-- AMA SBK 2013 - Laguna Seca - Hayes tops qualifying
Despite maintaining a position of consistent dominance over the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike field in 2013, defending three-time series champion Josh Hayes enters this weekend's GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca facing long odds in his hopes to top Josh Herrin and collect an unprecedented fourth-consecutive premier-class title.
Twenty-two points out of first with just Sunday's single race to go, Hayes needs a lot of help if he's to somehow retain his crown. Hayes performed in fine fashion on Friday, securing the provisional pole with a blistering time of 1:24.249.
Hayes not only led the way in the National Guard SuperBike class, he even outpaced the superstars of the FIM Superbike World Championship in their respective first practice and first qualifying sessions despite the national championship's considerably tighter technical rules.
With the pressure of the championship fight largely removed from his shoulders, Hayes rode fast and loose, acclimating to his Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R1 after guesting aboard a World Endurance-spec R1 at Le Mans last weekend.
After qualifying, Hayes said, "I've just tried to be steady and roll around the racetrack and keep myself feeling good and fresh because I know I'll be fastest on Sunday. I'll keep working at it."
Meanwhile, Hayes' title-leading teammate, Josh Herrin, was perhaps feeling the additional pressure that has now been shifted firmly in his direction. Herrin, who has done a fantastic job of consistently maximizing his opportunities, suffered his very first crash of the season today in qualifying, tipping over in Turn 3 with around 10 minutes remaining.
As a result, Herrin was pushed down from third at the time (1:25.257) to the provisional second row in fifth, trailing not only Hayes, but also Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's title hopeful, Martin Cardenas (1:24.694), KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore (1:25.192), and Team Hero EBR's Geoff May (1:25.248).
Despite Herrin's Friday fall, Hayes, who needs his teammate/rival to finish outside the top 10 to even have a chance at the title, claims that he considers the championship effectively out of reach at this point.
"In my mind, the championship is over," Hayes admitted. "I don't have that in my mind while I'm riding around the racetrack. The only way...if something went wrong (for Herrin), it would be the most bittersweet of emotions."
Hayes has racked up seven victories this season, but he finds himself the dark horse this weekend due to an odd combination of mistakes and misfortune, not the least of which are his three jump-start infractions. The Mississippian worked overtime on Friday in an attempt to overhaul his starting technique to ensure that he does not suffer the same fate for a fourth time in 2013.
He explained, "That's what I spent most of qualifying working on. It's funny -- I can win SuperBike races, and I can win SuperBike championships, but I can't start with my foot on the rear brake. I can't get the timing right, I can't get the clutch right. I'm out there -- I just did three starts during the qualifying session so I could practice and try to figure out how to do this so this is not an issue for us again in the future. I'm trying to eliminate the problem, and I'll keep working at it the best that I can."
While mathematically out of the championship picture, a number of riders are hoping to leave a strong impression with an outstanding finale this weekend. The aforementioned Fillmore and May are off to quick starts at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as are Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram (sixth, 1:25.714) and Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony, who ranked near the top of the charts during the first half of the session before winding up seventh (1:25.801).
Fillmore's KTM teammate, Taylor Knapp, finished the day in eighth, while the EBR 1190RS-mounted duo of Cory West (Motosport.com/EBR II) and Aaron Yates (Team AMSOIL/Hero) concluded the Friday top 10.
The final grid for Sunday's 2013 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike finale will be set following final qualifying, scheduled to begin Saturday afternoon at 12:40 p.m. local time.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
With nine straight AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike wins to his credit, Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha's Cameron Beaubier was fastest on Friday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Beaubier opened the weekend by setting a new circuit class record, something he'd done at the past six tracks this year in a championship season bulging with accomplishments and accolades.
"It's important to me to win this race," said Beaubier after setting a best mark of 1:26.516. "I want to win this as bad as the other ones. It's good to come into the race with no pressure (from the championship) and be able to run as fast as I can."
Beaubier lives three hours away and said he wanted to improve from when the series raced at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca earlier this summer. "I wanted to come here and better my laps. I think it was a little warmer than when we were here (in July) for the GP," he said. "The first session today was important because our race is early Sunday morning."
Beaubier bettered his teammate Garrett Gerloff, who is battling the injured Jake Gagne for second in the points. Gerloff trails by 19 and Gagne rode in the afternoon after skipping the morning session. RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's JD Beach was third ahead of another strong performer in July's race at the circuit, Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo.
On provisional row two, Jake Lewis (Meen Motorsports) impressed once again. The Kentuckian, who is in a showdown with National Guard/Celtic Racing's James Rispoli for top rookie, held off D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph's Bobby Fong, GEICO Motorcycle's Dane Westby, and Riders Discount Racing Triumph's Jake Zemke.
Final qualifying is scheduled for Saturday at 3:25 p.m. local time and will determine the running order for Sunday's 20 lap GoPro Daytona SportBike finale.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series title leader Steve Rapp carried his stellar form into Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Californian claimed the provisional pole position on the eve of the race he hopes will reward him with not only with a triumph in the XR Showdown, but also the first championship of his GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing career.
The Aerostar Global/Suburban Harley-Davison ace posted a 1:35.754 on his final lap to move into first place for the day. Title rival Tyler O'Hara (Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade) responded with a fast lap of his own, but ultimately fell 0.150 seconds short of overtaking Rapp.
Outgoing champ Michael Barnes (Spyke's Harley-Davidson) was third on Friday, followed by a pair of riders from outside the XR Showdown -- Hayden Schultz (Kyle Wyman Racing) and Gage McAllister (Folsom Harley-Davidson).
Rapp's teammate, Ben Carlson, and Thrashed Bike Racing's David Estok were sixth and seventh fastest, respectively, while second-ranked Travis Wyman (Harv's Harley-Davidson) rounded out the provisional second row.
"I feel really comfortable," Rapp said. "The track feels good, and I feel good."
Asked if he's finally feeling the pressure of a championship as he nears the conclusion of what he's repeatedly referred to as a relaxed season, Rapp said, "At times, I do. When I'm on the bike, I feel the same as always, but when we're sitting around and everyone is talking about this and that, a little bit. I'm pretty mellow at this point. It's really important to me, but I can't control everything. I feel like I'm riding good and the bike's good. Whatever happens beyond that is out of my control."
