Jake Gagne Finally Leads The Superbike Championship He Is Defending
For the first time this season, 2021 defending MotoAmerica Superbike champion Jake Gagne leads the points chase after double wins at this weekend’s GEICO Motorcycle Speedfest at Laguna Seca. The Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing rider did what he does best, clearing off at the start both days, putting down quick and consistent laps and then maintaining his lead to the finish. That’s Gagne’s fourth win in a row and his seventh on the year, and he now leads the championship by three points.
The battle for the remaining podiums fell to Gagne’s teammate Cameron Petersen and Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC rider Danilo Petrucci, the former MotoGP and Dakar Rally racer swapping second and third both days with Petersen. As Jake ran away from the pack both races, the exciting action was watching Petrucci and Petersen slice and dice back and forth, as well as witnessing 2021 Supersport champ Richie Escalante fight hard for two 4th place finishes over the weekend astride his Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki, in his first year racing Superbikes. Westby Racing Mathew Scholtz, who has been in front contention all season so far, had a rough weekend at Laguna, struggling with traction in race one and crashing out in race two.
Jake Gagne leading the pack down the famed Corkscrew at Laguna Seca. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
So with 12 races in the books, Gagne steps in front of Petrucci, 215-212. Petersen’s second and third-place finishes combined with Scholtz’s Sunday non-finish swaps the two South Africans with Petersen now third with 175 points to Scholtz’s 170. Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Hector Barbera is fifth with 122 points.
Gagne commented on the weekend of racing, “Getting a holeshot makes life easy. These Yamahas are really getting off the grid good. The bike felt good. I had a ton of fun riding around there, sliding around at this place. Even before the year, this has never been my best track. I’ve never felt like I’ve had any secrets at this place, so I kind of owe it all to the team and owe it all to this bike getting better and better and these guys working so damn hard.”
How the Superbike podium looked both races, with only Petersen and Petrucci swapping places. Photos by Brian J. Nelson.
The weekend was full of thrilling racing, in seven classes. In Supersport, championship leader Josh Herrin dominated both days on his Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC Panigale V2 over Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Tyler Scott and Landers Racing Yamaha Rocco Landers. Scott and Landers took second and third respectively both days, unable to chase down Herrin to the checkered flag. After years of struggling in Superbike, Herrin has certainly found his stride in Supersport.
It was a good weekend to be a Wyman. In Mission King of the Baggers, brothers and teammates Kyle and Travis took first and second aboard their H-D Screamin’ Eagle Road Glide Specials, as well as both riding in Sunday’s Superbike race, taking two top ten finishes. In Sportbiketrackgear.com Junior Cup, kid brother Cody grabbed his fourth win of the season and took control of that championship chase.
Josh Herrin leading the Supersport train over the Corkscrew, and Kyle Wyman diving deep on his way to winning the King of the Baggers race. Photos by Brian J. Nelson.
The Yuasa Stock 1000 class had one race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and polesitter Corey Alexander made the most of it. The Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing BMW rider expected a close battle at the front, but it never materialized, and Alexander led the 14-lap race from start to finish. In the REV’IT Twins Cup, another Corey stepped up, as Corey Ventura took his first win of the season at the world-famous raceway.
The Roland Sands Super Hooligans raced, and Tyler O’Hara clinched the series championship as well as taking the win in the final race of that season. That’s a fascinating series to watch, as the grid has been full of “naked” race bikes from multiple brands, and even two electric bike manufacturers.
Corey Alexander leading the Twins Cup field, and Tyler O’Hara throttling for the win in Super Hooligans. Photos by Brian J. Nelson.
So ended an exciting weekend of speed in the land of the Corkscrew, and the racing is always thrilling at Laguna Seca. The MotoAmerica motorcycle road racing series reaches its halfway mark, and there’s plenty of competition still to come. For more on the racing series, tickets to upcoming events, as well stats, standings and how to tune in, click here:
*Race info from MotoAmerica. Photos by Brian J. Nelson.