-- Hayes wins at Barber
Two-time defending AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike king Josh Hayes hit the quarter-century mark on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park, registering the 25th victory of his SuperBike career. The Mississippian's AMA Pro Road Racing double win at the Triumph SuperBike Classic presented by America's First Federal Credit Union also marked his eighth triumph of the season and his fifth in succession.
While much was made of the learning opportunity Hayes' Monster Energy Graves Yamaha teammate, Josh Herrin, enjoyed on Saturday by racing on the SuperBike champ's rear wheel, Hayes was made all the wiser by that experience as well.
Unwilling to give Herrin a chance to cling on again, Hayes raced exceptionally hard early and quickly eliminated any hope Herrin or any other rival might have entertained about sticking with him today.
Hayes ultimately took the checkered flag with a 4.988-second margin of victory. "I got a decent start and slotted in right behind Josh," Hayes said. "I eased up inside of him in Turn 4 and got in there. At that point I just tried to get back into a rhythm. Things were going pretty good -- at one point I opened up a second on Josh and was kind of holding it there for a couple laps. When I saw that he took it back, I said, 'okay, don't deviate from your game plan,' because I was doing a good pace and not making mistakes. I wanted to keep up a good steady pace and see what happened and then I came around and saw a three-second gap. There you go. It's so hot and so slippery -- there was the mistake I was waiting to see if it would happen. I maintained my gap and stayed clear and had a good smooth race."
Despite Hayes' determination to shake free at the start and make an early escape, Herrin gave it his best effort to reel his teammate back in... and paid the price. Attempting to make up an early one-second deficit, the National Guard SuperBike freshman ran off track in Turn 4 on the race's fifth lap and was instantly dropped back to ninth.
That's the same position Yoshimura Racing Suzuki's Blake Young had held on the race's opening lap, suffering from a poor start and almost falling outside the top ten. The Wisconsin rider sliced his way up the field, however, and was in position to take control of second when Herrin made his error.
Herrin made a similar charge and by lap 11 was right on Young's rear wheel. The Suzuki and Yamaha men waged a closely-matched duel from there to the flag. Herrin reclaimed second on lap 19 but handed it back the next lap again after running wide in Turn 4. He mounted another charge and made a stab for second on the final lap, again in turn 4, but was unable to hold his line and Young dipped right back through and held on to ultimately claim the runner-up position.
Young said, "Well, the start was a little bit of a struggle and I found myself quite a ways back in the pack. I just thought, 'wow, I really messed up and made a lot of work for myself that I really didn't want to have to deal with today. That's how it goes. You have a plan before the start but it never goes according to plan -- ever. I wasn't expecting that but I put my head down and felt better on my GSX-R1000 today."
Herrin admitted, "It was a crazy race. I just made way too many mistakes in the race today and lost too many positions due to it. That's the first time I've had any close moments on the 1000 all year, but luckily I was able to recover from it and come back from way back. That felt really good and I have a lot of motivation."
Team Amsoil/Hero EBR's Geoff May continued his mid-season run of impressive performances, working his way past Michael Jordan Motorsports teammates Ben Bostrom (Jordan Suzuki) and Roger Hayden (National Guard Jordan Suzuki) on successive laps and then breaking away to claim a clear fourth.
Hayden stormed past Bostrom on lap 19 of 21 to steal the final position in the top five.
Attack Performance's Steve Rapp ran with the freight train of heavy hitters early before fading back to a lonely seventh. Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram took his BMW S1000RR to eighth while Kneedraggers.com/Motul/Fly Racing's David Anthony and M4 Suzuki's Chris Ulrich completed the top ten.
Hayes now leads the points 320 to 283 over Young.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier pulled the perfect weekend in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike at Barber Motorsports Park, winning pole, both races and both lap leader points for Y.E.S/Graves/Yamaha in Alabama. Beaubier cleared off in the last couple of laps to win over Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki) by 2.163 seconds in a repeat of the top two finishers from Saturday.