Despite his big 22-point advantage, don't expect Rapp to cruise in tomorrow's finale. He explained, "I feel like I'm better off trying to get a good start, get out, and get some clear track. If there's people with me, we'll sort it out. But if I ride back there with people I'm not used to riding with, it could get ugly. I can do the lap times comfortably, so I'm going to get out there and get some clear track."
Final qualifying for the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series will begin Saturday at 9:45 a.m. local time, with the 11 lap race to determine the winner of the XR Showdown scheduled that afternoon at 4:17 p.m.
-- Previously...... AMA SBK NJ Report
Three-time AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike champion Josh Hayes turned 40 on Sunday at the New Jersey Lottery Devil's Showdown. Not in years, but in career National Guard SuperBike victories, as the Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha superstar rebounded from Saturday's disappointment with a vintage ride that served as a clear reminder that he's still the man to beat in any given premier-class race.
While he faces long odds in his quest to claim an unprecedented fourth-straight AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike title, the Mississippian got a measure of revenge for yesterday's contest. On Saturday, Hayes fought his way through the field after suffering an early electrical issue to take the checkered flag first, only to ultimately be dropped down to fourth in the official standings due to his third jump-start infraction of the 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season.
On Sunday, after getting away cleanly at the start, Hayes powered into Turn 1 in third position from pole and then worked his way into the lead by the time the field returned to the start/finish straight for the first time in the 23-lap race.
Hayes' Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha teammate, Josh Herrin, slotted in behind Hayes' rear wheel and the two factory Yamaha pilots made a quick escape from the remainder of the pack. Herrin, who (again) capitalized on Hayes' costly mistake on Saturday to pick up his fourth win of the season and grab the inside line to this year's crown, tagged along for several laps before Hayes' blistering pace finally proved too much.
With Herrin no longer in his shadow, the champ immediately ripped open a sizable advantage, which he managed for the bulk of the race. Hayes ultimately scored his seventh victory of 2013 by 3.199 seconds.
The triumph was Hayes' eighth SuperBike win at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Afterwards, the straight-faced Yamaha ace said, "The race went pretty good. This morning I went out and put in a good string of laps so I knew I was capable of doing a lot of '21s. I just tried to get myself to the front and see how fast I could go. I did a couple '20s and Josh did a pretty good job -- he was able to hang on while we were doing those. I just tried to keep the pressure on so I could get a little gap. It seemed like I got it and then it kind of hovered... I just tried to be steady and not make any mistakes or miss any marks. I just had a good, smooth ride and was able to bring it home."
Herrin wouldn't be lonely in second for long after losing Hayes' tow, however, as he was tracked down by Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Martin Cardenas and National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden. They clawed their way up to make it a three-way fight for second position with just two laps to go.
Colombian Cardenas made his bid for the position on the final lap but Herrin was able to counter his pass with one of his own and hold the spot by 0.055 of a second at the stripe.
Hayden, who overtook Cardenas for third momentarily the lap before, was an interested observer in the heated battle as he accepted fourth just a half-second removed from a runner-up finish.
As a result of yesterday's win and today's second, Herrin now boasts a comfortable 22-point advantage heading into the '13 finale. A finish inside the top ten is all he needs to earn his first-ever AMA Pro title.
Herrin said, "It feels good. It's been since 2008 that I've been trying to get a championship. I'm not there yet but it's getting closer. Today I went into the race really nervous -- I'm not going to lie. I was thinking about the points and what I needed to do to get enough of a gap to where I wouldn't have to worry too much at Laguna and I think we accomplished that. It's not going to be easy to finish in the top ten but it's a lot of weight off my shoulder knowing that's the goal. We've been working hard all year and we've had minimal problems and we've only not finished on the podium twice all year. That was something that was real important to me this year... I'm just really excited to go to Laguna."
Cardenas is now third, 23 points back of Herrin. The Suzuki runner said, "It was a very long and tough race; I didn't have rest at any time. I made a good start but, at the end of the first lap, the two Josh's passed me and they were a little bit faster than me on the first few laps. And then Danny (Eslick) and Roger tried to pass me and I had to fight back. By that time, Herrin and Hayes had a little gap and all the race I was trying to close that gap. I was trying as hard as I could every lap, and I saw the gap was coming down (to Herrin) little by little. On the last lap, I caught Herrin and tried to do my best to pass him and hold the position. I made an attempt, and it worked but only for a little bit and he passed me back. There was no other chance, so I had to settle for third."
Jordan Suzuki's Danny Eslick shined in the race's early stages, dicing back and forth with Cardenas and Hayden while contesting third position. Eventually he fell off that chase and into a fifth-place finish -- his ninth top-five of the 2013 campaign.
KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore shook Team HERO EBR's Geoff May and made a late run on Eslick, ultimately coming up just over a second short while claiming sixth position.
May finished a lonely seventh while Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram was an equally clear eighth.
Fillmore's KTM teammate Taylor Knapp won out in a race-long scrap for ninth ahead of tenth-place finisher David Anthony (Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing) and eleventh-placed Aaron Yates (Team Amsoil/HERO EBR).
With just a single race left to contest, Herrin heads to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at the end of the month with 320 points and on the verge of his first SuperBike title. Hayes and Cardenas are still alive should things go wrong for Herrin, however, holding 298 and 297 points, respectively.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier won AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race number 11 of the 2013 season in dominating fashion, logging a 7.693-second victory over his Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha teammate Garrett Gerloff. Bobby Fong and D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph returned to the podium with a strong third place.
Beaubier got away quickly and consolidated his lead. After a red flag, he did it again to extend his record the day after he clinched the 2013 championship, proving himself to be the class of the field as both Jake Lewis (Meen Motorsports) and Jake Gagne (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) crashed out of second place.
"Going into today, it was a relief wrapping up the championship, and I went into today with no pressure. I tried to get a good start and put my head down," said Beaubier after the win. "For the restart, I was trying to be really aggressive. I didn't know both Jakes crashed until I came in but I have to give it up to my team. It feels good having won one more race and be the champion."
Gerloff's second place was a nice rebound after a fall on Saturday. He also watched on Sunday as two riders fell in front of him while chasing Beaubier.
