AMA Supersport Preview
The 2010 AMA Pro SuperSport class has produced some of the most exciting racing seen in years. The main cast of riders featured in this year's championship battles have provided so many storylines that it is hard to keep up with everything that has gone on in AMA Pro Road Racing's SuperSport Young Gun rider development class.
If the level of talent seen this year in SuperSport is any indication, the future is very bright for AMA Pro Road Racing for many years to come.
The battle will be rejoined at the Honda Super Cycle Weekend Presented by Dunlop Tire, July 16-18 at the legendary Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course where, once again, the main characters will provide what many consider to be some of the best races of any AMA Pro Road Racing weekend. The story of the season involves so many elements, we'll try to give you a snapshot of the who, what and where of what has been, to date, a classic battle royal.
The season got off to a roaring start with Cameron Bueabier taking the first win on the high banks of Daytona by 0.001 of a second over Joey Pascarella. This set the tone for the battle of the teams too, with Bueabier riding for the Rockwall Yamaha team and Pascarella for LTD Yamaha. Race number two at Daytona saw Pascarella and LTD Yamaha take the win and then, with Bueabier and the Rockwall Yamaha team absent from the West Division races at Auto Club Speedway, Pascarella went on a tear with two more dominant wins.
Then the plot changed when, at the next round at Road Atlanta, Pascarella had an unfortunate accident on the warm-up lap and was prevented from racing in both races. The next rider to take center stage was J.D. Beach, Bueabier's Rockwall Yamaha teammate. Beach took both Road Atlanta race wins after battling mightily with Bueabier who, thanks to a couple of late red flags, could have laid claim to both races himself but took solace in finishing second in race one and third place in race two.
Bueabier then traveled out of his points division to the next race at Infineon Raceway where he took a dominant pole position and looked like he would walk away with the weekend's races but again, a late race red flag once again upset the apple cart and he was beaten to the win in race one by the trailblazing Elena Myers, who took the first AMA Pro Road Racing Sprint race win for a female rider in the history of AMA Pro Racing. Bueabier recovered to take a well deserved win in race two and this set the tone for the next race, at Elkhart Lake's Road America, the mighty 4.05-mile natural road course through the woods of Wisconsin.
While all this was going on, where might you ask was Pascarella? In a move supported by his LTD Yamaha team, Pascarella had switched over to the CNR Racing DNA Energy Drink Ducati team and he struggled to come to grips with his new machine in the short time he had between races after the switch. As a result, he had two unfortunate crashes at Infineon and even though he showed flashes of his old form, it was all the other riders needed to reset the balance of power in the SuperSport class. Thanks to his strong start to the season, Pascarella has a nice points lead in the West Division point standings over the tenacious Myers and her solid Lucas Oil Roadracingworld.com RMR Suzuki team.
Myers' record-setting season started off with a couple of very impressive and steady seventh place finishes at Daytona. She then showed just how determined a person she is by qualifying on the front row at the next race in California and then moments after the start, she came into contact with another rider and was not only out of the race but had her arm in a sling and her participation in Sunday's race number two in question. But, showing the kind of courage that is now a trademark of her career, she came back on Sunday and not only raced, but she finished in a very determined fourth place.
Moving onto Road Atlanta, she was caught up in the same incident on the warm-up lap in race one that affected Pascarella and once again her participation in race two was in question. But Myers defied the odds and came back to race on Sunday finishing with a fighting fifth after a race-long battle with the quietly impressive Tomas Puerta, another of the solid LTD Yamaha riders.
Myers' big breakthrough came at the very next race at Northern California's Infineon Raceway. She qualified quietly on the outside of the second row on her Lucas Oil Roadracingworld.com RMR Suzuki but enjoyed a sensational start and after battling with Pascarella, Bueabier and others, she took a well deserved win after an amazing sequence of events when she took the lead from Beaubier as Pascarella had his accident, which brought out the red flag. This historic achievement was applauded by all and she then got back down to business in race two and battled again for the lead and only contact with another rider in the late stages, saw her finish fifth. A tough weekend at Road America has slowed her sensational season but there is no doubt that she will be back at Mid-Ohio.
Race one at Road America was won by Beach and race two was taken by another main character in the season, Huntley Nash. Also riding for LTD Yamaha, Nash had a quiet Daytona race in terms of results but he was up among the drafting frontrunners and began to assert himself with a series of strong podium finishes at the next four races. Nash took six top-two or three finishes from the first 10 races and it all came together with his dramatic win at Road America, where he finally realized his potential with his first AMA Pro win. Amazingly enough, Nash is one point behind LTD Yamaha teammate Puerta in the East Division points standings thanks to Puerta's very consistent season.
In a quiet but steady fashion, Puerta has put together an excellent season, with fifth and third place results at Daytona, he skipped the next out of Division race at Auto Club Speedway but came back at Road Atlanta with fifth and fourth place finishes. He again skipped the West Division race at Infineon Raceway to come back at Road America with solid second and third place finishes. He returns to Mid-Ohio looking for his first win in SuperSport.
The other interesting aspect of the SuperSport races is the local Top Gun rider element. This provision allows local riders with an Expert Level Road Racing license to join the series for their own points chase. Local riders have featured already this year, the impressive Scott Gilbert taking a couple of podium finishes at Auto Club Speedway on his family-run Team Graves Yamaha and also Tyler O'Hara finishing third twice at his local race at Infineon Raceway in Northern California.
The Honda Super Cycle Weekend Presented by Dunlop Tire begins with practice and first round qualifying on Friday, July 16. Final qualifying and the first of two races will be on Saturday, July 17th and the second race of the weekend is on Sunday, July 18th. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course provides a park like setting for great viewing and racing, don't miss this opportunity to see the future stars of AMA Pro Road Racing displaying their talents at this classic road racing venue.