Gagne Turns The Tables To Win Steel Commander Superbike Race Two At Road Atlanta

Gagne Turns The Tables To Win Steel Commander Superbike Race Two At Road AtlantaAttack Performance Yamaha’s Jake Gagne turned the tables on the Steel Commander Superbike field on Sunday at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta with the three-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion withstanding the constant pressure applied by the Tytlers Cycle Racing duo of Cameron Beaubier and JD Beach to take his first win of the season.

On Saturday, it was Beaubier winning the first race of the new season at Road Atlanta with Gagne right on his tail. On Sunday, the positions changed with Beaubier unable to find a way past the Yamaha on the final lap. Gagne’s margin of victory over Beaubier was just .119 of a second.

For Gagne the win was the 41st AMA Superbike win of his career, and it came in dicey conditions with the entire field on full rain tires after wet weather lashed down on the track in Braselton for most of the day.

Third place went to an emotional Cameron Petersen with the South African getting on the podium after a difficult off-season rehabbing from surgery on his badly broken right wrist. There were times when Petersen wasn’t certain that his career would continue so the emotion of racing again and finishing on the podium was overwhelming.

Beach ended up fourth after reeling in Gagne and then battling with and leading the defending champion prior to a high-speed crash and slide through the wet grass in Road Atlanta’s iconic esses. Beach was quickly on his feet and running to his bike, which was on the other side of the track. He got the bike restarted and turned in the right direction and was back on the attack, eventually working his way up to fourth place.

Fifth went to Superbike class rookie Sean Dylan Kelly, giving the Floridian fourth- and fifth-place finishes in his debut in MotoAmerica’s premier class on the TopPro Racing BMW.

Real Steel Motorsports’ Hayden Gillim recovered from an off-track excursion to finish sixth, some 10 seconds behind Kelly and ahead of Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati’s Loris Baz with the Frenchman still hurting from his Saturday crash.

Visit Indiana/Tom Wood Powersports’ Nolan Lamkin, Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati’s Josh Herrin and Wrench Motorcycles Bobby Fong rounded out the top 10.

After the opening two races in the championship, Gagne and Beaubier are tied with 45 points apiece. Kelly is third with 24 points, two ahead of Fong and Beach who are tied on 22 points.

Gagne Turns The Tables To Win Steel Commander Superbike Race Two At Road Atlanta
The race came down to Jake Gagne (1) vs. JD Beach (95) vs. Cameron Beaubier (6) and ultimately Gagne vs. Beaubier with Gagne coming out on top. Photo by Brian J. Nelson 
Jake Gagne – Winner

“Like these guys said, this morning’s warmup was crazy. It was almost at the point where there was a lot of standing water. So, I was able to get some good laps, but I think all of us had a little bit of a sketchy feeling. I think we knew going into the race here, it was nicely wet and no big puddles to worry about hydroplaning and all that. So, that was good. Got off to a really good start. I don’t remember when I got in the lead, but I think pretty early on. Then I felt really comfortable right away. I think I had a little gap for a couple laps, or five laps or something. Then I started getting reeled in. I could see pit boards flying. I could see Cam’s (Beaubier) and JD’s (Beach) pit boards, so I knew it was those guys coming at that point. Like Cam said, it was a fine line. I was going back and forth between pushing when I could but also no matter what, the most important thing was to get on the podium even if these guys wanted to push harder than me. I got lucky. Really lucky there when JD was in the lead. He was ready to take off. That’s when I had to push my hardest. Then he got screwed by that lapper. I went up the inside. So, it was a bummer for him because JD was riding really, really good. From then on, I think I was in the lead, and I knew Cam was right there. I didn’t know if it was Cam or JD, actually. Just tried to be smart on the last lap. I was kind of parking it in some of those turns. Going down into 10A I was really tight and kind of ran wide. I knew Cam was going to try to maybe square me up, but I just parked it in that second-to-last turn and kind of squared it up. So, he would have had to go around the outside if anything. But it’s good. Like I said, it was a really mentally tough race because we all wanted to push, but at the same time it was going to be really easy to throw it away. A podium would have been the most important, but we got a win so it’s awesome.

Gagne Turns The Tables To Win Steel Commander Superbike Race Two At Road Atlanta
Jake Gagne (1) leads Sean Dylan Kelly (40) and JD Beach (95) through the puddles early in the MotoAmerica Steel Commander Superbike race on Sunday at Road Atlanta.
Photo by Brian J. Nelson 
Cameron Beaubier – Second Place

“To be honest, I was pretty timid the first couple laps. I was pretty nervous going into that race just with the conditions. That was only my second time out on the BMW in the wet. I didn’t have the best feeling this morning. JD (Beach) came around me like I was standing still in the first section. He was ripping this morning. Made a couple TC changes just as the track was drying up a little bit. I really felt good. I felt so good there in the middle of the race when I was making my charge back. I was definitely taking some chances. I was kind of going back and forth in my head. I was like, ‘man, I feel good, like I’m catching these guys.’ But I was having a couple moments here and there. It seemed like once I caught up to JD and Jake (Gagne), it seemed like they started going faster. Especially when we got tangled up with those lappers a little bit. Jake got a little bit of a gap, and he was going. It seemed like that was the fastest part of his race. Towards the end, I would have really had to take a big risk to try to get him somewhere on the brakes. He did a super good job in the last section holding his line or blocking his line. He brought it home today. I’m stoked to have a 1-2 finish this weekend and start the season off strong. Looking forward to Barber.”

Cameron Petersen – Third Place

“Not a lot of people really know what I’ve gone through the last nine months. Even a month ago, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it through a race. It just feels really good to be back up here. Made the right decision with the surgery. Obviously, the people in my corner just really put the work in and made sure I was here, and in the right way. Tough day yesterday. First race back, after everything I’ve been through to come back and do that. But there was a lot of positives to take away from yesterday. I was kind of able to run the pace, and when I dropped back, I was able to close back into the front guys. It was unfortunate with the yellow flag. I don’t think one of us up here actually saw the yellow flag. It was just in a really shi**y position. So, when I had to drop back the two spots, it put me behind (Loris) Baz. I almost ran into the back of him going into turn two there. Today, great to get a podium. I had such a bad feeling this morning in the wet. The first three, four laps out there, I was dog slow. Then I kind of started to get into my rhythm and feel things out. Got a little bit lucky with some guys going down, but I’ll take it.”

Superbike Race Two

  1. Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
  2. Cameron Beaubier (BMW)
  3. Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)
  4. JD Beach (BMW)
  5. Sean Dylan Kelly (BMW)
  6. Hayden Gillim (Honda)
  7. Loris Baz (Ducati)
  8. Nolan Lamkin (BMW)
  9. Josh Herrin (Ducati)
  10. Bobby Fong (Yamaha)

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