MotoAmerica invades NJMP with Gagne set to claim title
Jake Gagné can clinch the MotoAmerica title in New Jersey this weekend, September 10-12
IRVINE, CA (September 8, 2021) – If things go like this throughout the season, Jake Gagné will be crowned 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike champion after the second of three HONOS Superbike races at New Jersey Motorsports Park on Sunday morning.
With three HONOS Superbike races scheduled for the penultimate round at the NJMP (one Saturday, two Sunday), there are 75 points up for grabs in New Jersey. Ditto for the season finale at Barber Motorsports Park, from September 17 to 19, where three other Superbike races will take place and therefore 75 other points available. It’s 150 points. After the first race on Saturday at NJMP, that number drops to 125, and on Sunday it becomes 100 and then 75 as the series heads south.
The gist is this: Gagné is currently 93 points ahead of Scholtz in the title race, 325-232. If Gagné wins the first race on Saturday and Scholtz finishes second, Gagné leads by 98 and it would take 100 points to win. If he wins the second race on Sunday morning and Scholtz is second, the lead is 103 points and Gagné can rejoice. Obviously, if Gagné wins and Scholtz finishes worse than second, that all changes in favor of the Yamaha Fresh N ‘Lean Attack Performance rider.
But first, we run. After 14 of 20 races, the HONOS Superbike Series arrives in Garden State with Gagne in charge and poised to make history. Three more wins out of the remaining six races and Gagné will tie Cameron Beaubier and Josh Hayes for the record 16 AMA Superbike wins in one season. Based on the season so far, it would be difficult to bet against Gagné who ends the season with 19 wins out of 20 starts. Unbelievable.
Scholtz of Westby Racing and Cameron Petersen of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki are the only riders in the HONOS Superbike category who were not mathematically eliminated before the NJMP round. Scholtz had a great, consistent little season for himself and the team and he is still the only rider other than Gagné to win a heat. This happened in the very first race of the year at Road Atlanta when Gagné’s YZF-R1 failed him on the first lap. Scholtz has nine podiums on top of that one win and remains the only, albeit slight, threat to Gagné’s title hopes.
Petersen has had an exceptional year on the Suzuki M4 ECSTAR in his first year in the HONOS Superbike class on a true Superbike and the non-reigning Stock 1000 champion sits a fairly solid third place in the series standings. Petersen has four podiums in total but has entered five races without placing in the top three.
Petersen’s teammate Bobby Fong had a rough patch mid-season but turned the tide with two podium finishes in the last four races. Fong is 19 points behind Petersen in fourth position and 16 ahead of Loris Baz, fifth in Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York.
Baz’s rookie season in MotoAmerica was marred by five non-finishes and marked by six podiums, including four second behind Gagne, a number that corresponds to second place for Scholtz.
With four consecutive non-starts, Josh Herrin arrives in New Jersey sixth in the title race and a whopping 180 points behind his Yamaha Fresh N ‘Lean Attack Performance teammate, Gagné. With COVID-19 behind him, Herrin is hoping for late-season success, starting with NJMP. Herrin is just four points behind Baz.
21 points behind Herrin is Scheibe Racing BMW’s Hector Barbera, the Spaniard seventh in his first MotoAmerica season. Barbera has been consistent with finishes between fifth and eighth place in every round he has completed, and he has only one DNF on his record.
Jake Lewis of Altus Motorsports, the first of those fighting for the MotoAmerica Superbike Cup which goes to the best rider in the Stock 1000 class, is eighth in the overall standings, giving him 14 points ahead of Travis Wyman of Travis Wyman Racing. $ 25,000 bonus paid by the Superbike Cup.
Panera Bread Ducati’s Kyle Wyman completes the top 10 in the HONOS Superbike points standings with the New Yorker missing six races due to a broken elbow sustained during the Road America round in June.
Corey Alexander of HONOS HVMC Racing is 11th overall and 19 points behind Lewis in the Superbike Cup standings.
The first of three HONOS Superbike races will take place on Saturday at 3 p.m. On Sunday, the two races will take place at 11:10 am and 3:00 pm.
NJMP Superbike Notes…
Seven different riders have won AMA Superbike races at New Jersey Motorsports Park during the series’ 12-year history in the Garden State and only two of them will race this weekend. Ironically, those two will be teammates for the weekend – Fresh N ‘Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s Josh Herrin (two wins) and Toni Elias (three wins).
By far the most successful AMA Superbike rider at the NJMP is Josh Hayes. Hayes, who is currently a rider coach in the MotoAmerica paddock, has won 11 of the 26 Superbike races held at the NJMP. Fittingly, Hayes won the first two Superbike races held at the NJMP in 2009 and followed with two more victories in 2010. In fact, the four-time AMA Superbike champion won seven of the first eight races held in New Jersey. Hayes also won the first two Superbike races of the MotoAmerica era at the NJMP in 2015.
Five-time AMA Superbike champion Cameron Beaubier won both HONOS Superbike races last year at the NJMP for his fifth and sixth career Superbike victories in New Jersey. Beaubier, now competing in the Moto2 World Championship, edged out Mathew Scholtz in race one last year and his then-teammate Jake Gagne in race two. Toni Elias finished third in race one and Scholtz won the final podium in race two.
With 13 successive AMA Superbike wins in the NJMP round, championship leader Jake Gagné is now tied for 14th on the all-time wins list with Blake Young and Doug Polen. A victory in New Jersey this weekend would drop Gagné to tie for 12th with Scott Russell and Eddie Lawson. If Gagné won all three races this weekend, he would climb to ninth place all-time and that will put him on par with MotoAmerica president Wayne Rainey on the win list. Rainey will be attending the NJMP this weekend. The all-time leader in AMA Superbike is Mat Mladin with 82 career wins.
Stat of the Week: Believe it or not, Jake Gagné has led every round of the HONOS Superbike class since the ninth round of the second race of the opening round at Road Atlanta. In total, Gagné has now led 213 consecutive laps.
Cameron Beaubier holds the NJMP Superbike lap record of 2.25 miles, the Californian setting a record of 1: 19.806 to claim pole position in the Superpole session. The fastest lap in a race last year was Beaubier 1: 20.310 from the first race.
Much to his dismay, we talk about it every year: Roger Hayden, who has won the NJMP twice during his Superbike career, has finished second on five occasions. Among those five second places were a loss of 0.044 to Josh Hayes in 2015, 0.156 to Toni Elias in 2016 and 0.039 to Elias in 2017. Hayden is currently excelling in his field. full-color commentary on MotoAmerica’s races on MotoAmerica Live +, the show’s live and on-demand platform.