The Michael Jordan Motorsports (MJM) teams of #23 Jordan Suzuki and #54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki took to the track this weekend for Round 9 of the National Guard American Superbike Championship at Heartland Park. The Topeka, Kansas racetrack hosted the Tornado Nationals over the July 31 – August 2 weekend, marking AMA Pro Racing’s return to this Midwestern track for the first time in almost 20 years. Having never raced at Heartland Park prior to this event, the MJM teams knew they had their work cut out for them as riders Aaron Yates and Geoff May prepared.
Aaron Yates, Jordan Suzuki No. 23
Aaron Yates podiumed in Rounds 6, 7 and 8 of the Championship and looked poised to continue that trend here at Round 9, with the #23 Jordan Suzuki having qualified for the second spot during Friday’s Superpole.
5th PLACE, SATURDAY RACE 1 – With four brands of motorcycles sharing the front row, the field roared into the Kansas horizon at the drop of the green flag. Eventual race winner Larry Pegram pulled slightly away from the lead group early on, but the riders in positions two through five, including MJM’s Aaron Yates, kept the pressure on throughout the 20 lap contest. When the checkered flag finally flew, Yates found himself rounding out the top five, with a scant 3.1 seconds covering first through fifth places at the line.
Aaron Yates Speaks…
"We had a good bike today and that was a good race," said Yates. "The Jordan Suzuki allowed me to run a good pace today, but I had a bit of trouble getting by the guys in front of me. I’d be faster in some sections and they’d have it covered in others. We were right there at the line, though, and will make some changes with the crew tonight and come back at them tomorrow."
DNF, SUNDAY RACE 2 – Race 2 was a short and bittersweet affair for the Jordan Suzuki team, with Yates falling out of the race on lap two of 20 while making a bid for P2 in Heartland Park’s Turn 8. Yates suffered a harmless lowside, immediately hopped up and attempted to rejoin the field, but found his GSX-R 1000 too damaged to continue. It was a tough day for the team but Yates once again demonstrated his Jordan Suzuki’s race-winning ability and the team is already hard at work preparing for the final two rounds of the 2009 season.
Aaron Yates Speaks…
"Today was a quick one so there’s not much to say really," said Yates. "We were on lap two and I made a move up the inside of Blake (Young) going into T8 and just lost the front throwing it in there. In Race 1, I kind of sat behind those guys for most of the race and today I tried to get out front early and see if we could break away a bit. It didn’t quite go to plan, however, and now we’re getting the Jordan Suzuki ready for VIR, where we’ll give it another go."
Yates moves up one position in the Championship to seventh place, with 214 points.
Geoff May, National Guard Jordan Suzuki No. 54
Geoff May and the National Guard Jordan Suzuki team come away from Round 9 with another top 10 (P8) performance under their belts and now ready themselves for Round 10 at Virginia International Raceway, a favorite of May’s, in two weeks.
8th PLACE, SATURDAY RACE 1 – Race 1 at Heartland Park had the National Guard-sponsored rider May starting from 10th position on the grid after a uncharacteristic fall during Friday’s Superpole. From that tough starting spot, the gritty Georgia rider made up two places during Saturday’s 20 lap race to bring his GSX-R 1000 home in eighth place.
Geoff May Speaks…
"We tried going back to an older set-up today, our Road America settings," said May. "However, ijust didn’t work out here at this new Heartland Park track. The front end was just bit too high and I had trouble getting it turned. We’ll take what we’ve learned here in Race 1 and get ready for Race 2."
DNF PLACE, SUNDAY RACE 2 – Sunday’s Race 2 at the new Topeka track proved to be a challenging one for the National Guard Jordan Suzuki team. After running strong inside the top right for the entire race, May went down a few laps short of the finish in the same turn, T8, as his MJM-counterpart Aaron Yates. May was unhurt in the fall but was unable to rejoin the field.
Geoff May Speaks…
"It was a tough race for us today losing it that close to the finish" said May. "I just came out of Turn 8 and caught one of the seams with the front and away she went. We’re off to one of my favorite tracks next week and I want to thank all the fans and National Guardsmen and women that made it out to Heartland Park this weekend."
Geoff May now sits eighth in the Championship with 212 points, just behind MJM-teammate Aaron Yates (214).