Sundays In Jersey: The Teams Talk NJMP

Jake Gagne wrapped up the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship on Sunday at NJMP.

The following is from Yamaha…

Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing’s Jake Gagne continues to raise the bar in the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship, securing his first title in the premier class at the penultimate round at New Jersey Motorsports Park. After sealing the deal earlier today in Race 2 of the tripleheader, the newly crowned champ pulled off an encore performance in the afternoon race to extend his impressive win streak to 16. Josh Herrin returned to the podium with a pair of third-place finishes. Toni Elias rebounded from his crash in Race 2 to finish sixth in the final race of the weekend.

Gagne got another great start from pole position in Race 2 and made the pass for the lead in Turn 2. He then worked on expanding his lead up front, picking up the pace and breaking the track record with a 1:20.076 on Lap 3. Gagne put in consistently fast times to cross the line comfortably with a 9.5-second margin of victory. His 15th-straight win of the season gave him the two points he needed to claim the crown four races early.

A few hours after the championship ceremony on the podium, Gagne was back to business as usual. He countered the holeshot with another pass in turn two and never looked back. The Colorado rider executed his trademark disappearing act with a blistering pace to take his third win of the weekend by another healthy margin. Gagne’s sweep of the weekend not only extended his record-breaking win streak to 16, but it also put him in a tie for ninth on the AMA Superbike overall win list with multi-time World Champion and MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey.

Herrin was hungry for a podium finish after finishing just shy of a top-five finish yesterday in his first race back in action. He got another good start in fifth and quickly passed his teammate to move into fourth. It was a heated multi-rider battle on those opening laps, and Herrin took advantage of the war of attrition and advanced to third. From there, the Californian ran his own race and held off the competition to score his sixth podium of the season.

In the final race of the weekend, Herrin repeated his previous starts in fifth. It was another three-rider fight for that final podium spot, and he patiently waited for his opportunity, making the pass for fourth on Lap 7. A couple of laps after the halfway mark, he battled for third and ultimately grabbed the upper hand with four laps to go, scoring his second podium of the weekend.

Elias had a tough second day of racing in Millville, New Jersey. He didn’t get the start he was hoping for and then, unfortunately, crashed out of the race in Turn 1 while battling for third. In Race 2, the Spaniard found himself eighth after the start but quickly made his way to sixth. He tried to chase down the group ahead, but they were out of reach. Elias was shuffled to seventh at the halfway point, but he closed the gap, and then on the final lap, he reclaimed sixth.

The Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing Team heads to Barber Motorsports Park next weekend for another MotoAmerica Superbike tripleheader at the series finale in Leeds, Alabama, on September 17-19.

Richard Stanboli – Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing Team Manager

“Today was a great day for our team. Our Yamaha R1s ran flawlessly, giving Jake the opportunity to wrap up the championship early and continue to set new track records. The team is super happy with Jake and what he has been able to accomplish. He has truly raised the bar this season, and to wrap up the championship four races from the end says it all.

“Josh bringing home a couple of thirds today was a good comeback ride after missing the last two rounds; it was quite an accomplishment. He had a very tight race with the (Loris) Baz, and it was fun to watch.

“Overall, the weekend has been exceptional. Mat Scholtz of Westby Racing also finished all three races in second, making it an Attack Performance-Yamaha podium sweep in all three races. We are looking forward to a fight to the finish at Barber next week. It should be fun!”

Jake Gagne – Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing

“What a weekend! It’s amazing to be able to wrap up this championship for the team, and to do it with three more wins is fantastic. I have to give a big thanks to this team for such an incredible effort all year long! We have a short break, and then we’ll be right back at it. I’m looking to keep our momentum going into the finale at Barber.”

