AMA Pro Racing
Yoshimura’s Tommy Hayden and Blake Young took their GSX-R1000 motorcycles all the way to victory lane this weekend at the Barber Motorsports Park doubleheader, which hosted the 2010 AMA American SuperBike series finale.
Hayden was victorious on Saturday, winning a heart-stopping race as he battled for points toward the championship. On Sunday, his teammate Blake Young took the win in a wet and wild showdown on the track.
Under sunny skies and high temperatures on Saturday, Tommy Hayden was looking for a win to narrow the 22-point gap between him and the series leader.
Hayden got his first SuperBike win of his career early in 2010, and since then has continued his streak of successes aboard his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki. He qualified fourth for the doubleheader, and starting on the front row of the grid gave him the opportunity to get a good start and make it stick.
Tommy Hayden says: “I was able to get a good jump and get a good track position. From there I knew I just had to run a good, fast race.”
The championship leader got ahead of Tommy, but he reeled him back in.
Tommy Hayden says: “I just tried to put my head down and not let that gap get any bigger than it was. Then I just chipped away at it and chipped away at it until I was right up on him.”
Tommy then rolled on the power of his Yoshimura machine and took over the lead. After trading back and forth with brave passes and tight race lines, the 21-lap race ended in an all-out drag race to the checkered flag. When Tommy pushed the throttle of his Suzuki, it delivered and he took the win by a margin of .052 seconds.
Tommy Hayden says: “I’m really happy with how the race went. I wanted to win the race, and there’s not much else I can do. Maybe I’ll get lucky and end up with a championship, but if not, I want to go out trying.”
Tommy’s win was his fifth of the season, which has been a breakout year for him. He chipped away at the point gap, narrowing it to 18 as he pulled into the winner’s circle Saturday afternoon.
Tommy’s teammate Blake Young started off the weekend right by earning the pole position on Saturday morning and the extra point that goes along with it.
The race marked Young’s third race after returning from an injury that sidelined him for three rounds of the series, and he wanted to leave his mark before taking the winter to prepare for 2011. With his optimal starting position, Young got on the power immediately and worked the Yoshimura-equipped GSX-R1000 to put pressure on the race leaders.
Blake ended the day in fourth place, and though he was a bit disappointed, he vowed to really lay it on the line the next day.
Race conditions were completely different on Sunday than they were the previous day. With low clouds and intermittent heavy rain, the track was cool and wet, changing the racers’ plan of attack.
As the SuperBike class lined up to take off for their final race of the season, the precipitation stopped but water was still pooled on the track. After a sight lap to judge what tires would best suit their race effort, and a number of varying tire selections to be found on the starting grid.
Blake Young and Tommy Hayden both decided on race slicks, hoping that as the race wore on the track would dry out and get tacky.
It was a decision that paid off for Young especially, as he tore off the starting line and immediately asserted his power by taking the lead. Hayden came off the grid in fourth and he settled in there, watching the racers ahead of him to find the driest and fastest way around the track.
Young blazed a trail around the racetrack with his fast motorcycle and nerves of steel. Despite the water making all the race bikes hunt for traction on the track, Young kept his focus. He led all but two laps of the race, earning the point there, and powered his way to his third win of the season. Blake was dominant in the race, fearless when it came time to pass, and was fluidly fast.
Blake Young says: “We did our homework last night and made some improvements. I’ve had more bad luck than good at this track, but the fastest way to come back from my injury here in June was to sit on the couch and watch races. It was hard to sit out for three months, but it made me want to race even more. This is what I love to do, and I really wanted to put my head down and get my team a win before the end of the season. My guys on the team are awesome, and I thank them very much for working hard for me!”
Hayden, meanwhile, held steady and finished the race in fourth place. His finish chopped the point gap between him and leader to 14, and despite not being able to secure the championship this year, Hayden is determined to use it as fuel for 2011.
Tommy Hayden says: “I had a good year overall, and I tried hard. It wasn’t enough, but I’m going to take some time in the off season and work on some things and come back ready to go next year.”
Overall, the Yoshimura power helped Hayden and Young to a total of eight victories this year and another 12 podium finishes. Both racers had breakout seasons and are looking to capitalize on their successes in the AMA American SuperBike series in 2011.