Salty Dogs: Cardenas and Hayden Square Off For AMA Pro National Guard Superbike Supremacy At Miller Motorsports Park
NEWS August 4, 2013
Photo by Brian J Nelson
TOOELE, Utah (August 4, 2013) - Saturday's AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike thriller at Miller Motorsports Park was backed up by an even more shocking contest on Sunday -- one that further raises the stakes heading into the final three SuperBike races of the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season.
After failing to match the pace of the lead trio on Saturday, Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Martin Cardenas thrust himself right back into the championship fight with a well-timed victory that came at the end of a full-tilt battle with National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden.
Following yesterday's rare defeat, defending triple champion Josh Hayes was motivated to break the challenge of his rivals early and rip open an immediate (and necessary) gap in order to take his revenge in Sunday's rematch. However, the Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha rider was perhaps a little too anxious to do so, crashing out of the lead while working lap 3 of 16.
Hayden, who was slowly closing in on Hayes after the Yamaha pilot had led him by more than a second following the completion of the race's opening lap, inherited the lead at that point.
Herrin, meanwhile, was unable to repeat his Saturday heroics. The Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha SuperBike sophomore discovered an issue with his YZF-R1 on the sighting lap and found himself in the frustrating position of having to nurse his machine for the entire race distance in order to salvage as many points as possible for his title hopes.
With the Yamaha runners out of contention for the win, Cardenas stepped up and tracked down Hayden. The luckless Kentuckian encountered an issue with his machine, as well, which slowed his pace in the race's later stages.
Cardenas and Hayden traded the lead several times late, with the Colombian ultimately holding the advantage despite some incredible overtaking attempts by Hayden.
The Michael Jordan Motorsports rider put his hand up with just two corners to go, signaling a problem. Cardenas powered on to the win while Hayden managed to just coast across the line ahead of third-placed Herrin, who had trailed him by more than six seconds. That narrow escape could prove to have massive title implications down the line as the championship race has taken on a most intriguing shape with the season quickly approaching its conclusion.
Race-winner Cardenas said, "It was a pretty hard race. At the beginning, these guys were a little bit faster up to the point when Josh crashed. Roger was pretty fast, and I was just trying my best to keep with him. I started to gain a little on him and when I got on his rear wheel, I stayed there for a couple laps and was thinking about doing a pass right at the end. It was a pretty tough race -- I did my best, every lap as hard as I could. I passed Roger and he passed me back. He went a little deep, and I went back to his inside. I pushed that last lap because I knew he would try to pass me back, and I ended up winning. I'm very happy for me and the whole Yoshimura team."
Runner-up Hayden was bitterly disappointed following another near-miss. "I'm not real sure what happened. It started with about six laps to go. It just started getting slower and slower out of the flat corners and really started backing in bad under the brakes. You know, the last lap, when I got on the throttle nothing was really happening. I don't know what was happening -- if it dropped a cylinder or was tying up or what. But, with about four laps to go, I really didn't think I was going to finish.
"Obviously, I'm about as disappointed as you can get. I felt like I had the pace to win today."
"Today was a lot different," Herrin said, "I was just struggling to keep the bike off the ground. I don't know what it was; we didn't really change anything from yesterday. But I came in off the sighting lap and told the guys there was something up with the front tire because it was moving all over the place. We thought about getting on the backup bike…But we figured I would do better nursing a front tire than starting from the back of the field. So that's basically what we did -- just trying to do as well as we could and make the best out of it."
Despite his problems, Herrin's third-place finish allowed him to reclaim the points lead at 264, while the resurgent Cardenas is well within striking distance at 255.
After his front-end washout, Hayes picked his R1 back up and soldiered on to score three vital points with an 18th-place result, upping his tally to 248. Despite his Utah disappointment, Hayes' 16-point deficit means that he remains in control of his own destiny, but with little room for error. He can guarantee himself a 20-point swing in the standings if he is able to collect maximum points at both the penultimate round at New Jersey Motorsports Park and the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca finale.
