Toni Elias claimed the Saturday Superbike win at Laguna Seca, with Garrett Gerloff and Cameron Beaubier completing the podium, to kick off the weekend. Sunday would see Gerloff claim the Race 2 win, with a 4.449-second lead over championship leader Elias, with third places Beaubier now has a 39-point deficit to contend with.
Supersport saw a single race for the weekend, run on Sunday, where Bobby Fong took the win from PJ Jacobsen and Richie Escalante, with a crash by standings leader Gillim catapaulting Fong to an 18-point lead.
Andrew Lee claimed the Stock 1000 race win, while Kaleb DeKeyrel came out on top in the Twins Cup. Rocco Landers continued his domination of the Liqui Moly Junior Cup class, with another win.
Toni Elias may not have led any of the practice or qualifying sessions at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, but he led the only thing that paid points on Saturday as the Spaniard raced to his sixth EBC Brakes Superbike win of the season in the Championship of Monterey.
Elias won a battle between himself and the Yamaha Factory Racing duo of Garrett Gerloff and Cameron Beaubier, the Texan getting the better of his three-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion teammate Beaubier to finish second, and .778 of a second behind Elias.
With Elias winning and Beaubier finishing third, the points gap has grown to 35 points, 226-191, heading into Sunday’s second of two EBC Brakes Superbike races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“I’m happy. My team did an amazing job. My family is here. My son is here. It’s his first race ever for him. Thirty-five points now in the lead of the championship, but as you all know, you can’t get too comfortable. Mistakes can happen. You’ve got to stay calm. There’s still many, many races to go. Today has been a really good race but doesn’t mean anything tomorrow. These guys will improve some details. The championship is so long, and many things will happen. My championship lead had some advantage riding in one race in MotoAmerica, and then in the corner of the race I crashed. So, I lost almost everything. But we are increasing it again, so that’s good. Let’s keep doing every race like this, keep going, working like this. We are doing a great job.”
Gerloff finished on the podium for the eighth time this season and for the seventh race in a row. It was also his third runner-up finish of the year as he searches for his first career Superbike win. Beaubier was visibly disappointed with third place and his ninth podium finish of the season.
Herrin crashed after making contact with Beaubier, the Georgian battling for the lead at the time. Fourth place went to JD Beach, the Kentucky resident in the mix at the front until the closing laps. He finished 7.8 seconds behind Elias but was well clear of Jake Lewis, the Kentuckian racing to fifth all alone.
David Anthony was sixth, narrowly topping Cameron Petersen. Sam Verderico, Jeremy Coffey and Max Flinders rounded out the top 10 finishers. In addition to Herrin, Mathew Scholtz, Jayson Uribe and Kyle Wyman all crashed out of the race. Uribe and Wyman went down together in turn two on the opening lap with Wyman suffering a suspected broken wrist.
Superbikes Race 2
Garrett Gerloff fulfilled a life-long dream in the Championship of Monterey on Sunday, the 23-year-old Texan winning the first MotoAmerica Superbike race of his career in front of a record crowd at Laguna Seca.
In what was his 32nd career Superbike race in his sophomore season in the class, Gerloff was dominant. The two-time Supersport Champion was second off the start behind Toni Elias, made the pass early, and was never headed, pulling away to a 4.449 second win.
With Gerloff, who earned his second career Superbike pole position on Saturday, riding off into the sunset, the battle for second was just that. A battle. The protagonists were Toni Elias and Cameron Beaubier, and the pair exchanged body blows to the bitter end with Elias coming out on top by just .326 of a second after 23 laps of the 2.2-mile track.
“It feels so good, I was telling the TV earlier, I know it’s just a race win and these guys get wins all the time and I used to, but I haven’t for a while. There’s been a lot of emotions the past year and a half, getting used to the Superbike and everything. These guys haul ass everywhere. It’s tough, stiff competition out there. It’s been a long road. There’s been a lot of ups and downs. To finally get it and to do it here even more in front of the World Superbike guys and everything, it’s just something that I’ve wanted for so long, something that’s been on my bucket list forever. When I started racing, I was watching the MotoAmerica guys, AMA guys back in the day. That was one of the things that I wanted to accomplish in my life. To finally say that I got just one win, it just feels awesome. I’m ecstatic, for sure.”
The second-place finish for Elias may not have been a win on the day, but it was as far as the championship goes as he now leads Beaubier by 39 points, 246-207. Gerloff, meanwhile, is third in the series standings with 181 points after his first career Superbike victory. Beaubier was third for the second day in a row after controlling most of practice and qualifying.
Fourth place went Elias’ Suzuki teammate Josh Herrin, the Georgian in the mix for second place early in the race before fading back to the clutches of JD Beach, the Kentuckian beaten up from a morning crash in the first of two World Superbike races on Sunday. Herrin was able to beat Beach to the line by some two seconds.
Mathew Scholtz rebounded from a race crash yesterday to finish sixth today, the South African holding off Jake Gagne at the finish. Jake Lewis was eighth with Cameron Petersen and Jayson Uribe rounding out the top 10 finishers.