Saturday Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport Thriller Sets the Tone for Barber SuperBike Classic Weekend
NEWS June 18, 2011
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
BIRMINGHAM, AL (June 18, 2011) – The opening race of the Barber SuperBike Classic Weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, stepped up the intensity of AMA Pro’s “young-gun” class yet another notch -- and set the tone for the races to follow.
Saturday’s 17-lap AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race saw Roadracingworld.com’s Benny Solis take his third victory of the season, but only after a race-long battle with pole-sitter James Rispoli (ANT-Racing.com Star School Suzuki) and a determined Elena Myers (Team SuzukiScoopFans Racing).
Rispoli got an excellent start and led the opening lap, but as the field entered Turn 3, LTD Racing Y.E.S. Yamaha rider Tomas Puerta went down, collecting teammate David Gaviria. The race was red-flagged and the field – minus Puerta and Gaviria -- lined up again for a complete restart. This turn of events changed the complexion of the race dramatically, since both riders had three wins between them this season.
Rispoli also led the restart, but this time he had Myers and Solis in tow. By lap four, Myers was in the lead, and she battled fiercely with Rispoli and Solis while the trio proceeded to gap the rest of the field. Myers led laps four and five before Rispoli and Solis were able to get by. At that point, the lead duo began pulling away from Myers, who ran a consistent pace to earn her first podium finish of the season.
Rispoli and Solis went on to stalk each other lap after lap, and it wasn’t until a backmarker gave Solis an opportunity to dive underneath Rispoli as he went wide around the slower rider that Solis grabbed the lead and held it until the end.
Behind the top three, Jacob Morman celebrated an impressive fourth-place finish on a Yamaha sponsored by The Schwantz School, which is based at Barber Motorsports Park. Carding fifth was Hayden Gillim on a Bell Helmets Honda, while Ricky Parker (CS Corey Yamaha) took sixth place and Ryan Kerr (RFC Digital Impressions Kawasaki) was seventh. Front-row starter Corey Alexander (Vesrah Suzuki) had a tough race, finishing eighth, and was followed by LTD Racing Yamaha’s Sam Nash and James Dellinger on the Vesrah Suzuki.
The second AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race of the weekend kicks off tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. Central time. For complete ticket and schedule information, please visit www.barbermotorsports.com.
Benny Solis, 1st:
"I felt a little more calm knowing [Puerta and Gaviria] were out; I had a little less pressure on me, and I think that helped in the race. In the beginning, [Rispoli and Myers] were starting to break away a little, but after three laps of following I was able to pick up some lines, and after that I was able to get in front and break away a little bit."
James Rispoli, 2nd:
"It started off good: I qualified on pole ... on the second start I got another good start, and I was kind of just cruising; I wasn't doing the lap times I wanted to. Toward the end of the race my tires were going off pretty good and getting greasy. [Solis] made a really, really good move on a lapper and got that gap, and it was hard to get it back. He kind of just inched away. Hats off to my crew -- we'll come back strong tomorrow. It was a really good, hard race. [Solis] wasn't giving anything, and I wasn't giving anything."
Elena Myers, 3rd:
“The season has started slow. I have a new bike and I haven’t really gotten a chance to test it really at all, so it’s been a struggle. But the bike’s set up where I want it now and it’s going really good. Today was a pretty crazy race… I got a good start and led a few laps, then these two fast ones [Rispoli & Solis] came by me. I tried to stay with them but I didn’t really have the tires left to do it. Overall, I think I did a good job and I’m really proud of these guys over here. It’s been a while since I’ve been on the podium, so it feels really good. Getting back on the podium is definitely a confidence-booster.”
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