Hayes explained his crash, stating, "I was trying hard, and I fell down, you know? The front wasn't very good and was giving me some warnings, even on the first lap. I was pushing on it, anyway. Yesterday, I didn't think the front was all that good but I had been able to push on it and keep going. All the places it had given me indications that it was bad, Tooele Turn wasn't one of them. I was going at it the same as I had. I don't know or think that I had done anything different that lap but I had one that happened fast and it got away from me."
Jordan Suzuki's Danny Eslick pushed Herrin in the middle stages of the race before accepting a fine fourth-place result.
Team Hero EBR's Geoff May rounded out the top five. He was followed by his Team AMSOIL/Hero teammate, Aaron Yates, who held off Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony for sixth by 0.517 seconds at the flag. KTM/HMC Racing's Taylor Knapp raced on track with Yates and Anthony but was credited with eighth after being assessed a five-second penalty for jumping the start.
Cardenas' Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing teammate, Chris Clark, and Motosport.com/EBR's Dustin Dominguez completed the race's top ten.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier won again at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah to sweep the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike races at the track this weekend. Beaubier had a tough time of it, winning by just 0.176 over Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha teammate Garrett Gerloff and 0.439 over RoadRace Factory/Red Bull’s JD Beach.
Meen Motorsports’ Jake Lewis joined the trio in a four-rider pack at the front. Beach and Gerloff both took turns at the front late, but mistakes meant they lost the lead, and Beaubier eventually won the contest to tie the record for most AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike wins in a season. Beaubier’s ninth win this year equaled the mark set by Martin Cardenas in 2010.
“I can’t believe how happy I am after getting the double win here,” said Beaubier, the points leader. “This race was one of the best ones I have ever had, and to race with these two guys was really cool, passing back and forth. JD scared me coming into turn one. It was crazy but it was awesome.”
The exciting race held its share of close shaves and brilliant saves, with Beach making a double draft to take the lead with four laps to go. Beach nearly tossed it to the sky, as did Gerloff on the last lap.
Lewis once again finished fourth, ahead of Jake Gagne on the other RoadRace Factory/Red Bull machine.
James Rispoli was the top Suzuki in the contest as his National Guard Celtic Racing bike topped the Triumphs of Jason DiSalvo on the Latus Motors Racing entry and Bobby Fong on the D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph.
GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing’s Dane Westby and Team Amantini’s Fernando Amantini earned their second top tens of the weekend on Sunday.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
California Superbike School Roadracingworld.com’s Joe Roberts entered the race wanting to extend his perfect record since joining the AMA Pro tour at Barber. RoadRace Factory/Red Bull’s Tomas Puerta was looking to clinch the West division title. The two got off to a great start before a red flag broke up a race where Roberts narrowly led Puerta with seven laps to go and it set up a great run to the finish that saw Roberts win his fifth race in a row and Puerta clinch the West.
Roberts took the checkers just 0.198 ahead of Puerta.
“It's great coming out and winning all the races. It's been really awesome coming to race in SuperSport with this California Superbike School Roadracingworld.com team. They're a bunch of great guys and really put my bike to the top, so it's great,” said Roberts. “Coming down on the last lap, I got passed by Tomas and Wyatt going into Turn 1. I had two bikes ahead of me, so I was freaking out a little because I didn't know how I was going to pass them back. An opportunity came up in Turn 5, and I just went for the pass to get Wyatt. I knew if I didn't pass him there, I wasn't going to win the race. I got behind Tomas and went through Turn 7 really good and was riding around the outside and just tried to stick it into Turn 8 and make the pass and stay on the track. Then, I just tried to hold my line so Tomas couldn't pass me back.”
Roberts won all five AMA Pro Motorcycle-SuperStore.com races he entered in 2013.
Puerta’s championship season proved to be one of speed and consistency. “It was great to lock up the first championship for the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull team, and we’ve been trying all season to do our best,” said Puerta, who locked up both the West and the Overall crown in a season that saw him finish on the podium nine times. “It was a really fun year and thanks to everyone that made it a great season.”
Wyatt Farris backed up his second-place finish on Saturday with a close third, just 0.432 behind Roberts.
