Rockwall Yamaha’s standout JD Beach soared to the top of the AMA Pro SuperSport East championship point standings with a well-fought victory in the first race of the Suzuki SuperBike Doubleheader weekend at Road America.
Under cloudy skies, Huntley Nash led the charge into turn one and began laying down consistent laps around the 4.05-mile circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wis. The Georgia native was challenged by polesitter Cameron Beaubier on lap three, losing the lead only briefly before regaining the position later in the lap.
Beach immediately began a battle with teammate Beaubier that would last for the remainder of the race, climaxing on lap seven with Beach passing Beaubier for second and then taking the lead from Nash in turn five. Nash took over the top spot one lap later before being passed by Beaubier again in lap nine under heavy braking. Beaubier lost the lead to Nash four turns later in the carousel section and Nash pulled out to a .549 second advantage on the white flag lap.
A set of misfortunate accidents on the last lap shuffled the order once again, with Nash going down in turn seven and handing the lead back to Beaubier. Unfortunately, Beaubier was only able to lead for four turns before having a lowside of his own in turn 12, returning the lead to Beach for the final time.
Beach officially led just two laps of the 10-lap final, earning his third AMA Pro SuperSport East victory of the 2010 season and taking over the top spot in the championship point standings over Beaubier, 114-102.
"It was a good race," said Beach, who also won the Pro Singles division race at last week’s AMA Pro Flat Track Springfield TT. "Today in qualifying I had a little bit of a tipover and destroyed the bike. I had to go out in the race on my B bike so I had to get used to that. I just sat there and watched everybody battling. I was going faster than I did yesterday, and then the last lap I set a good lap. I have to get more used to that bike and break away tomorrow."
Tomas Puerta finished 2.227 seconds behind Beach to take the number two spot on the No. 12 LTD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 and third in the championship points chase.
"It was a good race, it was really tough," said Puerta. "I have to race more focused. I made a couple of big mistakes and I lost the gap so I have to be focusing on the race."
Third place went to James Rispoli, who started in fifth position on the No. 17 James Rispoli Suzuki GSX-R600 after a strong final qualifying session.
"We were fighting hard," said Rispoli. "I was really trying to put solid laps in. Smooth, consistent laps. Overall it was a great race. We were in there in the end and we’ll get things sorted out for tomorrow."
Miles Thornton started from seventh position to finish fourth aboard the No. 72 Yamaha YZF-R6 and David Gaviria closed out the top five on the No. 700 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R and was also the highest placing Top Gun finisher.
Highlights from today’s SuperSport race will be shown during tonight’s AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike broadcast, scheduled to air on SPEED at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT). Tomorrow’s SuperSport final kicks off at 1:30 p.m. local time.