On Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz not only finished on the Superbike podium for the 11th time in this year’s MotoAmerica Championship, his second-place result was the fifth time he has finished as runner-up this season.
And, while winning races is obviously the number-one objective of Mathew and the team, the consistency, which includes their current six-race podium streak, has given them a stone-cold lock on second place in the point standings, with a gap of nearly 60 points to the third-ranked rider with five races left in the season.
Starting from the middle of the front row, Mathew got a good jump off the line and tried to overtake Jake Gagne on the opening lap, but he ran out of room. After that, Toni Elias overtook Mathew, but Mathew had good pace and got past Toni as the race approached the halfway point. From there, Mathew maintained second place all the way to the checkered flag.
“Second place, I kind of have to be happy,” Mathew said. “Obviously, we would like to win, but Jake (Gagne) is on form now. It’s kind of nice to be the next-best guy after the Attack Yamaha. At this point it’s pretty clear to see that they have the best package. So, it’s always good to be up there. I think Jake beat us by seven or eight seconds, which is a little bit far, so we’re just going to go back to the briefing room now and try to figure out what we can do better. The first five or six laps, I felt good. We did a 21.2, 21.3, and I felt comfortable. Then, I got to lap five or six, and I was just pushing the front and sliding out of almost every single right-hand corner, so we’ve got to try to figure out how we can kind of hook up better. Obviously, if you’re going to do something, you’ve got to pass Jake early on because once he settles into his own groove and he’s gone, he definitely has a better pace than everyone else. So, hopefully, tomorrow I’ll be able to get a decent jump and try to do something out of the first couple corners. For now, just got to be happy with this second place. I had a decent battle with Toni. It’s always good to see him back up here. Happy with the Yamaha sweep of the podium. Just a big shout-out to the Westby Racing team. We’ve been working hard. We completely changed the motorcycle about four or five rounds back, and I feel like we’ve been making steady progress forward. So, we’ve just got to keep on working at it and just chip away a couple tenths, and we should be right there.”
Ed Sullivan, Westby Racing Crew Chief said, “Solid race for Mathew and our team today. Another strong second place. We have some changes ready for Sunday morning warm up, and I’m confident we will make the step needed to get Mathew up fighting with Jake.”
Chuck Giacchetto, Westby Racing Team Manager, added, “Today was the best day of our 2021 effort, in my opinion. I am so pleased and proud of our team. The guys found a very nice rhythm of late, and it’s all coming together. With regard to Mathew, he’s worked very hard to change not only his riding style but he has also found a much calmer approach to addressing his needs, which, in turn, gives Ed and the crew much more precise feedback.
“I know there is only a small mathematical chance to win the championship at this point, but I’m so ready to address the improvements that the team wants and needs because we still have room to improve. To be as close as we are and realize that there’s still room for improvement is very exciting as we look forward to the 2022 season.”
Sunday’s Superbike race two is at 11 a.m. ET, and Superbike race three is at 3 p.m. ET. Both races will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 2 (FS2), as well as streamed on MotoAmerica Live+.
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