Josh Herrin – Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing

“It feels so great to get back on the podium, especially after being away for so long. My coach Josh Hayes told me, ‘let’s get rid of the plus (sign) on your board, and just focus on what’s in front of you,’ and that made a huge difference today. I just want to give a huge shout-out to my whole team. They have been working hard all year for me. It’s been a struggle this season, especially since we thought we’d be getting better results, but we’re going to keep working hard. I just really appreciate those guys putting in all of their efforts for me.

“I also want to say thanks to Rachel and baby Griffin back home. I know they’re watching. It’s awesome knowing that he was able to be around for these last two rounds and be able to watch. It’s a huge motivation for me and gave me a whole new feeling about racing after he was born. This weekend I’ve been trying to have a whole different approach to things; to just have fun and get back to what it used to be like for me.”

Toni Elias – Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing

“It was a very difficult day for me. I felt really good in Race 2 this morning but made some mistakes on the first lap, which put me back in sixth. I was coming back super strong, but I went too deep going into Turn 1 making a double pass on Josh Herrin and Cameron Petersen. Then in the second race, I was having an issue, and I couldn’t push. It was not my best day, but I’m really grateful for this opportunity. A big thanks to the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Yamaha team. It’s been a pleasure to work with this group and ride this bike that brought me back to the podium twice. I’m very happy to be back again; It’s been amazing.”

The following is from Kyle Wyman Racing…

Kyle Wyman had three top-10 finishes at NJMP.

The One Cure Ducati team scored three top-10 finishes this past weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Kyle Wyman battled through adversity to finish 8th-7th-8th in three races over the event. 

Wyman was 9th overall on Friday and qualified 9th on Saturday morning, going into Saturday’s race one with a third row starting position. On the opening lap of race one, Wyman was hit by another rider and pushed off the race track, having to run into the grass in turn 7. He rejoined the race in last place (26th), and was able to fight back to finish 8th at the stripe. Wyman passed 18 riders in 20 laps to claim his position and his starting grid spot for race two. 

“On the first lap I was running 6th or 7th, and just got blindsided by another rider who had a mechanical and couldn’t stop,” Wyman said. “I fell off the inside of the bike but was able to save it and gather it up before I rode off into the grass. After that I just put my head down and had to force my way up the order. I knew my fishing position in the race would determine my grid spot for Sunday so I was in a hurry to pass as many people as I could, and was able to find myself in 8th after making my final pass on the second-to-last lap. It was a pretty fun race, even though I wish I could have finished that first lap in the front group.”

Starting from 8th on the grid, Sunday morning’s race two would see Wyman struggle in the opening laps with a less than ideal setup change that was a step backward. After some attrition, Wyman was able to bring the One Cure Ducati home in a lonely 7th place. 

“After the pace we had in race one, I was eager to give it another go in Sunday’s races,” Wyman added. “We tried some changes for morning warmup that I didn’t feel were enough to find any significant progress, we didn’t go any faster, and there was only an hour before our second race at 11am so we made a couple minor adjustments but it was the wrong direction. I struggled a lot in the beginning and was able to inherit a 7th mid-race.”

The One Cure Ducati team went to work between races two and three, making significant changes to the front end of the motorcycle to make a gamble for the afternoon. Wyman’s third race got off to a much stronger start, where he was able to latch on to the front group and run the first few laps in the top 6. He battled with Hector Barbera and Toni Elias briefly before falling into a race-long duel with Bobby Fong, and eventually besting Fong for 8th overall.

“Our third race was much better than race two and I was able to learn quite a bit from the setup change we made,” Wyman said. “I missed out on some good laps in the beginning just because I had to kind of learn the bike, but overall the pace was better and the overall race time improved. Fong kept me honest for most of the race was he sat on my back wheel, I had +0 on the board each lap with no gap. Fortunately I was able to hold him at bay and put in a solid ride.”

“It has been a trying weekend as we’ve come back from our mid-season injury hiatus, but after some experimenting with our Ducati Panigale V4 R we feel we have some good ideas on how to make our bike perform well at the season ending round at Barber. I look forward to a few days of rest before we go right back to work in Alabama.”

