Cycle News

Cycle News 2019 Issue 39 October 1

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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the all-time wins list with 32. The chart-toppers—Mat Mladin, with his mind-boggling 82-career wins and second all-time Josh Hayes with 61 wins—are safe for now. At the rate he's winning it would take about another four years for Beaubier to catch Hayes. It would likely take seven to eight years for him to have a shot at catching Mladin's record. He's 26 so it's not totally out of the question should Beau- bier continue racing in America the rest of his career. Yamaha led the way in Super- bike wins this year with 11, while Suzuki had nine. All-time, Suzuki is way out front with 212 total Mo- toAmerica/AMA Superbike wins since the series began in 1976. Ya- maha is second with 129, followed by Honda with 116, Kawasaki with 57, Ducati with 44, BMW with five and Moto Guzzi with two. It was business as usual with the four factory riders mainly dominat- ing the proceedings, but there were sparks of brilliance from others like JD Beach, who made big news in May at Virginia Interna- tional Raceway. Just a week after getting his first-career premier class American Flat Track victory, Beach did the same in MotoAmeri- ca Superbike. Being an active and winning flat track racer put a smile on the face of a lot of old-school fans who remember when the AMA Grand National Champion- ship included both flat track and road racing. Beach now has at least the chance to join the very exclusive Grand Slam Club—riders who have won all four disciplines of flat track as well as a premier class in road racing. Only four rid- ers in the history of American mo- torcycle racing have accomplished that feat: Kenny Roberts, Dick Mann, Bubba Shobert and Doug Chandler. Should Beach go on to get it done in the coming years, he would almost assure himself a spot in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Mathew Scholtz, on the Westby Racing Yamaha; Jake Lewis, on the M4 Ecstar Suzuki; Kyle Wyman, on his Kyle Wyman Racing Ducati; Jake Gagne, on the Scheibe Racing BMW; and Cameron Petersen, on the Omega Moto Yamaha, all turned in some strong performances in 2019, showing substantial depth in the Superbike field. MotoAmerica scored a coup this year, moving its TV cover- age from beIN to the much more available Fox Sports 2. It also had a feature show on NBCSN, which has already been renewed for next year. They are making all the right moves to better position the series in the ever-shrinking motorsports market. Attendance at the events this year also showed positive growth. It was especially evident at Road Atlanta and Road America. The announcement that the series is heading to the Indianapolis Mo- tor Speedway for a stand-alone event was also major news and should significantly increase the exposure of the series in America. The problem is sportbike sales continue to lag. So much so, that the rumor in the paddock is that Yamaha is going to discontinue its factory team and instead shift its factory support to Attack Racing. If Yamaha is pulling back, it brings the obvious question, will Suzuki do the same? If the two factories scale down their efforts, it will look bad for the series, but in the long run, could actually provide more competitive racing overall for the series. One thing is obvious, having just Superbikes in the races makes for some very light starting grids. The fact is, even in the best years, there were not many more true Superbikes in the class than there are today, it's just the fact that many racers on supersport-spec machines filled out the grid to make a little extra cash and per- haps glory. MotoAmerica needs to figure out a way to allow and encourage the Stock 1000 com- petitors to also race in the Super- bike class. A good number of the top Stock 1000 racers are turning competitive times in Superbike. A 30 or 35-bike grid would make the TV and live experience much more of a spectacle. There are some rumors that Kawasaki could return. And Honda is said to have a new 1000cc sport bike in the works, so we could ac- tually have more factory machines on the grid in 2020, but it's noth- ing more than paddock specula- tion at this point. Early predictions for next year? I see it a tossup between Gerloff, Beaubier and Elias. Elias may have a slight edge, since Indianapolis, with its very long straightaway, should be tailor-made for the top- speed advantage of the Suzuki, and add in the fact that Sonoma, which Beaubier absolutely owned, is off the schedule. The title chase will likely be decided again this time next year at Barber. CN Subscribe to nearly 50 years of Cycle News Archive issues: VOLUME 56 ISSUE 39 OCTOBER 1, 2019 P121

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