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.
MotoAmerica Superbike Standings
- Jake Gagne – Yamaha – 400
- Mathew Scholtz – Yamaha – 292
- Cameron Petersen – Suzuki – 215
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