As we reported in our coverage of the recent MotoAmerica round at VIR, Danilo Petrucci was far from impressed with the medical response given to him when he crashed after crossing the finishing line for third place in a MotoAmerica Superbike race on the weekend.
Danilo Petrucci posted the following images and statement on Instagram.
“Just to inform you, I crashed at 280 km/h under the finish line that’s on a sixth gear corner for avoid touching another rider. I hit three sponsors signs with my body, multiple burns, multiple hematomas and a deep cut on the ankle with five stitches. I rolled for over 100 metres, maybe one of the worst crash of my entire career. And I lying down for over two minutes with no assistance, hearing the bikes passes next to me, till I stand up by myself and went alone to the medical centre.”
MotoAmerica has issued the following statement regarding the single-bike incident at the completion of the MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike race on Sunday, May 22, at VIRginia International Raceway, round three of the MotoAmerica Championship.
On Sunday afternoon at VIR, there was an accident at the end of the Medallia Superbike race in which Danilo Petrucci crashed after crossing the finish line in third place. Unfortunately, the crash itself occurred off camera. Race Direction witnessed the end of the crash and immediately acted. As appropriate, a yellow caution flag was deployed. By this time, eighth-place finisher Ashton Yates had crossed the finish line, 27 seconds behind Petrucci. Roughly 17 seconds later, race direction could see that Petrucci was on his feet and appeared to be not seriously injured. Although Petrucci’s crash occurred in a fast section of the racetrack, it’s also an area with the most run-off of any track at which MotoAmerica rounds are held. A sliding Petrucci also struck a single lightweight sponsor sign that consequently gave way as it is designed to do. Petrucci was up and continued walking and stood trackside until he deemed it was safe to walk across the track. He was then met by MotoAmerica staff and escorted in a vehicle to the trackside Medical Centre, which was some 200 yards from the site of the incident. At that point, roughly three minutes had passed, and Petrucci was treated for his injuries.
“Attention to detail is paramount when it comes to safety and the safety of our riders is our number-one priority,” said MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey. “That’s where we start, and our process goes forward from there. In MotoAmerica’s eight years of racing, we have never neglected a rider who was injured. I have nothing but respect for Danilo (Petrucci) and his safety and the safety of all our riders is of the utmost importance. We will never minimise a rider’s injury nor their views of the incident that took place. We needed to get to Danilo more quickly and we will study the incident and will make changes where necessary. The situation was made even more difficult in that, although the crash was after the chequered flag, the track was still hot with riders still at speed and thus mobilising workers becomes more difficult. Additionally, Race Direction places a lot of emphasis on what they witness of a rider’s actions following an incident. Petrucci was standing and walking under his own power and that quickly lessens the severity of the response. We hope Danilo’s injuries are healing and he’s feeling better. And we look forward to seeing him at Road America.”
Aprilia RS250SP2-based Road to MotoGP series launches in US
The Road to MotoGP will expand in 2022, with the introduction of the North America Talent Cup in the USA, which will be a collaborative effort between MotoAmerica and Rise Moto, with Aprilia RS250SP2 machinery used for the single-make series.
The new North America Talent Cup will aim to provide riders across the continent with a link on the Road to MotoGP program, creating the stepping-stone between the FIM MiniGP North America Series and the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup or FIM Moto3 Junior World Championship. The sanctioning body will be the American Motorcyclist Association and FIM North America.
Wayne Rainey – MotoAmerica President
“The new North America Talent Cup will most definitely help us with our goal of developing more young riders who aspire to compete and represent the U.S. internationally, and we’re happy to be working with Dorna, Aprilia and Rise Moto to help make this happen. This program ensures that we will continue to build a system where young racers can advance their talents in a program designed to give them the tools they need to succeed. We look forward to the first race at Circuit of The Americas in April and to having the North America Talent Cup join us in our season finale at Barber Motorsports Park in September.”
Riders will race on equal Aprilia RS250SP2 machinery and be between 13 and 16 years of age for the first season, with the minimum age raising to 14 from 2023 – as it will be globally for similar competitions.
Massimo Rivola – CEO of Aprilia Racing
“The North America Talent Cup, as a forge of future talent, fully reflects Aprilia’s racing philosophy of training technicians and riders who have gone on to make sports motorcycling history. Promising young American talent can count on a product we are proud of, the RS 250 SP2, already extremely popular as an intermediate step between MiniGP bikes and ‘high wheel’ bikes, thanks to its combination of performance and easy operation. I’m certain that we’ll see fun and educational races truly capable of launching new talent.”
The Aprilia RS250SP is already in use in the Aprilia Sport Production Championship in Europe, as part of the CIV or Italian Speed Championship, offering a Junior event with riders aged over 11 able to get started track racing. The RS250SP used there was developed by Aprilia Racing in collaboration with Ohvale.
Both SP and SP2 versions of the bike are powered by 250 cc four-stroke engines, while running components from Öhlins, Brembo, SC Project and Marchesini to name a few.
North America Talent Cup Equipment & Partners
Riders will race on equal Aprilia RS250SP2 machinery, with an affordable, complete race package to be priced especially for competitors.
The sole, official tire supplier will be Dunlop. Seven sets of tires will be provided per rider, per season.
