GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Recap:
Josh Hayes Continues Dominant Performance at American Red Cross Devil's Showdown presented by Team ProMotion at New Jersey Motorsports Park
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Recap
In its short history, New Jersey Motorsports Park has lent itself to some close races and this round's AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike action added to the list. Cameron Beaubier (Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha) and Martin Cardenas (GEICO Suzuki) split the wins this time out. On Saturday, Beaubier emerged on top after moving from third to first late in the contest. Beaubier passed Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki) and Cardenas to win the red-flagged race by 0.023. The Yamaha man took his fifth win of the year but said it took a while to get rolling. "I slotted into third the last few laps," said Beaubier. "I saw what Westby and Cardenas were doing and I was able to make my moves. I was a little out of my rhythm and I would have liked to have made my moves earlier but there was no way I was getting away from these guys. I tried to conserve my tires and wait until the end."
Martin Cardenas #36 went 2-1 in the two races at NJMP in the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Series class to all but put away his second championship in the series with two rounds and four races left for the season. AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.
Cardenas wasn't able to make a pass after he lost the lead as the last lap was about to began. "I made two great starts and tried to get in a rhythm, but these guys were with me the whole time and we had a lot of passing," said the Colombian. "It was clean racing. Cameron got me in the first corner and I came up a little short today."
Westby received a penalty on Friday for riding backwards on the track after a crash, resulting in the Oklahoman starting the races from 13th position. It did little to slow his charge to the front, though. Westby was a contender for the win but wound up 0.465 back at the checkers. "We started way back but I wasn't worried," said Westby. "At the end, I saw there were just the three of us, which is what I wanted." Bobby Fong ran up front before losing a bit of time to the leaders in the end. The Meen Motorsports pilot was fourth, 1.992 seconds back and just ahead of Y.E.S/Graves/Yamaha's Tommy Hayden, who managed to hang at the front.
Jason DiSalvo returned on his Triumph in Latus Motors Racing livery after missing Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The 2011 DAYTONA 200 winner finished sixth on Saturday. Tommy Aquino has made the most of his opportunity as an injury replacement with the Kneedraggers.com Yamaha squad and he took seventh at a track where he's had success before. The RoadRace Factory/Red Bull pilots Jake Gagne and J.D. Beach were next in the order, ahead of series veteran Aaron Gobert on the Full Tuck Yamaha.
Sunday's race was marred by an early accident caused when a rider ran off course and brought water onto the track surface as he returned to the course just in front of the lead pack. Tommy Hayden crashed big, along with Cameron Beaubier, Aaron Gobert and Michael Beck. Unfortunately, Hayden was taken in for medical evaluation while Beaubier was forced to watch as his machine was not ready when the race restarted.
Cardenas was able to get away clean and lead the first 17 laps of the race, holding Fong at bay. But his teammate Westby was closing fast and set the quickest lap of the race (1:23.308) catching up from his poor starting slot. Westby took the lead as he and Fong passed Cardenas. The Colombian, however, passed them both on the final lap to take win number seven and to increase his points lead. The GEICO Suzuki rider knew Westby was super fast in the final section and wasn't sure if he had an answer, but he got a good drive on the last lap and was able to earn the win. "The bike worked awesome all weekend," said Cardenas, "I was leading and I knew Bobby was right behind me. Dane passed me and so did Bobby and they did some good laps. I thought about throwing in the towel but I made one more run. I got a good drive out of the last corner and drafted them on the front straight. I knew all three of us could win. The last few races I was close, so I am glad today worked out for me."
Westby came up just short after his impressive run. "I smelled blood in the water. They were pretty far away for a while and my guys were showing me I was making up about a half-second per lap," said the Oklahoman. "Gauging them on a couple different corners it didn't seem like I was making that much progress and then I was. I latched onto them. It felt good -- the claws came out. It just didn't work out for us but a trophy and some champagne is not so bad." Fong was impressive again, but disappointed not to get a win. "I'm really upset with myself and I timed everything wrong," said Fong. "It's a work in progress and every weekend, we're getting better." The result equaled his best of the season.
Aquino was just 4.501 seconds back with a hard-fought fourth to show for his efforts. He topped fellow rising star Jake Gagne, who had a rather uneventful top five finish. Cory West (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki) was next in the final running order. Veteran Jake Zemke brought the Ducshop Ducati home seventh, ahead of J.D. Beach, who was pushed wide early and was classified 23rd on lap one. Reigning AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport West champ David Gaviria claimed his best GoPro Daytona SportBike result yet for Kneedraggers.com Yamaha with ninth. Beck was able to regroup from his early crash and finish tenth for Team Beck Racing.
Cardenas has the championship in hand with a 76-point lead going into the last two races, but Beaubier's emergence, Westby's improvement, and even the resilient Fong have shown that the Colombian doesn't rule the class with Hayes-like domination. Cardenas has been taking care of business for much of the summer -- earning those points to keep the championship firmly in hand. With only one mistake on the season in Sonoma, he's done exactly what he needed to do. He's raced hard but managed risks, and had to watch Beaubier and Westby get the better of him on occasion. That can't sit well with the 2010 GoPro Daytona SportBike champ. With just four races to go, Cardenas will want to wrap up the title and then prove a point to the interlopers.
The James Rispoli/Dustin Dominguez battles in AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport this season have been intense, with both riders showing they have considerable potential to do well as they move up to AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike in the future. Rispoli was a class champion last year, so it is no surprise he continues to run up front on his Celtic Racing/ Orient Express Racing Suzuki. He's run impressive lap times all year. Dominguez had shown speed in the past, but this year his consistency has improved vastly.