"I was hoping to do better, given how I went in qualifying and how I felt. The crash didn't do me any favors as far as confidence goes," said Gerloff, who had a firm cushion late in the race. "I decided I was going to take it easy, stay in second. Congrats to Cameron and Bobby, they did a great job."
Fong was able to return to the podium after earning third at Daytona. "The pace was pretty hot in the beginning; I felt like I could run that pace the whole race," said Fong. "Honestly, I wish I had a battle through the whole race. It was pretty lonely. I wanted to at least battle for the podium. We've got a lot of momentum, and the bike has been working really well. We still have a steep hill to climb but it's getting better and better every race weekend."
Benny Solis earned his best result yet in the class after a spirited four-rider fight for fourth. The M4 Hotbodies Racing pilot beat Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo, GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing's Dane Westby and Jake Zemke on the Riders Discount Racing Triumph for the position.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
The 2013 AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport East Division championship came down to 18 laps of furious action in New Jersey, and Corey Alexander won the championship by a sole point over Hayden Gillim in a thrilling race won by overall Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport champion Tomas Puerta of RoadRace Factory/Red Bull. Team 95's Gillim was able to beat National Guard/Celtic Racing's Alexander and finish second, while Alexander took third place over MotoSport.com RSRacecraft's Stefano Mesa at the stripe by just 0.013 of a second.
"Today, I really wanted to win the race," said Puerta, who won three events in his 2013 season. "I want to say congratulations to both of these guys, they rode really hard. Hopefully, we can see each other in the races next year."
The race will be remembered as a four-rider battle for the entire 18 laps, with turn one being the action spot. Alexander was able to lead the most laps and earn the bonus point that eventually served as his margin of victory in the championship, but Puerta took the lead on the last lap and Mesa relegated Alexander to fourth place. Had the contest ended then, Gillim would have been champ, but Alexander got a better drive than Mesa and powered past by the slimmest of margins just before the finish line.
"I think that's probably the hardest race I've ever ridden. Right off the bat, I knew I was going to have to work for it," said Alexander after winning his first AMA Pro championship. "I put my head down but couldn't get down to the times I was able to do yesterday to try to gap these guys. I could feel the pace slowing down at the end, so I knew I could be a little faster if I needed to be but my bike was spinning a lot and it was hot out there. I didn't know where I would end up and who was where, or anything for that matter. These guys rode a great race, and that last lap was a little nerve-wracking. I led a little bit of it before Tomas took the lead and I found myself in fourth place going into that last section. I was a little scared for a second -- I wasn't sure if Hayden was going to be able to draft by into first. Fortunately, he didn't. I really wanted that lap leader point so, every lap, I made sure I crossed the line first."
Gillim rode well, but the breaks did not go his way, and his 198 points were short of Alexander's 199.
"Hats off to Corey and Tomas," said Gillim. "We all rode a really good race. It was a hard-fought one. I look forward to next season to try to see what I can do and hopefully get on a bigger team. I wish these guys the best in the future, and I really think all three of us can go a long way in the sport."
Mesa took fourth, way ahead of a tough fight for fifth won by CTR Racing's Miles Thornton. He topped Meen Motorsports' Wyatt Farris and Sebastiao Ferreira of BP Racing.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
Aerostar Global/Suburban Harley-Davison's Steve Rapp strengthened his bid to secure his first career GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing championship today at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Rapp returned to his winning ways on Sunday as he claimed his fifth AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series victory of the season in dominant fashion.
Rapp gapped the field from the start, opening up nearly a full second of padding on the race's opening lap. The veteran ace proceeded to manage his advantage from there, working up a margin of nearly five seconds before ultimately calling off the dogs and cruising to the checkered flag with 2.160 seconds in hand.
The blowout win -- along with the bonus points he earned for his record-breaking pole lap and leading the most laps -- extends Rapp's XR Showdown lead to 22 points with just the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca finale left to decide the 2013 AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series title.
After his triumph, Rapp said, "We had a good bike -- we made a few changes this morning, and they were definitely an improvement over what I had been riding. We're always making the bike better and getting confident, knowing the limits of the tires and the bike. I've done well at this track in the past, so that was a confidence building coming in here. I had a good weekend at Indy and, as the year has progressed, we've gotten a little better at every race."
While the title leader did his best to remove all drama from Sunday's Harley-Davidson contest as quickly as possible, his pursuers put on a tremendous show in the race for second. Rapp's Suburban Harley-Davidson teammate, Ben Carlson, Harv's Harley-Davidson's Travis Wyman, and Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade's Tyler O'Hara waged an early slugfest for second position.
That battle was more than doubled up as Designstar3.com/Empire Harley-Davidson's '12 NJMP winner Shane Narbonne, MOB Racing's Eric Stump, Kyle Wyman Racing's Kyle Wyman, and defending champ Michael Barnes (Spyke's Harley-Davidson) closed in and ultimately joined the podium tussle.
After considerable jockeying for position, O'Hara successfully worked his way past a very racey Stump to steal second position at the flag by just fractions of a second. Home-track hero Stump, meanwhile, once again demonstrated that riders from outside the XR Showdown can still play a major role as the season winds down by finishing an impressive third.
Title hopeful Travis Wyman finished inches ahead of his brother for fourth, while Carlson finished sixth after running second early. Barnes came home in seventh while Narbonne lost out in the final-lap shuffle this time around, crossing the stripe a distant eighth.
Aerostar Global/Suburban Harley-Davison's Nicholas Hansen and Thrashed Bike Racing's David Estok completed the top ten.
Next Up - The 2013 Season Finale
The thrilling 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season will conclude in two weeks as the series returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. to join the FIM Superbike World Championship on September 27-29.
-- Saturday Report
Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha's Josh Herrin took a huge step towards attaining his first-career AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike championship with a clutch victory on Saturday at the New Jersey Lottery Devil's Showdown. Amazingly, earlier in the race his title chances seemed much more likely to be extinguished than bolstered. Meanwhile, the championship hopes of defending triple king Josh Hayes took a severe blow despite the Yamaha duo's unusual races playing out in remarkably similar fashion.
Saturday's wild National Guard SuperBike contest at New Jersey Motorsports Park provided another monumental twist to an already bizarre title fight as the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing drama continued to elevate to rare heights.
After all the ups and downs were tallied, Herrin was credited with the win, while National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden and Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Martin Cardenas rounded out the podium.