KYT will be the helmet provider, providing two helmets per rider per season along with trackside support.
2022 North America Talent Cup Calendar
The North America Talent Cup will be run across the USA as an Amateur National Series. The series will be limited to 20 riders for the first year with aims to expand the amount of riders permitted to 26 by 2023.
The season opener is planned to take place alongside MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas. The remaining rounds will be held in partnership with AMA sanctioned racing organization WERA, and the final round will be with MotoAmerica at their season finale at Barber Motorsports Park.
Road to MotoGP Opportunities
Riders accepted into the North American Talent Cup will benefit from trackside coaching at each round from professional riders, as well as training in communication, fitness and nutrition.
The Champion of FIM MiniGP North America Series will automatically gain a place on the North America Talent Cup grid the following season.
The top two in each season of the North America Talent Cup will be invited to take part in the selection event for the following season of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.
North America Talent Cup Applications
Applications for the inaugural Cup will open on the 1st of December and close on the 31st of December 2021. Find out more about the new series, and how to apply, at www.northamericatalentcup.com.
Carmelo Ezpeleta – CEO of Dorna Sports
“We are delighted to announce this new project with Rise Moto and MotoAmerica, creating a vital new path on the Road to MotoGP. With the incredible success of the first FIM MiniGP World Series, we are more committed than ever to creating the best possible pathway for young riders from all over the world to further their careers, and the new North America Talent Cup, along with the MotoAmerica Championship, will complete the Road to MotoGP for riders across that continent. The support of Aprilia sees a new manufacturer become a key player on the Road to MotoGP, and all our partners will ensure the series is competitive and affordable — removing as many barriers as we can for those who wish to begin a career in racing and ensuring young talent has the best possible stage on which it can shine.”
Rob Dingman – AMA and FIM North America President
“The North America Talent Cup is a perfect complement to MotoAmerica’s development efforts and will provide a critical element to the development of young road racers in North America.”
Wes Cooley, a pioneering force behind the rising popularity of AMA Superbike racing in the 1970s and early ’80s passed away earlier this week at age 65.
Wester Steven Cooley was born in Los Angeles on June 28, 1956, and was a product of the Southern California road racing scene. When he entered his first AMA Superbike Series event at Daytona International Speedway in March of 1976 on a Kawasaki KZ1000, he was a young, hard-charging rider who differed in several ways from the old-school roadracer mentality that had been the norm in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Along with some of his 1970s contemporaries, Cooley helped change the face of the then-new Superbike class by stepping up the level of competition, eventually winning two AMA Superbike Championships in 1979 and 1980. He gave Suzuki its first AMA Superbike title in 1979.
Cooley was also a visitor to Australia and raced at Bathurst in the late 1970s.
In addition to his Superbike exploits, Cooley also made history by becoming the first rider to win an AMA Formula One National on a four-stroke.
Not only did Cooley become a racing icon in America, he was also a legend in Japan for winning the inaugural Suzuka 8-Hour Endurance race in 1978 and again 1980.
In May of 1985 at Sears Point Raceway, Cooley sustained life-threatening injuries in an ugly crash. Cooley made a slow but steady recovery from that horrible accident, and went on to teach in the Team Hammer Advanced Riding School for a few years, eventually earning a nursing degree and working as a medical professional in Idaho. When inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004, he acknowledged that his 1985 accident is what propelled him into the medical field.
Cooley will always be remembered for changing the face of AMA Superbike racing in its formative years, but he was also a fan favorite throughout his racing career, a guy who always took the time to connect with fans.
In 2016, Cooley served as Grand Marshal for the AMA’s Vintage Motorcycle Days and drew an expansive crowd.
Cooley is survived by Melody Rose, his partner of many years, along with son Wes Jr. and daughter Alexis.
MotoAmerica King Of The Baggers Six Rounds In 2022, Including Daytona
Thanks to the rousing success of the debut season of the MotoAmerica King Of The Baggers Championship, MotoAmerica, the home of the premier motorcycle road racing series in North America, is excited to announce an expanded, six-round King Of The Baggers Series for the 2022 season.
Fittingly, the 2022 MotoAmerica King Of The Baggers Championship will kick off during Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Florida, with the Baggers taking to the High Banks of Daytona International Speedway for the first time, March 10-12, in conjunction with the Daytona 200.
From there, the series will head to Georgia and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in Braselton, April 22-24, the site of last year’s thrilling opening round that was won by Indian Motorcycles Tyler O’Hara. The championship will then revisit Road America, the site of last year’s second round, June 3-5, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, a stone’s throw from Harley-Davidson’s headquarters in Milwaukee.
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is where Kyle Wyman wrapped up the 2021 MotoAmerica King Of The Baggers Championship for Harley-Davidson, and the iconic track in Monterey, California, will play host to round four of the series, July 8-10.
The final two rounds of the 2022 series will take place at tracks that are new to the King Of The Baggers – Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minnesota, the home state of Indian Motorcycles, July 29-31, and New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey, September 9-11.
The three-round 2021 MotoAmerica King Of The Baggers Series generated more than 19 million impressions and an engagement of 1.2 million on social media with the races delivering over 1.1 million views and 43,000 total hours of viewing time on YouTube.
