode a solid race despite the tricky track conditions and clinched the 2018 class championship with his seventh-place finish.
MonkeyMoto/AGVSPORT rider Jay Newton won the race, becoming the fifth different rider to taste victory in Liqui Moly Junior Cup this season. MP13 Racing’s Cory Ventura finished second, and Tuned Racing’s Joseph Blasius crossed the finish line in third for his first podium in the class, making it a Yamaha sweep for the second day in a row.
“Yesterday, I thought I had it and I just lost the rear,” Dumas said after taking the title. “So today I did some slow laps, tried to keep the bike straight. My last lap was one of my favorite laps ever on a motorcycle. It was like a Sunday cruise at the beach. I can’t thank everyone (enough) that helps me for this year. I had a good season. Did some crashes in the races, but still had a good season, ups and downs. I’m ready for Barber.”
First-time race winner Newton was happy, having finished on the podium for a second straight day in difficult conditions.
“Honestly, I’m speechless right now,” the Texan said. “I heard Mark (Edwards) just skidding right behind me. I’m like, ‘Oh, man, please don’t take me out.” Luckily, out of the corner of my eye, I saw his bike kind of go off when I started turning in. At that point, I knew it was me and Kevin (Olmedo). Kevin’s a really good rider. He obviously won yesterday, and I was looking forward to batting with him. Unfortunately, he went down. My whole crew did a great job on my bike this morning. I can’t thank them enough. I’m super-pumped for this first win. I’m looking forward to Barber. Should be good.”
Stock 1000 – First Time Win For Khalil
The Stock 1000 race also netted a clinched championship as RiderzLaw Racing’s Andrew Lee wrapped up the 2018 class title by virtue of a fifth-place result aboard his Kawasaki in Sunday’s fully wet race. Khalil Racing International’s Tawfik Khalil emerged the surprise victor, and it was only his third race in MotoAmerica’s Stock 1000 class. Weir Everywhere Racing’s Travis Wyman raced his BMW to a runner-up result, and O’Hare Motorsports’ Ricky O’Hare was third aboard a Yamaha.
“I qualified on pole but in qualifying two I had a little tip-over,” championship winner Lee said. “So, coming into the race, I was a little timid and you could definitely see that. It was really tricky conditions. You could see all weekend that people were having problems and crashing. I did it once. So, I knew if I wanted to wrap the championship up this weekend and not take it to Barber I first of all had to finish the race. So, my mindset coming into the race was definitely just keep it on two wheels, get it across the checkered line and hopefully it was enough to win the championship.”
“I started club racing five years ago,” Khalil said. “It was always my dream to be a professional athlete and go racing. I set a goal to just make an AMA pro grid, just even qualify. I started there and just kind of did as many races as I could, and I found my way here.
“I knew if it rained that was going to be the equalizer for me. I kind of wanted the rain. These super ultra-fast guys don’t like the rain. I like the rain. I welcome it. Yesterday started out rough. I had a lot of fogging. Couldn’t put one clean lap together in the first practice or the qualifying. I wasn’t even in the show until this morning. We went with a little duct tape trick where you put some duct tape there. And guess what? I could see, and I started ripping off some fast laps. I had a mishap in five on the left and went down. I walked back. I thought I didn’t qualify. I was like, all right, what are we going to do later? I get down to parc ferme and they tell me, you’re P2 right now. I couldn’t believe it. I was elated. So I just needed a (foot) peg. They put it back together and here we go. They said, ‘you’ve got a chance at winning this.’ I got a poor start, but I fought through and here we are.”
Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
Roger Hayden (Suzuki)
Toni Elias (Suzuki)
Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha)
Jake Lewis (Suzuki)
JD Beach (Yamaha)
Hayden Gillim (Yamaha)
Anthony Mazziotto III (Yamaha)
Miles Thornton (Suzuki)
Nick McFadden (Suzuki)
Liqui Moly Junior Cup
Jay Newton (Yamaha)
Cory Ventura (Yamaha)
Joseph Blasius (Yamaha)
Jackson Blackmon (Yamaha)
Renzo Ferreira (Kawasaki)
Tawfik Khalil (Yamaha)
Travis Wyman (BMW)
Ricky O’Hare (Yamaha)
Frankie Babuska Jr. (Yamaha)
Andrew Lee (Kawasaki)