It’s highly likely based on results from the previous seven rounds that the first of the five MotoAmerica Champions will be crowned this weekend in the Championship of Pittsburgh at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex. That rider is JD Beach.
Monster Energy/Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha’s Beach has a 100-point lead on Rickdiculous Racing’s Hayden Gillim with three rounds (six races) to go in the MotoAmerica Supersport Series, including this weekend’s two races in the Championship of Pittsburgh. After Sunday’s second race at PittRace, there will be two rounds and four races and 100 points up for grabs. So, if Beach leaves Pennsylvania at least 100 points ahead of Gillim he will be unbeatable in the title chase and, thus, crowned as the 2018 MotoAmerica Supersport Champion.
Beach got to this point by putting together a near-perfect-so-far 2018 season of racing. The 2015 MotoAmerica Supersport Champion comes to Pittsburgh with nine wins out of 11 races – and he finished second in the two races he didn’t win. The win total of nine in a single season is one more than Beach’s best from previous years, the Kentucky resident winning eight races in both 2015 (his championship year) and 2016 (runner-up to Garrett Gerloff). Beach also leads the way in Supersport victories amongst current MotoAmerica racers with 30 wins.
The two men who have beaten Beach this year will pose the biggest threat to stopping him from wrapping up the title this weekend: Gillim and M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Valentin Debise. Debise finished ahead of Beach in both races at PittRace last year, with the Frenchman finishing second to eventual class champion Garrett Gerloff in both races while Beach was third both times out.
In the headline Motul Superbike class, the championship is being led by Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cameron Beaubier, the Californian returning to the round that ended his season a year ago. Beaubier, who won the first race at Pittsburgh International Race Complex last year, suffered a shoulder injury in race two that required surgery and forced him out for the rest of the 2017 season.
But this year has been a complete turnaround for Beaubier and the two-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion comes to Pittsburgh with a big lead in the title chase as he eyes his third Motul Superbike title.
With his two dominating wins at the previous round at Sonoma Raceway in Northern California, Beaubier now has seven wins on the year – and those seven victories have come in the last eight races. The result is a 63-point lead over defending Motul Superbike Champion Toni Elias, the Spaniard having dominated the first part of the season with five wins in the first six rounds. Elias has six wins on the season and he won the second race at Pittsburgh last year.
Third place in the Motul Superbike Championship is held by Attack Performance/Herrin Compound’s Josh Herrin, the Georgian now 24 points ahead of Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, the only rider other than Beaubier and Elias to win a Motul Superbike race in 2018. Herrin has been on the podium seven times, including both races two weeks ago in California.
Scholtz is just six points better than Beaubier’s Yamaha teammate Garrett Gerloff, the Texan enjoying a solid rookie season that has seen him visit the podium on four occasions.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis is sixth in the title chase, the Kentuckian earning his first podium of the year in the Championship of Utah in July. Lewis is 27 points ahead of KWR’s Kyle Wyman, the New Yorker who both owns and races in his team looking to hold off Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden for seventh. Hayden, who has announced that he will retire at season’s end, is seven points behind Wyman after struggling with un-Hayden like results at the start of the season.
Scheibe Racing BMW’s Danny Eslick and Fly Street Racing’s David Anthony are ninth and 10th, respectively, in the title chase.
With Cameron Petersen nursing a foot injury suffered at Sonoma Raceway, Bobby Fong will ride the lone Honda in the field as he makes his debut with the Genuine Broaster Chicken team.
KTM Orange Brigade/JP43 Training’s Alex Dumas has seen his Liqui Moly Junior Cup Championship lead shrink to just 27 points after he crashed out of race one at Sonoma Raceway. The French Canadian rebounded to finish second to MP13 Racing’s Cory Ventura in race two, but his closest rival in the title chase – Ashton Yates – was third after winning race one when Dumas crashed.
Dumas, who has six wins in 2018, won both KTM RC Cup (which is now Liqui Moly Junior Cup) races at Pittsburgh International Race Complex last year – the first two wins of his MotoAmerica career. Yates, who is second in the title chase heading to Pittsburgh, has won three races so far in 2018.
