GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Recap: Rispoli Inches Closer to AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport Championship With Back-to-Back Wins in Miami
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 28, 2012) - The AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport action at the Triumph Big Kahuna Miami at Miami-Homestead Speedway was highlighted by a familiar name: James Rispoli. The reigning champ and West division title contender doubled, winning both races in an East event. The Celtic Racing/Orient Express Racing pilot has been on the cusp of winning the West division since the last round back at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He leads by 60 points, with only the bonus points keeping Hayden Gillim (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) alive in the fight.
Rispoli had a tough battle with Stefano Mesa (Kneedraggers.com Yamaha) on Saturday, with Mesa racing the climax of the event without a face shield. It didn't slow him down much the last seven laps. Mesa made a couple of moves for the lead but Rispoli quickly responded and was able to pull out a gap of 0.564 on the final lap. "It was really slick and me and Stefano did a good job of sliding around and making it look fun," Rispoli said. "In the middle of the race, he came rippin' by and I was like, 'OK, it's time to go.' I got back in tow, reeled him in a little bit, and found some parts where I was a little bit faster. I made my move a couple laps later."
James Rispoli on the #1 Celtic Racing entry all but sewed up his second title in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport Series with a win at Homestead-Miami last weekend. AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.
On Sunday, Rispoli was able to pull away from the field to win a race that was red flagged after ten laps due to a fallen rider and called complete as weather rolled in. "It felt good to get a race where I could get a lead. It was a 'dirt-tracker's delight.' I don't think the handlebars were straight the whole time," said Rispoli.
If Rispoli was the star, then the supporting cast was led by Mesa and Tomas Puerta of RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha. For the South American racers, Miami is as close as it gets to an AMA Pro "home" race and like Mesa, Puerta was able to make an impression. Mesa's ride on Saturday was impressive without factoring in that he was "in the wind" much of the time. "I looked backward," said Mesa, "... and one side of my visor came off. Air was going into my eyes and I couldn't see anything so I decided to break it. I could hang with Rispoli and I tried to make a move a couple of laps later but I couldn't do it."
The Colombian Puerta took third and second to earn some more podium results for his season. On Saturday, he barely beat Jake Lewis (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki) to the line. On Sunday, he had "It felt good to be back on the podium again. I had some issues with the front so I finished second. I'm looking forward to the next one." Dustin Dominguez had a mixed weekend. He didn't finish on Saturday and lost championship points to Lewis, but on Saturday he came back to finish second on his Latus Motors Racing Triumph. "I think I got the fastest lap of the race. It was good because I want to win this championship for Triumph." Dominguez now leads Lewis by eight points with only the New Orleans doubleheader to go. Lewis earned fourth and sixth to gain 12 points on Dominguez.
Hayden Gillim was fifth and sixth. The Utah winner wasn't able to find the speed to run near the front but brought home two solid finishes in Florida. Corey Alexander (National Guard Fairhills Group Celtic Racing) joined teammate Rispoli in the top five on Saturday and was 8th on Sunday. Y.E.S/Graves/Yamaha's Garrett Gerloff was seventh and ninth as he continues to come back from his Daytona injuries. Travis Wyman (Harv's H-D), Elena Myers (Suzuki SportbikeTrackGear.com), Colter Dimmick (AcesMotorcycles.com) and local rider Charlie Long (CLR Racing) all finished in the top ten at Homestead.
With just two races to go in New Orleans, the combined East/West round will determine the 2012 champions.
Sunoco "Go the Distance" Award Update:
1. Corey Alexander - 2115.2 mi
2. Stefano Mesa - 2054.3 mi
3. Jake Lewis - 2049.3 mi
Triumph Big Kahuna New Orleans October 5-7