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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 20, 2012) - There have been some great performances in AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport during 2012 but up until the Buckeye SuperBike Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, no rider had swept a weekend by taking both races in a doubleheader. Latus Motors Racing Triumph's Dustin Dominguez changed that, though, winning both time out at Mid-Ohio. He also made hay in the points in his bid to win the East division and National titles.
Going into the event, Dominguez was one of the leading contenders after winning from pole last year and crashing out of the lead in the other race. Dominguez, one of the biggest riders in the class, had won at Infineon Raceway earlier this year and seems to flourish at tracks where he can wrestle his Triumph Daytona 675R around the turns. On Saturday, Dominguez won by just under two seconds over defending National Champ James Rispoli (Celtic Racing/ Orient Express Racing) and Stefano Mesa (Kneedraggers.com Yamaha). Domiguez was able to pull away and stamp his authority on the race.
Dustin Dominguez #68 takes the checkers ahead of James Rispoli #1 and Hayden Gillim #69 after their battle in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race two at Mid-Ohio on Sunday July 15. AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.
"Well, unfortunately I had a poor start and had to work my way up through traffic but the bike is handling awesome. I lost my knee skid on the first lap and that was a little scary," said Dominguez. "I tried to ride a consistent race and we're happy to get every point we've gotten." Rispoli couldn't push Dominguez but was well clear of the battle for third behind him. "It was a pretty lonely race," he admitted. "It was a battle with myself to see if I could bring the gap back down. Four or five laps in Dominguez came by and started pulling away. I knew it was time to go. I tried to get back down in the 1:30s but I just did consistent lap times."
Mesa topped Ryan Kerr (RFC Racing) and Tomas Puerta (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) in a fierce battle for the last spot on the podium and the most hotly-contested pack in the race. "It was a pretty good race. In the eighth lap, I started to lose a little grip," said Mesa. "Tomy (Puerta) passed me and I thought 'I have to try to slow them down a little bit and maybe they won't check out. I know Ryan Kerr was going to give it his all since he's from here. I'm glad I was in front of them." Hayden Gillim (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) followed just behind in sixth, ahead of Corey Alexander (National Guard Fairhills Group Celtic Racing) and then another tight pack won by Elena Myers (Suzuki SportBikeTrackGear.com) over Miles Thornton (Markbilt) and Travis Wyman (Harv's Harley Davidson).
On Sunday, Dominguez had a tougher time with it. He got a poor start, ran to the front, and then had to do it again when a red flag came out. Dominguez didn't get a great jump the second time either. This time, Rispoli and Gillim were able to make a much more sporting proposition of the contest. Still, he was able to win by 0.486 over Rispoli and 0.936 over Gillim. That moved the Oklahoman into a tie with Jake Lewis (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki) for the lead in East points.
"It's awesome. Like I've been telling myself all weekend, we're not worried about points. I'm just a guy on a motorcycle trying to have fun," said Dominguez. "That's when I get my best results and that's what we're going to stick to. The Latus Motors team gave me a bike to win and it was up to me to go out and do it for them. That shows you how awesome this class is, how stiff the competition is. We're over halfway through the season and no one had done the double. Luckily, we were able to do it and thanks to everybody." Rispoli, who is contending the West division, was content to have improved his pace and earned more podium finishes and bettered his ultimate quick time of the weekend during the race. "The first couple of laps, I was pushing the front quite a bit in the first couple of laps and I didn't feel comfortable pushing the pace right there," said Rispoli. "Hayden came by on lap four and I hug around and went back by on lap seven. I was just trying to put a pace together and I couldn't quite run the pace I wanted to off the bat. Then Dominguez came by around lap nine and he ran a solid, solid pace. He would lead, I would lead. It was a crazy race. In the end, I had a couple of things I wanted to try out of the Keyhole and he just stepped it up more."
Gillim, who won at Utah earlier this year, found the pace to stick at the front. "It was a lot of fun. I got a good start and was up to second early. James Rispoli caught up with Jake Lewis and me, and he was rolling pretty good. We all kicked up the pace. I was in third and sitting back a bit, hanging on and seeing how the race went for us. At the end of the race, Dustin wicked it up and James did, too. It was a hard-fought race. Thanks to the team for helping me get up there to run with them after we struggled some on Saturday." Mesa claimed another solid result on Sunday when he topped Myers for fourth. Myers, a winner at Daytona, was very quick after the red flag. Local rider Kerr was sixth, capping off a good weekend for the Kawasaki-mounted competitor. He just clipped Wyman on Sunday by 0.2. Lewis rebounded with eighth and finishing 11th on Saturday as he finished just in front of Alexander Thornton, who earned a second top ten of the weekend.
For Dominguez and Lewis, the championship essentially starts over as the two riders are tied. Lewis had the early momentum, but Dominguez has bullied his way back to being even.
Headed to the Laguna Seca round, the Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport pilots join the global superstars of the MotoGP World Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, scheduled for July 27-29.
Year-end Award Update:
Corey Alexander leads the Sunoco "Go the Distance" Award chase, having completing 546 laps and logged 1539.51 miles over second place Stefano Mesa with 543 laps and 1527.37 miles.
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