Ventura, with his first victory of the season coming at the recent Sonoma round, sits third in the title chase – 57 points behind Dumas. KTM Orange Brigade/Ghilliman Racing’s Sean Ungvarsky and AGVSport America/MonkeyMoto’s Jay Newton sit fourth and fifth in the championship and are separated by just a single point.
Ghetto Custom’s Chris Parrish has been traveling around the country chasing the first-ever MotoAmerica Twins Cup Championship and he often finds himself battling someone new at every round. Parrish, a model of consistency with two wins and four second-place finishes so far this season, holds down a 34-point lead over Altus Motorsports’ Jason Madama, 130-96, as those two have been the main protagonists in the new class. The only riders to win the class other than Parrish (two wins) and Madama (two wins) are on-off class racers Xavier Zayat (VIRginia International Raceway) and Jeffrey Tigert (Sonoma Raceway).
The other new class for 2018 is Stock 1000 and that championship is being led by RiderzLaw Racing’s Andrew Lee, the Californian winning his first race of the season two weeks ago at his home track of Sonoma Raceway. Prior to that, Lee had finished second in the other four rounds. Lee is now 30 points clear of two-time race winner Travis Wyman and his Weir Everywhere Racing BMW S 1000 RR. Chad Lewin, who won his first-ever MotoAmerica race in Utah and finished second at Sonoma, is third in the title chase and is entered on his Team Lewin Estates Yamaha R1 again at Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh International Race Complex Fast Facts
The MotoAmerica Series visited the 2.78-mile track at Pittsburgh International Race Complex for the first time last year and the track, which was built in 2014 and features eight left-hand corners and 11 right-handers, proved to be a popular venue for riders, teams and MotoAmerica fans.
Roger Hayden earned the first-ever Motul Superbike pole position at PittRace last year, the Yoshimura Suzuki rider besting the rest in Superpole with his lap of 1:40.192. That was .338 of a second faster than his teammate Toni Elias’ 1:40.530. Jake Lewis, meanwhile, put his Superstock 1000 spec M4 ECSTAR Suzuki on the front row with his 1:40.677.
The two Motul Superbike races in Wampum were won by Cameron Beaubier and Roger Hayden, with Beaubier suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in race two.
With his two victories at Sonoma Raceway, Cameron Beaubier now has 33 AMA Superbike victories which puts him fourth on the all-time list and just two wins away from third-placed Miguel Duhamel. Mat Mladin is the all-time winningest AMA Superbike racer with 82 career victories.
Earlier in the season, Toni Elias became the fastest rider to get to the 20 AMA Superbike win mark. Now with 22 wins, Elias is now sixth on the all-time win list. Elias also gave Suzuki its 200th victory in AMA Superbike racing.
Three riders have won Motul Superbike races this season: Beaubier (7), Elias (6) and Mathew Scholtz (1). Three riders have won Supersport races: JD Beach (9), Hayden Gillim (1) and Valentin Debise (1). Four riders have won Liqui Moly Junior Cup races: Alex Dumas (6), Ashton Yates (3), Renzo Ferreira (1) and Cory Ventura (1). Four riders have won Stock 1000 races: Travis Wyman (2), Andrew Lee (1), Shane Richardson (1) and Chad Lewin (1). Four riders have won Twins Cup races: Chris Parrish (2), Jason Madama (2), Xavier Zayat (1) and Jeffrey Tigert (1).
French Canadian Alex Dumas won both of the KTM RC Cup races at Pittsburgh International Race Complex and they were the first two wins of his MotoAmerica career. The spec-class KTM RC Cup has since turned into the Liqui Moly Junior Cup, which is now open to all brands of motorcycles. Dumas hasn’t slowed down since taking his first two wins in Pittsburgh a year ago and he now leads the new Liqui Moly Junior Cup Championship coming into PittRace.
Garrett Gerloff was another who won both of his races at PittRace last year. Gerloff swept to wins in both Supersport races en route to capturing his second class championship. Gerloff is now a teammate to Cameron Beaubier in the factory Yamaha Superbike team.
Bobby Fong and Mathew Scholtz split wins in the now-defunct Superstock 1000 class last year. Both of those riders have now graduated to the Motul Superbike class for 2018.