Erick Sanchez (EYK) turned in the fastest lap of the race at 1:56.582 and earned his best result of the year with fourth place. He topped Mid-Ohio podium finisher Miles Thornton (CTR Racing) and CJ Weaver (BP Racing), along with West title hopeful Jeffrey Tigert (Baby Appleseed CM Motorsports) who finished seventh. Ryan Matter (Gearzy) earned eighth while newcomers Royce McLean (Yamaha/Dunlop/Arai) and Andrew DiBrino (Drew Paints) also earned top-ten finishes from the 36-rider field.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
Aerostar Global/Suburban Harley-Davison's Steve Rapp has firmly established himself as the rider to beat heading into this season's $60,000 XR Showdown, as he racked up his fourth successive AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson race win today at Miller Motorsports Park.
The Californian controlled the race from the start but was pressed throughout by '12 MMP dominator Tyler O'Hara on the Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade XR1200. Rapp capitalized on an O'Hara mistake to eke out a small margin with a couple laps remaining and managed that gap en route to the checkered flag.
O'Hara finished a strong second, taking the stripe 0.857 seconds behind Rapp but more than ten seconds ahead of defending class champion, Michael Barnes, who completed the podium on the Spyke's Harley-Davidson machine.
While form and momentum will work in Rapp's favor when the field arrives at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP to kick off the four-race XR Showdown, he won't have his hard-earned points lead to rely on. The top ten riders following today's race will be reset at 1000 points, setting the stage for a thrilling battle to determine this year's AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson champion.
Rapp said, "It feels great. I wasn't even sure if I was going to make this race, and thanks to all the guys at Suburban Harley-Davidson and Aerostar Global, I'm here and they gave me an awesome bike… It's just a great feeling; no matter what you run on, it's always fun winning. I'm having a great time, and there's a lot less pressure and stress than I used to have. It's fun coming to the races again."
With a number of riders desperate to earn a qualifying position in today's critical race, fireworks were expected and fireworks there were.
Happy Trails M/C Connection's Hayden Schultz and Fernet Insurance's Eric Stump entered the weekend ranked 15th and 17th but qualified fourth and fifth and therefore had a realistic shot of fighting their way in with a strong Sunday performance. Unfortunately, Schultz crashed while running up front on the opening lap and Stump crashed on the race's final lap after working his way up to fourth, eliminating any hopes they had of claiming a spot in the XR Showdown.
In the end, only Thrashed Bike Racing David Estok came from outside the top ten to qualify for the XR Showdown, and at the expense of ChiliPepper Racing's Ricky Parker.
The ten qualifiers are Rapp, O'Hara, Barnes, Harv's Harley-Davidson's Travis Wyman, Suburban Harley-Davidson's Ben Carlson, Mob Racing's Shane Narbonne, H&S Distributors' Nicholas Hansen, Estok, Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade's Josh Chisum, and Longevity Racing's Barrett Long.
The AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series will kick off the $60,000 XR Showdown with a doubleheader event at the Red Bull Indianapolis on August 16-18. The full GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing series will then travel to New Jersey Motorsports Park for The New Jersey Lottery Devil’s Showdown on September 13-15 for the penultimate round of the 2013 season.
GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing is broadcast on CBS Sports Network as part of the CBS Sports Spectacular. Fans can find CBS Sports Network on their TV by using the channel finder at http://www.cbssportsnetwork.com/channel-finder.
In addition to the live broadcasts on CBS Sports Network, AMA Pro Live will be live streaming multiple channels of behind-the-scenes video of the weekend's activities alongside Live Timing & Scoring. AMA Pro Live puts fans in the director's chair, allowing them to choose from a variety of viewpoints including track cameras, paddock cameras and a press conference channel at http://www.amaprolive.com.
About GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing
GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing is the premier motorcycle road racing series in North America and is universally regarded as one of the most competitive road racing organizations in the world. The 2013 schedule consists of nine rounds of competition on the country's finest road courses. The Series is comprised of four production-based classes: AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. Learn more about GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing at www.amaproracing.com/rr/.
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