2011 AMA Pro Racing
Although upsets continually loomed throughout the AMA Pro Racing atmosphere due to the cancellation of the Virginia International Raceway round, the on-track Superbike action was intense as usual.
Throughout the shortened season, three men were constantly vying for podium positions – the reigning AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes aboard the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1, and the Rockstar Makita Suzuki duo of Blake Young and Tommy “Gun” Hayden.
And this intensity is guaranteed to continue when the series culminates this weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park, which has become the eighth round after the cancellation of VIR.
Although the three mentioned above battled with each other up front throughout the AMA SBK season, two bad finishes at Barber Motorsports Park (7,20) slowed Hayden’s progress towards a first Superbike title.
So when the race gets underway this Labor Day race weekend, it’s very likely that either Young or Hayes will leave NJMP with the 2011 AMA Superbike title. Young has the advantage heading onto the 2.2-mile Thunderbolt circuit, the Madison, Wis., native having the lead with 311 points.
The 2011 AMA Superbike series has been Young’s best so far in his career, the Suzuki GSX-R1000 pilot finishing on the podium at 11 out of 12 races, including six wins.
But only five points behind is the Mississippian Hayes, who will surely give his all as he did last year in New Jersey. Hayes had a 1-1 finish last season at NJMP, helping him rob the title from Hayden at the end of the season by a mere 14 points.
In 12 races, Hayes finished on the podium 10 times, including two wins, making him a constant threat Young.
But if any of these riders falter, Hayden will be right there waiting to capitalize on mistakes. With 263 points, and 50 points available, the Kentuckian has a shot at the 2011 AMA Superbike title, but obviously a very slim one. He also had two second-place finishes last year at NJMP, so he’s proven his ability in Jersey.
In fourth alone with 200 points is AMA Superbike rookie Martin Cardenas aboard the M4 Suzuki. The Colombian took the Race-1 win at Barber Motorsports Park, and will use this experience in attempt for a possible fourth or fifth podium.
Besides the Young/Hayes battle, the other tight one will be for the fifth spot in points. Three riders are in contention for fifth – Pegram Racing Ducati’s Larry Pegram, and the other known GSX-R1000 duo, Jordan Suzuki riders Ben Bostrom and Roger Lee Hayden.
Pegram is currently in fifth with 169 points, but Bostrom, who rode as a Wildcard entry in Laguna Seca MotoGP, is only a point behind in sixth. Roger Hayden is in seventh, only six points behind Pegram.
Rounding out the top 10 in points are Y.E.S./Pat Clark/Graves Yamaha’s Chris Clark (132), San Diego BMW’s Steve Rapp (122) and Erik Buell Racing’s Geoff May (114).
Also, KTM fans will be pleased once again as Chris Fillmore competes on the KTM RC8R. Fillmore, who competes in the AMA XR1200 series, had a 7-9 finish during the KTM’s debut at Mid-Ohio. And Kawasaki fans will have their treat, too, as the rookie JD Beach looks for another top 10 aboard the ZX-10R.
2011 New Jersey Motorsports Park AMA Superbike Schedule:
Friday, Sept. 2
- 1 p.m. – Superbike Practice 1
- 4 p.m. – Superbike Qualifying 1
Saturday, Sept. 3
- 9:30 a.m. – Superbike final qualifying
- 3:15 p.m. – Superbike, Race 1
Sunday, Sept. 4
- 10 a.m. – Superbike warm up
- 3:30 p.m. – Superbike, Race 2
2011 NJMP AMA Superbike TV Schedule:
- 10 p.m. (EDT) Saturday, Sept. 3: Superbike, Race 1
- 10 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, Sept. 4: Superbike, Race 2