RevZilla will be reporting live from Pittsburgh International Race Complex this weekend as the MotoAmerica series makes its first visit to the track, and here’s who’s hot as the riders race to the end of the season.
Mathew Scholtz: Hot, like a steady boil
Yamalube/Westby Racing team rider Mathew Scholtz is on a hot streak, with five wins in the last seven races. But that’s not what has given him a commanding 51-point lead in the Bazzazz Superstock 1000 class. The fact is, Scholtz has been as steady as he has been fast. Except for a DNF in race two at Road Atlanta, the second round of the series, Scholtz has been on the Superstock podium in every race.
That consistency allowed him to overcome the early lead by Quicksilver/Latus Motors Kawasaki rider Bobby Fong, who won four races in the first three rounds, and has kept him ahead of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider Jake Lewis, who is currently in second.
More bad news for the other Superstock riders: Scholtz set the fastest lap time in the two days of testing at PIRC in May, the first chance the riders had to try the track. Scholtz set a faster lap than even the Superbike riders.
Not surprisingly, Scholtz is looking forward to going back to PIRC, this time to race.
“I love it,” the South African rider said of the PIRC layout. “It’s a really fun track — some faster corners, it’s undulating. A lot of the guys have been complaining about the safety aspects of it, but we go to circuits that are as dangerous, if not worse. I’m very happy there. It’s a brilliant circuit and it seems to suit me with the flowing corners and the hard-braking zones.”
Those safety concerns mainly centered on the final turn. Since the May test, the track and MotoAmerica have responded by adding a chicane before that corner to slow the entry speed.
I should also mention that you can meet Scholtz at the MotoAmerica Warm-Up Lap, powered by Yoshimura and RevZilla, at ZLA headquarters on Sept. 6, prior to the next round of the series at New Jersey Motorsports Park, along with the Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Superbike riders.
Garrett Gerloff: Too hot to touch
It’s been clear for a while that the Supersport title was going to be decided between defending champ Garrett Gerloff and his Monster Energy/Yamalube/Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha teammate J.D. Beach, but who had the advantage? It was too close to call. Until the summer break, that is. Gerloff seemed to come back from the break with an extra gear. At the combined round with the Superbike World Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Gerloff lapped fast enough on his Yamaha YZF-R6 to outqualify at least one WSBK rider. He won that race and dominated the following round at Sonoma Raceway, taking pole and both race wins.
He still only has a 14-point lead over his teammate, so there’s no room for error. But right now, no rider in the series is looking harder to beat.
Cameron Beaubier and Toni Elias: Lately hot, always fast
Racing not far from his hometown in northern California, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing rider Cameron Beaubier had a perfect weekend at the last round at Sonoma Raceway: strong performances in the practice sessions, pole position and two solid wins. That moved him into second place in the standings, but here’s the bad news: That perfect weekend gained him a scant 10 points on the series leader, Yoshimura Suzuki Racing’s Toni Elias, leaving Beaubier a daunting 70 points behind with only 150 points still up for grabs in the last three rounds.
Nobody had a worse weekend at Sonoma, however, than Roger Hayden, the other Yoshimura Suzuki rider. He came into the weekend in second place, still with an outside shot at catching Elias. On Saturday, Josh Herrin crashed on the first lap and took out Hayden (just as Herrin did earlier in the season to Elias at Virginia International Raceway). On Sunday, Hayden crashed on his own, and he left wine country with zero points and fell to third place, 80 behind Elias.
Beaubier is trying to launch a streak, but is Elias uncatchable? It’s looking that way. Elias could potentially wrap up the title this weekend. Two wins for Elias and a second and a DNF for Beaubier and Hayden would seal it. That’s unlikely, but it’s also hard to imagine closing a 70-point gap on a guy who has only finished worse than second once this year, and that was when Herrin crashed into him.
Did I mention you can also meet Elias and Hayden at the MotoAmerica Warm-Up Lap at the RevZilla Gear Showroom? Check back this weekend for coverage of the races at PIRC and join us for the party on Sept. 6 if you can.