“The popularity of last year’s three-round King Of The Baggers Series was such that it left our fans, teams, sponsors, and racers wanting more,” said MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey. “So, we are giving them what they want – a six-race championship held at the three tracks that the Baggers competed on last year with an additional three rounds, including our first visit to Daytona International Speedway, added to the series. We know the 2022 season, which will be MotoAmerica’s eighth as the home to the AMA Superbike Championship, will be as exciting as ever and the expanded King Of The Baggers Championship will be a huge part of that.”
Last year’s King Of The Baggers Championship came down to a fierce battle between Harley-Davidson’s Wyman and Indian’s O’Hara with Wyman winning the decisive final round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to take home the title. Those two will again spearhead the efforts of the Harley-Davidson and Indian factories on their H-D Screamin’ Eagle Road Glide and Mission Foods S&S Cycle Indian Challenger, respectively.
2022 MotoAmerica King Of The Baggers Championship
March 10-12 Daytona International Raceway Daytona Beach, FL
April 22-24 Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta Braselton, GA
June 3-5 Road America Elkhart Lake, WI
July 8-10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Monterey, CA
July 29-31 Brainerd International Raceway Brainerd, MN
September 9-11 New Jersey Motorsports Park Millville, NJ
The 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike championship wrapped up at Barber Motorsports Park over the weekend, with challenging conditions ensuring plenty of spectacle. Jake Gagne’s run of wins was also brought to an end, with Cameron Peterson claiming the Race 1 win, Mathew Scholtz winning Race 2, before Gagne returned to the top step of the podium for the final race of the season.
Jake Lewis also won the Superbike Cup crown for competing on Stock 1000 machinery in the Honos Superbike class.
Sean Dylan Kelly won Race 1 in the Supersport class, with Gabriel Da Silva taking his debut win in the class in Race 2. Jake Lewis meanwhile claimed the final Stock 1000 win, marking his sixth of the season and fourth in a row, to add to the title.
Kaleb De Keyrel brought home the final Twins Cup win of the year, having also already won the championship. Tyler Scott won both Junior Cup races, with Kayla Yaakov becoming the first female rider on the podium since 2018, with second in Race 1.
Honos Superbike Race 1
One of the most dramatic races in AMA Superbike history took place in the rainstorm at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday and it’s one that won’t soon be forgotten, especially if your last name is Petersen, Scholtz or Baz.
Petersen earned his first-career MotoAmerica Superbike win after surviving a crash in the downpour. Mathew Scholtz finished second after surviving a crash in the downpour. Oh, and Loris Baz finished third after also surviving a crash in the downpour. And that translates to the unbelievable fact that all three podium finishers crashed in the same race in which they podiumed for the first time in AMA Superbike history.
Petersen’s first HONOS Superbike win made him the 62nd rider in history to win an AMA Superbike race and the second from South Africa. The win also went a long way to solidifying Petersen’s hold on third in the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship with two races left to run on Sunday.
Petersen also teamed up with Mother Nature to stop Jake Gagne’s win streak at 16 with the newly crowned 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion crashing out of the lead on the second lap, remounting, pitting for repairs, and then ending up 12th.
Petersen and Scholtz battled at the front of the pack after Gagne’s demise. Then Petersen crashed in turn one and Scholtz held court at the front by himself. Then came the fateful 15th lap and Scholtz was down, the South African sliding from the crest of the hill out of turn four all the way down to turn five. He remounted but Petersen had already splashed past and was on his way to victory.
Baz was fortunate to be able to race at all after a crash on Friday left him beaten up with a damaged right wrist. Since he wasn’t able to take part in the qualifying sessions, he was also forced to start from the back row. He charged through the pack and caught the battle between Scholtz and Petersen, before suffering his crash and remounting in ninth place.
From there he charged again and worked his way back to third for his seventh podium finish of the season. The wet conditions made it a bit easier on his injured wrist, but the crash in the race left him with barely a nub for a right footpeg and a right handlebar that was bent almost to the tank.
Fourth place went to Jones Honda’s Ashton Yates on his Stock 1000-spec Honda CBR1000 RR-R, the Georgian earning the first top-five Superbike finish of his career. It also gave him the victory in the Superbike Cup and put a Honda in a top four that featured four different brands of motorcycles – Suzuki, Yamaha, Ducati and Honda.
Jake Lewis was fifth, which earned him the Superbike Cup crown (and the $25,000 that goes with it) for racers riding their Stock 1000-spec motorcycles in the HONOS Superbike races. It was a good day for the Superbike Cup riders with Danny Eslick ending up sixth.
David Anthony was seventh on his Superbike-spec Suzuki GSX-R1000 and less than a second ahead of Hector Barbera. Ninth place went to Josh Herrin, who was another crasher able to remount and finish. Bobby Fong rounded out the top 10.
Honos Superbike Races 2 & 3
Despite horrendous weather, the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Series ended as it should have with Jake Gagne winning a record 17th race to put an exclamation point on a season like no other.
Gagne, who earlier in the season set a record with 13 straight wins, didn’t win his record-extending 17th race in a row in Saturday’s race one, and he didn’t win it in race two on Sunday morning, but he did take that 17th victory in the season finale on Sunday afternoon at Barber Motorsports Park.
