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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 7, 2012) - The AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca had plenty of close battles. James Rispoli led most of the race, but it took a strong run to the finish line to slip past Hayden Gillim to earn his fifth win of the year. Just behind that duo, a great battle for third was decided by just 0.09 with Garrett Willis earning his first GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing podium.
The two West division challengers put on a show, with points leader Rispoli (Celtic Racing/Orient Express Racing Suzuki GSX-R600) on the verge of clinching his second AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport title to back up the East and National crowns he won last year. Gillim, the Utah winner, had emerged as Rispoli's strongest points challenger but was on the verge of elimination going into California.
Dustin Dominguez (Latus Motors Racing Triumph) won pole but crashed on the warm-up lap, so his race was over before it started. That left Gillim and Rispoli to fight alone at the front. The Kentuckian Gillim spent the first 15 laps taking notes from Rispoli's rear wheel and his opportunity came in turn five on the last lap. Gillim made a bold move around the outside to take the lead, one that wasn't exactly planned. "I broke pretty late in turn five and just decided to go for it," Gillim said afterward. Gillim held the lead through the final turn, but ran a little wide and Rispoli beat him to the line. "Once I saw him a smidge off line, I was on the gas and making a run," said Rispoli.
"It was a crazy race," he added. "(Hayden) kept me honest. I set the pace and did what I wanted but I knew he had a little more corner speed when I saw him come around in turn five the one lap. I put that back in the noggin for the last lap. I ran a really defensive line and that probably screwed me up. As soon as he went back by, I got on the gas and took my normal lines. The last lap, I knew it would be tough," said Hayden. "The whole race, I was right behind James, sizing him up. I knew there were some spots where I was quicker. I knew there were some spots he was quicker, and I knew I had to get past him early in the lap or he could stick with me and get me in the last turn. That's what he ended up doing. I made a little mistake in the last turn and got in there a little deep, and he was able to get past me at the line. I was glad to give the fans one of the best shows of the weekend."
Rispoli leads by 60 points with one West round (two races) to go.
The battle for third was even closer. Garrett Willis (GWR Kawasaki) was able to pass Jake Lewis (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki) for the final spot on the podium. "It was a long race," said Willis, who didn't get the best of starts but had moved up to fourth place behind Lewis as the laps counted down. "I was trying to hang with Jake for a little bit and close the gap on him but my tire started to move around. He actually pulled away some but I gathered him back up in traffic. I was looking for the white flag and it came and I thought, 'I better do something here.' I put in a good lap and was lucky enough to get underneath him in the last turn."
Following Lewis, Corey Alexander (National Guard Fairhills Group Celtic Racing) earned another top five result. He finished just under three seconds ahead of Stefano Mesa (Kneedraggers.com Yamaha). Elena Myers (Suzuki SportBikeTrackGear.com) was seventh, ahead of Roadrace Factory/Red Bull's Tomas Puerta who struggled after crashing in the warm-up. The battle for ninth was close, too, with Brazilian Sebastiao Ferreira (Meen Motorsports) finishing less than 0.1 ahead of Travis Ohge (Rotobox) for the position.
Rispoli has been exceptionally strong in the West races, and four of his five wins have come in those events. With the championship nearly decided, more pressure is off with some East races coming up. "I'm going for wins and we'll get to NOLA and see what happens," Rispoli said.
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.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport Race Results
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport East Point Standings
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