Enea Bastianini takes third win in MotoGP Round 7; Cameron Beaubier top five in Moto 2


Spread evenly through the season, Enea Bastianini scored his third win of 2022 in Round 7 of the MotoGP series in LeMans, France. In Moto2, Americans Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts scored top-10 finishes.

Australia’s Jack Miller earned the hole shot with Bastianini in tow, but during the frenetic first lap, the eventual winner was pushed back to fourth as Francesco Bagnaia and Alex Rins scooted past. An off-track excursion for Rins on Lap 3, a mistake by Miller on Lap 12, and the pass for the lead over Bagnaia on Lap 21 allowed Bastianini to steadily move back up the grid.

Bastianini has now won Rounds 1, 3 and 7 with disappointing results of eighth or worse in the intervening rounds. As a result, he finds himself third in the championship standings behind the defending champ Fabio Quartararo and Aleix Espagaro. Both riders were able to earn respectable points with Espagaro standing on the bottom row of the podium and Quartararo just outside that mark in fifth.

Miller finished second.

Quartararo’s fourth-place finish was enough to allow him to keep the points’ lead by four over Espagaro.

In Moto2, Augusto Fernandez beat second-place Aron Canet and Somkiat Chantra to the checkers, but Beaubier pressed them for the elusive podium finish when he crossed under the checkers fourth. This was Beaubier’s  second top-10 of the season and his first top-five after finishing ninth in the season-opener in Qatar. He was not classified in the latest three rounds, which has put him well down the championship ranking, 14th in points.

Adding to the disappointment, Beaubier rode in the third position from Lap 11 through 13, when he was passed by Chantra. Beaubier reclaimed third on Lap 15 only to lose it to Canet before clawing his way back up to third for another five laps, ultimately giving way for a final time with only two laps remaining.

It has been a different story in 2022 for Roberts, who won his first Moto2 race two rounds ago in Portugal. That propelled him to fourth in the standings, as several of his closest competitors were swept into an 11-bike melee nine laps into the race. Roberts has ridden well in the latest two rounds and swept the top 10, but with the points top-loaded for the podium finishers, he slipped from fourth following his win two weeks ago to fifth last week after the Grand Prix of Spain, and now sits sixth, three points behind the LeMans winner Fernandez.

Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws

More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.

Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.

After a career-best season with the World of Outlaws, Erb and Lyne secured the points championship at US 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo. with three races remaining in the season. The consistency and success of their season came down to pinpoint focus. Lyne and Erb are a team of two living out a David vs. Goliath tale. In order to be as successful as possible this year the duo knew they had to do as much as possible with the resources they had.

“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.

“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”

Dennis Erb clinched his 2022 championship before the World of Outlaws World Finals. Jacy Norgaard – World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Taming Time

This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.

“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.

“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”

This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.

“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”

At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.

“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”

Heather Lyne became the first female crew chief to secure a national touring late model championship in 2022. Paul Arch / World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Breaking Through

Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.

“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”

Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.

“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.

“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”