After a post-Daytona injury sidelined him, Beaubier has returned to competition with a vengeance. The Californian has been a factor in recent GoPro Daytona SportBike races but took his first pole and wins this weekend. Westby made a bid with four laps to go, but Beaubier was able to rally and consolidate the lead.
"It feels awesome to get my first win and then back it up the next day," said 19-year-old Beaubier. "It was weird because my first lap wasn't very good at all. I then got through a few guys and got out front and I felt pretty good out front. I didn't feel very good in second because it was super easy to get shuffled back. Out front I felt really comfortable, I tried to save my tires as much as I could, and towards the end I put my head down and pushed really hard to get away."
After the race, Westby said he wished he'd waited until the final lap to make his charge but was positive about his form this weekend.
Points leader Martin Cardenas took his GEICO Suzuki to third place and expanded his points margin over second place points man Jason DiSalvo (Latus Motors Racing Castrol Triumph) who finished sixth. DiSalvo now trails Cardenas by 51 and fell into a tie with Westby.
Early leader Tommy Hayden of Y.E.S/Graves/Yamaha took fourth, ahead of Bobby Fong (Meen Motorsports), rewarded with a top five result.
J.D. Beach (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull), Jake Zemke (Ducshop Ducati), Benny Solis (Kneedraggers.com Yamaha) and Jake Gagne (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) also scored in the top ten.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
James Rispoli (Orient Express Celtic Racing) got back to his winning ways in AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race two at Barber Motorsports Park, holding off Jake Lewis (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki) by just 0.038 in a drag race to the line. The lead group, including third place finisher Tomas Puerta and Hayden Gillim of the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull team, outlasted the two red flags and 17 laps to make it a four-way fight to the finish.
Rispoli, the defending Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport National champ, was able to shine in the event but the final outcome was in jeopardy until Rispoli crossed the line the very last time. As the final lap began, Rispoli led over Puerta, then Lewis and Gillim. Lewis made his way past the Colombian and set out to take Rispoli's spot, but couldn't mount a successful maneuver in the favored passing area turn four or the final turn. Lewis did, however, set up a good run to the flag and nearly passed Rispoli at the line.
"The red flags were pretty tough. Every time we went back out it seemed like the tires got a little bit greasier. Us dirt trackers were really sliding it around and I think I was sliding around a little bit more than anybody else. It was crazy. It went all the way down to the wire," said Rispoli. "In the end we played our cards smart. I broke hard in the places I needed to, I defended where I needed to, and we got back up on top of the box."
Puerta took third, over GIllim. Suzuki On Facebook SportbikeTrackGear.com pilot Elena Myers finished fifth, ahead of Dustin Dominguez (Latus Motors Racing Triumph) who was collected in the first portion of the race by Stefano Mesa (Kneedraggers.com Yamaha). As the red flag was called because Dominguez was pinned under the air fence, the Oklahoman was forced to start at the back of the grid. Mesa took seventh, ahead of Ryan Matter (Gearzy Yamaha), Eric Stump (EyeballNYC.com Yamaha), and Corey Alexander (National Guard Fairhills Group Celtic Racing), who had an issue on the last lap and lost five spots.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series
KLR Group/Vesrah Racing's Kyle Wyman came out victorious following an 11-lap dogfight with AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series title leader Tyler O'Hara to secure his third XR1200 victory of the '12 season. The two title rivals made a rapid escape from the chasing pack and then waged an intense duel for the checkered flag over the race's waning laps.
Wyman slipped into first for good on the race's last lap and heavily defended his line in the contest's final few corners to narrowly hold off his Bartel's Harley-Davidson-backed opponent by a scant 0.047 seconds at the stripe.
"It was huge to have KLR Group at the race and I really wanted to get a win for them," Wyman said. "It was a great. It was a good race at the front -- a lot of dicing and battling. There were different places on the track where he was a little bit stronger and other places where I was stronger and I just tried to make the most of those and be there at the end. It all paid off for me."
