Jake Gagne Takes His 11th Victory In A Row At Brainerd International Raceway
Jake Gagne made history on Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota, the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha rider racing to his 11th straight MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike win, breaking a record set jointly by four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes and five-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier.
The win was like most of Gagne’s other victories- Dominating. He shot off from pole position and was never headed, storming to a 5.2-second win over Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, who had his hands full for the duration with Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz. At the completion of 18 laps, Scholtz was just over a second ahead of the Frenchman with Baz making a mistake on the final lap that prevented him from making a run at the South African.
Gagne’s win streak dates back to race two of the season-opener at Road Atlanta in May, the Californian suffering an engine failure in race one, but he hasn’t lost since.
“Not really,” Gagne answered when asked if he thought pre-season that this sort of win streak was possible. “That’s not what I thought. This class is so stacked and there’s a lot of great teams. We were just fortunate. We started off the year really comfortable and we had a bike that worked really, really well everywhere. We still have a bike that works really well everywhere. I’m just so happy. Everything is gelling really good with the team.”
Gagne had a rather hair-raising moment in Saturday’s race one, when on the second lap he lost traction in turn three and lowsided, man and machine sliding to a stop right in the middle of the track. With bikes swerving to dodge on both sides, Jake frantically waving his arms to make himself visible to fellow riders, he finally made it to safety, and no one hit him or his Yamaha. The race was red flagged to remove his bike and clean/clear the track portion, and Gagne’s crew was able to fix the minor damage it sustained, putting him back on the grid just in time for the race restart. He shook it off, jumped to his typical lead and never gave it up, as he would the next day in race two.
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz took third in race one then second in race two, the South African happy to be back on the podium after a dry spell of a few race rounds. M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong took second on Saturday, and Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz rounded out the podium in third on Sunday. With a whopping 275 points in the 2021 championship, Gagne is dominating the Superbike class, 79 points ahead of Scholtz (196) and 114 over M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen (161).
SDK Takes Command of Supersport, Lewis Grabs Lead in Stock 1000
Defending 2020 Supersport title holder Richie Escalante entered Brainerd knowing he had to find some way to the best the runaway freight train that has been Sean Dylan Kelly as of late, the challenger leading the points chase this season in his attempt to unseat the champ. Unfortunately for Escalante, Kelly did just that, taking the checkered both days, by a mere .075 of a second Saturday, then after Escalante crashed out of the lead on Sunday. With nine wins on the season thus far, six wins in a row, Kelly is on rails aboard his M4 ECSTAR Suzuki supersport, with Escalante battling in each race to keep pace with his HONOS HVMC Racing Kawasaki.
Jake Lewis reclaimed the points lead over Corey Alexander at Brainerd, the Altus Motorsports Suzuki rider starting from pole, taking the holeshot, and with the exception of a brief pass by Kawasaki rider Michael Gilbert, took command of the Stock 1000 field over Alexander, 157-155.
Twins Cup, Junior Cup Title Chases Heat Up
The MotoAmerica “tuner class” is always among the most exciting of a race weekend, and Brainerd didn’t disappoint. Local fave Kaleb De Keyrel took the win on Saturday aboard his Robem Engineering Aprilia 660, after passing Veloce Racing Aprilia rider Anthony Mazziotto in the final turn on the final lap. The two swapped places Sunday, Mazziotto taking the checkered amidst multiple lead changes throughout the race, and De Keyrel taking the number 2 on the podium. Innovative Motorsports/Mike’s Imports Suzuki rider Teagg Hobbs took 3rd both days, rounding out the podium.
The SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup is ever entertaining to watch, with a large gaggle of racers always up front dicing for the lead, pretty much all the way to the finish. The BIR races were no different, the class putting on a great show for race fans. Landers Racing Kawasaki rider Benjamin Gloddy emerged from the pack to take race one, passing rival and points leader Tyler Scott on his Scott Powersports KTM. On Sunday, the tables would turn, and it was Scott who rose through the ranks and grabbed the lead with two laps to go, taking it to the checkered. Gloddy held on to finish third, behind Kermoto/Madden Painting Kawasaki rider Cody Wyman of the famous Wyman racing family.
Royal Enfield “Build. Train. Race.” Opening Road Race
The inaugural Royal Enfield “Build. Train. Race.” road racing series kicked off on Sunday at Brainerd, with California rider CJ Lukacs taking the win. The motocross racer started from the pole in the eight-lap event and led all the way to the checkered flag. Canadian-turned-Californian Becky Goebel, who normally rides a hardtail chopper with no front brake, finished second on her properly built Continental GT 650 racebike, while Minnesotan Trisha Dahl, who lives about an hour-and-half from BIR, thrilled the local fans in attendance by rounding out the podium.
When asked if her motocross roots helped her win the race, Lukacs replied, “Absolutely. Especially with nerves and sight lines and race lines and calming the nerves under race conditions.”
The MotoAmerica series rolls next into PittRace, August 13-15. For tickets and viewing info, click here: