AMA SportBike Preview
The season so far in AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL has seen three riders take wins in the nine races run as the series heads into the Honda Super Cycle Weekend Presented by Dunlop Tire at the famous Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, July 16-18.
Columbian M4 Monster Energy Suzuki rider Martin Cardenas has won five times this year and taken one pole position, underlining his overall talent and racecraft once again. And with a season like that, you would expect to see Cardenas atop the points stands going into the second half of the 2010 season, but that isn’t the case.
The rider atop the standings in 2010 stamped his mark on the season right out of the box. Team Graves Yamaha rider Josh Herrin took the win at the famous Daytona International Speedway in the historic Daytona 200. He quickly followed that up with wins at Auto Club Speedway, Road Atlanta, Infineon Raceway and also the most recent race at Road America in Wisconsin. Herrin had one pole position (Road America) and four other front row starts exemplifying his speed and desire in his quest to win the overall AMA Pro Daytona SportBike by AMSOIL championship.
Last year’s Daytona SportBike champion Danny Eslick has been in the mix for race wins at just about every race, and along with his one win at Infineon Raceway and two pole positions (Auto Club and Daytona). Eslick and his GEICO PowerSports RMR Suzuki have led at Daytona, both races at Auto Club Speedway (most laps led in race two) and the most laps at Road Atlanta. He has started on the first or second row at every race this year. His exciting style and never-say-never attitude has made him a fan favorite who seems like he is having fun every lap of every race. Eslick won both races at Mid-Ohio last year and he can’t wait to get back the challenging 2.4-mile natural terrain road course.
The usual deal in the Daytona SportBike races is an eight to ten bike train for the lead. A number of riders have featured this year in the ultra competitive class, but one in particular has been oh-so-close to capturing his sixth overall AMA Pro Road Racing win, and it would be a popular win indeed as Steve Rapp has been right in the mix from the very first race at Daytona. Rapp started on the front row at Daytona and took a strong third place after leading. He again took a front row start to seventh and third place finishes at the Auto Club Speedway in March. He came right back at the next race at Road Atlanta, starting on the front row and leading on his way to two sixth place finishes. As the series moved back out west to Infineon Raceway in Northern California, Rapp again started on the front row and led in the late stages of race two only to suffer a heartbreaking fall while leading with two laps to go. Amazingly, he fought back to finish 16th. Showing his mettle, he again started on the front row at the most recent race at Road America and led both races on his way to second and third places finishes. Rapp currently sits in fifth place in the points, just seven back from Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha rider Dane Westby.
Westby is among a number of riders who have played a part in the incredible racing seen this year. Team Graves Yamaha rider Tommy Aquino has taken a couple of pole positions, Cory West riding for the Vesrah Suzuki team, Clinton Seller on the second Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha and Bobby Fong with his DNA Energy Drink Ducati have all been in the mix. Other than Rapp and Eslick, this group of riders are all looking for their first AMA Pro win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course so expect nothing less than maximum effort from this exciting group of riders and motorcycles.
Practice and qualifying for the Honda Super Cycle Weekend Presented by Dunlop Tire begins Friday, July 16th. Final qualifying and the first of the weekend’s two AMA Pro Daytona SportBike races will be on Saturday, July 17th. Race number two will be Sunday, July 18th. Visit midohio.com for ticket and further information. Visit wamaproracing.com for full standings and series information.
SPEED TV will televise both Mid-Ohio rounds of AMA Pro Daytona SportBike by AMSOIL racing in same-weekend coverage. Race One will be broadcast late Saturday, July 17, 2010 at midnight ET (9 p.m. PT) with Race Two debuting late Sunday, July 18, 2010 at midnight ET (9 p.m. PT).