Epic Battles and Photo Finishes at Road America
If you are not following the MotoAmerica motorcycle road racing series, you’re missing out on incredible race action.
The MotoAmerica series rolled into the famed 4-mile racetrack known as Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI over the weekend, with a full slate of exciting races across seven(!) classes on Saturday and Sunday. What ensued would be counted among the fiercest competition of the season thus far. But nothing could hold a candle to what went down in the Medallia Superbike class both days.
To be fair, Supersport saw 16 year old Tyler Scott best the veteran Josh Herrin at the checkered on Saturday, then local racer Jason Farrell snatch the win from Aussie Luke Power and Herrin taking 3rd on Sunday. Hot competition. Mission King of the Baggers raced late on Sunday in a four-lap sprint, with the fabulous Wyman brothers taking 1st and 2nd for Harley-Davidson, and legendary Ulsterman Jeremy McWilliams taking 3rd aboard an Indian Challenger. Wyman kid brother Cody grabbed a win in Junior Cup in a Sunday photo finish over Joseph LiMandri Jr. (Saturday’s winner) and Kayla Yaakov, who took the 3rd trophy both days. Corey Alexander dominated the Yuasa Stock 1000 race, Aprilia rider Jody Berry bested the field in Twins Cup, and the Royal Enfield “Build. Train. Race.” event saw Kayleigh Buyck claim her second win of the season on her custom built Continental GT650 in a 4-lap sprint.
A thrilling weekend of racing, and we haven’t even touched on Superbikes yet.
Hot action in Supersport, and 2021 King of the Baggers champ Kyle Wyman. Photos by Tim Lester and Gerard Saraber, respectively.
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz finished second in five of the seven MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike races going into Saturday’s race one at Road America. But he refused to finish second banana again, the South African going head-to-head with former MotoGP and Dakar rider Italian Danilo Petrucci and coming out on top in a last-lap battle to score his first victory of the season and the fifth Superbike win of his career. It was a tight sprint to the finish, Scholtz nipping Petrucci at the flag by a mere .015 of a second. The win vaulted him to the top of the championship point standings by a single point over Petrucci, 125-124. Spaniard and former MotoGP racer Hector Barbera took the third podium Saturday, his first since entering MotoAmerica last season, after a pitched battle with American teammate and former WorldSSP racer PJ Jacobsen, beating him to the finish by .055 of a second.
At the press conference, Scholtz reflected, “We crossed the finish line and I looked right, and he was right there next to me. I wasn’t even sure that I had won, at that point. I think over the last two races that we’ve had, if you combine both of those finishing times, they’re both less than eight tenths. So it’s been extremely close. I’m just really happy to be up here battling with this guy. Coming off of MotoGP, winning a Dakar stage, it really shows how the Westby team have made the bike better, how I’m riding better.”
Mathew Scholtz, Danilo Petrucci, and Hector Barbera digging deep at Road America. Photos by Gerard Saraber.
Sunday saw rain set in across the vast track, affecting multiple classes and forcing teams to make critical tire and setup decisions. The Road America track is so expansive that showers can be soaking one portion, while other spots might see bright sunshine. Such is life and racing at the legendary track in America’s Dairyland.
Sunday also witnessed another epic battle between Italian Petrucci and a South African, this time Cameron Petersen. In his first year with the Yamaha team alongside 2021 champ Jake Gagne, Petersen had been forced to watch Saturday’s race from turn five, due to mechanical failure. Sunday’s race saw him battle to the front and dice for the lead with Petrucci and Jacobsen the entire 8-lap shortened race, besting them both to the finish by 1.3 seconds over Jacobsen, and Petrucci holding the third rung on the podium just .455 of a second back. This was Petersen’s second win of his Superbike career.
In all this, where was the current reigning 2021 Superbike champ, Jake Gagne all weekend?
Cameron Petersen was unbeatable on Sunday in Superbike. Photos by Tim Lester.
Gagne, who had dominated in practice and qualifying, got tangled up with Petrucci on lap one of race one, forcing both to run wide. Petrucci recovered, but Gagne hit a gravel trap outside turn 5 and went down. He was able to rejoin, but found himself in dead last. Gagne commenced to charge his way back through the pack for the remainder of the race, no small feat, ultimately finishing 5th and salvaging 11 championship points to stay in the title hunt.
Sunday’s race two saw Gagne struggle to stay with the front pack and ultimately take a fourth place finish, off the podium but still solidly in the points. Interestingly, ageless AMA road racer Larry Pegram donned the leathers again, like Josh Hayes did at VIR, the 48 year old veteran slotting in behind Gagne for a fifth place finish aboard a Tytlers Cycle Racing BMW.
Not the best of weekends for 2021 Superbike champ Jake Gagne, but he earned solid points both days to stay in the hunt. Photo by Gerard Saraber.
As we’ve stated before, the MotoAmerica motorcycle road racing series is “fast and furious” if we may borrow from the movie franchise. Thrilling racing in every class, especially in Superbike as of late. If you are “feeling the need for speed” (who hasn’t seen the movie yet?), get to an upcoming MotoAmerica race weekend, or go online and subscribe via their LIVE+ streaming service.
*Race info from MotoAmerica. Photos by Tim Lester and Gerard Saraber