Twenty starts, 17 victories, 18 podiums and 445 championship points. That was Gagne’s year with the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha team as they simply scorched the competition in putting together a season that is unprecedented in AMA Superbike history.
The cherry on top is that Gagne’s victory in race three at Barber – the 17th of his season and career – on Sunday put him into a tie with Nicky Hayden for eighth on the all-time AMA Superbike win list.
“What a way to finish the year. Yesterday was chaos. We all threw it down, but I couldn’t get it back up in time. The race earlier today, we weren’t too happy with it. We had some issues and we sorted it out and we were ready to go out there and try to win this thing in race three. Hats off to this team. It’s been an incredible year. Seventeen wins is unbelievable, especially against a field this deep and talented, these amazing teams. These guys are world-class riders. We did our work. We focused on what we needed to focus on and cranked out laps. I gave it my all every single lap of every single race, and it worked out most of the time. I feel blessed and I’m just lucky to have such a great crew, such an amazing motorcycle. I’ve had more fun than ever racing motorcycles, so life is good. It’s going to be nice to have a little break here, but we’ll be back to work and ready to keep fighting with these guys next year. It’s going to be hard to beat that year. Nothing but hard work to come and we’ll just keep chipping away.”
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz had his best weekend of the year, despite crashing out of the lead but remounting to finish second in Saturday’s Mother Nature race. Scholtz made up for his Saturday miscue with his fourth career Superbike victory on Sunday morning (in a race that was stopped a few laps early when a deer ran across the wet track in front of Scholtz) and followed that up with a second-place finish behind Gagne in race three – another wet race – on Sunday afternoon.
Loris Baz was also on the podium in both races on Sunday with a second-place finish in race two in the morning and a third in race three on Sunday afternoon. Baz doesn’t like to do things the easy way and his third-place finish came after a crash early in the race with an impressive fight back through the pack to follow.
With Scholtz, Baz and Gagne owning the podium in both races on Sunday, Saturday’s first-time winner Cameron Petersen was fourth in race two on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki, then crashed in race three, remounted and finished fifth, giving him a 1-4-5 weekend tally.
Jones Honda’s Ashton Yates came close to giving Honda a podium on his CBR1000RR-R in race three, but the Georgian gave up the spot late in the race to the flying Baz. Still, Yates had his best Superbike weekend ever with two fourths and a sixth.
Kyle Wyman ended his season with a sixth in race three to go with a seventh in race two, the New Yorker finishing well clear of Corey Alexander in race three. Bobby Fong had a rough weekend and he ended it with two eighth-place finishes on Sunday. Jake Lewis wrapped up the Superbike Cup on Sunday and picked up his $25,000 check after finishing ninth in race three. Earlier in the day, Lewis had put his Stock 1000-spec GSXR-1000 into fifth.
Gagne’s Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha teammate Josh Herrin erred by fitting slick tires to his Yamaha YZF-R1 in race two and eventually pulled out of the race. On Sunday afternoon, with rain tires fitted, Herrin ended up 10th.
2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship Round 8 – New Jersey Motorsports Park
Images by Brian J. Nelson
Jake Gagne wrapped up the MotoAmerica Superbike championship at New Jersey Motorsports Park, winning three from three races, despite only needing two additional points after his first race win. The victories see him finish the round on 400-points, with Scholtz a comfortable second on 292, while Petersen is third overall.
Gagne winning his 16th race of the season matches the record held jointly by Josh Hayes and Cameron Beaubier for Superbike wins in a single season, while also tying three-time 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey’s mark for career victories.
Sean Dylan Kelly also brought home the Supersport title, winning Race 1 by the smallest of margins, 0.001s, while Sam Lochoff took the Race 2 win. The result saw Dylan Kelly 70-points ahead of his next nearest rival, Escalante, with Lochoff third.
Jake Lewis won the single Stock 1000 race run, while Corey Ventura and Tommaso Marcon shared the Twin wins, with Kaleb De Keyrel bringing home the title in the Aprilia dominated class. Tyler Scott won both Junior races by a large margin, extending his lead over injured Gloddy.
Honos Superbike Race 1
In HONOS Superbike race one on Saturday afternoon, Gagne and his Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha again made a mockery of the rest of the field as he led all 20 laps in winning his 14th straight race by 7.6 seconds. After 15 races, Gagne leads the championship point standings by a whopping 98 points, needing just two points to claim the title.
Only a brave man would bet against Gagne winning his 15th and 16th straight races tomorrow and the Californian doesn’t seem to be willing to let someone else win. Second place on Saturday went to Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, the South African taking the runner-up spot for the fifth time on the season as he solidifies his stranglehold on second in the championship.
Toni Elias had his third outing on the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha and he put it on the podium for the second time, the Spaniard ending up third, some four seconds adrift of Scholtz and just .132 of a second ahead of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong.
Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz finished fifth and some 10 seconds behind Fong after topping the third Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha ridden by the returning Josh Herrin by just .051 of a second.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen was seventh, well clear of One Cure Ducati’s Kyle Wyman who was less than a second ahead of Superbike Cup winner Jake Lewis and his Altus Motorsports Suzuki GSX-R1000. FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ Bradley Ward rounded out the top 10.
