ALTON, Va. – Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias continued to roll through the early portion of the MotoAmerica Motul Superbike season by sweeping the Championship of Virginia at Virginia Int’l Raceway on Sunday.
Unlike Saturday when he stalked race leader Cameron Beaubier until two laps from the end, Elias did the leading this time around. In fact, he led all of the 23 laps of race two, but his lead didn’t come without pressure from behind as at first there were three riders tailing him – Beaubier, Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz and Attack Performance/Herrin Compound Yamaha’s Josh Herrin. Herrin was the first to fade, but the other three stayed mostly together.
With two laps to go, Beaubier tried to outbrake Elias going into the first corner but ran wide and very nearly off track. The Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing rider regrouped, re-passed Scholtz, and then tried to make up for the mistake with the fastest lap of the race on the last lap to catch Elias, but he came up .546 of a second short.
“Well, we did a couple of changes on the bike,” Elias said. “Yesterday, the grip was pretty good but it was a little bit uncomfortable. Today, I was more comfortable, but with less grip. You’re never 100 percent happy with what you ride. But I was there trying to make my pace. At several moments of the race, I wanted to let Cam (Beaubier) past. I was thinking we were only two riders. When I turned back, and I saw four riders, I said, ‘Oh my God. It’s not possible. Let’s continue here leading the race, pushing, and let’s see what happens at the end.’ This is what I did. I tried to rest the last three or four laps, and to try to make the last lap with a good level. Try to not make any mistakes. It’s what I did. I didn’t know Cameron ran a little bit wide, and I had a real advantage. It’s perfect.
“This win is amazing here in VIR. I never expected that. The team works really good, but always, we suffer a little bit here. Now Road America is good for us and I really like. But I know Cameron likes, too. I have to say he rides an incredible level. He was faster than us with his really strong pace. It was difficult to beat him, but also Mat (Scholtz) is very consistent. Every race, he’s there with the great level of riders. So congratulations to both, and thanks to my team.”
The victory was the fifth of the year for Elias and the 21st of his MotoAmerica Superbike career, which moved him past Fred Merkel and into sixth on the all-time AMA Superbike win list. Saturday Elias became the fastest rider in AMA Superbike history to reach 20 wins.
Scholtz finished third, with Herrin hanging on to finish fourth. Jake Lewis was a distant fifth.
Monster Energy/Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha rider J.D. Beach put in an even more dominant performance than he did on Saturday in Supersport competition to win by more than 28 seconds after Rickdiculous Racing’s Hayden Gillim crashed out.
Beach got the holeshot in the race and led all 20 laps. While he was way out in front, a fierce battle was taking place behind him between Tuned Racing Yamaha rider Braeden Ortt and M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Cory West. Ortt and West passed each other back and forth, ran side-by-side through some of VIR’s tight corners, and put on quite a show for the fans. At the checkers, Ortt just edged out West to notch his first career MotoAmerica Supersport podium.
In the post-race press conference, Beach let it be known that he has a specific agenda that he’s focused on this season.
“My whole team just gave me a great bike today,” Beach said. “I think, for me, the race was won in the first five laps or so because I got a little bit of a gap on Hayden (Gillim). Once I got my gap, he was keeping it the same so I was really having to push. Then, he went down on the ground at lap 12 or so. It really sucks to see that just because he’s riding so well. For sure, it’s made me a better rider because I live with him and I don’t want to get beat by him. I know it’s the same for him. It was a great race. I think my mission this year is just to win as much as I can. I want to go faster than we did last year at all the tracks. I want a Superbike ride bad. I’m mad at myself that I messed up last year and didn’t get that ride that my teammate (Garrett Gerloff) got. But that’s the past, and I’m just working towards the future.”
In Liqui Moly Junior Cup, Orange Brigade/JP43 Training rider Alex Dumas won his second race of the weekend, and it was his third victory out of four so far this season.
Weir Everywhere Racing/BMW rider Travis Wyman has dominated the new Stock 1000 class thus far in the season, and Sunday was no exception as the polesitter led from start to finish and took the checkers with nearly a 10-second lead to notch his second victory in a row.