Tuesday, July 3, 2012

AMA Pro Road Racing Superbike & Daytona SportBike Series Recap from Barber Motorsports Park Round

AMA Pro Road Racing Recap: Triumph Superbike Classic at Barber Motorsports Park

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 3, 2012) - While reigning series king Josh Hayes only further solidified his iron grip on the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike class with another perfect points weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, a rising challenge to his authority was also on display.

Following three consecutive weekends in which no rider had the measure of Hayes in terms of sheer pace, the Mississippian was a bit hesitant to predict more of the same at the Triumph SuperBike Classic presented by America's First Federal Credit Union.

Sure, the '12 Yamaha YZF-R1 had shown increased top-end power, allowing him to escape at Road America and Miller Motorsports Park this year in contrast to being defeated by Blake Young on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 following close races in 2011, but the characteristics of the Alabama circuit might make for different outcome.

Or not. Hayes once again scorched to pole in the weekend's blistering heat (his eighth in a row) and followed that up by leading every lap in both races and taking the checkered flag with seconds to spare.

Hayes' Barber Motorsports Park double win weekend ups his 2012 season win tally to eight, topping his previous best marks of seven, posted in 2009 and 2010. And there are still nine races remaining on '12 slate, meaning Hayes is well positioned to make an assault on Mat Mladin's single season record of 12 (2007).

Hayes also increased his career National Guard SuperBike win total to 25 and is threatening to move into third place on the all-time SuperBike win list (Ben Spies, 28), and possibly even second (Miguel DuHamel, 32), before the year is out.  The Yamaha star now boasts an imposing 37-point advantage over second ranked Young (320-283).

Josh Hayes #1 takes the inside line on team mate Josh Herrin #2 during one of the AMA Superbike Championship Series races at Barber Motorsports Park in June 2012.  AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.

Asked about the possibility of equaling or bettering Mladin's single-season mark, Hayes said, "I don't know... Is it attainable? Yes. I think every track that we go to I can be competitive at. Attainable, yes, but I think it's a pretty big ask. Things are going really well right now and if I can maintain this, that would be great. But I don't expect these guys to let it go on for long. Fortunately for me, things are going good. Hopefully, I can keep it that way and the pressure is on them to turn around their thing and catch up to me. I'm pretty lucky -- four years with the same crew and the bike feels like home. I can get up to speed very quickly, like I have at the past several races, and then go about working on taking things to another level."

However, more than the hint of a serious challenge was presented in Alabama, and it didn't come from expected challenger Young. While the '11 National Guard SuperBike runner-up continues to search for a way to find equal footing on his #79 GSX-R that he guided to seven wins a year ago, Hayes was pushed and pushed hard in qualifying and Saturday's race by the only other man piloting a works Yamaha R1 -- SuperBike freshman Josh Herrin.

Herrin proved he could just about match Hayes' pace so long as he had the experienced pilot to lead him around in qualifying, dramatically lowering his time while grabbing a tow in behind the #1 machine and leaping up the leaderboards to qualify second.

The youngster then proved he could do the same in the race, clinging onto Hayes' rear wheel and running just inches behind his teammate for the bulk of Saturday's race before the heat took its toll and Herrin backed off to claim an impressive second-place result.

"I was learning every lap," Herrin said. "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."

Hayes has taken notice of Herrin's rise, and said with a smirk, "I think (Josh) is learning way too many of my tricks."  Herrin's hopes of one-upping that performance on Sunday were foiled by an early mistake, as he ran off course in a bid to keep Hayes in sight. The former AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike star dropped to the bottom of the top ten during his foray into the grass, but sliced right back up through the field before arriving on Young's rear wheel in second. 

Young made a similar charge earlier after dropping down to ninth on the race's opening lap. Having finished a distant third on Saturday, the Wisconsin defended the position heavily and the two went back and forth as Herrin survived a couple more minor mistakes to press Young.  However, the Suzuki's leading rider was ultimately rewarded for his steadier ride and the two swapped podium positions from the day before on Sunday.

Young said, "Well, the start was a little bit of a struggle and I found myself quite a ways back in the pack. I just thought, 'wow, I really messed up and made a lot of work for myself that I really didn't want to have to deal with today.' That's how it goes. You have a plan before the start but it never goes according to plan -- ever. I wasn't expecting that but I put my head down and felt better on my GSX-R1000 today."

Herrin said, "It was a crazy race. I just made way too many mistakes in the race today and lost too many positions due to it. That's the first time I've had any close moments on the 1000 all year, but luckily I was able to recover from it and come back from way back. That felt really good and I have a lot of motivation."

It's now long past the time when a strong showing by the EBRs seemed like a fluke. Team Amsoil/Hero's Geoff May continued his march to stake his claim for 'best of the rest' status and did well in that campaign again at Barber Motorsports Park.

May was actually second quick in Friday's provisional qualifying session on the #99 EBR 1190RS before proving that he and his machine were the fourth-best man/machine combo in Alabama. He qualified just off the front row in fifth, but raced his way forward ahead of National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden to claim fourth in both races.  Those results also saw May displace Hayden for fourth in the '12 championship order by a single point (159-158).