Honos Superbike Races 2 & 3
Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s Gagne won both HONOS Superbike races at NJMP on Sunday after winning the lone race on Saturday in MotoAmerica’s Superbike tripleheader. The two wins were his 15th and 16th on the season (those are also his career win marks in the class) and the first victory on Sunday morning is the one that earned him the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike crown.
“Even on the bad years, I’m racing motorcycles. It’s what I love to do. It’s fun. It’s sure a lot more fun when we’ve got a winning motorcycle, a winning team, and we can manage to get some wins. It’s been an incredible year. I wouldn’t have thought going in that we would be 15 wins deep. It’s pretty surreal. Again, hats off to this team because the guys are working so hard, and the bike has been super, super dialed in. We keep trying to go faster. These guys are always chasing us down and we’ve got no choice but to keep trying to go. But it’s amazing. We got another race today, so it hasn’t quite set in yet. We’ve got some work to do this afternoon because I know it’s not going to be easy, so we’ll roll on to race two.”
As he has done all year long, Gagne dominated and again led every single lap of both races en route to the two wins. Gagne has now led 273 consecutive laps in the 2021 season.
The two Superbike podiums on Sunday were identical with Gagne leading Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz and Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s Josh Herrin in both.
For Scholtz it was a solid day as he managed to keep Gagne in sight in both races, finishing 9.5 seconds behind in race two and 6.5 seconds behind in race three.
Herrin, meanwhile, was in his comeback weekend after suffering from COVID-19 that forced him out of two rounds of the series. If Herrin’s life wasn’t hectic enough in the past few months, his wife, Rachel, also gave birth to the couple’s first child this week. He put in a tough day’s work on Sunday, however, and came out on top of two hard-fought battles with Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz.
With Baz finishing fourth in both races, it was M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen who finished fifth in both. Sixth place was different, however, with Scheibe Racing’s Hector Barbera earning the spot in race two and Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s Toni Elias besting the Spaniard for the spot in race three.
One Cure Ducati’s Kyle Wyman ended the day with seventh- and eighth-place finishes with Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis finishing eighth in race two.
Ninth place in race two went to Jones Honda’s Ashton Yates with M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong finishing ninth in race three. Michael Gilbert Racing’s Michael Gilbert was 10th in race two with Tecfil Racing Team’s Danilo Lewis 10th in race three.
Yvon Duhamel, a member of the AMA Hall of Fame Class of 1999 was known for riding the temperamental and brutally fast Kawasaki H2R in AMA road race nationals in the 1970s.
The French-Canadian racer is best known for representing team Kawasaki green and competed in every style of motorcycle racing from motocross and dirt track to road racing and drag racing. He was 81 when he died on August 17.
Duhamel competed in numerous world championship motorcycle races during his active career. His spirit for racing infected his sons, Miguel and Mario, who became renowned road racers during the 1990s, with Miguel winning the AMA Superbike title in 1995 and becoming the all-time leading AMA Superbike race wins leader in 1998.
Born in Montreal on October 17, 1939, Duhamel was an avid bicyclist and established a small shop when he was only 13.
At 15, Duhamel bought his first motorcycle, a 500cc Triumph T-100. At age 17, he began ice racing. By 1959, and at the age of 19, Duhamel began his racing career in earnest on a BSA Gold Star.
By the mid-1960s, Duhamel began competing in the Daytona 200 and the Laconia Classic in New Hampshire. In 1967, Fred Deeley Yamaha offered Duhamel a chance to race at Daytona in the Lightweight (250cc) class on one of the new Yamaha GP bikes. He finished eighth. In 1968 and ’69, Duhamel returned to Daytona and won the Lightweight class both years. He also won the 250cc class at Indianapolis in ’69.
During the 1968 Daytona 200, Duhamel finished second behind Harley-Davidson’s Cal Rayborn and became one of the first two-stroke riders to make a Daytona podium finish. In 1969, he earned the pole in the Daytona 200 with the first-ever qualifying lap above 150 mph.
By the 1970s, Duhamel was considered a road racing specialist and helping to solidify his reputation was the fact that Kawasaki hired him in 1971 to be one of its factory riders. The company was known for making fast, three-cylinder, two-stroke racers, and Kawasaki needed an expert rider to handle the explosive and narrow powerband of the bike. Duhamel proved to be one of the few riders in the world who could tame Kawasaki’s H2R.
Duhamel earned Kawasaki its first AMA national victory in 1971 at Talladega, Ala. From 1971 to 1973, Duhamel was the winningest rider for Kawasaki, earning five national victories for Team Green during that period.
By the mid-1970s, Duhamel was busy racing overseas, competing in the 250cc Grand Prix. He was also a factory world endurance racer who competed in the famous LeMans and Bol d’Or 24-hour endurance races on modified versions of the popular KZ1000 street bike.
In the United States during the mid-1970s, Duhamel won a slew of production races for Kawasaki on its Z-1 in races that would eventually become AMA Superbike. By the late ’70s, Duhamel began to scale back his racing schedule.
