AMA American Superbike
Spoiler Alert: 2011 AMA American Superbike Results listed below.
Monday’s AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike race at Miller Motorsports Park’s BigM Weekend didn’t let the front runners on track or the fans in their seats relax for a second, as Josh Hayes (Monster Energy Graves Yamaha) and Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammates Blake Young and Tommy Hayden tore through MMP’s fifteen turns in a relentless display of determination and skill.
Hayes launched smoothly into the lead off the AMA Superbike start, Young attached to his rear wheel with Martin Cardenas (M4 Suzuki) and Tommy Hayden right behind.
A few bike-lengths behind the lead trio, Roger Hayden (National Guard Jordan Suzuki) led a train of riders all looking for a way by, Iron Horse BMW’s Chris Peris heading JD Beach (Cycle World/Attack Performance Kawasaki), Steve Rapp (San Jose BMW), Ben Bostrom (Jordan Suzuki), and Larry Pegram (Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing.) With the stage set for the sixteen-lap contest, the riders got down to business.
Cardenas, coming off an Infineon Round 2 podium-finish but having qualified a disappointing sixth here at MMP AMA Superbike, declared himself an immediate factor in today’s race, setting himself up just off Young’s rear wheel as the factory Suzuki rider continued to pressure Hayes. Fourth-place Tommy Hayden wasn’t giving the Colombian rider any room, however, while back in seventh position, a new contender was about to announce himself.
Beach, the 19-year-old class rookie (MMP was his second career SuperBike race), notified the field of his intention by posting the quickest lap the race had seen yet, then making a move that carried him up into sixth position, just a bike-length behind Roger Hayden. Behind them, Peris tucked the front, crashing out of eighth and allowing the second group of riders to shuffle forward in the standings.
Kawasaki’s Beach, meanwhile, was taking his expected learning curve literally, trying for pass on Roger that saw him briefly rise to fifth, only to be sent back to start by the veteran rider. Not at all discouraged, Beach tried again less than a lap later and this time made it stick—- a feat that held the attention of race-watchers until Cardenas suddenly crashed out of third, relegated to MMP’s muddy sidelines.
With ten laps to go, Roger reclaimed fifth from Beach and shut the kid down, at least for the moment, and all eyes returned to the battle for first between Hayes and Young, which had meanwhile been joined by a head-down Tommy Hayden.
As the top three tore down Miller’s 3,500-foot straightaway, Young set up a pass and took over the lead seconds later, only to see Hayes immediately strike back. That kicked off a chain of lead-swaps that wouldn’t abate in number or intensity throughout the rest of the race, as Hayes and Young ripped toward a last-lap showdown.
With just five left to go, Beach had retaken fourth from Roger and was looking solid, but just seconds after Pegram was left ride-less thanks to a mechanical, Beach lost the front and went down in Clubhouse Corner, his bike tumbling end-over-end along with his hopes for a top-five finish.
At the front, Young pushed Hayes back behind him, sandwiching the Yamaha between the pair of Suzukis as Young took a glance behind to be sure it was true. It wasn’t – at least not for long – as Hayes punched his way to the front again and did everything he could to break away. Young and Hayden were far from about to let that happen, however, Young trading the lead with Hayes several more times as the trio headed for the last lap.
Though Hayes was first to take the white flag, Young was already setting him up as they approached Turn 1 for the last time, delivering the final blow seconds later when he swooped into the lead and managed to spin out a few bike lengths in his forward charge. Hayes rode the wheels off his Yamaha as they filtered through the last set of turns, running up on the curb and giving Hayden a momentary look at second, but Young had the lead in hand as the frontrunners poured out onto the front straight, taking the win by .757 seconds.
Young, Hayes, and Tommy Hayden were followed across the line by Roger Hayden, Rapp, Clark, Geoff May (EBR Racing), Bostrom, David Anthony (ADR Fly Racing), and Jeremy Toye (San Diego BMW).
For coverage of today’s Round 3 National Guard SuperBike race, tune in to SPEED TV tonight at 8 p.m. PST. As the series heads for next weekend’s Round 4 at Elkhart Lake’s Road America, June 3-5, Hayes leads the overall AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Championship by five points over Young, 134 to 129. Tommy Hayden sits third with 122.