Fong Breaks Through For First Superbike Triumph

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Bobby Fong (50) won the first HONOS Superbike race of his career on Sunday at Road America, the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider holding off Jake Gagne to earn the victory. (Brian J. Nelson Photo)
Bobby Fong (50) won the first HONOS Superbike race of his career on Sunday at Road America, the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider holding off Jake Gagne to earn the victory. (Brian J. Nelson Photo)

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Bobby Fong won the first MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike race of his career Sunday at Road America, the Californian taking full advantage of Cameron Beaubier’s only miscue of the season to become the 59th rider in history to win an AMA Superbike National.

Fong was in second, a few seconds adrift of Beaubier, when the previously unbeaten Beaubier hit a bump in turn one, lost control of the front end and crashed. Fong took over at the front but soon had Beaubier’s Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha’s teammate Jake Gagne nipping at his heels.

Whomever won between Fong and Gagne would earn their first Superbike triumph, and both of them rode like it. Fong, however, was able to withstand the pressure in the closing laps and led Gagne across the finish line by .509 of a second.

“I saw Cameron (Beaubier) go down and I knew immediately that there was going to be pressure on me,” Fong said. “I knew that (Jake) Gagne had extra motivation, near a race win. I didn’t know who was behind me. I just saw plus one on my board, and then I was looking at the big screen down the straightaway to see who it was. Just depending on who it was, I knew how aggressive they were and how defensive I needed to ride. I knew it was Gagne and he rides pretty well. He takes risks, takes risks to get that win. I just tried to keep a steady pace in the middle of the race and not push too hard and at least not try to put it all out there in the middle of the race. I knew he was going to be there at the end of the race. I just put the hammer down. Thankfully we got the win, but we have some work to do to actually beat Cameron. But we’re making big steps and I’m proud of the work we did this weekend.”

Gagne finished second, as he continues his solid start to the season that was briefly interrupted by a problem with his brakes that limited him to a sixth-place finish on Saturday at Road America.

“Yeah. No doubt,” Gagne said when asked if he saw an opportunity to win an HONOS Superbike race when he saw Beaubier crash. “That’s definitely what we were thinking. It was a bummer to see Cameron go down. Obviously, he’s been pushing the pace all year long. It just shows how well these things are doing. Hats off to Bobby (Fong). He really rode his heart out. I could tell. I was seeing those tires and it was greasy out there. It was tough out there. I feel like I’m happy to bring it home in second. Obviously, we know we were fighting for a win, so that’s extra motivation to get it up there. It was a fun race. There were some sections, the first section and last section, where I could close in and then there was some sections in the middle where Bobby really pulled away. So, we were kind of teeter-tottering and that makes it real tough to even try to find a place to stick it in. Bobby is really strong on the brakes in some of the sections where I wanted to make passes. I’m happy. We brought it home. Like Bobby said, it was a slick, greasy race out there. So hats off to the team, Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha. These guys are working really hard. Obviously, we still got to go catch Cam when we get to Road Atlanta. See if we can do some work on him. But it’s been fun battling these guys. It was a good race.”

KATO Fastening/KWR Ducati’s Kyle Wyman waited 1022 days between podiums, ending his drought in yesterday’s HONOS Superbike race. Then he only waited a day to do it all gain, the New Yorker getting his second podium in a row after holding off the ever-persistent Mathew Scholtz on the Westby Racing Yamaha.

Scholtz, meanwhile, had an eventful race and was in a battle with Wyman and M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Toni Elias when he clashed with Elias in the chicane, causing the luckless Spaniard to crash. Elias was able to remount to finish seventh.

Fifth place went to Scheibe BMW’s Josh Herrin, the Georgian some three seconds ahead of FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony, the Australian continuing his consistent start to the season. With Elias seventh, Altus Motorsports’ Cameron Petersen raced to eighth, well clear of RideHVMC’s Corey Alexander. Thrashed Bike Racing LLC’s Max Flinders rounded out the top 10.