Photos Courtesy of Brian J. Nelson
Elias Pushes Series Lead to 26 Points at Mid-Season
It was a big weekend for Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Toni Elias at Utah Motorsports Campus. Elias won Saturday’s race convincingly, but had to fight hard to take a thrilling victory in Sunday’s race two. It was a major bounce back for Elias after crashing in race two at Road America a couple of weeks ago and seeing his series lead narrowed to nine points.
At the halfway point in the 2019 season Elias now has a series-leading five wins, and with the Utah sweep pushed his series lead back up to 26 points. Also significant is Elias reached a milestone 30th-career MotoAmerica Superbike victory on Sunday. He moved past former Yoshimura Suzuki racing legend Ben Spies for fifth on the all-time MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike wins list.
Icing on the cake for Elias is that he was able to celebrate the Father's Day victory with his dad on the winner’s rostrum.
It was a decent weekend for Yoshimura Suzuki’s Josh Herrin as well. Coming off his second win of the season in Wisconsin, at the last round, Herrin scored a sixth on Saturday (hampered by severe back pain) and bounced back to take fourth on Sunday.
Herrin moved from fifth to fourth in the standings.
Saturday’s race was an epic battle early, with seven riders in the lead pack. Elias was able to open a gap late in the race and took a 1.969-second margin of victory. On Sunday Elias was helped by a red flag stop of the race. That allowed him a fresh shot at the other riders. On the restart it was a 10-lap sprint on the very tight and technical 2.2-mile UMC East Course, being used for the first time in a MotoAmerica event. It was a thrilling final lap with Elias and Cameron Beaubier swapping the lead. With just a few turns to go, Elias shot up inside exiting the corner, then forged ahead and held on by a scant three-tenths of a second at the checkered flag.
“This was an amazing weekend for us,” Elias said. “We found a very good setting to allow me to open a gap in the final laps in Saturday’s race. Then today the red flag helped. I had picked a tire that was too hard and I was not comfortable pushing. But then things got much better late in the race. Cameron fought very hard, but I was fortunate to find a way to get back into the lead before the finish.
“Today was a great day to win because it was Father’s Day and MotoAmerica allowed my father to come up on the podium and this was very emotional. I dedicate this win to him and to my son.”
Herrin had a lower back problem crop up suddenly in Saturday’s race after leading several laps
“I was running up front and felt like I could pass whenever I wanted,” Herrin explained. “And then I had a problem with my back. It was so bad I had to set up and stretch it out and then nurse it home. In Sunday’s race I was nervous about it. In the back of my mind I felt like I had to be careful. I made a mistake in turn six, ran wide and lost the leaders with three laps to go. I’m bummed, but I was able to run up front this weekend, so I’m really looking forward to Laguna.”
Yoshimura Suzuki and the MotoAmerica Series visits Monterey Bay next for the combined Superbike World Championship/MotoAmerica weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on July 12-14, 2019. If you can’t make the race in person, MotoAmerica Superbike races can be watched on Fox Sports 2. Check your local listings for times.
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