Soon, his sons were beginning to get involved in racing and Duhamel gave them full support. While Duhamel never completely retired from racing, Yvon, Mario and Miguel Duhamel competed together in the 1988, 24-hour world championship endurance race in Bol d’Or. The three became the first father-and-sons team to compete in that event. During the mid-1990s, Duhamel returned to racing in the AMA Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster Series. He earned a few top-10 finishes, proving that he could still be competitive, even in his 50s.
Jake Gagne’s domination of the MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike season continued at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex, claiming his 12th straight victory on Saturday, to kick off the weekend in style, after qualifying on pole.
As is the norm for the runaway championship points leader, Gagne hit the front from pole position, was never headed, and ended up crossing the finish line 11.3 seconds over second place.
“It went really smooth for me,” Gagne said. “I could tell there was a bit of drama behind me. There were those laps where my pit board would grow all of a sudden. After yesterday, we had a lot of weird weather and I think we all were kind of caught by surprise at how hot the track was. When these Dunlops get that hot, they almost don’t last quite as long as you think. I had a couple moments there. I was trying everything I could to try to break that gap. If I got off the first lap in first, I had to try to go because I know these guys are coming. I knew they were going to be close in the race, looking at times. I had just a couple tenths here and there, really, but come race time anything can change. So, I had to be ready for these guys to be right on my neck. But it was a smooth race. I saw, like I said, there was some drama behind me, and I could kind of just inch away a little bit. Half second here, half second there. But this is the type of track, even though I had a nice lead right there, not too far in the beginning, you can’t lollygag around. You can’t let up, because that’s when something bad happens, especially this place. It is tricky. It can catch you out. So, I just tried to keep my zone and focus and at the same time kind of try to think what we can do a little bit better tomorrow, because these boys are going to be coming. They don’t want to finish second or third. Hopefully, we’ll keep the progress going. Hats off to this team because Yamaha 1, 2, 3 is amazing. It shows how awesome these boys are rolling.”
It takes a lot for someone to overshadow 12 wins in a row, but on a sunny Saturday at Pitt Race, Toni Elias came pretty close to doing just that. In just his second race of the year and his first-ever outing on a Yamaha YZF-R1, Elias came off the couch to finish second on Josh Herrin’s Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha. Elias, who first threw his leg over the Yamaha on Friday, slotted in behind his temporary teammate Gagne and finished there.
Elias ended up some three seconds ahead of Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz. The South African had survived a hectic first lap with nemesis Loris Baz, the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York-backed Frenchman slamming into Scholtz at least twice in the first handful of corners. Baz would come under attack from M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen straight away with France clashing with South Africa for a third time in three corners. On the third lap, Baz was gone after crashing out of third place.
From there, Petersen held the spot for a few laps before being passed by Scholtz, who would hold on to third for the rest of the race with Petersen finishing fourth.
With Petersen fourth, fifth place went to a lonely Scheibe Racing BMW’s Hector Barbera with the Spaniard 17.9 seconds behind Petersen and eight seconds ahead of Panera Bread Ducati’s Kyle Wyman in sixth. FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ Bradley Ward was seventh and M4 ECSTAR Bobby Fong was eighth after starting the race on pit lane and finishing lap one in 26th place.
Ninth place went to Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis, the Kentuckian winning the Superbike Cup race in the process as the top finishing Stock 1000. Hayden Gillim, in his first Superbike race of the year on the Franklin Armory/Disrupt Racing Suzuki, was 10th overall and second in the Superbike Cup.
Honos Superbike Race 2
Call it what you will: Lucky 13 or a baker’s dozen. It matters not. What matters is that Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s Jake Gagne continued his complete and utter domination of the 2021 MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike Series with his 13th successive win today at Pittsburgh International Race Complex.
But this one was closer. After besting his teammate-for-the-weekend Toni Elias on Saturday by 11.3 seconds, things got a bit tighter on Sunday for Gagne as Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz cut that gap in half, ending up 5.7 seconds behind the runaway championship leader.
“Yesterday, I know there was a lot of drama behind me, and I got through a lot faster than I should have compared to the pace that these guys had,” Gagne said after win number 13. “I knew it was going to be closer today. I got off to another good start. Put my head down for a couple laps. I think it was when Mat (Scholtz) finally got into second place, there were two laps or three laps where my pit board was dropping. I was like, ‘Oh, man. He’s pushing me. I got to go.’ I had to drop the times back and drop off a couple 10ths. When I had two or three seconds, it’s still enough to where I can’t do anything crazy, can’t make any mistakes, just hit my marks. I had fun. I love this track, so I’m happy we came out of here with some great results. I had a lot of fun. We had a good turnout. These boys don’t make it easy. We have a little bit of a cushion, and it looks easy, but it’s not easy. One little mishap and we could be off, and these boys could be right there with us. I know we’ve only got two rounds left, six races, so it will be battle royale. I know these guys want to win. I know we want to win, too. So, I’m looking forward to battling it out. I know we’ve been really fortunate this year to have a lot of wins. It’s pretty surreal. It will be a hard-fought last six races and these guys know. I know they’re ready for the fight. I think we’re all looking forward to it.”
Scholtz, who had made some tweaks to his Yamaha after Saturday’s third-place finish, started strong and was behind Elias until making a pass on the Spaniard and then doing his best to set off after the always fast-starting Gagne.
