The AMA Pro SuperSport riders put on quite a show today in the action packed 18 lap race here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix event.
Riding his LTD Racing Yamaha with an engine that hadn’t turned a lap until the warm-up lap, Huntley Nash endured a red flag race stoppage and relentless pressure from Top Gun rider Tyler O’Hara and went on to take his second career AMA Pro SuperSport win.
O’Hara, riding his Radio Medics Yamaha, led the early stages of the race prior to the red flag and had an unfortunate fall in turn nine as he was working on lap 15, ending his day. But he wasn’t the only one to suffer an accident in today’s action packed race in front of a capacity crowd here at Laguna Seca.
The biggest heartbreak was for Pole Position winner Tomas Puerta. At the start, Puerta was beaten into turn two by O’Hara and as the field went into the right hand turn three, Puerta’s LTD Racing Yamaha took a big twitch, he tried to save it but to no avail.
A number of riders took avoiding action including fourth starting Cameron Beaubier who was riding his own Mazda Technologies Rockwall Yamaha. As the field continued around to complete lap one, Joey Pascarella shot off the road in turn nine and although he was able to rejoin, he was well back.
The next rider to meet misfortune was Beaubier who slid down as he entered the famous corkscrew turn and although he was able to quickly get right up, his Yamaha was too badly damaged to continue. This brought out the red flag after five laps had been completed.
Prior to the red flag, Elena Myers had a great start and shot up into third and although there was a number of riders right behind her including James Rispoli, Austin DeHaven and Scott Gilbert, Myers was unflappable as she held station in third despite the constant pressure.
At the restart, Huntley Nash took the lead as O’Hara ran inches behind Nash and looked for a way by. But Nash was up to the challenge and he used the knowledge gained earlier in the weekend when he and LTD Racing team chief Gary Medley went up to the Corkscrew and discussed where and how he should attack that vital part of the racetrack.
The battle came to an end when O’Harawent down and it was a disappointing end to another very strong AMA Pro SuperSport outing for the young rider who had taken a couple of podium finishes as a Top Gun entry earlier in the season. Finishing second and third today were DeHaven on his family run Yamaha and also Gilbert on his Team Graves Yamaha.
Both rider were part of the early battles up front and after the red flag, both ran smart races to take second and third respectively. DeHaven was delighted with his finish and enjoyed his experience racing with the AMA Pro SuperSport regulars. Gilbert also continued to impress, adding to his two podium finishes from earlier this year at Auto Club Speedway.
The highlight of the day was the intense battle between Elena Myers and James Rispoli. After the red flag, they battled back and forth with Myers on her Lucas Oil Roadracingworld.com Suzuki passing Rispoli, only to have the Rispoli re-pass her before the end of the lap on his Ant-Racing.com Yamaha.
On the last turn of the last lap, the two came out of the hard left hand final corner and in a sensational launch to the line, Myers just was able to pass Rispoli for fourth place. Rispoli, who has been riding extremely well himself in both AMA Pro Road Racing and AMA Pro Flat Track competition, where he is currently third in the Pro Singles championship hunt, won the SunTrust Improve Your Position Award for his performance at the recent Mid-Ohio SuperSport race.
With so many of the frontrunners having problems, there was a host of worthy names in the top ten including David Gaviria on his Kawasaki, Bryce Prince on his Yamaha,
Matthew Sadowski (Suzuki), Travis Ohge (Yamaha) and Michael Corbino, who rounded out the top ten. Towards the end of the race, Gaviria and Sadowski were battling hard and also were Prince and Ohge. All rode well on a difficult and action packed day.