Monday, October 8, 2012

AMA Road Racing: Hayes Again in Race 2 NOLA AMA Superbike Championship Finale, Barnes Crowned XR1200 Champ

Josh Hayes Completes AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Sweep with Solid Charge at New Orleans' NOLA Motorsports Park

NEW ORLEANS, La. (October 7, 2012) - Three-time AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike king Josh Hayes closed out his epic 2012 campaign in fitting style. The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha superstar notched up one last blowout victory to put the finishing touches on the season in front of his home crowd.  Hayes tore off from pole and blitzed to his 16th win of the season, far and away the most attained in a single-season in the 30-plus year history of the championship. The Mississippian worked his advantage into double digits before easing to the last checkered flag of 2012 with a 9.194-second margin of victory.  Along with posting the record for most wins in a season, Hayes also established the new mark for most consecutive wins (ten), tied the record for most consecutive poles (eleven) and most poles in a season (ten). He also moved into a tie for second with most SuperBike titles (three), and surpassed Miguel DuHamel to grab sole possession of second-place on the all-time SuperBike wins list (33).  Hayes said of his historic season, "It was the perfect way to end an incredible year. A lot of fans and friends came out and I'm glad I was able to do a good job in front of them. I think we are showoffs and we tend to do some of our best work when people are around. It was just an awesome weekend -- I had a lot of fun."


Josh Hayes did the double-again-in winning race two at the NOLA Motorsports Park round of the AMA Pro Road Racing season-finale yesterday on the #1 Graves Motorsports Monster Energy Yamaha YZF-R1.  AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.
Underlining his absolute mastery of the sport, while Hayes seemed to leave the field in his wake with relative ease, the premier class finale was otherwise a rather ragged affair, fraught with crashes, mechanical issues, and penalties among top-ten contenders.  Yoshimura Suzuki's Blake Young and National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden were embroiled in a struggle for the runner-up position some six seconds behind the leader on lap 9 of 18. However, as the two dove into Turn 1 to open lap 10, Hayden's front wheel contacted Young's rear wheel as they both attempted to corral their machines under braking.  The two crashed at speed together but quickly popped up to their feet, disappointed but seemingly unharmed.  That double disaster elevated the fight for fourth between Team Hero EBR's Danny Eslick and Jordan Suzuki's Ben Bostrom into one for the runner-up position.  However, while they remained glued together on track throughout, they were separated by nearly five seconds on the scoring monitors when Eslick was hit by a penalty for crossing the white line coming onto the start/finish straight; a boundary line put into place prior to the event to modify the radius of the turn with rider safety in mind.
"I had a good fight there with Danny," Bostrom said. "Josh just left us in the dust. I was behind Danny and I saw him cross the white line. I came by the pitboard and they held up '3' and I held up '2'. They might have thought I was showing them the peace sign. I realized I could just follow him to the finish line. What else is there to do? So I just followed him around."  Eslick took the checkered flag in second but the position officially went to veteran Bostrom. The duo's lead on fourth was sufficient for Eslick to claim the final spot on the podium despite his penalty.  The Oklahoman was uncertain that he had been penalized while still on track and thought he had finished second, but wasn't overly surprised to learn the truth. "I knew I ran off," he explained. "The thing wheelied coming off the corner and I chopped the throttle, but it ran out onto (the line). It is what it is. I'm still up here with two of the best guys out there. I can't complain."
Team Amsoil/Hero EBR's Geoff May suffered a mechanical issue with his machine while running fourth, quickly following the plight of Foremost Insurance Pegram BMW's Larry Pegram.  A lap later Riders Discount K&L Supply's Taylor Knapp crashed from fifth in a race marred by heavy attrition.  The mistakes and mishaps opened the door for a tremendous result from multi-time AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike race winner Aaron Yates, who took home fourth on the BMW S1000RR in his second event back to the Series.  Fifth went to KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore to complete what has to be regarded as the fledgling SuperBike squad's most successful weekend yet.  M4 Suzuki's Chris Ulrich equaled his best SuperBike result yet with a sixth-place result, followed by Team Venezuela's Robertino Pietri. Racing's David Anthony, Attack Performance Kawasaki's Steve Rapp, and Anthony's teammate Jordan Burgess rounded out the top ten.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike

Martin Cardenas of the GEICO Suzuki squad got a measure of revenge on Cameron Beaubier (Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha) in Sunday's AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race at NOLA Motorsports Park as the two class titans put on a memorable show during the final race of the 2012 season. Cardenas crashed out of Saturday's race won by Beaubier and the Yamaha pilot tied the series champion for victories this year with seven heading into today's race.  Cardenas won Sunday's nail-biter after a thrilling ending, one that saw both riders giving it all they had on the final lap. The Colombian was able to answer each of Beaubier's tries at a pass and held off his younger rival for a 0.208 second win. For Cardenas, it was his eighth victory in his championship season.  Cardenas pulled away from the field early and Beaubier managed to catch up to make it a two-man fight. Both riders had slight bobbles that set up the last-lap showdown.  "For sure I wanted to beat Cameron," said Cardenas. "Lately, he was winning a lot. I was prepared to give everything. If it worked out? Fine. If not? The ground was also okay. I gave everything I had."
"Going into the last lap, I was pushing as hard as I could," said Beaubier.
Tommy Aquino ( Yamaha) beat Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki) to the line after that duo traded paint on the final lap.  J.D. Beach (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) finished fifth after a podium on Saturday. He topped Jason DiSalvo (Latus Motors Racing Triumph) by less than half a second. Tommy Hayden, still recovering from an injury sustained at New Jersey in the fall, was next. Michael Beck of Team Beck Racing recovered from a crash on Saturday to finish eighth.
AMA Pro SuperSport

Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha's Garrett Gerloff won the AMA Pro SuperSport race at NOLA Motorsports Park on Sunday, topping Saturday's winner Hayden Gillim of the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull team and overall championship winner James Rispoli of Celtic Racing/ Orient Express Racing.  Gerloff took the lead early and was never challenged, winning by 11.725 seconds. The young standout, who began the year in GoPro Daytona SportBike before being injured, ran away from the field in a dominating performance in the 15-lap race. It was reminiscent of Gerloff's first SuperSport win in New Jersey last year.  "Everything went really well and I got a good start for once," said Gerloff. "I was just trying to get into my rhythm and pull a gap."
Tomas Puerta finished fourth for RoadRace Factory/Red Bull.  In the SuperSport East championship, Dustin Dominguez finished fourth but unfortunately his effort wasn't enough to win the divisional title. Jake Lewis of the Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki team finished 11th and managed to hold on to the title by a margin of 11 points, 256 to 245, respectively.
"I knew where I had to finish," said Lewis. "I kept an eye on Dustin, then I laid back a little bit and brought the championship home."  Travis Wyman (Harv's H-D) was sixth, just ahead of Miles Thornton (Eyeball NYC) and Ryan Kerr (Best Book 1 Kawasaki) and Suzuki SportBike's Elena Myers.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series

A season's worth of bar-to-bar AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series racing and dramatic race finishes in no way prepared the fans for the unbelievable conclusion to the XR Showdown that was to unfold at NOLA Motorsports Park.  KLR Group/Spyke's/Vesrah's Michael Barnes and Bartel's Harley-Davidson's Tyler O'Hara entered the season finale separated by a meager two points, effectively making it a winner-take-all contest.  The two quickly broke free of the pack and fought furiously for the position until the race was stopped at mid-distance due to a red flag. The field was re-gridded for a five-lap fight to decide the XR Showdown and the $25,000 prize awarded to the champion.  Again, Barnes and O'Hara moved into the lead and tussled for first position as the laps wound down. O'Hara took the white flag with the advantage but Barnes overtook him entering Turn 1.  O'Hara attempted a counterattack, but ran wide, allowing the veteran ace to immediately reclaim the position.  To find a way through and with the championship on the line, O'Hara slotted up the inside as the two raced onto the start/finish straight for the final time this season, side-by-side with the checkered flag in sight. O'Hara shocked Barnes (and everybody else) by reaching over and tugging Barnes' right arm, pulling himself ahead as they powered to the stripe.
Barnes shook his head in vehement disagreement while O'Hara celebrated an apparent XR1200 Series championship victory. However, O'Hara's maneuver was quickly deemed illegal and Barnes was credited with both the victory and his first-career individual AMA Pro national championship following more than two decades of trying.  There was further drama in the pack as Teterboro Rams' Shane Narbonne and Rossiter's Harley-Davidson's Michael Corbino clashed multiple times on the final lap. Corbino came out the worse, crashing and bringing out the red flag.  The checkered red left Barnes the race winner and 2012 AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series champion, NJMP winner Narbonne second, and Suburban Harley-Davidson's Benny Carlson third. O'Hara meanwhile, was dropped to 11th -- the final man in his lap group -- meaning Carlson's podium was good enough to overtake O'Hara in the Showdown order and claim the $10,000 prize awarded the series' runner-up.  A reflective Barnes said, "There was a lot of pressure going into this last one, and I felt I had a little edge throughout all the sessions this weekend on Tyler. But you can never count that guy out, especially on the last lap, last turn. He made a little mistake and went into Turn 3 wide (on the last lap) and I had a good five or six bike-length gap that he slowly reeled in. He didn't get me in 13 so I pretty much thought I had it right there. But I saw him come up the inside and I matched him coming off the last corner. He grabbed my arm and did the old dirt track pass maneuver on me.
"I just started flipping out in my head because I knew it was wrong.  I felt that with him coming on the inside, I had the drive on the outside with the higher line, carrying more speed. I'm sorry that he decided to do that because it affected him gravely in this race.  But aside from that, I'm just so stoked that I won this championship and this race.  I can't say enough for Kyle Wyman in giving me this opportunity and this bike -- something equal to his... I'm proud to be on this team and I'm glad to have the support from everybody.  I can't say thanks enough to everybody that helped me get here. It's been a long, long fight to get a singles championship.  I'm pretty proud of it." 

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