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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (June 23, 2012) - 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."
Josh Hayes on the #1 Graves Motorsports Monster Energy Yamaha YZF-R1 led all laps and beat his team mate Josh Herrin by over five seconds in race one yesterday at the Barber Motorsports Park round event. AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.
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.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series
The three riders that have dominated the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series in 2012 did not disappoint in provisional qualifying on Saturday at Barber. Tyler O'Hara (Bartels Harley-Davidson) topped the charts with a best time of 1:35.683, ahead of rival Kyle Wyman (KLR Group/Vesrah).
Michael Barnes (Bartlels Harley-Davidson), a 2012 winner, was third, ahead of Shane Narbonne (Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson.) Final qualifying for this weekend's Vance & Hines XR1200 Series race will be held Sunday morning.
SPEED2 Live Streaming Broadcasts and Live Timing & Scoring
Follow along live as the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series riders battle it out by logging onto http://www.speed2.com. SPEED2 is a broadband service available to customers of Time Warner, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, DISH and Cox. For more information and instructions on gaining access to all of the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com and AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series races, please review the SPEED2 FAQ located at http://www.speed2.com/faq.
Live Timing & Scoring of all on-track sessions is available at http://live.amaproracing.com/rr/. Between the races, stay connected with AMA Pro Road Racing at www.twitter.com/AMAProSBK and www.facebook.com/AMAProRoadRacing.
Tickets for the Triumph SuperBike Classic start at just $15 and can be purchased at www.barbermotorsports.com. Kids 15 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult.
While at Barber Motorsports Park, fans are also encouraged to visit the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, a 144,000 square foot home to the largest private collection of motorcycles, representing 20 countries and over 200 manufacturers. Tickets to the Museum are available for an additional fee and can be purchased at the door.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.
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AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014, firstname.lastname@example.org