WAMPUM, Pa. – Cameron Beaubier celebrated his 100th AMA Superbike start Sunday at Pittsburgh Int’l Race Complex in the best way possible, with a victory.
The win, Beaubier’s seventh of his near-perfect season, was the 45th triumph of the four-time MotoAmerica Superbike champion’s career.
As the others have been this year, Beaubier’s win was decisive, though he wrongly downplayed it as “a bit lucky.” Challenged early by his Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha teammate Jake Gagne early on, Beaubier ended up 9.59 seconds ahead at the finish after clutch problems dropped Gagne back to third.
Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz was the beneficiary of Gagne’s problems, the South African ending up second for the second straight day at Pittsburgh Int’l Race Complex.
“Just going to try to keep this ball rolling as long as I can,” Beaubier said after his start-to-finish victory in the HONOS Superbike race. “Like Jake (Gagne) said, the Monster Attack Yamaha guys have been working so hard. It’s been great. It’s been so much work all year so far. Just going to try to keep it going. I’d say I got a little lucky in that race. Jake has been improving all weekend, and same with Matty (Scholtz). Lining up today after how fast he (Gagne) was in warmup, I knew it was going to be pretty tough. At the start of the race, I put my head down and got a good start, which I’m really happy about because I’ve struggled with starts pretty bad in the past, and this year it’s been going really good.
“I get off the line really good and I think that’s a little key to our success as well. I saw .5 on my board lap after lap after lap. I’m like, ‘man. Jake is riding really good.’ I missed a shift and kind of almost put my face through the windshield with maybe 11 to go, something like that. I knew he had probably stuck on me pretty good. I came by, and I saw plus two seconds gap. I was like, ‘oh man. Maybe he ran off or something like that.’ Turns out it was a little clutch issue, which is a bummer for him because I knew it was going to be a pretty tough end to the race. All in all, I’m just really happy with where we’re at. Me and Garrett (Gerloff) had a really good battle last year, to finish second. I had a lead and ran off the track with a few laps to go to finish second to Toni (Elias) last year here. So, it was really, really good to get a couple wins here. Hats off to all my guys.”
Scholtz knew after the morning warm-up that he was in a bit of trouble as the other two had stepped up with faster lap times.
“I kind of figured that something happened to him,” Scholtz said when he saw Gagne coming back to him near the end of the race. “Looking at the warmup times we kind of saw that they had upped their pace. I was a little bit disappointed in the warmup that we didn’t break into the 40s. My whole game plan was just to kind of follow these two and just sort of hang onto them and just try to see maybe from the halfway point if I could just consistently run those low 41s and try to maybe catch up to Jake (Gagne), but something happened and he fell back. Just really happy to be back up on the podium and finish second for the Westby Racing team. We’ve been working hard. I feel like we’re getting better every time we go out. Just when we kind of think that we’ve caught up to Cameron, he pulls something out. So, we’ll just carry onward and find something more.”
Behind the front trio, Josh Herrin survived an off-track excursion and fought his way back up to fourth place by the finish of the race, the Scheibe Racing BMW rider besting M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Toni Elias by a tick over a second. OneCure/KWR Ducati’s Kyle Wyman was also a part of what was an entertaining battle for fourth, the New Yorker ending up sixth.