ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 1, 2012) – Entering the first race of the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America, reigning AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike triple champion Josh Hayes sounded a bit less than his usual supremely confident self. The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha superstar admitted that he was a bit rusty, still growing comfortable with his tires, and generally struggling. Meanwhile, the emerging challenge of Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Martin Cardenas hinted that the substantial crowd in attendance may be treated to a competitive battle for Saturday’s win.
Instead, Hayes stepped up and delivered yet another of his trademark breakaway victories. The convincing triumph was the 34th of the Mississippian’s illustrious premier-class career. Perhaps more importantly, it was the first of his 2013 title campaign that got off to a disastrous start in March at Daytona International Speedway.
Cardenas powered into the lead at the green light aboard his #36 GSX-R1000 but Hayes muscled alongside as they set up for the entrance of Turn 3. The two rubbed shoulders and the Colombian was pushed a bit wide as they jockeyed for position.
Hayes took control of the race at the point; he opened up a small gap that he gradually grew while Cardenas was forced to deal with Hayes’ teammate, Josh Herrin.
Cardenas eventually won out in that scrap for second but by then the damage was done. The Suzuki ace found himself a few seconds removed from Hayes, a gap from which he could never rebound. The two ultimately finished the race in first and second separated by just under four seconds.
After collecting his fourth consecutive Road America SuperBike win Hayes said, “Today’s race, in the helmet, felt a lot different than I think it looked on the track. I was pretty nervous coming into the race and wasn’t feeling real good. It’s been a long time since we’ve been racing and everything was going great last time and didn’t end that well. So I had a lot of nerves.
“I felt I was riding pretty good, and the guys showed me I think a little bit of a false gap, and I relaxed a little bit. I came around, and that gap shrank considerably, and I panicked a little bit. I had to change my rhythm twice and that’s pretty tough — once you back down to go back to putting in hard laps again. At that point, it was just trying to maintain or open the gap and just give myself some breathing room. Martin was riding pretty good behind me because I was trying pretty hard and he was maintaining a good pace. I’m sure tomorrow will be a different story; if he can get away in the first few laps with me I’m sure it’s going to be a race-long battle. I’m looking forward to it — it should be a lot of fun.”
Cardenas was able to take some consolation in the fact that his runner-up result catapulted him into the early-season championship lead.
“It was a good race for me,” Cardenas remarked. “Of course, I wanted to finish one step higher, but this time, it was impossible. Josh was very fast on the first few, and he gapped us, and I couldn’t catch up. But I tried to keep the pressure the whole way, and I had a good rhythm, and the bike was working really good.”
Herrin looked set for a lonely run to the final spot on the podium until he went off track in Turn 1, losing the position on lap 9 of 13. The lengthy excursion plummeted Herrin from third to eighth in the process, but he regrouped and clawed his way back up to sixth by the time he took the checkered flag.
As a result of Herrin’s mistake, an extended struggle between National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden and Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing Yamaha’s Larry Pegram was elevated to one for the podium. The Kentuckian eked open a small gap on the final lap to prevent the veteran from attempting a last-gasp drafting maneuver as they raced up the hill for the final time.
Hayden said, “In the beginning, I made a made a lot of mistakes, and these guys got a gap on me. They just slowly pulled away. I made another big mistake, and then Larry was on me. The last few laps was just holding him off. Herrin ran off the track — it’s a pretty disappointing third place, to be honest. I was so far back and didn’t really ride very good, and should have got fourth today. We’ll take it, but we have to do a lot better job tomorrow.”
Jordan Suzuki’s Danny Eslick came back from a less-than-ideal start to charge up from ninth to fifth in the end.
Team Hero’s Geoff May was the final rider Herrin worked past, finishing as the top EBR 1190RS in the field with his seventh-place finish.
Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing’s David Anthony, KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore, and Team RSRacecraft EBR’s Cory West rounded out the top ten.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier may have checked out in his win in GoPro Daytona SportBike at Road America on Saturday, but there were plenty of battles throughout the field that kept the event exciting until the very end.
Beaubier, on his Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R6, was shadowed closely in the opening laps by fellow young gun Jake Gagne, racing for RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha. Beaubier won by 2.693 seconds, not quite the dominating performance he showed at Daytona, but a clear victory nonetheless.
“Jake kept me honest, but my bike has been awesome all weekend,” said Beaubier. The victory continued Cameron’s perfect record in 2013. “It’s been awesome, and I want to keep the ball rolling and stay focused.”
After the early moments, Gagne was never challenged from his second position.
“Cameron took off today,” said Gagne. “I made a few little mistakes, but we’ll go back and try to improve on that from tomorrow.”
The fight for third between Gagne’s teammate J.D. Beach and Meen Motorsports’ Jake Lewis, however, went down to the line. The Kentucky residents traded the position throughout the race, but Beach was able to join his teammate on the podium.
“We raced together a lot this winter,” Beach said. “I tried to show him who was boss, but it was a fun race.”
A four-rider train battled for fifth. Dane Westby (GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing), who hoped to get a positive start to his campaign for the 2013 title after missing Daytona with an injury, led the group into turn one on the last lap but was shuffled to the back of the pack by the finish and earned eighth. Garrett Gerloff put his Y.E.S.-backed Yamaha into fifth, as Bobby Fong (D&D Cycles Triumph) and James Rispoli on the National Guard Celtic Racing Suzuki also made moves on Westby to finish sixth and seventh, respectively.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
Saturday’s AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race saw Corey Alexander earn a hard-fought victory over Stefano Mesa at the 4.05-mile circuit. Alexander (National Guard/Celtic Racing Suzuki) was able to distance himself from Mesa after the Colombian ran wide at turn five on the last lap, allowing Alexander to escape and win by 1.118 seconds.
“I wanted to get out front and see if they could stay with me,” said Alexander. “I thought Stefano would try me in turn five the last time. He did and went a little wide. My team gave me a great bike. Stefano had a good clean race, and we had some passing and battling. I didn’t hear him beside me coming up the hill the last time.”
After winning last year, Mesa said he might have used up too much tire during the race.
“We had a good time racing with Corey,” Mesa said. “Hats off to Corey. We had a good and clean race.”
Mesa, racing a Motosport.com RSRacecraft Yamaha, was able to hold off third-place racer Jeffrey Tigert. Tigert ran strong and remained with the leaders until the very end.
“These guys were riding really well,” said Tigert, who rides for Baby Appleseed CM Motorsport. “I was happy to stick with them. I was happy to get on the box for the first time.”
RoadRace Factory/Red Bull’ s Tomas Puerta finished fourth after taking a race-long fight with Mach Modified’s David Sadowski, Jr. After qualifying on the front row, Ricardo Valdez (Southeast Sales) backed it up with a sixth-place finish on Saturday.
Series regulars Sebastiao Ferreira and Travis Wyman had another great battle, with the Brazilian rider Ferreira taking the position over New Yorker Wyman.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
Defending AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series king Michael Barnes claimed the provisional pole for Sunday’s seven-lap contest.
Barnes laid down a 2.37.439 lap to outpace Suburban Harley-Davidson’s Ben Carlson (2:38.307), Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade/Bartels’ Tyler O’Hara, and Harv’s Harley-Davidson’s Travis Wyman, who complete the provisional front row.