-- AMA SBK 2013 - Road America - Race Two
There were no 'what ifs' following the second half of the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader that closed out the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing weekend at Road America.
In contrast to Saturday's opening-lap clash for the lead, the championship's three major players -- reigning National Guard SuperBike champ, Josh Hayes, pre-event title leader Josh Herrin, and the current points leader, Martin Cardenas -- all got away relatively cleanly for the 12-lap contest and settled in for a straight fight to determine the day's victor.
And in the end, Hayes once again proved his supremacy. However, unlike the script that played out so frequently during the 2012 season -- including twice here at Road America -- the win did not come easily.
The Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha superstar worked past Herrin on the opening lap and then hounded Cardenas until he finally found a way into the lead on lap 3. But, once in front, it proved no easy task to shake his determined challengers, and when he finally did -- unlike his numerous '12 blowouts -- the race was still not completely decided.
Hayes pushed the gap up to 2.428 seconds by lap 7, however, Cardenas responded by finding his groove aboard the #36 Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing GSX-R1000. The Mississippian's advantage decreased lap by lap from there on out until he finally took the checkered flag with the charging Colombian just 0.818 seconds behind and within a sniff of his #1 R1's draft.
The victory marks Hayes' fifth National Guard Superbike win in a row at Road America -- the most of any rider. It also marked his second consecutive season of not only maximizing his points haul in Wisconsin but doing so while topping every single practice, qualifying session, and race.
Hayes now boasts 35 career SuperBike victories and lowered his title deficit by 14 points on the weekend. He currently has 71 points, 34 removed from Cardenas' class-leading 105.
With his Daytona disaster now firmly behind him, Hayes said, "It was a great weekend. I'm really happy with the results. The racing was very hard for me. It was a really tough day."
Commenting on Cardenas' late-race rally, Hayes remarked, "I was trying really, really hard. I got really tight. I was definitely struggling even from the halfway flag on. It was just me hanging on and gripping the bars really tight. My right arm is pretty worked... I started to panic a little bit when he started closing that gap up, but I was just trying to stay relaxed. I never really looked back. I had a pretty bad moment in 8 and thought, 'oh, you just threw away the race.' I looked back and saw I had a little bit of room and just tried to ride the second half of the lap clean. I'm glad I was able to make it to the line."
While he didn't complete his charge for the win, Cardenas' effort was most impressive and further signaled his arrival as a serious contender for the throne.
He said, "The race was good. I liked it a little bit better than yesterday. Especially at the end, I got in a very good rhythm. I got a good start and the first few laps I was kinda okay. And then he passed me and did some very fast laps and I couldn't keep on with him. I was not so good in some corners, but then I calmed down and started to get into a very good rhythm. We finished second, which is a very good place and a little bit closer, which is the idea. We're happier than yesterday, and the Suzuki is working good. We're looking forward to Barber and seeing what we can do."
Herrin hung tough on Cardenas' rear wheel until the Suzuki man ratcheted up the pace. Once he lost the tow, Herrin faded dramatically, finishing more than eight seconds off the win. However, the career-long Yamaha pilot had built up a large safety margin behind him and cruised to a safe podium finish.
"I thought it was really good," Herrin said, who is now second in the points with 92. "Towards the end of the race I faded, obviously. I have no excuses for that -- I was making little mistakes. For some reason when Martin would run wide, I'd think in my head, 'here's my chance to catch up or to pass him' but I'd follow him every time. He'd run wide, I'd run wide. He'd have a bobble, I'd have a bobble. That was really hurting me.
"Towards the end, he really dropped the hammer and started reeling in Josh. I was hoping I'd stay with him but I just wasn't able to."
National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden scored a lonely fourth after flashing a front-running pace on the race's opening two laps. He was followed home by his Jordan Suzuki teammate, Danny Eslick, to put three Suzukis in the top five.
Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing Yamaha's Larry Pegram took sixth with several seconds of padding in either direction.
Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony beat KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore for seventh. Team AMSOIL/Hero's Aaron Yates was elevated to top EBR 1190RS pilot when his Team Hero teammate, Geoff May, crashed out of seventh on lap 3. The big Georgian finished ninth.
Team RSRacecraft EBR's Cory West just held on to beat Farrell Performance Kawasaki's Jason Farrell and M4 Broaster Chicken Honda's Chris Ulrich for the final spot inside the top ten.
-- AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Sunday's AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race was a classic, a battle between Jake Gagne and Cameron Beaubier that saw each rider take a turn at the front and one that saw both riders nearly lose control at other times on the 4.05-mile Road America circuit. RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's Gagne took his second AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike win with a great ride that saw him pressure Beaubier into a mistake with three laps to go. Jake Lewis earned third via a photo finish with J.D. Beach.
Gagne won last year's GoPro Daytona SportBike race at Miami in the rain, and today's Road America win was his first DSB victory in the dry. Unlike yesterday's contest, Gagne was able to stick with Beaubier in the early going.
"I think Cam had more pace than me early in the race," Gagne said. "I didn't want him to get away like yesterday. A few laps to go, he made a mistake, and I got a gap."
The colder temperature conditions certainly changed things for the riders from Saturday's race and both riders were near and sometimes beyond the limits of traction throughout the 13-lap contest. Beaubier even cracked his windscreen but managed to keep his Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R6 on two wheels to the finish, and he maintained the points lead.
"I made a lot of mistakes and felt like I had the pace to win. I almost ran into Jake but he rode awesome and got a good win," said Beaubier, who now leads Gagne by 15 points in the championship.
Lewis and Beach had a similar race, but their battle only concluded with the checkered flag. Lewis, racing his Meen Motorsports Racing Yamaha, finished just 0.008 seconds in front of RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's Beach, who had won the battle of Kentucky residents on Saturday.
Garrett Gerloff took fifth again for Y.E.S./Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha and is now third in the GoPro Daytona SportBike points behind Beaubier and Gagne. Oklahoman Dane Westby was sixth on the GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing machine. James Rispoli (National Guard/Celtic Racing) shadowed Westby to the line.
Jason DiSalvo (Latus Motors Triumph), Elena Myers (Castrol/Triumph/Apex Manufacturing), and Ben Young (Ben Young Racing) rounded out the top ten.
-- AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
Corey Alexander won the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race at Road America on Sunday, besting a five-rider draft pack in the final run up the hill to make it a weekend sweep for the National Guard/Celtic Racing pilot. The rising star topped Stefano Mesa (Motosport.com RSRacecraft) and Tomas Puerta (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) for the win, with AMA Pro officials confirming the results with a photo finish.
"We changed positions so many times, it was tough to remember everything that happened," Alexander said. "I could have been first, and I could have been fifth. I was glad to win it. First off, everyone in the top five had an awesome race. The bike was great all weekend, and we have some momentum going into Barber."
Stefano Mesa took second-place again on Sunday. "It was a solid weekend with the new team. Two second places, it was a good fight. All five of us out there were riding strong. My hat is off to the others," said Mesa.
Puerta looked to back up his Daytona victory with another triumph but lost out in the waning moments. The Colombian still took a fine third place. "We were battling very hard. With two laps to go, I got the lead and tried to pull away, but it did not work out," said Tomas.
Officially, Mesa was 0.012 seconds behind Alexander, and Puerta was a scant .001 farther back.
Also in the lead pack were Harv's H-D racer Travis Wyman and Baby Appleseed CM Motorsports' Jeffrey Tigert. The top five finished the race within 0.425 seconds, making for a tightly contested victory.
Initially the first race on Sunday's schedule, the race was red-flagged after a crash on a restart and postponed until the last event of the day.
Connor Blevins (Ajax Kawasaki) was fifth, ahead of Houston Superbikes' Travis Ohge and Team 95's Hayden Gillim.
-- AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
Suburban Harley-Davidson's Steve Rapp did the unthinkable in Sunday's 6-lap AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series final -- he managed to escape from the pack and win the race going away.
Each previous H-D dogfight at the circuit was decided by 0.157 seconds or less, but the veteran competitor somehow managed to break free of the draft and control the race from the front, ultimately taking the checkered flag with some four seconds in hand.
Adding to the level of difficulty was the fact that the airline pilot didn't even show up at the track until Sunday morning; Rapp earned a slot on the front row of the grid in the class' second qualifying session, which was held Sunday morning, and then flew to victory in the afternoon in what was his day off from work.
Rapp said, "I love this place -- I do. I always look forward to coming here... I'm just happy to be here. It's Suburban Harley-Davidson's home race and I want to thank them -- they put in a big effort.
"It was really just a great, great day for me."