Third place went to M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong, the three-time HONOS Superbike winner a year ago earning just his third podium of what has been a difficult season for the Californian.
After finishing second in his Yamaha debut on Saturday, Elias slipped to fourth on Sunday, capping off a highly successful weekend in just his second weekend of racing in 2021. Elias ended up some nine seconds behind Fong and five seconds in front of Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz, the Frenchman rebounding from a crash in Saturday’s race to finish fifth.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen was a lonely sixth, well clear of Scheibe Racing BMW’s Hector Barbera with the Spaniard beating Panera Bread Ducati’s Kyle Wyman on the last lap dash to the flag by just .117 of a second.
Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis was ninth and the first of the Superbike Cup riders, the Kentuckian beating his neighbor Hayden Gillim by two seconds with Gillim rounding out the top 10 in his first Stock 1000 race of the year.
Gagne’s 13th career HONOS Superbike victory puts him in a tie for 15th on the all-time AMA Superbike win list with Blake Young and Doug Polen. The win also gives him a 93-point lead over Scholtz in the championship point standings, 325-232. Petersen is third with 184 points, 19 ahead of his teammate Fong. Baz rounds out the top five with 149, just four points more than the absent Josh Herrin.
Jake Gagne made history on Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway, the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha man racing to his 11th straight MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike win to break 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 at the season-opener at Road Atlanta in May, the Californian suffered an engine failure in race one, but he hasn’t lost since.
“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. I’ve got a great crew, great crew chief, everybody. With Corndog (Jon Cornwell, his crew chief), with Richard (Stanboli, the team owner) with Darin (Marshall, his electronics man) at home, with Mike (Canfield) and Walker (Jemison) on the bike. We’re all in a good place. We’re all having fun racing motorcycles. We’re trying to enjoy it. We’ve had a lot of great days throughout this year, but we know anything can happen. These guys are coming. They’re getting closer and closer. Thursday and Friday we were still fast, but it wasn’t the bike that I had all year. So yesterday we kind of changed some stuff up and it felt more like my bike again. I was just fortunate I got off to a good start. I was spinning the rear tire all the way into turn one. It was weird having pole position on the inside, so you’re entering that turn one from the inside on the dirty stuff and that thing was just bucking me. I managed to get a good couple laps in there and was just keeping an eye on my pit board. Hats off to the Yamaha Fresh N’ Lean Attack team because this is awesome. I’m trying not to think about any streak or how many wins we got or whatever. This weekend is behind us. Now we’ve got to go to Pittsburgh and get to work because it’s going to get tougher and tougher.”
Scholtz closed out a successful weekend in AMA Superbike racing’s return to Brainerd International Raceway with his third- and second-place finishes in Minnesota.
“It’s always nice to be up on the podium, especially after struggling around three and four, four and five. Laguna Seca it was nice to kind of get up on the podium there. Then to come and get two really good podiums, fighting guys and actually showing that I have the pace to be back up here, that was awesome. I just need to try to work on the first couple laps because I’m just struggling. I kind of suck in the first four or five laps. I have no feeling. I’m slipping and sliding everywhere. I feel like the front is just pushing. I think that Bobby (Fong) was following Jake (Gagne). He pulled away big time. Cameron (Beaubier) passed me. I was struggling, and then (Loris) Baz passed me and I kind of thought, ‘this guy started in 10th and he’s passing me. I’ve got to do something.’ So, I started kind of pushing a little bit harder than I should have. Took one or two chances, but then kind of settled into a decent rhythm from there. I could see when I was fighting Baz, like he said, there were a couple corners that I would catch him a lot and there were a couple corners where he was pulling me a lot, too. So, we were kind of going backwards and forwards lots. Then one of the laps, out of corner six we got a pretty decent drive and got within a bike length of two of Loris going into the carousel corner. He went a little bit wider than he usually did, so I kind of thought this was my chance and I dove up there. In corner three, maybe corner six, 12, all the corners where you would normally think about passing someone, Loris was an absolute animal braking late. He would pull four or five bikes every single time. So, I kind of knew that I had to figure out something somewhere else. Just happy to be back up here in second place kind of where we should be. I think the last couple laps I was with the same pace as what Jake was. Just need to figure out those first couple laps and work on those two, three, four outright laps of just pushing.”
Baz rebounded from a bad day at the office on Saturday in race one, the Frenchman crashing out on the second lap of the race and destroying his Ducati Panigale V4 R. Baz had to go to the backup bike for Sunday and he came through from 10th on the grid to finish third.
“Yeah, not so bad, especially after the disaster yesterday. I’m still very angry with what happened yesterday. It was completely unprofessional. I’m just happy that we are alive with Jake (Gagne), because it was really scary the first laps. Then as you said, you try to put it behind. You go on your backup bike. We had some issue in the warmup. Some sensors were not working, so we could not make everything we wanted. So, I was just crossing the fingers that everything worked for the race. The mechanics from the Warhorse HSBK Racing team did an amazing job. Like you said, the frame was cut in two parts, the swingarm broken, everything was dead. So, they had to put another bike together. I did a pretty good start. I wanted to try to get to P2 as soon as possible. As I expected, when I was P2, Jake was already far away. Then I just tried to save a little bit my tires. We had a battle with Mathew (Scholtz), which was really nice. I was behind him. He was stronger in a couple of places, like Mathew said, then I was stronger in all the second section. I think two laps to go I found the place where I wanted to try something in the last lap but going into the carousel, I had a neutral, and if you go straight here you get a five-second penalty so I did everything I could just to stay on the track. I lost much but hats off to them. They did an amazing job. I just want to thank my team a lot and the Ducati guys, Paolo Ciabatti who came this weekend. We did a really good job to make the V4 working better and better over those kind of tracks, really bumpy. We were much stronger than we were at the test. So, we go on again for the next one. Try to improve again.”