MotoAmerica returns to action for the final round of the championship with another three-race triple header, at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama – September 17-19, 2021.

The following is from Travis Wyman Racing…

Travis Wyman put his BMW into the top five in Stock 1000 and Superbike Cup at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

The Motul Travis Wyman Racing BMW team realized in the first on-track session of this past weekend’s MotoAmerica Superbikes at New Jersey that it had a technical problem with its motorcycle that couldn’t be fixed at the track, and team owner Travis Wyman still found a way to score top-five finishes in Stock 1000 and Superbike Cup on Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
 
Though the issue grew worse as Wyman raced in weekend’s lone Stock 1000 race and three Superbike contests at the Sept. 10-12 event, the Las Vegas resident wrung every ounce of performance he could out of his BMW S 1000 RR – and managed to keep himself in contention for second place in the Stock 1000 Class standings and still in the hunt for the Superbike Cup title.
 
It was a positive start to the event for Wyman, who was the fourth-fastest rider in Friday’s Stock 1000 practice session. Wyman’s pace improved later that day in Qualifying 1, but not to the same degree as some other riders in the class. He laid down a lap time 0.2 seconds faster than his best practice time but finished the session sixth fastest. Wyman ended up qualifying eighth when Stock 1000 Qualifying 2 concluded Saturday morning.
 
Saturday also featured the event’s Stock 1000 race and one Superbike race. In the Stock 1000 contest, Wyman got a good start and was running in sixth place by the time the field entered Turn 1. After falling to seventh by the end of Lap 1, Wyman made up two positions before the end of the race and scored his eighth Stock 1000 top-five finish of the season. Later Saturday, Wyman started the day’s Superbike race in 17th place. Thanks to some attrition farther up the running order and a late race move to get by another Superbike Cup rider, Wyman finished the race in 15th place overall and fifth among the Cup riders.
 
The second Superbike race took place Sunday morning, and Wyman got the most he could out of his ailing motorcycle and finished four positions higher than he started. From 16th on the grid, Wyman dropped as low as 17th in the running order on Laps 2-4 but — with several riders dropping out of the race – Wyman managed to secure a 12th-place finish. In the third and final Superbike race of the weekend, Wyman got off the line well, but the problem of getting good drive off of corners had grown much worse. Starting from 13th on the grid, Wyman struggled to maintain pace and gradually tumbled down the running order. He finished Lap 1 in 14th place, Lap 2 in 15th and Lap 3 in 17th. Wyman would lose another position on Lap 6 but finished the race in 18th.
 
After racing had concluded, the Motul Travis Wyman Racing BMW team swapped a fresh engine into its BMW S 1000 RR. It will have a couple days at its East Coast shop near Rochester, N.Y. to get the engine broken in and ready to go for the 2021 MotoAmerica season finale, which takes place Sept. 17-19 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.
 
Travis Wyman / No. 10
“This was a frustrating weekend to say the least, but I’m happy we got the best results we could have asked for given the circumstances. I have to thank my team for doing everything within their power to keep our BMW S 1000 RR running as strong as it could for as long as it did. I also have to thank Motul for coming onboard as title sponsor for these final two rounds, and the rest of the team and I are determined to give them a good showing at Barber next weekend. We have a fresh engine that will be ready to go there, and I did really well in qualifying last year at Barber on this same BMW S 1000 RR.”

The following is from Suzuki…

Sam Lochoff won his first career MotoAmerica race at NJMP.

During this weekend’s penultimate round at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Suzuki Motor USA, LLC and Team Hammer saw GSX-R pilots collect three more race wins, five additional podiums, and two national championships in MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing competition.
 

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s emerging superstar, Sean Dylan Kelly, transformed his childhood ambitions into reality by clinching the 2021 MotoAmerica Supersport crown.

‘SDK’ did so in his inimitable fashion, showcasing the trademark daring and racecraft that got him to this point. Despite the temptation to play it safe with a big championship lead in hand, the 19-year-old instead chose to battle it out for victory both days.

