Monday, September 27, 2010

Josh Hayes: 2010 AMA Superbike Champion


On a drying track at Road America in June of 2008, Josh Hayes comes into the turn 11 area
during the first practice session for the weekend's AMA Formula Xtreme Series during the AMA Superbike Suzuki Doubleheader in Elkhart Lake, WI. Riding for Erion Racing on the CBR600RR, Hayes won two AMA Formula Xtreme Road Racing titles in '06-'07 to go along with his AMA Superstock title from 2003.
After signing with Graves Yamaha for the '09 season to ride the team's new YZF-R1, it didn't take long for him to catch on to the new crossplane motor as he won nine races en route to finishing second in the 2009 AMA Superbike Championship behind 7-Time AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin. Josh got off to a slow start in 2010, but by season's end had won seven races, garnered 14 podiums in 19 races, and yesterday was crowned the 2010 AMA Superbike Championship with a safe ride home in 7th place.
It's good to see one of the nice guys get it after trying so hard for so long in the premier class. Bravo Josh!
In what was truly fitting yesterday, long-time competitor and one of the nice guys in the AMA Road Racing paddock, Josh Hayes won the 2010 AMA Superbike Championship riding for the Graves Yamaha Motorsports team. In his second year with the team, Hayes added to his win list in the premier class, garnering 7 wins to go with the 9 races he won in '09, and this year managed to stand on the podium 14 times in 19 races. He ended his championship season with 466 points to edge out another long-time competitor in the series, Tommy Hayden on the #22 Yoshimura Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000, who finished the season with 452 points and five premier class wins. Jordan Motorsports/National Guard's Jake Zemke ended up 3rd in the championship with 332 points on the #54 Jordan Suzuki after winning both of the Daytona opening rounds, but failing to duplicate those great results throughout the rest of the season.

Hayes is also set to return to Graves Yamaha at least through the 2012 season after announcing last week he had re-upped with the team. Hayes brings the AMA Superbike Championship to Yamaha in only it's second premier class title since the series inception in the mid '70s, and it's first since '91 when Thomas Stevens took it all for Vance and Hines Yamaha. It will be great to see another competitor, let alone another one of the nice guys, come back for the following year's racing and being able to wear and represent the #1 plate, especially after such a stellar year.

To think there were only five races he didn't finish in the top three this season is a phenomenal achievement for any racer in any racing series. And with the AMA Superbike Championship's newer class structure and rules in place, the racing has really tightened up in the class as a whole. With no more fire breathing dragons to rack up mega dollars in development and maintenance costs, the series has been very competitive as a result. Six different riders won races this year, and on three different makes (Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati). And word has had it since the first of the year that the teams and riders are happy with the newer direction that AMA Pro Road Racing has taken in the 2010 season after moving iron-fisted and jawed Roger E. out the door to make way for more reasonable efforts to run a professional racing series. And that's a great thing.

Congrats go out to Josh Hayes for winning the 2010 AMA Superbike Championship and for such a fine year. It's great to see a guy like Josh get this thing after trying so hard for so long to get into the premier class and finally obtaining his dreams. Bravo Dude!

Check out all the results and official write-up of the weekend below.

Henny Ray Abrams has the story of the weekend's AMA Superbike races at Barber Motorsports Park from over the weekend over at Cycle

Here are the results of race one for the AMA Superbike Series at Barber on Saturday from AMA Road Racing:

And here are the results from race two, where Josh Hayes clinched the 2010 AMA Superbike Championship with a fine run home into 7th place: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's the link to the complete results for the season finale at Barber Motorsports Park thanks to AMA Pro Road Racing again:

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