While Rapp's dominance eliminated the expected drama for the win, a thrilling scrap took place behind him to decide second.
Rapp's Suburban Harley-Davidson teammate, Ben Carlson, ultimately took a popular runner-up result in front of his home fans by an impossibly small 0.001-second margin over Rossmeyers Harley-Davidson's reigning champ Michael Barnes.
Harv's Harley-Davidson's Travis Wyman was a further 0.063 back in fourth.
Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade/Bartels' Tyler O'Hara was also part of a four-man pack fighting for the position for much of the race but was forced out with a mechanical issue moments after moving into second position.
ChiliPepperRacing.com's Ricky Parker came out on top of a hard-fought four-rider brawl to complete the top five.
-- Next Up
The racing at Road America included some of the closest competition and fiercest battles seen to date and the series looks to continue the momentum later this month at the Triumph SuperBike Classes presented by America's First Federal Credit Union. The 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season will return to the track on June 21-23 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.
-- AMA SBK 2013 - Road America - Race One
Entering the first race of the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America, reigning AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike triple champion Josh Hayes sounded a bit less than his usual supremely confident self. The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha superstar admitted that he was a bit rusty, still growing comfortable with his tires, and generally struggling. Meanwhile, the emerging challenge of Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Martin Cardenas hinted that the substantial crowd in attendance may be treated to a competitive battle for Saturday's win.
Instead, Hayes stepped up and delivered yet another of his trademark breakaway victories. The convincing triumph was the 34th of the Mississippian's illustrious premier-class career. Perhaps more importantly, it was the first of his 2013 title campaign that got off to a disastrous start in March at Daytona International Speedway.
Cardenas powered into the lead at the green light aboard his #36 GSX-R1000 but Hayes muscled alongside as they set up for the entrance of Turn 3. The two rubbed shoulders and the Colombian was pushed a bit wide as they jockeyed for position.
Hayes took control of the race at the point; he opened up a small gap that he gradually grew while Cardenas was forced to deal with Hayes' teammate, Josh Herrin.
Cardenas eventually won out in that scrap for second but by then the damage was done. The Suzuki ace found himself a few seconds removed from Hayes, a gap from which he could never rebound. The two ultimately finished the race in first and second separated by just under four seconds.
After collecting his fourth consecutive Road America SuperBike win Hayes said, "Today's race, in the helmet, felt a lot different than I think it looked on the track. I was pretty nervous coming into the race and wasn't feeling real good. It's been a long time since we've been racing and everything was going great last time and didn't end that well. So I had a lot of nerves.
"I felt I was riding pretty good, and the guys showed me I think a little bit of a false gap, and I relaxed a little bit. I came around, and that gap shrank considerably, and I panicked a little bit. I had to change my rhythm twice and that's pretty tough -- once you back down to go back to putting in hard laps again. At that point, it was just trying to maintain or open the gap and just give myself some breathing room. Martin was riding pretty good behind me because I was trying pretty hard and he was maintaining a good pace. I'm sure tomorrow will be a different story; if he can get away in the first few laps with me I'm sure it's going to be a race-long battle. I'm looking forward to it -- it should be a lot of fun."
Cardenas was able to take some consolation in the fact that his runner-up result catapulted him into the early-season championship lead.
"It was a good race for me," Cardenas remarked. "Of course, I wanted to finish one step higher, but this time, it was impossible. Josh was very fast on the first few, and he gapped us, and I couldn't catch up. But I tried to keep the pressure the whole way, and I had a good rhythm, and the bike was working really good."
Herrin looked set for a lonely run to the final spot on the podium until he went off track in Turn 1, losing the position on lap 9 of 13. The lengthy excursion plummeted Herrin from third to eighth in the process, but he regrouped and clawed his way back up to sixth by the time he took the checkered flag.
As a result of Herrin's mistake, an extended struggle between National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden and Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing Yamaha's Larry Pegram was elevated to one for the podium. The Kentuckian eked open a small gap on the final lap to prevent the veteran from attempting a last-gasp drafting maneuver as they raced up the hill for the final time.
Hayden said, "In the beginning, I made a made a lot of mistakes, and these guys got a gap on me. They just slowly pulled away. I made another big mistake, and then Larry was on me. The last few laps was just holding him off. Herrin ran off the track -- it's a pretty disappointing third place, to be honest. I was so far back and didn't really ride very good, and should have got fourth today. We'll take it, but we have to do a lot better job tomorrow."
