Outgoing MotoAmerica Superbike Champ Toni Elias scored an impressive victory for Yoshimura-Suzuki in the penultimate race of the Motul Superbike National Championship at Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama. The popular Spanish former Moto2 World Champ made up for a poor qualifying effort by battling to the front and eventually pulling away to win the 21 lap Feature race in the MotoAmerica Series.
Early leader Josh Herrin was a distant second on his privateer Attach-Yamaha YZF-R1, and admitted to easing his pace late in a very hot and humid day in the south. Also in the fight for first was pole sitter Cameron Beaubier, but he crashed his Monster-Yamaha in turn seven, mid-race.
The fight for third was a good one, with South African ace Mathew Scholtz, a victor in the rain here a year ago, staying mostly in front of crowd favorite Roger Hayden. Yoshimura-Suzuki’s Hayden is retiring at the end of this weekend, and was briefly third late in the race. But Hayden ran wide and Scholtz made a re-pass to score third on his Yamalube Yamaha.
Hayden settle for fourth, and a good race long battle for fifth was resolved with Ecstar/M4 Suzuki’s Jake Lewis earning the spot ahead of sixth best Danny Eslick on his BMW. Second works Yamaha racer Garrett Gerloff earned seventh, Genuine Broaster Chicken-backed Honda team-mates Bobby Fong and Cameron Petersen battling to take eight and ninth.
Mopar CSBK National Championship runner-up Ben Young had a good race, but gradually faded from the pack in front to net 13th overall with his Scot built BMW S1000RR. Post-race, Young explained that he was struggling with the front end, but the team had some ideas to deal with the issue, and were looking forward to tomorrow’s final 2018 North American National road race event.
In the SuperSport class for middleweight machinery, Hayden Gillim scored a break-through dry race victory for privateer Rickdiculous Racing Yamaha, holding off the charge of new class Champ J.D. Beach aboard the works Monster Yamaha. French star Valentin Debise was a close third on a M4 Ecstar Suzuki.
Alberta’s Braeden Ortt had another strong effort aboard the Tuned Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, moving up over several restarts to claim a strong fourth overall at the finish.
In the Liqui Moly Junior Cup portion of the MotoAmerica Championship of Alabama, newly crowned debut class Champ Alex Dumas of Quebec earned another solid victory. KTM Orange Brigade racer Dumas lead the whole way for his ninth win of the season, gradually pulling away from Cory Ventura’s MP13 Yamaha YZF-R3. Ventura holds second in the standing’s with only Sunday’s race left to run in the Championship. Renzo Ferreira was third on the Quarterly Racing Kawasaki Ninja 400.
Suzuki SV650 mounted Darrell Ricks won a close Twins Cup final, holding off Robert McLendon’s Yamaha and third placed Curtis Murray on another Suzuki.
British Columbia’s Darren James was in the thick of the fight for podium honors until he experienced mechanical issues with just under a lap to go in the Twins Final. James, who had a strong Twins debut earlier this season at Sears Point, California, and has raced the class on the roads in the U.K., was riding a brand new Yamaha twin built by Randy Palmer’s RP MotoArts.
Tomorrow’s schedule includes a full program of events to conclude the 2018 MotoAmerica National Championship tour.