And, for the second time this year, Hayes took the checkered flag first but wasn't awarded the victory, placed fourth in the final race results after being assessed with a jump-start penalty -- his third such infraction of an uncharacteristic '13 campaign. However, Hayes' penalty was far from the only footnote that made Saturday's race an oddity.
A pair of warnings of impending disaster for the champ and the dominant Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha squad backing him were raised during Saturday's morning qualifying. Hayes, despite locking down his 28th career SuperBike pole at the conclusion of the session, saw both his 'A' and 'B' YZF-R1s malfunction with electrical issues.
Yamaha's worst fears were then realized at the race's start. Not only did the defending champ suffer from an electrical malfunction just a few turns after he made his launch at the green light, but so did teammate and fellow title hopeful Herrin. The two blue machines were forced to pull off and immediately plunged to the back of the order while Suzuki ace Cardenas -- Yamaha's biggest championship threat -- grabbed the holeshot and powered into the lead.
Yamaha's twin troubles brought back memories of Hayes' season-opening disaster at Daytona International Speedway in March, in which the Mississippian twice saw likely victories transformed into mechanical retirements. Making matters worse for a suddenly luckless Hayes was the fact that he was also hit with the aforementioned five-second penalty for jumping the start.
However, Hayes and Herrin both managed to right the issue by restarting their machines on the opening lap and the duo then began slicing their way forward while Cardenas tussled with Hayden at the front. In a most fortuitous turn, the Yamaha riders' near-impossible task of fighting back into contention was made manageable after seven laps when the race was halted and subsequently restarted due to fluids deposited on the circuit by the Neyra Racing machine of Huntley Nash.
After an extended clean-up period and a brief practice for course evaluation, the field was re-gridded for a 13-lap second half. Cardenas opened from pole this time while Hayes and Herrin restarted well down the order. Herrin made the most of his second chance, storming from Row 3 to take the lead on the opening lap of the restart while the opposite occurred for Hayes. The champ made contact with Hayden entering Turn 1 and dropped down the order once again, forcing him to dig deep and embark on yet another forward charge.
The final 13 laps saw Herrin, Cardenas, Hayden, Jordan Suzuki's Danny Eslick and a motivated Hayes wage a relentless and unforgiving heavyweight fight for supremacy -- at least on track. Hayes -- along with Eslick -- were saddled with five-second penalties but battled for position all the same.
Hayes ultimately showed his caliber by systematically working his way to the front, at last taking the lead (again, on track) with two laps remaining. A surprised Herrin nearly highsided while attempting to counter Hayes' ascension, but quickly calmed himself. Realizing that Hayes was actually behind in the official order due to his penalty, Herrin regrouped in time to strike past Cardenas in the race's final corner to steal away a vitally important victory at the flag.
Herrin's decisive maneuver also allowed Hayden to displace Cardenas at the stripe, knocking the Colombian down to third while further aiding Herrin's burgeoning title chances.
After claiming his fourth-career SuperBike victory, Herrin said, "It was awesome -- it really couldn't have gone any better. We got really lucky with the red flag. We had to start tenth, and something was up with the bike. I haven't used the R1 without launch control since I've been on it -- not even a practice start. But we had to on the restart and it went great, so I may just take the launch control off from now on. We went from tenth to first on the first lap, so it was pretty awesome.
"That battle with Martin was amazing. It was a lot of fun, and I really wanted to get the [point for] most laps led. Whenever Josh went by, I panicked for a second because I had a feeling that he had charged from behind and was going good. I thought I had to keep up with him because I needed this race win. After that huge moment that I had, I realized he had that five-second penalty so I kind of backed it off a little bit. I figured if he could beat me by five seconds in a lap-and-a-half, I had other things I needed to worry about... But it was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and I'm really happy I was able to capitalize on Josh's jump start and get an even bigger cushion in the points."
Runner-up Hayden said, "The first half of the race before the red flag was going pretty good. Me and Martin had a pretty good pace going there. We had a nice gap on the guys behind us, so I really didn't want to see that red flag. I was just going to sit back there and wait to the end. But that's the way it goes sometimes. In the second part of the race I got another good start, but just wasn't strong enough to get past these guys anywhere. It's pretty easy to stay there but to get by them is difficult... I wanted to stay close enough just in case they got too close I could capitalize. In the last corner there Josh got underneath Martin and pushed him wide and I was able to get second."
Third-placed Cardenas said, "The race was incredible -- a lot of passing and a lot of battling with these guys, especially Herrin. Unfortunately, the result wasn't what we were expecting, but I'm very happy with the race. The Yoshimura Suzuki worked very good. We're looking forward to tomorrow, and we're hoping for a similar race with a result that's a little bit better."
Hayes, meanwhile, was credited with fourth despite taking the checkered flag first. In many ways, the contest encapsulated Hayes' difficult 2013 campaign in which repeated misfortune and mistakes have left his chances for an unprecedented fourth championship in doubt despite routinely dominating practices, qualifying sessions, and races.
Eslick, who lost the lead group during the race's final handful of laps, was demoted from fifth to sixth in the official standings, one spot behind KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore. Meanwhile, Team Amsoil/HERO's Aaron Yates, Fillmore's teammate Taylor Knapp, second official EBR 1100RS pilot Geoff May, and Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony completed the top ten.
Herrin now approaches the season's final two races in a commanding position. With 295 points, he boasts an imposing 19-point advantage over Cardenas while Hayes sits a mammoth 28 points back in third with precious little time remaining to make up the deficit.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier wrapped up the 2013 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike championship with his record tenth win of the year on Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Beaubier and his Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha team had a tough time with Meen Motorsports' Jake Lewis, but Beaubier was able to win by 1.029 seconds with a late lap push. Jake Gagne of RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha took third following a hotly-contested four-rider battle that lasted the whole race.
Beaubier faced another tough battle for the win, with Lewis having his best GoPro Daytona SportBike race yet. Lewis and Beaubier traded the lead several times through turn one.
Beaubier clinching the title means that Yamaha has finally won an AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike title after watching other manufacturers take the glory in each of the previous seasons for the competitive class that was launched in 2009. The 97-point lead that Beaubier now holds is insurmountable with just two races to go.