Michael Barnes put the MOB Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200 on the podium in his maiden outing with the team. The result was hard earned as Barnes fronted a spirited four-man scrap for the podium ahead of David Estok (Ruthless Racing Inc.), Gerry Signorelli (Kuryakyn), and Shane Narbonne (Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson). Narbonne fell off the chase (literally) while running sixth with four laps remaining. Signorelli followed that with a crash of his own from fifth on the race's final lap.
Barnes edged Estok for third by just 0.146 seconds, while Narbonne's teammate, Ben Carlson, completed the top five.
-- Saturday Report
Josh Hayes notched up the seventh triumph of his 2012 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike campaign in Saturday's main event at Barber Motorsports Park for the Triumph SuperBike Classic presented by America's First Federal Credit Union.
Hayes' eventual 5.136-second margin of victory doesn't come close to telling the full story of what was an intense, blue-on-blue battle at the front, however. His Monster Energy Graves Yamaha teammate, Josh Herrin, provided a serious challenge, pushing the reigning champion deep into the contest before the Mississippian's consistent effort in the Alabama heat finally broke the talented upstart.
Herrin showed patience early in the race, tailing Hayes from fractions of a second behind while showing him a wheel on multiple occasions but never attempting to make a pass. That approach allowed the works Yamaha formation to fly away from the pack early on, building up a double-digit lead over third-placed Blake Young as the race settled in.
Despite his impressive performance, Herrin finally showed signs of weakness in the brutal conditions and gave up the chase on lap 17 of 21. He dropped from two tenths to nearly two seconds back in a single lap as experience ultimately won out in the hard-fought duel.
Hayes has already equaled his best-ever single-season win tally, claiming seven wins in a single season for the third time in his SuperBike career ('09, '10, '12), and he still has a full half of the year's races ahead to add to that number.
"I think (Josh) is learning way too many of my tricks," Hayes said with a laugh. "It was a fun race; it was exactly what I expected. It was extremely hot, it was very slippery.
"I got to the point where I did a couple pretty good laps and I didn't get away from him. I could hear him right behind me. It probably took five or six laps before I started looking at his board, and once I realized it was just the two of us, I kind of relaxed a little bit. I figured my lines are pretty hard to pass around here and I knew grip wasn't that good. I just tried to ride smooth; I relaxed, calmed down, and got into a rhythm of '26.5s that were pretty comfortable and said we'll just have to wait and see how it goes later in the race. It worked in my favor. If he's hanging on at that pace, all it takes is one mistake and there's a half-second gap and all of a sudden he can't mimic exactly what I'm doing and maybe it gets a little tougher to hang on. Finally the gap opened up.
"I'm glad I was finally able to get a win here at Barber in front of my family and friends."
Runner-up Herrin said, "It was an awesome race. I was learning every lap. Every time I ride this bike I learn more and more. It's starting to be an amazing bike for me. At the beginning of the year, I don't want to say I struggled, but I wasn't where I am now. I put a lot of hard work in and my crew is trying to make this bike adapt to me. The settings were Josh's and I ride a lot differently than Josh. He helps me out a ton but sometimes I just have to figure out what works best for me. I'm finally starting to get to the point where I can set up the bike where I like it and my crew is getting to know me better every weekend too."
Young's race to third didn't come easily. He was separated from the Yamahas almost from the start when Jordan Suzuki's Ben Bostrom crashed from third immediately in front of him while working the race's opening lap. Then, Team Amsoil/Hero EBR's Geoff May chased him down from around three seconds back to close to within a second in the contest's late stages after the Yosh pilot was slowed considerably by a lapped rider. The Yoshimura Suzuki hero summoned up some late strength to just hold the Georgian off and claim the final spot on the podium.
Young said of his race, "It was pretty lonely. I ended up third place today, started sixth. I've obviously been struggling; I don't think I did any quicker laps in the race than I've gone all weekend long. But I feel pretty good. Yoshimura is standing behind me 100%. Race weekends like this are pretty tough and I'm just trying to keep a smile on my face and keep having fun.