Fifth-ranked Hayden, meanwhile, is still seeking the same feeling he had on the #54 Suzuki GSX-R1000 at the tail-end of 2011, which allowed him to race at the front and fight for wins. He also admitted that he had been riding tentatively as of late after suffering a handful of crashes in recent weekends.

After picking up a pair of fifths at Barber Motorsports Park, the Kentuckian reported, "I got a good start on Saturday. And I settled into a rhythm and got up to fifth. I'm still trying to get my comfort level back after I had a few crashes one weekend, so I'm not as aggressive on the bike as I can be. But I got a better start on Sunday and I felt like I was riding better overall. We're going to Mid-Ohio next and that track has been good to me. I got my first Superbike podium there, so I'm looking forward to it."

Teammate Ben Bostrom finished sixth on Sunday on the Jordan Suzuki, winning back some points after crashing out of third on the opening lap of Saturday's SuperBike contest.  "I was pretty disappointed on Saturday," said Bostrom. "The Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000 was working great and I know it was capable of a podium. On Sunday, I got a good start but it was really slick out there. I know I couldn't have gone any quicker than I did. I raced as hard as I could for every lap."

Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram enjoyed a pair of solid outings in Birmingham. The four-time National Guard SuperBike race winner came away with sixth and eighth place rides as he whittles away the gap separating him from the lead pack on the BMW S1000RR.  Fellow veteran pilot, Steve Rapp, racked up similar results on the Attack Performance Kawasaki ZX-10R, finishing in ninth and seventh.  Meanwhile, Kneedraggers.com/Motul/Fly Racing's David Anthony was the last man to collect a pair of top tens at BMP (tenth and ninth).

Team Hero EBR's Danny Eslick (seventh and 19th), second Yosh runner Chris Clark (eighth and 17th), M4 Suzuki's Chris Ulrich (18th and tenth), and KTM/HMC Racing's Stefan Nebel (20th and 11th) had mixed weekends for a variety of reasons.  German Nebel was on his own on the KTM RC8R after teammate Chris Fillmore crashed and broke his hand in the weekend's opening practice session.

Year-end Award Update:

Sean Dwyer clinched the weekend's MotoBatt "Hard Charger Award" by improving his position a cumulative 10 positions during the weekend's races. The MotoBatt Hard Charger Award is a $500 award that is given to the rider who improves the most positions combined from each of the weekend's race sessions.

Josh Hayes continues to lead the Sunoco "Go the Distance" Award chase, having completing 571 laps and logging 1,591.6 miles over second place Larry Pegram with 547 laps and 1,511.98 miles.

Next up is a visit to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, OH on July 13-15. The round should be a major test of Hayes' current run of dominance; the title leader missed out on pole for the one and only time last season when the series stopped at Mid-Ohio. He also finished fourth in one of the races, the only time all season long he failed to finish on the podium in the dry.

Title Sponsor

Photo Galleries


Triumph SuperBike Classic - AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Race 1 Highlights

Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta - AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Race 1 Highlights
Triumph Superbike Classic - AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Race 2 Highlights
GoPro Lap of the Track - Barber Motorsports Park
Five Minutes with Melissa - Barber Motorsports Park
Blake Young Discusses Crash During SuperBike Race 1 at Road Atlanta
Yoshimura Suzuki's Chris Clark Talks about his new ride & team.
Team Venezuela's Robertino Pietri Reports on his injuries

Next Up

Mid-Ohio July 13-15 Event Info | Tickets

AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Recap

Daytona Beach, FL.-July 3, 2012-AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike at Barber Motorsports Park saw Cameron Beaubier of YES/Graves/Yamaha have his breakthrough event as the 19-year-old won his first class pole and both races. Beaubier simply swept the weekend and put in a masterful performance in what was a physically challenging weekend with the heat and the twisty nature of the Birmingham, Ala. circuit.

After running up front in this year's races following his recovery from a broken knee cap resulting from a scooter crash, which sidelined him at Road Atlanta and one of the Sonoma races, it certainly looked like Beaubier winning a race this season was inevitable. He fulfilled the promise in Alabama and earned Yamaha's first GoPro Daytona SportBike win since Joey Pascarella won the season-opening DAYTONA 200 in March.

"It feels awesome to get my first win and then back it up the next day," Beaubier said. "I'm super happy."

And the young standout did it despite some remaining surgical metal in his leg that irritates him when he rides and causes swelling. The wire won't come out until August.

Tommy Hayden #22 leads the rest of the field during one of the AMA Pro Go Pro Daytona SportBike Serie races at Barber Motorsports Park in June 2012.  AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.

"That's the biggest thing bothering me right now," he continued. "It's hard to keep the swelling down."

In the first race, Beaubier battled with another rider having a breakout weekend, Dane Westby of the M4 Suzuki team. Westby had been showing good form this season, but bad starts kept him from really cashing in. Between Road America and Barber, Westby prepped hard by spending a day with drag racer Ricky Gadsen working on his starts as well as honing his skills leaning off the bike at a riding school. He was able to quickly apply what he learned, as good racers do, and earned two second place results.