"It's an awesome day," said Beaubier. "I can't thank my Y.E.S./Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha team enough for all they've done for me this season. Also, I've got to thank my Mom and Dad, and my girlfriend Kayla for all their love and support. It feels really good to get this Championship for Yamaha."
Beaubier's tenth victory in 2013 -- eight of which have been consecutive -- also broke the previous record of nine Daytona SportBike wins achieved in a season, previously held by Martin Cardenas.
"I got the holeshot and put my head down right away because I knew Cameron and Garrett [Gerloff] had a little bit faster pace in practice and qualifying so I wanted to get off to an early lead," said Lewis. "I was pushing really hard and made a few mistakes early on in the race. It was the first time I've led a race in probably a year so I was pretty excited about that. I wanted to win really bad today but Cameron was really fast and didn't make any mistakes. That's why he's the champion this year."
Behind the leading duo, the four-way battle between Gagne, D&D Cycles' Bobby Fong, GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing pilot Dane Westby, and National Guard/Celtic Racing's James Rispoli showcased plenty of passing, too. Gagne won the spot at the end.
"I was in third and tried to put my head down and made a bunch of mistakes," said Gagne. "I was kinda all over the place the whole race trying to keep the thing under me. Towards the middle, I was battling with Westby and Fong and we were all going back and forth. I had a fun race with those guys, and I think we were putting on a pretty good show. Then I just wanted to get in front of those guys with a few laps to go and not deal with it. I got in front on the second-to-last lap and tried to hold it to the line and ended up taking it. There weren't a whole lot of places to pass, so I felt that if I could get in front on the last lap, I'd be all right."
Jason DiSalvo was a lonely seventh on the Latus Motors Racing Triumph and fellow veteran Jake Zemke followed next on the Riders Discount Racing Triumph.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
Team 95's Hayden Gillim needed a win to stay alive in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race, and he came up big in Saturday's first race of the weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park in a contest that had more twists and turns than a soap opera. Corey Alexander of National Guard Celtic Racing was a close second, just 0.007 back, and overall 2013 series champ Tomas Puerta was third for RoadRace Factory/Red Bull.
After watching points leader Alexander take pole, Gillim came alive early and jumped out to a 4.2-second lead in the opening laps of the race. Gillim looked to repeat the form he had displayed at races like Miller Motorsports Park and NOLA Motorsports Park last year, where he decisively dominated the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore SuperSport races.
But Alexander quickly found his form and began taking chunks of time out of Gillim's lead, catching up to him after a torrid succession of laps and setting the fastest lap of the race. With six laps to go, Alexander took the lead, only to have a bad run through traffic that allowed Gillim to retake the point.
Then the red lag flew, bunching the field up for six laps of action that saw Gillim, Alexander, Puerta, and Motosport.com RSRacecraft's Stefano Mesa run at the front.
Alexander, Gillim and Puerta all led in the final scenes of the race, but it was Gillim that led the last time around. Alexander tried to make a pass, but came up a scant 0.007 of a second short at the stripe in a photo finish.
"Every finish I've ever been in where it was that close, I end up losing out," Gillim said. "Actually, we had a finish just like that last year at Daytona but, you know, it's really fun when you can finish like that because it makes it that much more exciting. I was able to get a good start and put my head down and get a pretty good gap. I saw Corey was coming back, and I was just waiting for him to go past. But once he got up to me, I thought, 'okay, let's race -- this is what it's about.' And then, the red flag came out, and we went back at it. It was just back and forth, back and forth. I'm really glad I was able to get the win and close up a little bit on the championship. I think it'll be just as good tomorrow.
Alexander now leads Gillim 177-173 in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport points standings, with just tomorrow's 19-lap final remaining.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series championship leader Aerostar Global/Suburban Harley-Davison's Steve Rapp led the way on Saturday as the XR Showdown contenders got in their first qualifying session of the weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Rapp, who's looking to return to his winning ways after seeing his four-race win streak halted at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August, posted a laptime of 1:30.024 to claim provisional pole.
Rapp said, "I like the track -- I've had some good races here. In general I like it, the weather is great, the bike is working good, the team is really motivated, and I'm excited. Everything is good right now."
His Suburban Harley-Davidson teammate, Ben Carlson, was second best on Saturday. The Suburban duo was joined on the provisional front row by current XR Showdown runner-up Travis Wyman on the Harv's Harley-Davidson and Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade's Tyler O'Hara.
Meanwhile, Wyman's brother and '12 class contender, Kyle Wyman, made an impressive return to AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series action today by posting the fifth-best lap of the day.
Last year's race winner, Shane Narbonne (Designstar3.com/Empire Harley-Davidson), Eric Stump (MOB Racing), and defending champ Michael Barnes (Spyke's Harley-Davidson) rounded out the provisional second row.
-- Previously............AMA SBK 2013 - Miller Motorsports Park
Saturday's AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike thriller at Miller Motorsports Park was backed up by an even more shocking contest on Sunday -- one that further raises the stakes heading into the final three SuperBike races of the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season.
After failing to match the pace of the lead trio on Saturday, Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Martin Cardenas thrust himself right back into the championship fight with a well-timed victory that came at the end of a full-tilt battle with National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden.
Following yesterday's rare defeat, defending triple champion Josh Hayes was motivated to break the challenge of his rivals early and rip open an immediate (and necessary) gap in order to take his revenge in Sunday's rematch. However, the Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha rider was perhaps a little too anxious to do so, crashing out of the lead while working lap 3 of 16.
Hayden, who was slowly closing in on Hayes after the Yamaha pilot had led him by more than a second following the completion of the race's opening lap, inherited the lead at that point.
Herrin, meanwhile, was unable to repeat his Saturday heroics. The Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha SuperBike sophomore discovered an issue with his YZF-R1 on the sighting lap and found himself in the frustrating position of having to nurse his machine for the entire race distance in order to salvage as many points as possible for his title hopes.
With the Yamaha runners out of contention for the win, Cardenas stepped up and tracked down Hayden. The luckless Kentuckian encountered an issue with his machine, as well, which slowed his pace in the race's later stages.
Cardenas and Hayden traded the lead several times late, with the Colombian ultimately holding the advantage despite some incredible overtaking attempts by Hayden.
The Michael Jordan Motorsports rider put his hand up with just two corners to go, signaling a problem. Cardenas powered on to the win while Hayden managed to just coast across the line ahead of third-placed Herrin, who had trailed him by more than six seconds. That narrow escape could prove to have massive title implications down the line as the championship race has taken on a most intriguing shape with the season quickly approaching its conclusion.
Race-winner Cardenas said, "It was a pretty hard race. At the beginning, these guys were a little bit faster up to the point when Josh crashed. Roger was pretty fast, and I was just trying my best to keep with him. I started to gain a little on him and when I got on his rear wheel, I stayed there for a couple laps and was thinking about doing a pass right at the end. It was a pretty tough race -- I did my best, every lap as hard as I could. I passed Roger and he passed me back. He went a little deep, and I went back to his inside. I pushed that last lap because I knew he would try to pass me back, and I ended up winning. I'm very happy for me and the whole Yoshimura team."
Runner-up Hayden was bitterly disappointed following another near-miss. "I'm not real sure what happened. It started with about six laps to go. It just started getting slower and slower out of the flat corners and really started backing in bad under the brakes. You know, the last lap, when I got on the throttle nothing was really happening. I don't know what was happening -- if it dropped a cylinder or was tying up or what. But, with about four laps to go, I really didn't think I was going to finish.
"Obviously, I'm about as disappointed as you can get. I felt like I had the pace to win today."
"Today was a lot different," Herrin said, "I was just struggling to keep the bike off the ground. I don't know what it was; we didn't really change anything from yesterday. But I came in off the sighting lap and told the guys there was something up with the front tire because it was moving all over the place. We thought about getting on the backup bike...But we figured I would do better nursing a front tire than starting from the back of the field. So that's basically what we did -- just trying to do as well as we could and make the best out of it."
Despite his problems, Herrin's third-place finish allowed him to reclaim the points lead at 264, while the resurgent Cardenas is well within striking distance at 255.
After his front-end washout, Hayes picked his R1 back up and soldiered on to score three vital points with an 18th-place result, upping his tally to 248. Despite his Utah disappointment, Hayes' 16-point deficit means that he remains in control of his own destiny, but with little room for error. He can guarantee himself a 20-point swing in the standings if he is able to collect maximum points at both the penultimate round at New Jersey Motorsports Park and the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca finale.
Hayes explained his crash, stating, "I was trying hard, and I fell down, you know? The front wasn't very good and was giving me some warnings, even on the first lap. I was pushing on it, anyway. Yesterday, I didn't think the front was all that good but I had been able to push on it and keep going. All the places it had given me indications that it was bad, Tooele Turn wasn't one of them. I was going at it the same as I had. I don't know or think that I had done anything different that lap but I had one that happened fast and it got away from me."
Jordan Suzuki's Danny Eslick pushed Herrin in the middle stages of the race before accepting a fine fourth-place result.
Team Hero EBR's Geoff May rounded out the top five. He was followed by his Team AMSOIL/Hero teammate, Aaron Yates, who held off Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony for sixth by 0.517 seconds at the flag. KTM/HMC Racing's Taylor Knapp raced on track with Yates and Anthony but was credited with eighth after being assessed a five-second penalty for jumping the start.
Cardenas' Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing teammate, Chris Clark, and Motosport.com/EBR's Dustin Dominguez completed the race's top ten.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier won again at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah to sweep the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike races at the track this weekend. Beaubier had a tough time of it, winning by just 0.176 over Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha teammate Garrett Gerloff and 0.439 over RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's JD Beach.
Meen Motorsports' Jake Lewis joined the trio in a four-rider pack at the front. Beach and Gerloff both took turns at the front late, but mistakes meant they lost the lead, and Beaubier eventually won the contest to tie the record for most AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike wins in a season. Beaubier's ninth win this year equaled the mark set by Martin Cardenas in 2010.
"I can't believe how happy I am after getting the double win here," said Beaubier, the points leader. "This race was one of the best ones I have ever had, and to race with these two guys was really cool, passing back and forth. JD scared me coming into turn one. It was crazy but it was awesome."
The exciting race held its share of close shaves and brilliant saves, with Beach making a double draft to take the lead with four laps to go. Beach nearly tossed it to the sky, as did Gerloff on the last lap.
Lewis once again finished fourth, ahead of Jake Gagne on the other RoadRace Factory/Red Bull machine.
James Rispoli was the top Suzuki in the contest as his National Guard Celtic Racing bike topped the Triumphs of Jason DiSalvo on the Latus Motors Racing entry and Bobby Fong on the D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph.
GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing's Dane Westby and Team Amantini's Fernando Amantini earned their second top tens of the weekend on Sunday.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
California Superbike School Roadracingworld.com's Joe Roberts entered the race wanting to extend his perfect record since joining the AMA Pro tour at Barber. RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's Tomas Puerta was looking to clinch the West division title. The two got off to a great start before a red flag broke up a race where Roberts narrowly led Puerta with seven laps to go and it set up a great run to the finish that saw Roberts win his fifth race in a row and Puerta clinch the West.
Roberts took the checkers just 0.198 ahead of Puerta.
"It's great coming out and winning all the races. It's been really awesome coming to race in SuperSport with this California Superbike School Roadracingworld.com team. They're a bunch of great guys and really put my bike to the top, so it's great," said Roberts. "Coming down on the last lap, I got passed by Tomas and Wyatt going into Turn 1. I had two bikes ahead of me, so I was freaking out a little because I didn't know how I was going to pass them back. An opportunity came up in Turn 5, and I just went for the pass to get Wyatt. I knew if I didn't pass him there, I wasn't going to win the race. I got behind Tomas and went through Turn 7 really good and was riding around the outside and just tried to stick it into Turn 8 and make the pass and stay on the track. Then, I just tried to hold my line so Tomas couldn't pass me back."
Roberts won all five AMA Pro Motorcycle-SuperStore.com races he entered in 2013.
Puerta's championship season proved to be one of speed and consistency. "It was great to lock up the first championship for the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull team, and we've been trying all season to do our best," said Puerta, who locked up both the West and the Overall crown in a season that saw him finish on the podium nine times. "It was a really fun year and thanks to everyone that made it a great season."
Wyatt Farris backed up his second-place finish on Saturday with a close third, just 0.432 behind Roberts.