"I want to work hard to get back to the front. I feel that we're just as good as the Joshes and I think we need to look at today's race and get back up there tomorrow. I'm going to go back and look at the data but I'm pretty sure it's going to say more throttle, less brake."
National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden clung onto May's rear wheel for much of the contest before the EBR man's late surge. The Kentuckian wasn't able to maintain the pace, however, and was forced to accept fifth.
Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram guided the #72 BMW S1000RR to seventh, while May's Team Hero EBR teammate, Danny Eslick, outlasted Young's teammate, Chris Clark, to finish seventh.
Attack Performance's Steve Rapp and Kneedraggers.com/Motul/Fly's David Anthony rounded out the day's top ten.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier won his first AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike pole position and race on the same day at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday. The 19-year-old Californian won a nail-biter over Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki) and his Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha teammate Tommy Hayden, one that ended with only 0.674 between the three riders after 21 laps.
The action in GoPro Daytona SportBike has been fierce and laptimes have been falling this weekend in Birmingham. Westby set a new Daytona SportBike lap record at the track in provisional qualifying yesterday, with Hayden close behind, before both Jason DiSalvo (Latus Motors Racing Triumph) and eventual polesitter Beaubier were able to lower the mark even more in final qualifying this morning.
For the Saturday afternoon final, competitors were met with blazing conditions. Beaubier ran in the lead pack the entire race and battled with Westby, Hayden and DiSalvo for the lead at various points in the contest. With just a couple of laps to go, Beaubier took over the point from Hayden, who then fell victim to Westby. Westby tried to make a go at Beaubier in turn four on the last lap, but couldn't make the pass work. Westby made a strong bid for the victory but felt he made a slight mistake on the last lap that cost him a better shot at the win. Dane wasn't quite close enough to try a move in the final series of turns.
"I felt really comfortable leading today. I tried to stay out in front as long as I could," said Cameron. "I felt like I had a little more in the first few sectors of the track than I did at the end, so I just pushed really hard. I'm at a loss for words. I was so happy to get pole position and a win. It felt really good," he said.
DiSalvo finished fourth, ahead of points leader Martin Cardenas (GEICO Suzuki) who wasn't quite as strong as normal on Saturday. Cardenas' points lead only shrunk by two to second-place man DiSalvo.
Bobby Fong (Meen Motorsports) ran with the lead group in the first half of the race, but rebounded to beat out Benny Solis (Kneedraggers.com Yamaha) for sixth. Jake Zemke (Ducshop Ducati) ran clear of the competition for eighth in what was a lonely race for the veteran.
J.D. Beach (Roadrace Factory Red Bull) and Michael Beck (Team Beck Racing) rounded out the top ten in the hot race.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki's Jake Lewis completed a come-from-behind victory over poleman Dustin Dominguez to claim Saturday'sAMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport contest at Barber Motorsports Park.
Castrol-backed Dominguez executed a couple of nifty maneuvers aboard the Latus Motors Racing Triumph 675 to move from fourth to first on the race's second lap and proceeded to put some distance on front-row rivals Lewis, James Rispoli (Celtic Racing/ Orient Express Racing Suzuki) and Hayden Gillim (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha).
However, Lewis eventually escaped from a battle for second with Rispoli to track down Dominguez. The two traded the lead back and forth five times on the penultimate lap before Lewis finally made the race's decisive pass.
"I just settled in and saw what the pace was going to be and tried to manage my tires to save them for the end," Lewis said. "Dustin ended up breaking away a little bit. I set my eyes on him and he was running really good. He had a little gap but I slowly reeled him in, bit by bit and was right there on him. With two laps to go I passed him and we had a good little battle for a bit and then on the last lap I really put my head down."
Rispoli finished third, nearly 14 seconds behind the win, while Gillim DNF'd. Road America winner Stefano Mesa won out in a multi-rider battle for fourth behind the lead group.
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