WAMPUM, Pa. – When it comes to last-lap battles, it doesn’t get much better than the final lap of Sunday’s Motul Superbike race between Toni Elias and Cameron Beaubier in the Championship of Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh Int’l Race Complex.
The 18-lap Motul Superbike race came down to the very last lap of the 2.78-mile PittRace course and featured several close passes by both riders.
In the end, the victory went to Elias and his Yoshimura Suzuki by just .046 of a second over Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Beaubier.
Sunday marked Elias’ seventh win of the season and the 23rd of his MotoAmerica Superbike career. He dedicated the victory to Brian Drebber, the MotoAmerica announcer who passed away on Thursday from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.
“It was crazy,” Elias said of the final lap. “I’m really proud of the moves these two (Cameron Beaubier and Josh Herrin) are doing during this season because I think there’s not many championships you can see this show. Some days it falls on my side, other days it falls on his side, and other days on his side. Everybody is there to try to win.
“That was amazing. I tried to push all the last lap, trying to close the doors, but I knew he (Beaubier) had the pace,” noted Elias. “He was there. I knew he was there to try it and he did it. The next corner I give it back, but, honestly, I was braking really hard in the last area. He tried. It was a big surprise. I said, ‘Wow, where did he go?’ He did it, but at the end I was inside and I could continue leading the race until the finish line. I’m happy because this is not our favorite track.”
Beaubier bounced back Sunday after finishing fifth in Saturday’s iffy conditions and, after a slow start, caught and followed Elias until the final lap.
At that point he pounced, the two exchanging blows for the entire lap until Elias’ decisive counter punch a few corners from the finish.
“This place is pretty tough to pass at. I was able to sneak up the inside of Garrett and then Herrin ran or blew the chicane and let me by. Honestly that was pretty big for me because I was able to put my head down and start chipping away at Toni’s (Elias) lead,” Beaubier said. “It wasn’t easy, though. He was riding really good. He definitely upped his pace from practice and yesterday. I wasn’t expecting him to be that fast. That’s all I had. I got in behind him and I just wanted to stay on his wheel and see what I could do the last five laps or so. I knew there was no way I could pass him and gap him or nothing like that. I knew that wasn’t happening. So, I waited until the end and tried to get creative.
“He (Elias) deserved it. He led almost every lap of the race. Hats off to him,” added Beaubier. “I’m happy we’re going into the last two rounds with a good points lead. We’ve been working so hard this year.”
Third went to Saturday’s Motul Superbike winner Josh Herrin, the Georgian holding off both M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis and Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz by less than a second.
The only two non-finishers were notable in that they were Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff and Elias’ teammate Roger Hayden. Gerloff crashed on his own accord, with Hayden getting bumped off by Scholtz.
Despite a weekend without a victory, Beaubier has his hands firmly on the title, with a 56-point lead and four races left to run.
In the red-flag-shortened Supersport race, Monster Energy/Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha rider JD Beach edged closer to clinching the MotoAmerica Supersport Championship when he made a strong comeback from Saturday to win Sunday’s 12-lap feature, albeit by less than a second over Rickdiculous Racing/Yamaha’s Hayden Gillim.
Beach currently holds a 98-point lead over Gillim in the point standings, poised to wrap up the championship at the next round in New Jersey.
In Liqui Moly Junior Cup, Saturday’s race winner Alex Dumas did the double and also notched a win on Sunday aboard his KTM Orange Brigade/JP43 Training RC390R.
Dumas battled with Quarterley Racing’s Renzo Ferreira for several laps before Ferreira crashed out unhurt. Also crashing unhurt and out of the race was Yates Racing’s Ashton Yates, which opened the door for MP13 Racing Yamaha rider Cory Ventura and RiderzLaw Racing/Yamaha’s Jackson Blackmon, who finished second and third, respectively.
With eight race victories on the season, Dumas now holds a 64-point advantage in the championship standings.
In Stock 1000, RiderzLaw Racing/Kawasaki’s Andrew Lee, who won his first race of the season at Sonoma Raceway during MotoAmerica’s previous round, emerged victorious again on Sunday at PittRace.
The championship points leader had the measure of the field in the red-flag-shortened event and won by nearly seven seconds.