On Saturday, he scored his 11th victory of the season by an impossibly tight 0.001 seconds thanks to even more last-lap heroics aboard his GSX-R600. On Sunday, he earned his 15th podium of the year, missing out on a 12th victory by just 0.040 in second position, which was more than enough to claim the Supersport throne.

“This is very emotional,” Kelly said after being handed the ceremonial number one plate. “I’ve been working really hard for this. My family and I put everything on the line and it’s been tough. My parents have given everything they’ve had for me to get to this point. We never stopped fighting.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported me and pushed me since I started racing. This is my first national championship and it’s a dream come true. I fought for this. I had a lot of doubters last year, thinking I wasn’t good enough, but I came back stronger this year and did what I needed to do to win. 

“Thank you to M4 ECSTAR Suzuki for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. And thanks to all my guys for sacrificing so much to make sure the bike was always as good as it could be.”
 

Kelly’s narrow defeat on Sunday was still a massive success for the team, however. Teammate Sam Lochoff emerged victorious in the four-rider showdown.

Lochoff was in spectacular form all weekend long at NJMP. He was on provisional pole on Friday, led laps en route to a fighting third on Saturday, and at last claimed his maiden MotoAmerica Supersport win in thrilling fashion on Sunday.

The South African said, “It’s my first victory in three years. I’ve finished on the podium several times, but I really wanted to get that win. Now that I have, it’s kind of hard to speak.

“It was a great race with Sean and the guys. I fixed what I was struggling with yesterday, and that just made the difference. I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last time I battle with them. I just want to thank M4 ECSTAR Suzuki for everything.”

The win was also Team Hammer’s 125th win in AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National competition.
 

Lochoff and Kelly weren’t the only Team Hammer-supported riders celebrating wins in New Jersey. Altus Motorsports Suzuki’s Jake Lewis also locked down the Stock 1000 national championship on Saturday with his fifth victory of the year.

And like Kelly, Lewis earned his win with a final-lap pass aboard his Team Hammer-built GSX-R1000R to close out his championship campaign in style.

“I wanted to go out and get the championship from the top step to reward my team and that’s what we did,” Lewis said. “Last year, I was out of the paddock, sitting on the couch, over 200 pounds, and in a tough spot. I thought about quitting racing, but I’ve been traveling the country in a van with my mom and dad since I was four years old, chasing a dream. I worked hard to get back in shape. After I got my butt kicked at the first round, I knew it was time to get going, and we’ve been on the podium pretty much ever since.

“Big thanks to Altus Motorsports for the opportunity and to Team Hammer as well for the amazing technical package.”

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Superbike duo of Cameron Petersen and Bobby Fong combined to claim three top five finishes, although both riders flashed the speed to be on the podium.

Fong finished fourth on Saturday while taking his challenge for third to the flag. He then led briefly in Sunday’s morning race before crashing out of third. The Californian gritted it out later in the day by finishing ninth in the weekend’s third premier-class contest.
 

Petersen, meanwhile, improved throughout the weekend. He finished seventh on Saturday while fighting for fifth, and then picked up a pair of fifths on Sunday, including one taken after putting forth an extended challenge for third in the final race of the weekend.
 

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Wyatt Farris bounced back from his Pittsburgh disappointment to return to the top ten with a tenth-place ride in the Stock 1000 race. Farris earned a fighting fourth in Sunday’s afternoon Superbike Cup race-within-a-race.

Team Hammer will now put the finishing touches on an already successful 2021 MotoAmerica season next weekend, September 17-19, at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

Tomasso Marcon won Sunday’s Twins Cup race at NJMP.

The following is from Robem Engineering…

There has been much fanfare about Aprilia test rider Tomasso Marcon making his MotoAmerica debut at this weekend’s MotoAmerica Superbikes at New Jersey round, and the Italian didn’t disappoint the fans gathered at New Jersey Motorsports Park on Sunday. After suffering a crash in Saturday’s Twins Cup race, Marcon rode his Robem Engineering Aprilia RS 660 to a thrilling, hard-fought win in Sunday’s Twins Cup contest. 