Jordan Suzuki's Danny Eslick came back from a less-than-ideal start to charge up from ninth to fifth in the end.
Team Hero's Geoff May was the final rider Herrin worked past, finishing as the top EBR 1190RS in the field with his seventh-place finish.
Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony, KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore, and Team RSRacecraft EBR's Cory West rounded out the top ten.
-- AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier may have checked out in his win in GoPro Daytona SportBike at Road America on Saturday, but there were plenty of battles throughout the field that kept the event exciting until the very end.
Beaubier, on his Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R6, was shadowed closely in the opening laps by fellow young gun Jake Gagne, racing for RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha. Beaubier won by 2.693 seconds, not quite the dominating performance he showed at Daytona, but a clear victory nonetheless.
"Jake kept me honest, but my bike has been awesome all weekend," said Beaubier. The victory continued Cameron's perfect record in 2013. "It's been awesome, and I want to keep the ball rolling and stay focused."
After the early moments, Gagne was never challenged from his second position.
"Cameron took off today," said Gagne. "I made a few little mistakes, but we'll go back and try to improve on that from tomorrow."
The fight for third between Gagne's teammate J.D. Beach and Meen Motorsports' Jake Lewis, however, went down to the line. The Kentucky residents traded the position throughout the race, but Beach was able to join his teammate on the podium.
"We raced together a lot this winter," Beach said. "I tried to show him who was boss, but it was a fun race."
A four-rider train battled for fifth. Dane Westby (GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing), who hoped to get a positive start to his campaign for the 2013 title after missing Daytona with an injury, led the group into turn one on the last lap but was shuffled to the back of the pack by the finish and earned eighth. Garrett Gerloff put his Y.E.S.-backed Yamaha into fifth, as Bobby Fong (D&D Cycles Triumph) and James Rispoli on the National Guard Celtic Racing Suzuki also made moves on Westby to finish sixth and seventh, respectively.
-- AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
Saturday's AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race saw Corey Alexander earn a hard-fought victory over Stefano Mesa at the 4.05-mile circuit. Alexander (National Guard/Celtic Racing Suzuki) was able to distance himself from Mesa after the Colombian ran wide at turn five on the last lap, allowing Alexander to escape and win by 1.118 seconds.
"I wanted to get out front and see if they could stay with me," said Alexander. "I thought Stefano would try me in turn five the last time. He did and went a little wide. My team gave me a great bike. Stefano had a good clean race, and we had some passing and battling. I didn't hear him beside me coming up the hill the last time."
After winning last year, Mesa said he might have used up too much tire during the race.
"We had a good time racing with Corey," Mesa said. "Hats off to Corey. We had a good and clean race."
Mesa, racing a Motosport.com RSRacecraft Yamaha, was able to hold off third-place racer Jeffrey Tigert. Tigert ran strong and remained with the leaders until the very end.
"These guys were riding really well," said Tigert, who rides for Baby Appleseed CM Motorsport. "I was happy to stick with them. I was happy to get on the box for the first time."
RoadRace Factory/Red Bull' s Tomas Puerta finished fourth after taking a race-long fight with Mach Modified's David Sadowski, Jr. After qualifying on the front row, Ricardo Valdez (Southeast Sales) backed it up with a sixth-place finish on Saturday.
Series regulars Sebastiao Ferreira and Travis Wyman had another great battle, with the Brazilian rider Ferreira taking the position over New Yorker Wyman.
-- AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
Defending AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series king Michael Barnes claimed the provisional pole for Sunday's seven-lap contest.
Barnes laid down a 2.37.439 lap to outpace Suburban Harley-Davidson's Ben Carlson (2:38.307), Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade/Bartels' Tyler O'Hara, and Harv's Harley-Davidson's Travis Wyman, who complete the provisional front row.
Sunday's expected multi-rider pack war is set for a green light at 2:15 p.m. local time.
RND 1 - BEAUBIER WINS DAYTONA 200
- AMA Superbike Championship 2012 -
RND 1 - DAYTONA
RND 2 - ATLANTA
RND 3 - INFINEON
RND 4 - MILLER
RND 5 - ROAD AMERICA
RND 6 - BARBER
RND 7 - LAGUNA SECA
RND 8 - NEW JERSEY
RND 9 - MIAMI
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