2020 MotoAmerica Stock 1000 Champion Cameron Petersen is hot stuff. And, with all due respect to Petersen’s fiancée Nina, we’re talking about his attractiveness strictly as a motorcycle road racer.
What a difference a year makes. No doubt, Petersen’s skills on a motorcycle have improved even more in the past 365 days, but the 26-year-old’s job prospects this off-season are exponentially better than they were a year ago.
In October 2019, the South African rider was coming off a lackluster season racing in Superbike aboard the number #45 Omega Moto Yamaha YZF-R1. Most informed people in the paddock already knew that Petersen is one of the most talented riders in the MotoAmerica paddock, but his uneven 2019 season aboard a less-than-dependable motorcycle cast an unfortunate pall over him that led to a winter of discontent with little to no opportunities for the 2020 MotoAmerica season.
That all changed when he attended the San Diego Supercross in early February of this year. As luck would have it, he sat in the stands near Team Hammer principal Chris Ulrich, and the two struck up a conversation, which led to Petersen getting a ride aboard a Team Hammer-built Altus Motorsports Suzuki GSX-R1000 in Stock 1000 and the new-for-2020 Superbike Cup.
After a few early-season teething pains with the bike, things began to click for Petersen and his team, which led to him reeling off eight victories and three runner-up finishes out of 12 races on the season. He won the Stock 1000 Championship by a gaudy 56 points, and as icing on the cake, he also finished first in the 2020 Superbike Cup, which awarded him a nice $25,000 cherry on top of the Superbike Cup Championship icing on top of his Stock 1000 Championship cake.
Throughout the latter half of his 2020 campaign, virtually every time Petersen spoke from the top step of the Stock 1000 podium and from the middle seat in the post-race press conferences, he made his point abundantly clear: he wants a Superbike ride for 2021.
After his final Stock 1000 race win of the season, last weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, he was asked if he had any idea yet what he’ll be doing in 2021. “I’ve got no idea at the moment, he said. “I’m talking to some people, but there’s a lot of good riders out there looking for a ride. So it’s kind of a hurry-up-and-wait game. But, I feel like I’ve done enough. I don’t know what more I could have done this season. For the most part, I’m not too sure what I’m doing, but hopefully I got my fingers crossed I’ll be on a Superbike.”
Based on rumors in the paddock, along with some educated guesses, here are what we see as Petersen’s prospects:
Team Hammer M4 ECSTAR Suzuki
With Bobby Fong most likely staying at Hammer after having an excellent first year aboard the team’s Superbike, including three race wins on the season, but Fong’s teammate Toni Elias announcing that he is leaving the team and Suzuki for other opportunities, it makes perfect sense for Petersen to slot into position alongside Fong. The two riders get along well, and also, Petersen rode a Team Hammer-built Suzuki GSX-R1000 this past season in Stock 1000 and Superbike Cup so there is a lot of synergy and continuity for him to race an M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Superbike in 2021.
Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha
Petersen has raced a Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike in the past–albeit not one as stout as the Attack bike–so he has experience on the R1. Also, as with Fong, Petersen and incumbent Attack rider Jake Gagne are good friends, so there is again synergy in place for Petersen to take the seat on Attack that was vacated by five-time Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier’s departure to Moto2.
Scheibe Racing BMW
Whether Josh Herrin continues with Scheibe Racing in 2021 or not, team owner Steve Scheibe has always coveted the idea of carrying two Superbike riders on his team, which he did early in the 2020 season at Road America 1. In addition, Scheibe also covets the brand-new 2021 BMW M 1000 RR, the bike that Scheibe says he has been “waiting for BMW to release all along.” So, whether it’s two riders or one rider for Scheibe Racing in 2021, Petersen could be either one of the two or the lone rider.
Altus Motorsports Suzuki
With its large footprint, Altus Motorsports is one of the most prominent teams in the MotoAmerica paddock. Winning the 2020 Stock 1000 Championship was a very big deal for the Oklahoma-based team. Could Altus transform Petersen’s Stock 1000-spec machine into a full-on Superbike with uprated suspension, brakes, electronics, and other go-fast goodies? They’ve already got a rider and a motorcycle that are a winning combination and also showed themselves in the top-five in several Superbike races. Why not take that extra step and go Superbike racing in 2021?
And the above four options are just the obvious ones for Cam Petersen. Who knows what other MotoAmerica Superbike opportunities might be available for him in 2021?
All we know is that Cam Petersen is hot. Watch where he goes.