Next up was M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong, the Californian looking like he would repeat Saturday’s second-place finish until an off-track excursion pushed him down the order. He fought back, however, passing his teammate Cameron Petersen in the closing laps for fourth place.
Petersen was fifth, some three seconds clear of Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s fill-in rider JD Beach with the full-time flat track racer impressing everyone in the paddock with his weekend after not racing a Superbike in two years. Beach was faster in Sunday’s race than he was in Saturday’s as he improved in every session and every race as his comfort level increased.
Scheibe Racing BMW’s Hector Barbera finished behind Beach, the Spaniard suffering early on with an off-track excursion.
As he was on Saturday, Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis was the top Superbike Cup racer, finishing eighth on his Stock 1000-spec Suzuki GSX-R1000.
FLY Racing/ADR Motorsports’ Bradley Ward completed his return-from-injury weekend to finish ninth with HONOS HVMC Racing’s Corey Alexander rounding out the top 10.
Jake Gagne made it 10 race wins in a row in the 2021 MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike Championship on Saturday, but this one was different. Gagne crashed and still managed to win the first AMA Superbike race held at BIR in 17 years.
Leading the race on the second lap, Gagne crashed in front of the pack and was stuck in the middle of the track as the field motored by on both sides. He finally ran to safety and, with his bike still on track, a red flag was thrown, stopping the race. Fortunately for Gagne, his Yamaha suffered only minor damage and he was able to ride back to the hot pit for repairs prior to the restart.
From there it was typical Gagne as he grabbed the lead and pulled away, ultimately besting M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong by 4.675 seconds to win his 10th race of the year and extending his championship points lead to 74 points. The win, which was also the 10th of his career, moves him into a tie with Mike Baldwin for 19th on the all-time AMA Superbike win list.
Jake Gagne – P1
“That was the highest my heart rate has probably been in a while. We sat on the grid for a long time both times. I know we were all kind of wondering what was going on. I know there was a crash on the warmup lap or the sighting lap. I saw the guy right next to me in the grass go flying by. So, that was just a weird start. I know all our tires were a little cold there at the beginning. I think with that quick of a heat fluctuation, you put so much heat in these tires in turn one and two especially, so from going that cool… I even spun the tire off the line, which I’ve never done in my life. I just lit it up. So, it was just weird. It caught me by surprise. I went into turn three and was barely on the gas. The thing came around on me and I just kept going. I was wondering if it was going to highside me. Luckily, it didn’t. I just kind of lowsided and then I’m sitting there in the middle of the track watching Superbikes fly at me. Luckily, everybody is looking ahead. We can see something is going on, so nothing bad happened. I’m just fortunate that that Yamaha slid. We bent a little lever. We had to mess around with the bars. The only thing that was wrong, we were just a little tweaked during the race, but it was totally fine. Hats off to the team because they hustled. We got that bike together right in the nick of time to get back out for pit lane. Again, thanks to Alpinestars for protecting me. I had a long slide, and the bike was really just sliding on top of me, so it was like digging my butt in the ground. We got a new suit on and went out there and did it again. So, I’m pumped I got another good start. I knew these guys were coming. Tomorrow will be another show. I know it’s tightening up every time. We’ve just got to keep doing our thing and focusing on our part.”
For Fong the race ended a podium drought that dates back to the very first race of the year at Road Atlanta in May. The battle for third was fought out between the two South Africans – Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz and M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen.
At the completion of the 15-lap race it was Scholtz grabbing third for his seventh podium of the year, though it still allowed Gagne to pull farther away in the title chase. Gagne now leads Scholtz by a whopping 74 points, 250-176. Petersen, meanwhile, made a big move to third in the championship, moving past Josh Herrin, who missed the race after testing positive for COVID-19.
Petersen held on for fourth, some 2.5 seconds behind Scholtz and 14.2 seconds ahead of fifth-placed Hector Barbera on the Scheibe Racing BMW.
JD Beach battled early in the race with Barbera but ended up sixth on the second Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha in his replacement ride for Herrin.
Altus Motorsports’ Jake Lewis was seventh and that put him at the top of the Superbike Cup, a class within a class for those riding Stock 1000-spec motorcycles in the HONOS Superbike race.
Franklin Armory/Andrew Lee Racing’s Andrew Lee was eighth on his Stock 1000-spec Kawasaki ZX-10R ahead of FLY Racing/ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony and his teammate Bradley Ward with the Suzuki-mounted pair finishing ninth and 10th, respectively.
Notable among the non-finishers was Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York’s Loris Baz with the Frenchman crashing out of the race on the second lap with his Ducati Panigale V4 R too damaged to repair for the restart.