A Dramatic Weekend of Racing to End the 2021 MotoAmerica Season

 

Despite a weekend at Barber Motorsports Park that featured horrendous weather and difficult racing conditions, the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Series ended as it should have with Jake Gagne winning a record 17th race to put an exclamation point on a season like no other.

Gagne, who earlier in the season set a new record with 13 straight wins, didn’t win his record-extending 17th race in a row in Saturday’s race one, and he didn’t win it in race two on Sunday morning, but he did take that 17th victory in the season finale on Sunday afternoon at Barber Motorsports Park.

How’s this for a season? Twenty starts, 17 victories, 18 podiums and 445 championship points. That was Gagne’s year with the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha team as they simply scorched the competition in putting together a season that is unprecedented in AMA Superbike history.

The cherry on top is that Gagne’s victory in race three at Barber – the 17th of his season and career – on Sunday put him into a tie with Nicky Hayden for eighth on the all-time AMA Superbike win list. That’s great company to be counted among.

The wet mayhem on track. Photos by Brian J. Nelson.

It was a race weekend like no other. One of the most dramatic races in AMA Superbike history took place in a driving rainstorm on Saturday and it’s one that won’t soon be forgotten, especially if your name is Cameron Petersen. Or Mathew Scholtz. Or Loris Baz.

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Petersen earned his first-career MotoAmerica Superbike win after surviving a crash in the downpour. Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz finished second after surviving a crash in the downpour. Oh, and Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz finished third after also surviving a crash in the downpour. What a maelstrom.

Petersen also teamed up with Mother Nature to stop Jake Gagne’s win streak at 16 with the newly crowned 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion crashing out of the lead on the second lap, remounting, pitting for repairs, and then ending up 12th.

Petersen and Scholtz battled at the front of the pack after Gagne’s demise. Then Petersen crashed in turn one and Scholtz held court at the front by himself. Then came the fateful 15th lap and Scholtz went down, the South African sliding from the crest of the hill out of turn four all the way down to turn five. He remounted but Petersen had already splashed past and was on his way to victory.

And that translates to the unbelievable fact that all three podium finishers crashed in the same race in which they podiumed, another first in AMA Superbike history. Yes, all three podium finishers suffered a crash yet finished on the podium. All three… well, you get the point.

The soaked, embattled road warriors of Superbike. Photos by Tim Lester Images.

The racers got a brief reprieve from the showers in Sunday morning’s race two. Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz had his best weekend of the year, despite crashing out of the lead but remounting to finish second in Saturday’s “Mother Nature” race. Scholtz made up for his Saturday miscue with his fourth career Superbike victory on Sunday morning, in a race that was stopped a few laps early when a deer ran across the wet track in front of Scholtz (what else, right?) and followed that up with a second-place finish behind Gagne in race three – another rain soaked race – on Sunday afternoon.

Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz was also on the podium in both races on Sunday with a second-place finish in race two in the morning and a third in race three on Sunday afternoon. The Frenchman doesn’t like to do things the easy way and his third-place finish came after a crash early in the race with an impressive fight back through the pack to follow.

Gagne, Baz, and one of the less fortunate of the weekend. Photos by Tim Lester Images.

With Scholtz, Baz and Gagne owning the podium in both races on Sunday, Saturday’s first-time winner Cameron Petersen was fourth in race two on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki, then crashed in race three, remounted and finished fifth, giving him a 1-4-5 weekend tally.

In the rest of the classes, the 2021 SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup Championship wrapped up on Saturday, and Scott Powersports/KTM rider Tyler Scott clinched the title in the best way possible, by also winning the race. The Pennsylvanian started from the pole, but he was overtaken by Veloce Racing Kawasaki’s David Kohlstaedt on the first lap. Scott bided his time in second, and Kohlstaedt crashed in the wet conditions on lap three of the seven-lap event, which handed the lead to Scott, who maintained it all the way to the finish line.

Meanwhile, newly crowned MotoAmerica Champions Sean Dylan Kelly and Jake Lewis earned Saturday victories in the Supersport and Stock 1000 classes, respectively, as did Kaleb De Keyrel in Twins on Sunday, while Kensei Matsudaira and Jesse James Shedden won in Mini Cup by Motul action on a purpose-built racetrack on site at Barber Motorsports Park. The final Supersport race of the year will be one that GP Racing Yamaha rider Gabriel Da Silva will never forget. On Sunday, Da Silva went head-to-head with newly crowned Supersport Champion Sean Dylan Kelly and came out on top with Kelly crashing out of their battle on the final lap of the race that was held, again, in a downpour. Kelly, who will move to the Moto2 World Championship next year, was able to remount and finish second.

Scenes from Supersport. Photos by Brian J. Nelson.

The final race in the Royal Enfield “Build. Train. Race.” Championship took place on Sunday as well, and California rider CJ Lukacs got the hat trick by winning all three races in the new series. Despite the fully wet track conditions, Lukacs successfully piloted her Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 around the Barber racecourse and took the checkered flag .823 of a second over Kayla Theisler, the converted sidecar racer recording her best finish of the three-race series. Trisha Dahl finished third and reached the podium for the third time in a row.

And so ended a thrilling season of racing in the MotoAmerica motorcycle road racing series. It’s been rare to experience rain in the final race weekend held nearly every year at Barber, much less one as sloppy wet as this was. But race they did, and the racing was hair-raising in an entirely different way. Every race class experienced epic battles, thrills and spills, and many surprising results. As we’ve said so often before, there is simply nothing like a weekend of MotoAmerica racing, rain or shine.

For more on the MotoAmerica motorcycle road racing series, including additional photos, footage, season stats, rider/team bios, etc., click here:

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*Photos by Tim Lester Images, Brian J. Nelson Photography

The soggy conditions, and CJ Lukacs on her way to the checkered. Photos by Tim Lester Images

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