In three of his four championship-winning seasons, Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier won eight races. Today, in just the ninth race of the season, Beaubier won his eighth HONOS Superbike race, this one coming in the MotoAmerica debut event at The Ridge Motorsports Park. The four-time and defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion led from start to finish on the Shelton, Wash., circuit to win the 46th Superbike race of his career.
The race was restarted after a multi-rider crash on the opening lap that brought out the red flag; but after that it was clear sailing for Beaubier as he rode to an 8.1s victory over Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz. Beaubier’s race got a bit easier when his teammate Jake Gagne was forced to slow near the end of the race with a badly worn tire, the San Diegan slipping back to fourth at the conclusion of the shortened 13-lap race.
Beaubier also benefitted from the red flag restart after he botched the initial run through the chicane.
“The first time around going into the chicane, I didn’t click it back into first gear,” he explained. “In second gear, I just bogged pretty bad off that corner and got passed by (several) guys. Then I had a big old slide on the back straightaway. That threw me out of the seat pretty good. Then, obviously, it got red flagged. We went back to square one and they shortened the race to 13 laps.
I knew I needed to try to get off the start as good as I (could) and try to lead it out of the chicane and push hard. I was able to open up a little bit of a gap at the beginning. And it was slowly growing, slowly growing and then, all of a sudden, I was like, ‘Man, I got to keep my head down.’
“There’s no easy place to pass here. You pretty much have to kind of stuff the guy to get around him with all the tight corners here. So, I’m sure it made it good, some pretty exciting racing. Just hats off to my Monster Attack Yamaha guys. I feel like I just need to pinch myself sometimes. It’s going really well. I just want to keep it going and not get too excited and just keep the momentum going.”
Scholtz came out the better of a near-race long scrap with M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong, the South African battling back after running off track midway through the race.
“Some of the corners are really fun,” Scholtz said of the Ridge. “There’s a couple corners that are a little bit hard and a little bit bumpy. For the most part, it’s a really fun track. From corner five until the entrance of corner 13, it’s really awesome. It’s fast and long, flowing corners. They all kind of link up well. It’s a really cool, fun track. I’m definitely loving it here.”
The pass on Fong came on the entrance to the tight and slow mini Corkscrew.
“I was going to try to pass him in every corner that I got up next to him,” Scholtz explained. “I passed him into corner 11, I think it was, and ran wide then. Then corner 12, I was able to dive up the inside of Bobby (Fong) there, but he went inside so I kind of went out wide and set up the apex going into corner 13. Like Bobby said, I didn’t have to actually pass him, just have to kind up get up next to him and kind of stop him tipping in which I managed to do. I got really close to actually running off but managed to save it and bring it home.”
Fong battled through the pain from his injured left wrist/hand to finish third after the South African passed him on the final lap.
“It’s almost like if you’re leading the thing, and somebody’s so close to you, all you have to do is get next to him and don’t move,” Fong explained of the spot where he was passed by Scholtz. “You can just go all the way wide and you’re going to get the position. That’s what makes this track really interesting. It’s really exciting for the fans. Good job to Mathew. It was a good race.”
As previously mentioned, Gagne was fourth, some six seconds ahead of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Toni Elias, the Spaniard well clear of Scheibe Racing BMW’s Josh Herrin.
Italian Lorenzo Zanetti ended up seventh in his MotoAmerica debut, the Celtic HSBK Racing Ducati rider dropping down the order in the beginning of the race with an off-track excursion.
Rock and Sons Racing’s Jayson Uribe ended up eighth in his first MotoAmerica race of the year on his Honda CBR1000RR. Uribe bested Altus Racing’s Cameron Petersen by two seconds with FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ Bradley Ward rounding out the to 10.
After nine of 20 races (10 rounds), Beaubier leads Gagne in the title chase by 49 points, 200-151. Scholtz is third with 136 points and Fong jumps to fourth with 102.