MILLVILLE, N.J. – Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Garrett Gerloff continued to hold the hot hand in the MotoAmerica EBC Brakes Superbike Series with a victory Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Gerloff had his hands full for the entire 23 laps around the New Jersey Motorsports Park track with his teammate Cameron Beaubier, the three-time MotoAmerica Superbike champion, ending up 1.7 seconds behind him at the finish line. Attack Performance Estenson Racing’s J.D. Beach rebounded from a tough stretch of races to finish third.
The Gerloff, Beaubier and Beach podium gave Yamaha a one-two-three for the first time this season. Gerloff and Beaubier used their strong finishes to gain some points on championship leader Toni Elias, who ended up a distant fourth on the day – some 25 seconds behind Gerloff.
With Sunday’s race two and the two races at Barber Motorsports Park for the season finale remaining, Beaubier trails Elias by 28 points, with Gerloff 44 points in arrears in third.
“Cameron was right there,” Gerloff said of his teammate. “I got to follow him through the first few laps and our bikes both seemed like they were really good everywhere. I felt comfortable and I saw plus zero forever, and JD (Beach) was right behind us too. So, Yamaha is really doing well with this track, and shining. I found a few spots where I thought it was pretty good. Made the pass on the line and was just trying to put my head down and do laps, but there was no getting away from him. We were together. The track fell apart, for sure. Everything was a little greasy, but the Dunlops felt really good. I felt like I was able to be consistent and hit my marks every lap. That was it. Just tried to be consistent. I feel good for tomorrow. Just motivated, for sure. I just want to finish the year off strong.”
Although he didn’t win, Beaubier had clawed back valuable points on Elias.
“Garrett had a little pace on us in both practices this morning,” Beaubier said. “We made a little change going into – well, a pretty big ride height change going into the race. I felt pretty comfortable right away. But then I started having little problems on the front. I had a couple pretty close calls. Was kind of yo-yo-ing with Garrett behind him. I got by him going into one, but way too deep. I had to try to play catch-up again. It was a tough race. Hats off to him. He rode really good. It’s really good to have three Yamahas up on the box. Obviously, I wanted to win and gain some more points on Toni, but I’ll take what I can get right now. Going to go look at some data and come back swinging tomorrow and see what happens.”
With Elias a distant fourth, he had some three seconds on Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, the South African holding off Jake Lewis by .060 of a second for fifth place.
Saturday’s Supersport race started out well for championship contender Hayden Gillim, who battled for the lead until he lowsided out of the race and handed the lead to fellow championship contender Bobby Fong aboard the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. Fong held the lead over his teammate Sean Dylan Kelly and a hard-charging PJ Jacobsen. Jacobsen bided his time and passed Kelly followed by Fong as the laps wound down. Kelly and Fong drag-raced to the finish line, and Jacobsen prevailed by .046 of a second at the checkers.
For Jacobsen, it was his third win of the season, and he moved up to second in the championship, 15 points adrift of Fong.
In Saturday’s Liqui Moly Junior Cup race, Ninja400R.com/Norton Motorsports/Dr Farr Kawasaki rider Rocco Landers won his 11th race of the season, which is the most wins accumulated in one season for any Junior Cup rider in MotoAmerica history.
With the victory, Landers clinched the division championship with three more races left to go in the season. Second place on the day went to Jackson Blackmon, with Hunter Dunham Racing’s Eziah Davis finishing third for a Kawasaki podium sweep.