Marcon is the first non-American rider to win a MotoAmerica Twins Cup race, and he sealed the victory with a last-lap, last-corner draft that allowed him to claim the win by 0.049 seconds. Marcon was joined on the podium by his teammate Max Toth – who scored his second third-place finish of the weekend. 

The team’s third rider, Kaleb De Keyrel — who clinched the 2021 Twins Cup title Saturday — was running in the leading pack of five Aprilia RS 660s until his motorcycle suffered a technical problem on Lap 11 of the 14-lap race. 

After his motorcycle experienced some technical problems during the morning warm-up session, Marcon got a good start in Sunday’s race and led the 23-bike field through the first corner. De Keyrel finished the first lap in fifth place before dropping to sixth on Lap 2. As Marcon was battling with two other riders to maintain the race lead, De Keyrel and Toth gradually began working their way up the running order. Toth advanced one position or more per lap on Laps 3-5, and Toth and De Keyrel were both running in the top five at the end of Lap 5.  

All three riders were part of a group of five Aprilia riders who gradually broke away from the rest of the field. The group was reduced to four riders when De Keyrel dropped out of the race, and Marcon lost and regained the lead several times in the race’s closing laps. Marcon was running in second place heading into the last corner of the last lap and got a great drive and draft to edge out another rider for the win. 

Next up on the Robem Engineering team’s schedule is final round of the 2021 MotoAmerica season, which is slated to take place Sept. 17-19 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. 

Tomasso Marcon / No. 70 

“In the warm-up, we had quite a big problem. The team did a really good job with fixing it, but we started the race with a lot of unknowns. We weren’t sure if the bike was good after the crash yesterday and the issue we had this morning. But, in the end, the bike was good to go. The guys are very fast here, and I’m loving my time in the United States and in MotoAmerica. Now, we need to stay focused for Barber. I’ve never raced there, just like I’d never raced here. Our target there is to win, and we will do everything we can to accomplish that.” 

Max Toth / No. 58 

“Today has been going really, really well since morning warm-up. We made a few changes that allowed me to dial in the third sector, which is where I’d been losing most of my time this weekend. The race didn’t get off to a good start for me, as I was still shifting into gear when the lights went out. It took me an extra second to get going, and I had to push really hard for the first part of the race. I started picking riders off one-by-one and was trying to go for the win. I’m so happy with the result today and even happier that we got two podiums this weekend. I’ve never been to Barber, but I’ve seen video of it and it looks like a tough and a simple track at the same time. There’s no pressure going into these rounds though, and I think that really helps.” 

Kaleb De Keyrel / No. 51 

“I had a great race going and was in the lead group battling at the front. I was saving my tires to make a push for the win at the end when the bike just shut off on me. We’re not entirely sure what happened. But we’ll figure it out, and I’m looking forward to Barber. I set the lap record there last year and will be ready to win again there.” 

Marco D’Acunzo / CMO, Piaggio Group Americas 

“This year has been amazing. Winning the MotoAmerica Twins Cup in our first year is impressive. We started the season aiming to get a win this year — we realized we had a new bike with a new team — and Matt and the entire Robem Engineering team did a fantastic job. I want to thank Matt Spicer, Carl Price and the rest of the team for their hard work, and the riders did an amazing job this year. We are so satisfied to see so many Aprilias out on track and doing well, and we want to keep pushing. This has been a great achievement for everybody, and we will have more good news coming in the future.” 

Matt Spicer / Robem Engineering Founder 

“Our first year working with Aprilia and the Piaggio Group Americas has proven to be a resounding success, and I and Carl can’t thank them enough for their unwavering support this year. We’re delighted with seeing Kaleb win the championship this weekend aboard the RS 660 in the first year it’s eligible to compete in Twins Cup, and we couldn’t have done it with the wholehearted support from Aprilia and our many other technical partners.” 