Erick Sanchez (EYK) turned in the fastest lap of the race at 1:56.582 and earned his best result of the year with fourth place. He topped Mid-Ohio podium finisher Miles Thornton (CTR Racing) and CJ Weaver (BP Racing), along with West title hopeful Jeffrey Tigert (Baby Appleseed CM Motorsports) who finished seventh. Ryan Matter (Gearzy) earned eighth while newcomers Royce McLean (Yamaha/Dunlop/Arai) and Andrew DiBrino (Drew Paints) also earned top-ten finishes from the 36-rider field.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
Aerostar Global/Suburban Harley-Davison's Steve Rapp has firmly established himself as the rider to beat heading into this season's $60,000 XR Showdown, as he racked up his fourth successive AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson race win today at Miller Motorsports Park.
The Californian controlled the race from the start but was pressed throughout by '12 MMP dominator Tyler O'Hara on the Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade XR1200. Rapp capitalized on an O'Hara mistake to eke out a small margin with a couple laps remaining and managed that gap en route to the checkered flag.
O'Hara finished a strong second, taking the stripe 0.857 seconds behind Rapp but more than ten seconds ahead of defending class champion, Michael Barnes, who completed the podium on the Spyke's Harley-Davidson machine.
While form and momentum will work in Rapp's favor when the field arrives at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP to kick off the four-race XR Showdown, he won't have his hard-earned points lead to rely on. The top ten riders following today's race will be reset at 1000 points, setting the stage for a thrilling battle to determine this year's AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson champion.
Rapp said, "It feels great. I wasn't even sure if I was going to make this race, and thanks to all the guys at Suburban Harley-Davidson and Aerostar Global, I'm here and they gave me an awesome bike... It's just a great feeling; no matter what you run on, it's always fun winning. I'm having a great time, and there's a lot less pressure and stress than I used to have. It's fun coming to the races again."
With a number of riders desperate to earn a qualifying position in today's critical race, fireworks were expected and fireworks there were.
Happy Trails M/C Connection's Hayden Schultz and Fernet Insurance's Eric Stump entered the weekend ranked 15th and 17th but qualified fourth and fifth and therefore had a realistic shot of fighting their way in with a strong Sunday performance. Unfortunately, Schultz crashed while running up front on the opening lap and Stump crashed on the race's final lap after working his way up to fourth, eliminating any hopes they had of claiming a spot in the XR Showdown.
In the end, only Thrashed Bike Racing David Estok came from outside the top ten to qualify for the XR Showdown, and at the expense of ChiliPepper Racing's Ricky Parker.
The ten qualifiers are Rapp, O'Hara, Barnes, Harv's Harley-Davidson's Travis Wyman, Suburban Harley-Davidson's Ben Carlson, Mob Racing's Shane Narbonne, H&S Distributors' Nicholas Hansen, Estok, Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade's Josh Chisum, and Longevity Racing's Barrett Long.
The AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series will kick off the $60,000 XR Showdown with a doubleheader event at the Red Bull Indianapolis on August 16-18. The full GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing series will then travel to New Jersey Motorsports Park for The New Jersey Lottery Devil's Showdown on September 13-15 for the penultimate round of the 2013 season.
-- Saturday Report
The recent efforts made by AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike title contender Josh Herrin to elevate his game paid off in a huge way on Saturday at Miller Motorsports Park. The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha pilot came through in the clutch to defeat National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden and defending champion Josh Hayes in what must be considered the most thrilling premier-class contest of the 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season to date.
Ultimately, the race was decided due to a blend of decisive strategic decisions and courageous maneuvers.
While the majority of the frontrunners opted to run the medium tire, pole man Hayes elected to run the harder, dual-compound rubber. When the Mississippian managed to hold the lead pace early, the expectation was that he would eventually outlast Herrin and Hayden and pull clear as tire wear and the resultant mistakes knocked them out of contention.
However, Hayes' game plan never fully materialized as he anticipated. Herrin controlled the race from first while Hayden consistently pressure the champion from behind, preventing Hayes from taking advantage of whatever edge in clear track pace he may have gained as the race wore on.
Demonstrating his recent strides, Herrin consistently maintained a strong pace at the front and successfully countered each and every attempt an increasingly desperate Hayes made to steal the position.
Hayes' task was made all the more difficult due to the fact that Herrin and Hayden both held an advantage down the long front straight and into the Turn 1 left-hander, which proved to be the only reliable passing spot on the circuit.
After Hayes tried and failed to overtake Herrin several times, Hayden maneuvered ahead and took his turn. The Kentuckian drafted past Hayes on the front straight to open lap 13 of 16 and immediately set his sights on Herrin. Like Hayes, Hayden dove past Herrin only to see Herrin reclaim the position moments later.
Hayden pressured Herrin heavily over the race's final lap but failed find a path by with Herrin storming home to his third career SuperBike victory by a scant 0.092 second margin at the checkered flag.
Hayes was relegated to the bottom step of the podium by 0.783 seconds in a race all too reminiscent of his '11 battles with Blake Young and Tommy Hayden.
While the win was the third of Herrin's SuperBike career, in a very real way it felt like his first (due to Hayes' mechanical issues at Daytona and jump-start penalty at Mid-Ohio). The victory also saw Herrin close to within two points of the championship lead with just four races remaining this season.
The triumphant Herrin said, "It feels really good. I've been putting in a lot of hard work. It's only been a month or a month-and-a-half and already paying off a bunch. Laguna and here are the first races in SuperBike where I haven't gotten tired since I started. It feels awesome.
"I've just got to thank the whole Monster Energy Graves Yamaha crew for sticking behind me, especially today making our tire choice. I feel like we made a really good choice and it paid off in the end...Also, being able to stay out front the whole time and get the points for most laps led, I think that's the first time I've been able to do that in three or four years. And to get my first win without Josh being out feels really good. Especially to get it here at Miller because I got my first (AMA Pro Road Racing) podium here and I have a lot of good memories. I always like coming here.
"With four races to go in the season, it's huge motivation to get a win finally without anybody being out of the race. Going into the race tomorrow I'm going to be real hungry and full of confidence."
"It's a little bummer to be that close to winning," runner-up Hayden admitted. "But I felt good. I made some attempts there on the last lap. I was watching the lap before to see where I was stronger. I really thought I got the bike stopped enough in Turn 5 and I didn't want to out-brake him and overshoot it, but I got just wide enough that he was able to sneak back by me.
