2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship
Round One – Road Atlanta
Matthew Scholtz and Jake Gage have shared the HONOS Superbike race wins at the Road Atlanta season opener, with the early lead going to Scholtz from Travis Wyman and Josh Herrin.
In Supersport Sean Dylan Kelly swept both races for 50-points, with Richie Escalante running 2-2 and Benjamin Smith third overall.
Michael Gilbert took the opening Stock 1000 race win from Yates and Wyman, while the Sunday bout saw Wyman take the win from Geoff May and Yates. That left Wyman with the overall lead, from Yates and Gilbert.
Kaleb De Keyrel took the Twins win, leading an Aprilia RS660 trio, but a crash in race two took out the top running Aprilias, leaving Benjamin Gloddy to take the win. As a result Trevor Standish takes the lead on 33-points, from Chris Parrish and Teagg Hobbs.
Tyler Scott and Teagg Hobbs shared the Junior Cup wins, leaving with 45-points each. Tyler O’Hara took the King of the Baggers win to open the season.
HONOS Superbikes Qualifying
Jake Gagne ended his Friday afternoon at Michelin Raceway with his YZF-R1 in the gravel trap on the outside of turn 10-B. But he also ended it on top of the timesheets as the MotoAmerica Series opened its season on an overcast day in Georgia.
Gagne’s best lap in Q1 was a 1:23.746, which was under the Superbike lap record of 1:23.844 set by Garrett Gerloff during Superpole in 2019. Gagne’s best came on his 16th lap and it was .359 of a second faster than Mathew Scholtz, the South African lapping at 1:24.105 on his 18th lap.
The provisional front row was filled by Loris Baz, the Frenchman making his MotoAmerica debut and turning in a 1:24.269 on his first visit to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
HONOS Superbikes Race 1
Mathew Scholtz got the soaking-wet monkey off his back with his first dry-race HONOS Superbike victory today at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, the South African leading 18 of the 19 laps for the perfect start to his 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.
Scholtz, whose previous two Superbike wins came in wet conditions in 2017 (Circuit of The America) and 2018 (Barber Motorsports Park), won this one from the front and under bright sunshine in Georgia. The victory also came in Scholtz’s first race since he suffered serious leg injuries at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October.
Scholtz led every lap but the 14th when he was passed by York’s Loris Baz, the Frenchman fast in his MotoAmerica debut. Scholtz, however, struck straight back and dove under the Ducati rider going into the chicane that is turns 10-A and 10-B. Baz didn’t brake until well after Scholtz after the run down the back straight, Scholtz let off the brakes and both were in hot and wide, with Baz tucking the front and crashing.
Scholtz raced to victory, 3.044 seconds ahead of Bobby Fong, the Californian having fought through to third place and within striking distance of the top two. Fong was there to capitalize on Baz’s miscue to finish second. Josh Herrin completed the podium, almost 13 seconds behind Scholtz, but was pleased considering his rough start to the weekend with mechanical problems wrecking his Friday.
Cameron Petersen’s debut with the team was a good one, the 2020 Stock 1000 Champion getting off to a good start and ultimately finishing fourth.
Kyle Wyman rode his Panera Bread Ducati Panigale V4 R to fifth well clear of Hector Barbera, the Spaniard making his MotoAmerica debut. Travis Wyman rode his Stock 1000-spec BMW S 1000 RR to seventh and was the top finishing Superbike Cup rider.
Danilo Lewis, Geoff May and Michael Gilbert, who won the Stock 1000 race held earlier in the day, rounded out the top 10.
The unluckiest rider in the race was fast qualifier Jake Gagne. Gagne was at the front of the pack on the opening lap when his YZF-R1 imploded on the front straight ending his day and putting him in the same boat as Baz with 0 championship points to start the season.
HONOS Superbikes Race 2
After finishing second eight times a season ago, Jake Gagne finally won his first career MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike race and he did so in style, working his way through to the sharp end of the field from his third row starting spot and pulling away to a 4.712-second victory.
With Sunday’s race gridded by Saturday’s race results, Gagne started from the middle of the third row. Once he’d adjusted the play out of his slipping clutch, Gagne went on a rampage and his pace was unmatchable. It was Gagne’s first win of any kind since his Superstock 1000 Championship-winning season in 2015.
“Yeah, it feels good to get something like that off the back. Obviously, last year (there was) a lot of second places and it wears you down. We came here wanting to win. We came off the truck really firing. After yesterday’s disappointment, this team, the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha work so hard. Those guys were up late last night throwing in one of last year’s motors. So just hats off to those guys. It feels good to get one off my back. Sorry, I didn’t even figure out, two hours before the race they told me I was on the third row, so I didn’t hear about that new fun little rule. So, I knew I had to get off to a good start because I knew Mat (Scholtz) was going to go, and Bobby (Fong) was going to go. I tried so hard to get a good start, I slipped and slipped the clutch. I thought I was in a situation like last year. The first couple laps my clutch was slipping. Luckily, from the experience last year, I knew which way to adjust the clutch. I was going down the straightaway trying to figure it out, and then once I got that dialed in, I knew the bike would keep rolling. I tried to make some passes. Mat was tough. This track is tough to make passes. Turn 10 is one of the main areas and that was where Mat was really strong, even Bobby too. Happy again, we got her done. Looking forward to VIR. I really, really love that place. I know this bike can be a rocket around there.”
The man who came closest to matching Gagne’s pace was Saturday’s race winner Mathew Scholtz, the South African sticking with Gagne for a few laps before realising he didn’t have the speed of the race winner. Scholtz held on for second, however, well clear of teammate Josh Herrin, who was third for a second straight day.
Herrin’s pace was faster than his identical third-place finish on Saturday, though he was slowed in the latter part of the race with arm pump.
“I’m extremely happy with our finishes this weekend. We never gave up and it paid off. I’m looking forward to a great weekend at VIR! Huge congrats to Jake Gagne and his crew on their first win!”
Cameron Petersen completed a successful debut weekend with the team, the South African finishing fourth, some 10 seconds clear of his teammate Bobby Fong, after finishing fifth on Saturday.
Fong’s day was made more difficult as he was deemed to have jumped the start and was forced to do a ride-through penalty that put him well back in the pack. He persevered though and was rewarded with fifth and the 11 championships that went with it. Prior to the penalty, Fong was battling with Gagne and Scholtz at the front.
Sixth place went to Kyle Wyman, the team owner/rider some three seconds ahead of Hector Barbera. Travis Wyman was eighth and the top Superbike Cup rider with Jake Lewis and Jayson Uribe rounding out the top 10.
Scholtz leads the championship as the series heads to Virginia International Raceway, May 21-23, chase after two races, 45-32, over Herrin.
For the second straight race, Loris Baz failed to score a point. The Frenchman, who was making his MotoAmerica debut at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, crashed out of race one and was halted by a mechanical problem in race two.
HONOS Superbike Results