The Latus Motors Racing Triumph rider has improved greatly in 2012 and has harnessed a lot of the rawness of his previous riding style. He's still aggressive, but he's managed to eliminate mistakes he's made in the past.
James Rispoli #1 finished 1-2 in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport Series races at NJMP and has all but sewn-up the West title in the championship heading into Homestead-Miami Speedway on September 21-23. AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.
Both riders seem to enjoy the competition and the two clearly have pushed each other to improve. The two split wins at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Rispoli won on Saturday while being harried by his rival for the entire race, crossing the line 0.167 seconds ahead of Dominguez. Unfortunately for Dominguez, he was penalized for passing under a yellow flag and received a penalty, so he lost second place in the process and was classified sixth. "The race was pretty difficult," Rispoli admitted. "It was a little slick today and we just tried to get a good start and run a good pace. I saw that (Dustin and I) had a pretty good gap and then I didn't know what was going on with the 20 seconds. I got back by Dustin and brought it home. I didn't know what was going on so I just kept pushing like it was the last lap and we were pushing for the win."
On Sunday, the two went at it again for the entire race. Dominguez was declared the winner in a contest that saw two red flags. The second one occurred with three laps to go just after Rispoli had taken the lead. When the two encountered lapped traffic, Dominguez and Babuska Racing's Chris Starke collided. Dominguez remained upright but Starke did not. "The race was going good and James and I were going at it," Dominguez said. "It was unfortunate there at the end. We got into lapped traffic and kind of collided there. I feel horrible -- it's probably one of the most uncomfortable wins I've ever had. I wish it would have come down to the end."
With four races left, it will be interesting to see which man gets the upper hand.
Behind them, the action was tight. On Saturday, Y.E.S/Graves/Yamaha's Garrett Gerloff managed to draft past RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's Tomas Puerta at the line to take second place in his first race back from an injury sustained at Daytona. Puerta's teammate Hayden Gillim finished just behind the duo. Elkhart winner Stefano Mesa(Kneedraggers.com Yamaha) finished four seconds back. New Jersey's Eric Stump earned seventh in the race.
On Sunday, the red flag ended a seven-rider battle for third, with all of the riders crossing the line within a shade more than a second of each other. The pack included Jake Lewis, who took third, Corey Alexander on the National Guard/Fairhills Group machine, Gerloff, Mesa, Puerta, Elena Myers on the Suzuki SportBikeTrackGear.com bike, and Gillim. Local rider Brice Lloyd earned a top ten on his Markbilt Yamaha.
With two rounds left, Rispoli and Dominguez have sizeable points leads in the East and West divisions, so the rivalry can take the forefront.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series Recap
The ever-intense AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series saw perhaps its most spectacular shootout of the season at the American Red Cross Devil's Showdown presented by Team ProMotion at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Seven riders went bar-to-bar for the entirety of the 12-lap affair, which wasn't decided until a dramatic championship-twisting final few corners. Tyngsboro, Massachusetts native Shane Narbonne proved to be the home-track hero, outdueling the XR Showdown competitors to score his first-career GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing victory in the end.
Shane Narbonne #46 won his first-ever main event in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series at NJMP over the weekend in round 10. AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.
However, it wasn't cemented until an attempted counterattack on the part of title favorite Kyle Wyman went catastrophically wrong.
Wyman attempted to put himself in position for a run off the race's final corner, but instead was bucked and then hurled off his Harley-Davidson XR1200 as his machine went tumbling off course. In an instant, the KLR Group/Spyke's H-D/Vesrah Racing rider's hard-earned XR Showdown separation evaporated, effectively resetting the title chase once again.
"That's the worst wreck I've ever had and maybe one of the worst I've ever even seen," Wyman said. "I just can't believe this is the outcome." Elated race winner Narbonne said, "I didn't even really know what lap it was, I just went to the front. I didn't see the white flag, I just went. It's good to win at my home track -- I've been working hard for this." Wyman's teammate, Michael Barnes, took maximum advantage of the attention-grabbing crash, stealing three positions at the flag to move into second.
"What a battle," Barnes said. "So much passing going on and I even lost track of the laps for a minute. I dropped back to sixth at the start of the last lap. I caught [Jake] Holden pretty quick and just put my head down. When Kyle wrecked it opened a door. I was in fifth place and had a little more time to assess the situation in front of me. Benny (Carlson) and Tyler (O'Hara) had to jump on their brakes sooner. That gave me the momentum to get past them."
Bartel's Harley-Davidson's Tyler O'Hara was another key benefactor of Wyman's mistake, earning not just a podium result with his third-place finish, but renewed title hopes following his disappointing opening at Indianapolis. While Suburban Harley-Davidson's Ben Carlson just missed the podium, his fourth-place run elevates him to the top of the XR Showdown standings with 1064 points. He doesn't have much breathing space, however, as Wyman (1062), O'Hara (1061), and Barnes (1060), are all within striking distance with just two races to decide the title. MOB Racing's versatile Jake Holden finished in fifth, while Harv's Harley-Davidson's Travis Wyman was the last man in the leading pack to take the checkered flag in sixth, just over two seconds off the win.
GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing will next head South for Round 11 with a stop at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Triumph Big Kahuna Miami presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince will take place September 21-23. For tickets and event information, please visit www.m1powersports.com
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