It was another runaway win for reigning MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Jake Gagne at Pittsburgh International Race Complex on Sunday, but a late-race pass by Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz on former MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci helped put Gagne back on top of the Superbike points standings.
The Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC rider Petrucci began the Aug. 19-21 round with a 13 point lead and yielded just five points when he finished second to Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Gagne in Saturday’s Superbike contest. But the combination of Gagne’s victory – which he took by 4.84 seconds – along with Scholtz finishing second and Petrucci third means Gagne now leads the championship battle by one point with two rounds remaining.
The win was Gagne’s 27th career MotoAmerica Superbike victory, which puts him one behind three-time AMA Superbike Champion, 2009 FIM Superbike World Champion and soon-to-be AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Ben Spies on the all-time AMA Superbike wins list. Gagne said he isn’t going to change the approach to racing he’s used all season – focusing on one race and one win at a time – but the magnitude of what he’s poised to accomplish isn’t lost on him.
“It’s unbelievable,” Gagne said. “That guy [Spies] was one of my heros and still is. It’s surreal. I turn 29 next week, but I still feel like a kid racing motorcycles.”
Sunday also saw two class leaders stand on the top step on the podium after suffering setbacks on Saturday.
After finishing a distant second in Supersport Race 1, Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC rider Josh Herrin stormed to a commanding victory – besting Saturday’s winner, Landers Racing’s Rocco Landers, to the finish line by five seconds despite running off-track at Turn 1 with five laps to go.
Herrin credited the turnaround in his performance to switching back to the front tire compound he’d found success with at previous rounds. With Landers and Herrin each claiming a win and a second place at Pitt Race, Herrin maintained his 76-point lead over Landers with four Supersport races remaining in 2022.
Bellaire, Ohio, resident C.J. LaRoche – who also is the owner of the event’s presenting sponsor, LaRoche Aviation Services – finished the Supersport race in 11th. He was assessed a five-second time penalty for cutting the chicane between Turns 15 and 16, but the penalty did not change his finishing position. The other northeast Ohioan in Supersport for the Pitt Race round – Jordan Tropkoff – did not start the race after suffering a crash on Saturday.
The other class leader who was back to winning ways Sunday was Corey Alexander. The Tytlers Cycle/RideHVMC Racing BMW rider secured his seventh win of the 2022 season to extend his points lead over Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim to 39. After not getting a good start, Gillim had worked his way up to second by the end of Lap 5 and led the field across the line on Laps 8-10.
On the last lap, Alexander was running in second and made a pass on Gillim. There was brief contact between Alexander and Gillim and it appeared the contact incidentally caused Gillim to crash. Alexander’s teammate, Travis Wyman, was hounding Alexander to the finish line on the last lap and crossed the line 0.148 seconds behind him. Altus Motorsports rider Brandon Paasch rounded out the Stock 1000 podium, scoring his second third place finish in as many races.
The Sunday Junior Cup race didn’t feature the pack racing at the front like Saturday’s contest. Points leader and Alpha Omega rider Cody Wyman took his second win in two days at Pitt Race after methodically building a gap to runner-up Gus Rodio. Wyman won by 1.561 seconds. Wyman now has a 49-point lead over Rodio with four races remaining.
The spectacle of the Junior Cup race was the battle for third place between Max VanDenBrouck and Kayla Yaakov. Though VanDenBrouck narrowly beat out Yaakov for the final step on the podium on Saturday, Sunday proved to be Yaakov’s day. After the pair spent the majority of the race trading third and fourth place between them, Yaakov drafted her way to her eighth podium finish of the season. Initially timing and scoring showed VanDenBrouck had finished third by 0.002 seconds, but a photo review of the finish showed Yaakov crossing the finish line ahead of VanDenBrouck by a very narrow margin.
Canton, Ohio’s Logan Monk put in a stronger performance Sunday after making his MotoAmerica debut on Saturday. The North American Talent Cup participant and Ohio Mini Roadracing League veteran netted a 12th-place finish to score his first MotoAmerica Junior Cup points.
“I had a somewhat better start today,” Monk said. “I didn’t wheelie off the line and was able to get up to the pack in the back. I think I did pretty decent.”
The day’s Twins Cup race was an unusual affair. The race was stopped twice for crashes near Turn 16 and was called complete with five laps remaining in the originally-scheduled 11-lap race.
The final result was a Yamaha lockout of the podium led by MP13 rider Cory Ventura. It was Ventura’s third win in the last four races. Polesitter and Saturday winner Blake Davis finished second, and Bartcon Racing’s Dominic Doyle rounded out the podium.
Davis’ win on Saturday and second place on Sunday at Pitt Race helped him advance from third to first in the Twins Cup points standings. He leads Aprilia riders Anthony Mazziotto and Jody Barry by one point and five points, respectively.
Two northeast Ohioans took part in the Twins Cup contest. Mansfield’s Gabriel Mount and Leroy Township’s Greg Reisinger finished 25th and 26th, respectively.
The lone Royal Enfield Build Train Race contest featured some tough luck for one of the class’ championship hopefuls. Jennifer Chancellor – who was second in the class’ points standings at the start of the weekend – was leading the race by a large margin before suffering a hard crash as she navigated the last few corners of the final lap. Her misfortune handed the win to polesitter and championship leader Kayleigh Buyck.
One of the two northeast Ohioans in the Royal Enfield Build Train Race Class – Carrollton’s Nicole Pareso – scored her third top-10 finish of the year after qualifying eighth. The other northeast Ohioan in the class – Youngstown’s Kayla Theisler – did not take part in the race. She qualified 12th.
Header photo caption: Start of Sunday’s MotoAmerica Superbike race at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Photo courtesy of MotoAmerica.