Beaubier was able to hold him off both days, though. On Saturday, the end came down to a fight between Westby, Beaubier and his Yamaha teammate Tommy Hayden. With a couple of laps to go, Beaubier retook the lead from Hayden, who was also passed by Westby. The Oklahoman took a shot in turn four on the last lap, but couldn't make the move stick. Beaubier won by 0.241.

"I felt really comfortable leading today. I tried to stay out in front as long as I could," Beaubier said. "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.  Westby said he made a slight mistake on the last lap that kept him from getting one more chance to make a pass in the final corner.

"It was pretty slick out there and the guys were riding well," Westby said. "The M4 Suzuki was going really good for me. It was getting the traction even though it was really greasy out there. We decided to go with the soft tire at the last minute by group decision and it turned out to be the right decision. I think they would have got away in the beginning and I don't think there was enough time in the medium tire to catch back up once their tires went off, so that was a good decision."  Hayden was back on the podium on Saturday. "It felt good to lead the race and I thought, with three or four laps to go there, I had a pretty good chance to win," he said. "I just need to get a little bit more of an edge."

Jason DiSalvo (Latus Motors Racing Triumph) was fourth, less than six seconds back after running in the lead pack early on. He was well clear of points leader Martin Cardenas (GEICO Suzuki) who had rear brake issues and couldn't make his patented charge to the front.  Bobby Fong (Meen Motorsports) was sixth, just ahead of Benny Solis on the Kneedraggers.com Yamaha. Jake Zemke (Ducshop Ducati) had a lonely ride to eighth. He was well clear of J.D. Beach (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull), who started from the fourth row but moved up to ninth. Michael Beck (Team Beck Racing) just pipped Cory West (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki) for the final spot in the top ten.

On Sunday, Beaubier was able to clear out over Westby late to back up his Saturday win with a 2.163 second win after 21 laps.

"It was kind of weird because my first lap wasn't very good at all," Beaubier said of his Sunday win. "Then I got through a few guys and got out front and I felt pretty good out front. I didn't feel very good in second because it was super easy to get shuffled back. Out front I felt really comfortable, I tried to save my tires as much as I could, and towards the end I put my head down and pushed really hard to get away."  Westby made his bid a little too early, he thought. He tried to take the lead with four laps to go but couldn't hold it.  "The racetrack was hot and greasy," Westby said. "I just tried to carve through a couple guys and get to the front. I just didn't quite have what was required to win this one. I got in front for a bit but they studied where I was strong and weak and made the most of it. I fried the tire up in the beginning stages when I was pushed back a little so I didn't have a real good tire to make a charge at the end. That's just how the cards played out."  Westby moved into a tie with DiSalvo for second place in the GoPro Daytona SportBike points.  Cardenas rebounded to take third, but said he was playing catch-up all weekend and never could quite get over the hump.

"I did what I could this weekend," Cardenas said. "It was an okay result. Third place is enough to make me happy. I finished ahead of DiSalvo today so we made back the points there and that was the most we could ask for. I didn't have the speed to catch Dane (Westby) and Cameron (Beaubier) towards the end of the race. The bike was just a little off all weekend. We tried some new things Friday and Saturday and they didn't work the way we had hoped, so they switched back to what we knew today and it was better. Not perfect, but better. In the end, we gained points so we are pleased."

Hayden finished right on Cardenas, the GoPro Daytona SportBike points leader, tailpiece to take fourth.  Bobby Fong scored another fifth in what has been a very good season for the Stockton, Calif. rider on a smaller team. Fong was able to handle DiSalvo and relegate him to sixth.  Beach improved on Sunday to earn seventh, ahead of Zemke, Solis, and Jake Gagne (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull).

Next up is Mid-Ohio, a similar tight, twisty course. Cardenas will surely be back to form and it will be interesting to see if Beaubier and Westby can keep up their momentum, too.

Year-End Awards Update:

Benny Solis currently leads the Saddlemen "Rookie of the Year" points chase over fellow GoPro Daytona SportBike riders Jake Gagne and Jeff Wrobel.

Next Event

AMA Pro Road Racing will next head to Ohio for Round 7 with a stop at Lexington, Ohio. The Buckeye SuperBike Classic will take place at Mid-Ohio in two weeks time, July 13-15. For tickets and event information, please visit www.midohio.com

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.

For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014, communications@amaproracing.com
GoPro Daytona SportBike Logo
Title Sponsor
Title Sponsor
Photo Galleries
Steve Rapp and Attack Performance Team
Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta Preview
BigM Weekend - AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Race Highlights
Triumph Superbike Classic - AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Race 1 Highlights
Triumph Superbike Classic - AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Race 2 Highlights
Race 1 Podium Finisher Interviews
KneeDraggers.com/Triple Crown Industries Brings on Benny Solis
RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's JD Beach gives AMA Pro Vids a Trackside Update

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it nice, but keep them coming!

---Please note---You can leave comments anonymously, but you can also leave them while logged into Google, Yahoo and other platforms.
We'd love to hear from you!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.