Sonoma: SuperBike Races Into Infineon

Superbike Infineon

Infineon Raceway’s 2009 AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike race was the first glimpse of the future, but at the time, it didn’t seem so significant.

Now looking back, it was a moment that foretold the future as eventual 2009 AMA Pro American SuperBike Champion Mat Mladin was beaten for the first time after opening the season with seven straight race wins by none other than Team Graves Yamaha rider Josh Hayes.

Mladin righted the ship with a win in the second race of the Infineon Raceway doubleheader but he only won three more races on his way to his record seventh championship. It was Hayes who took control of the sport with six wins, including the last four in a row. With Mladin’s retirement at the end of the year, Hayes set the tone for this season in American SuperBike, where there have already been four different winners in six races.

The May 14th-16th West Coast Moto Jam race weekend at Infineon Raceway, just north of San Francisco, will be the perfect place for Hayes to get his first actual race win of 2010. Returning to the track that gave him his first career AMA Pro American SuperBike victory should provide Hayes with the momentum to return him once again to the winner’s circle at the 12-turn, 2.28-mile track.

The other rider that broke the string of Mladin’s win streak in 2009 is Foremost Insurance Ducati rider Larry Pegram. He was the only other rider to post victories after the Infineon Raceway weekend in 2009 and Pegram is one of the riders with a win in 2010. Speaking of the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team that guided Mladin to so many victories, current riders Tommy Hayden and Blake Young have won the last three races in a row, both posting their first career American SuperBike wins, Hayden at Auto Club Speedway and Young in dramatic style at Road Atlanta.

What was perceived as a quiet start for the Yoshimura tuned team has turned into a full fledged assault on the season opening double race winner and points leader Jake Zemke on his National Guard Jordan Suzuki. Zemke, who will be riding in the 5th Annual LeoVince Grape Crushers Run on Thursday, May 13th, opened the season with a memorable first American SuperBike win for the Michael Jordan owned team and has not finished lower than fourth this year, riding with skill and patience on the masterfully tuned National Guard Suzuki. Zemke’s teammate at Infineon Raceway will again be Brett McCormick, standing in for the injured Aaron Yates who continues to recuperate impatiently at his Georgia home.

Another rider filling in for a sidetracked rider is Jake Holden, who will be riding the M4 Monster Energy Suzuki. Regular rider John Hopkins had medical attention to his injured wrist prior to the last race but unfortunately for Hopkins and his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki team, it became apparent that he needed additional treatment.

Another rider who would love to climb to the top step of the Infineon Raceway podium is California native Ben Bostrom. He has won in American SuperBike down in Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and actually won an AMA Pro SuperSport race at Infineon Raceway but to date, he hasn’t won there in American SuperBike. Ben and his Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha team have been moving up the board and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him have a strong run this year.

Two other riders who are having very successful 2010 campaigns are Chris Ulrich and Taylor Knapp, who are sixth and seventh in the points standings respectively. Ulrich, aboard his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki has five top ten results from six races and is poised to benefit from his familiarity with Infineon Raceway. Knapp is seventh in points, just four behind Ulrich, and he has his ex-Mladin Suzuki on form, continuing to impress with his hard work and dedication.

The West Coast Moto Jam Infineon Raceway AMA Pro Racing weekend will feature all kinds of fun activities at the Sonoma, CA track in the days leading up to and including the actual race weekend itself. Beginning on Wednesday, May 12th, there is the 3J’s Motorcycle Track Day which will be your chance to take your motorcycle on the road course plus a lunch, a t-shirt, raffle and an evening reception following the event. All proceeds benefit Speedway Children’s Charities. 

There will also be many fun activities at the track including flat track racing, motocross, vintage bike shows, an art show the Motorcycle Midway and the AMA Pro Riders Dunlop autograph session.

Both AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike races will be broadcast on SPEED TV, check your local listings for the broadcast times.