"I've got to really thank the team. We've struggled with top speed for a while. I think this is the first time in a while that I've drafted one of the blue bikes. All of their hard work paid off today and made the race a lot more fun. I'm going to make a few changes and try to do a little better tomorrow."
Third-place finisher Hayes said, "It was a good race -- it was a fun race. I had a good bike and rode as hard as I could. These guys had my number in a couple of areas, and I knew once we really got to racing and dicing around it was going to be tough. I rode the best that I could and they just beat me today. I have an idea for tomorrow and I think I can give myself a better shot at it. I'm going to come back and give these boys a race tomorrow."
Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Martin Cardenas finished a lonely fourth. The Colombian managed to cling onto the lead group for the opening couple of circulations but quickly faded once he lost their tow. He ultimately finished nearly 15 seconds off the win.
Jordan Suzuki's Danny Eslick was a similarly solitary fifth, running by himself pretty much throughout while a heated battle raged behind him for sixth.
Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram held on to claim that position in the end. The Ohioan narrowly edged Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony by 0.175 seconds for sixth with KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore and Team Hero EBR's Geoff May a further 0.213 and 0.335 seconds adrift in eighth and ninth position, respectively.
Fillmore's KTM-mounted teammate, Taylor Knapp, completed the top ten.
Saturday's dogfight lays the groundwork for an intriguing Sunday contest with Herrin, Hayden, and Hayes already considering their strategic approaches to tomorrow's rematch.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier beat Garrett Gerloff in a battle of Yamaha Extended Services/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha teammates, with the final margin of 0.176 separating the duo after 16 laps at Miller Motorsports Park's first AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race of the weekend. RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's JD Beach and Jake Lewis of Meen Motorsports battled just behind the Yamaha teammates to make it a four-rider battle to the flag.
Gerloff lead early but Beaubier charged through the field to catch - and pass- his teammate with nine laps to go. Unlike other 2013 races in which Beaubier has been able to run away once he earned the lead, this contest saw Gerloff stick with Beaubier and even re-took the lead a few times.
On the final lap, Gerloff was unable to stuff it inside Beaubier at turn one, his favorite passing spot. Gerloff turned in the race's fastest lap the final time around MMP but was unable to stop Beaubier from extending his winning streak to six in a row and earn his eighth win of the year.
Beaubier found it tough going early after some pre-race changes to his setup, but managed to regroup to earn one of his best wins of the year. "It was really cool racing with JD and Garrett. They made a couple passes back and forth and it was good," said Beaubier. "At the beginning of the race I was struggling really bad. My bike honestly felt like a completely different bike. It took me a long time to get back up to speed. We made some changes this morning that we thought would be good for this afternoon, but I don't know what happened, but I was struggling pretty bad out there and wasn't able to do the times we did in qualifying. It was awesome battling with these guys. I gave it everything I had the last couple of laps and I was pushing the front everywhere. It was a good race."
Beach and Lewis, who both live near the Owensboro, KY, hotbed of racing talent and often ride together in the offseason, ran an impressive pace to finish 0.716 and 1.158 behind Beaubier.
Jake Gagne was fifth on the other Roadrace Factory/Red Bull entry, his first time off the podium since Daytona as the series number two points man had front end issues in the race.
National Guard Celtic Racing's James Rispoli was sixth. Behind the fast rookie were veterans GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing's Dane Westby, D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph's Bobby Fong, and Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo.
Fernando Amantini (Team Amantini) earned a top ten when he edged out Jake Zemke (Riders Discount Racing Triumph) for the position.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
Joe Roberts won his fourth straight AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday. It was Roberts' fourth straight win to begin his career, this time taking a close fight over Wyatt Farris, who earned his best result yet with second place. West points leader Tomas Puerta took third after leading asome of the 13-lap race.
Roberts looked cool and collected despite considerable pressure from Farris and Puerta. With six laps to go, Puerta made a move into turn one and passed Roberts, but the Californian returned the favor in short order. When Farris made his bid to take the point, Roberts kept the throttle on and resisted the pass. Eventually, Roberts was able to pull away from Farris and win by 0.7995.
"The race went really well and I got an awesome holeshot," said Roberts. "It was tough the whole time. It was a hard race and I had to push for sure ... it's going to be a good race tomorrow and I know these guys will be right there with me."
Farris has been building momentum and earned his best result yet in Utah. He credited his rise this year to hard work by his team.
Puerta extended his points lead with third and now leads the West by 53 points.
Sebastiao Ferreira of BP Racing took fourth place, also earning his best result of the season. He beat Stefano Mesa (Motosport.com RSRacecraft) and Miles Thornton (CTR Racing).
Hayden Gillim (Team 95) dropped from fourth the seventh on the last lap. He finished ahead of Jeffrey Tigert (Baby Appleseed CM Motorsports), Brandon Cleland (Motosport.com RSRacecraft), and Ryan Matter (Gearzy).
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
The surging Steve Rapp continued his recent run of dominant form in AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series action on Saturday at Miller Motorports Park. The points leader secured the provisional pole for Sunday's final qualifying event ahead of the four-race $60,000 XR Showdown that will kick off in two weeks' time at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP.
The Aerostar Global/Suburban Harley-Davison runner led the way today with a best time of 2:07.027, edging ahead of defending class champ Michael Barnes on the Spyke's Harley-Davidson XR1200 (2:07.223).
A number of riders on the bubble looking to earn one of the coveted ten spots in the XR Showdown showed impressive speed on Saturday. Fernet Insurance's Eric Stump, who is ranked just 17th but still well within striking distance, was third fastest provisionally. And 15th-ranked Hayden Schultz on the Happy Trails M/C Connection Harley-Davidson earned a place on the provisional front row as well, suggesting that there's potential for the bottom half of the top ten to be upended following tomorrow's critical eight-lap contest.
- AMA Superbike Championship 2013 -
RND 1 - BEAUBIER WINS DAYTONA 200
RND 2 - HAYES TAKES ROAD AMERICA
RND 3 - HAYES WINS BARBER
RND 4 - MID OHIO
RND 5 - LAGUNA SECA
RND 6 - MILLER
- 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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