The MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Championship pendulum took a big swing towards two-time defending champion Jake Gagne on Saturday at Brainerd International Raceway with Cameron Beaubier, his main rival for the title coming into the Minnesota round, crashing out of the race early.
And just like that, Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Gagne is close to having a two-race points lead on new second-place man, Josh Herrin. Gagne leads the title chase by 48 points, 242-194, over Warhorse HSBK Ducati Racing’s Herrin.
Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Beaubier slips to third in the standings, 59 points behind Gagne.
Despite not having Beaubier to deal with, Gagne still didn’t have it easy as Beaubier’s teammate PJ Jacobsen flew the team’s flag and hounded the Yamaha man to the finish, ending up with a gap of just .195 of a second in the race that saw a complete restart after a melee on the opening lap.
Third place went to Herrin, 3.48 seconds behind Gagne and 1.2 seconds ahead of four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes, who was competing in his first Superbike race since 2017 (a span of 108 Superbike races). Hayes, who was riding in place of the injured Cameron Petersen on the Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing YZF-R1, got faster as the race wore on – apparently not overly fatigued even though he had raced to victory in the Supersport race 20 minutes earlier. Not to mention the emotions of a man who with that Supersport win became the all-time leader in AMA victories across all classes with his 87th win.
Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante was fifth, 1.2 seconds behind Hayes and some six seconds clear of Wrench Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong, who had his best finish since returning to the class.
Seventh place went to Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim, who was doing triple duty on the day with races in Superbike, Mission King Of The Baggers (he won) and Steel Commander Stock 1000 (he also won that).
Escalante’s new teammate Brandon Paasch started fast but faded, eventually finishing eighth in his third race on the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000 R.
Aftercare Scheibe Racing’s Ashton Yates and Thrashed Bike Racing’s Max Flinders rounded out the top 10.
The first attempt at a race was stopped after the opening lap when Beaubier clipped the back of Gagne’s Yamaha in turn two and then veered off track, taking Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz with him. With the race featuring a complete restart, Beaubier was able to take his spot on pole for the second go. Scholtz wasn’t as lucky as his radiator was torn open in the melee, causing the motor to expire.
Superbike Race 1
Photo courtesy MotoAmerica by Brian J. Nelson