2012 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike
GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing history was made on Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Triumph Big Kahuna Miami presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince and, for once, it didn’t have anything to do with Josh Hayes.
National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden enjoyed what was likely the greatest day of his racing career to date; the Kentuckian claimed his first-career AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike pole position in the morning and then backed it up with his first-career premier class victory in the afternoon.
Hayden’s triumphant Saturday closed out two historic streaks of Hayes’ while delaying the inevitable. Hayden’s pole snapped the champ’s run of 11-consecutive pole positions (which tied Mat Mladin’s ’05-’06 record), and #54′s blowout victory ended Hayes’ all-time mark of 10-straight AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike wins.
Hayden took the early lead from Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Young and was followed past by the #1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha of Hayes. However, the race took a shocking turn moments later when Hayes clipped a curb and crashed from second while working lap 3 of 23.
The Mississippian frantically sprinted to his downed machine, picked it up, and re-entered the fray, but could only work his way back up to 12th position in the end. The uncharacteristic mistake pushed the clinching of a third-consecutive National Guard SuperBike title back at least one more day.
Meanwhile, Hayden, who was momentarily dropped back to second by Young, reclaimed first and then broke free from the multi-rider fight that was developing behind him.
Taking full advantage of the opportunity before him, Hayden stormed off into the distance and took the victory with several seconds to spare. He used an intermediate Dunlop tire to win the race, a bit of a risk as he’d never run that particular tire before. Hayden and his team also changed the setup on the bike after the morning practice session.
An elated Hayden took the checkered flag in his hand for a victory lap to celebrate that long-awaited career achievement.
An emotional Hayden said, “It feels really good — it’s been a long time since I’ve won. So many things are going through my head right now, I just want to go back to the truck and sit there by myself and let it all sink in. It’s been a lot of work getting back — a lot of injuries. Lot of people stuck with me — my family mainly. My sisters, my brothers were always trying to help me, my parents were always right there. You have a lot of friends when you’re winning but when you’re laid up in the hospital bed with a broken back, broken pelvis, there’s not a lot of people calling you. My family stayed with me through thick and thin when almost everyone else gave up on me. I guess I want to dedicate this win to my family for everything that they’ve done for me no matter what.
“I’ve got to thank my team, Michael Jordan Motorsports, and the National Guard, because last year nobody really wanted to give me a chance — they thought I was used goods. I think today made it look like they made the right choice. And for myself, I put a lot of work into it and to finally win…
“I put my head down right away and was ready for the fight. These guys came by me and we had some good passes, and then I just tried to put my head down and get a gap and maintain it. I thought my lap board was missing laps because I was thinking, ‘I know we did more than just one lap.’ It seemed like it took forever but I got the win and I’m happy.”
Young fell off the chase for the win and back into a remarkable battle for second with Team Hero EBR’s Danny Eslick. The two traded the position back and forth countless times in a scrap that displayed the full extent of the two chargers’ repertoire of overtaking maneuvers.
In the end, Eslick’s aggressive tactics won out over Young’s, as the Oklahoman edged ahead at the checkered flag by 0.089 seconds.
“There was one lap where we probably went back and forth five, six, or seven times,” Eslick said of the dogfight. “It was a good race. It was clean, and it was just good, hard racing. Me and Blake have raced each other for a lot of years and raced each other hard. There’s no love lost while we were out there; we were definitely going for it out there. It was pretty awesome.”
Third-placed Young said, “I kind of had two races going on. I was racing at the front, and then Roger decided he wanted it more than me and kind of took off. I thought that was going to be the end of my day. And then I saw my pitboard about halfway through said ‘+1 69′ and I thought, ‘oh boy, here we go.’ Obviously, it was a pretty good race.”
Their brawl allowed Team Amsoil/Hero EBR’s Geoff May to claw back into podium contention as well; the Georgian finished in fourth just 0.252 seconds behind Young.
Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom finished a lonely fifth with M4 Suzuki’s Chris Ulrich claiming an impressive sixth.
A healthy tussle decided seventh position; Kneedraggers.com/Motul/Fly Racing’s David Anthony ultimately took the position just ahead of Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing BMW’s Larry Pegram, Riders Discount K&L Supply’s Taylor Knapp, EvanSteelPerformance BMW’s Aaron Yates, and KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore.
The powerful Monster Energy Graves Yamaha squad’s Saturday pain was only intensified when Josh Herrin suffered a problem while circulating in sixth. He continued on track but faded all the way to 19th by the race’s completion.
Despite his Saturday disappointment, Hayes is still in commanding position to clinch the title. Only a non-score combined with either a victory or runner-up finish on Young’s part could prevent Hayes from claiming his third-straight AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike championship on Sunday.
2012 Homestead-Miami AMA SuperBike Race One Results:
|1.||54||Roger Hayden||National Guard Jordan Suzuki||Suzuki GSX-R1000||23 Laps||WINNER||1:23.046||32|
|2.||69||Danny Eslick||Team Hero||EBR 1190RS||5.069||5.069||1:23.431||25|
|3.||79||Blake Young||Yoshimura Racing||Suzuki GSX-R1000||5.159||0.089||1:23.427||21|
|4.||99||Geoff May||Team Amsoil/Hero||EBR 1190RS||5.412||0.252||1:23.522||18|
|5.||23||Ben Bostrom||Jordan Suzuki||Suzuki GSX-R1000||13.007||7.595||1:23.796||16|
|6.||18||Chris Ulrich||M4 Roadracingworld.com Suzuki||Suzuki GSX-R1000||30.587||17.580||1:24.237||15|
|7.||25||David Anthony||Kneedraggers.com/ Motul/Fly Racing||Suzuki GSX-R1000||37.170||6.582||1:24.753||14|
|8.||72||Larry Pegram||Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing||BMW S1000RR||37.542||0.372||1:24.819||13|
|9.||44||Taylor Knapp||Riders Discount K&L Supply||Suzuki GSX-R1000||38.106||0.563||1:24.893||12|
|10.||20||Aaron Yates||EvanSteelPerformance.com BMW||BMW S1000RR||38.543||0.437||1:25.011||11|
|11.||11||Chris Fillmore||KTM/HMC Racing||KTM RC8R||38.757||0.214||1:24.865||10|
|12.||1||Josh Hayes||Monster Energy Graves Yamaha||Yamaha R1||1:02.302||23.545||1:23.335||9|
|13.||33||Jordan Burgess||Kneedraggers.com/ Motul/Fly Racing||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1:02.722||0.420||1:25.809||8|
|14.||3||Robertino Pietri||Team Venezuela||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1:16.861||14.138||1:24.802||7|
|15.||29||Barrett Long||Longevity Racing||Ducati 1098R||1:20.970||4.109||1:26.203||6|
|16.||10||Sean Dwyer||Vicious Cycle Racing||Suzuki GSX-R1000||22 Laps||1 Lap||1:26.830||5|
|17.||180||Bruno Silva||Prieto Performance||Kawasaki ZX-10||3.896||3.896||1:26.884||4|
|18.||349||Felipe Maclean||Kissimmee Motorsports Kawasaki||Kawasaki ZX-10||16.762||12.865||1:27.339||3|
|19.||2||Josh Herrin||Monster Energy Graves Yamaha||Yamaha R1||24.186||7.424||1:23.845||2|
|20.||146||Jeffrey Lampe||Kissimmee Motorsports Kawasaki||Kawasaki ZX-10||1:00.063||35.876||1:25.657||1|
|21.||15||Steve Rapp||Attack Performance||Kawasaki ZX-10||1:20.930||20.866||1:24.901||0|