Mathew Scholtz wrapped up second in the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship at NJMP.

The following is from Westby Racing…

On the strength of their runner-up finishes in Sunday’s two Superbike races at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP), Mathew Scholtz and the Westby Racing team have clinched second place in the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.

It was the sixth and seventh races this season in which Mathew has finished second, his third and fourth consecutive races in which he has taken the checkered flag second, and the 12th and 13th times that he has finished on the podium in the past 17 races.

While Mathew finished second in both of Sunday’s races, his good friend and fellow Yamaha rider Jake Gagne won both of the 20-lap events, clinching the 2021 Superbike Championship in the morning’s race two.

Both of Sunday’s races were similar, but the work that Mathew and the team put into dialing in the bike paid off in the final race of the weekend. Mathew not only briefly led the race, but the gap between Mathew and Jake at the checkered flag was at its smallest in race three.

Following the morning’s race two, Mathew said, “I did what I wanted to do for the first four laps when I could kind of be with Jake, and I just faded from there, really. I’m happy to just bring it home in second place. We need to try to figure out how to be more consistent once the tire drops off. I did a couple of 20’s early on, and then, I dropped to high 21’s. Josh (Herrin) was catching me slightly. So, I’m going to go back to the briefing room now and try to figure out a couple things for the second race. I’m happy for Jake. We’ve been friends since we were kids racing in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. We also lived in Spain and raced in their Moto2 championship. So, it’s always good to see a close friend winning something. If there’s somebody in this paddock that I don’t mind beating me, it is Jake. He’s an awesome guy. Well-done to Josh, too. One more Yamaha sweep. We’ve just got to keep on going and try to figure out some way to actually beat Jake. Hopefully, I can beat him one more time, because I won the first race when his bike broke. I’m not saying that I want his bike to break, but (laughs).”

Then, after the afternoon’s race three, Mathew commented, “Jake is the class of the field now, and it seems like I’m the next-best guy. I’ve just got to keep chipping away and try to catch him. We know what we have to do as far as the lap times. We went quicker this afternoon than we did in the race this morning. So, we’re always getting faster, but we just need to find something more, really.

“Barber (Motorsports Park) is next, and it’s probably the best track for me. I always do well there. So, I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully ending the season strong there. Then, I’m looking forward to ’22. I know that I will be back here.”

Ed Sullivan, Westby Racing Crew Chief said, “First of all, I would like to congratulate Jake, his crew chief Jon Cornwell, and the entire Attack Performance team on an amazing year. They really set the bar high. We showed again this weekend that we are closing the gap and pushing them hard. We had to make the most out of every session and every race lap to use the data and feedback to push the setup forward. In race two this morning, we went faster than our qualifying time, so I think that shows our progression over the weekend. We go to Barber with a lot of confidence and look forward to a strong finish to the year.”

Chuck Giacchetto, Westby Racing Team Manager, added, “At the moment, I’m smiling like we got a ‘hat trick’ this weekend. Our team busted their asses, and it showed beautifully. This event was extra-special for me. I’m not sure exactly why, but again, it’s the rhythm, I think. Mathew did a fantastic job in every aspect this weekend, as well. Not only did he satisfy the team as a whole, but he was at one with his fan base, and I honestly think they played a part in his success. As for the rest of the team, lights out, thank you so very much.

“On a separate note, I would like to extend my congratulations to the Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha Racing team on their incredible run in winning back-to-back Superbike Championships. For Jake, what a season, my friend. Enjoy all the glory. It’s so very much deserved. Congrats!

“On behalf of our team at Westby Racing, I would also like to congratulate Yamaha Racing on their continued dominance of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.

“See you in a few days!”

Next up for Westby Racing is the final round of the 2021 MotoAmerica Championship, which will take place at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, this coming weekend.