Yoshimura’s AMA American SuperBike effort was successful last weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J.
For Round 9 of the series, Rockstar Makita Suzuki riders Tommy Hayden and Blake Young put together impressive race efforts during the doubleheader weekend, and Hayden came away with two second-place finishes.
Hayden was a man on a mission in New Jersey, knowing that his second-place standing in the points chase meant he needed to dig deep and put together two great race efforts to stay in contention for the 2010 AMA American SuperBike Championship.
The weekend started off under cloudy skies and strong gusts of wind, due to a hurricane that was making its way up the East Coast. Even stronger was Tommy Hayden’s drive to add more valuable points to his tally for the 2010 season.
With the championship coming down to the wire, Hayden was on fire during Friday’s qualifying 1 session. He set the fastest time of 1:20.624 and earned the provisional pole.
On Saturday morning, no one could beat that time, giving Tommy his first pole position of his Superbike career and a great way to start the race weekend. The pole position comes with a valuable point, and every single point matters when the championship is within striking distance.
As race time approached on Saturday, the partly sunny skies warmed up the racetrack just as the competition was about to heat up.
Hayden was again focused on making his first-ever pole position in the SuperBike class count. When the green flag waved, Hayden shot out and took the lead immediately. Tommy set the pace for the first lap and then was overtaken by another racer, though he never let the leader get too far ahead of him.
Hayden fought his way to the leader’s back tire, and as the white flag was out, he made his move and took over first. Tommy was determined to make the move stick when a racer toward the back of the pack crashed, forcing the race to be red flagged. According to AMA rules, the last complete lap would count as the finish for the race, putting Tommy in second place for the day.
Tommy Hayden says: “It’s a little frustrating to end like that, but there’s no one to blame and that’s just racing. We’ll work on some ideas on how to make improvements for tomorrow and we’ll be ready.”
Tommy’s teammate Blake Young was also very hopeful going into Saturday’s race. It was Young’s first race back in action after an injury kept him from competition for three rounds of the AMA American SuperBike series.
Young was hoping for a solid result, and that’s exactly what he got. Young was smooth and controlled throughout the entire race on Saturday and earned himself a very respectable fourth place finish.
Blake Young says: “I was pretty surprised today. I wasn’t in the lead group where I wanted to be, but I think fourth place is pretty decent. I think if we can do what we did today tomorrow, maybe just a couple tenths quicker pace, I think that’s going to be pretty respectable.”
On Sunday, with cooler weather and quieter winds, both Tommy and Blake were looking to improve on their results from Saturday. Hayden knew it was imperative that he get to the front of the race sooner and keep the lead longer, and Young wanted to cut the gap between his lap times and the leader’s lap times in half.
At the start of the race, Tommy again used the advantage of his pole position to take the immediate lead, and Blake followed right behind him from his fifth-place grid position. The duo went 1-2 for the first lap until Blake fell a little off the pace.
Tommy traded the lead with one other racer for the entire 23-lap race, but this time he stayed in the lead for longer and was more aggressive as he made his way to the front. Hayden used his entire arsenal of Yoshimura power, talent, and focus to make the race a heart-stopper for all the spectators. When the checkered flag fell, Tommy was in second place.
Tommy Hayden says: “I could tell it was going to come down to the last lap again today. It’s a little frustrating, but I rode as hard as I could. I don’t know what else I could’ve done. Overall though, it was a good race and I enjoyed it.”
Meanwhile, Blake Young was in third for most of the race, but toward the end was feeling pressure from another racer. On the last lap, Blake was passed, putting him in fourth place.
Blake Young says: “I set my goals a little bit higher today, and I wanted to cut gap in half between us and the leaders from yesterday, and I was pretty happy that we did that. I felt a lot more comfortable on the bike after getting Saturday’s race under my belt. I was getting into the rhythm of things, and even though it’s going a little slower than I’d like it to go, I’m getting there. My crew on the team worked really, really hard for me and I want to thank them for being patient with me and getting me back up to speed on my bike.”
Tommy is still in second place, 22 points out of the lead, in the championship hunt. With two races left on the schedule, the doubleheader at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama on Sept. 24-26, the run up to the championship will be a heart-stopper for Tommy and his team.
Hayden will need to be at the top of his game to make a run at the 2010 AMA American SuperBike title, and both Tommy and Blake will be ready to fight to the checkered flag with their Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R1000 superbikes.