Saturday, Race 1 Report
Celtic Racing/Orient Express Racing’s James Rispoli did exactly what he needed to on Saturday to not only lock up the 2012 AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport West Division Championship but the overall SuperSport National Championship as well.
Rispoli rode a measured race at NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans, consistently battling in podium contention before ultimately being credited in fourth in the red-flagged concluded contest.
The West Region and overall National Championships are in addition to Rispoli’s triumphant 2011 season in which he claimed the East Region and overall National Championships.
“It feels great,” Rispoli said. “To win the second one… it was just as hard as the first. These boys kept me honest… Hats off to everybody in the SuperSport class. I’m really happy with how the whole season has gone and how the whole team has gelled. I hope it’s the right move and a good step for the future.”
Saturday’s race was won in lopsided fashion by RoadRace Factory/Red Bull’s Hayden Gillim. Gillim was in devastating form, slicing into the lead and opening up a 1.5-second advantage at the end of the first lap. That lead was well over three seconds just one lap later and quickly into the double digits, where Gillim maintained the gap until the race was called complete.
“It’s been good all weekend,” Gillim said, after earlier securing the pole position. “The bike has been fantastic and the whole team has been meshing really well together. The race was amazing. I got off to a pretty good start, worked my way up to the lead, and just managed the pace from there.”
While Rispoli’s title victories stole the headlines, the East Region battle took a major turn as well. Castrol Triumph’s Dustin Dominguez worked his way into second in the race but was tracked down by title rival Jake Lewis on the Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki. Lewis overtook him on the front straight and moments later Dominguez crashed out of the race entering Turn 1, resulting in the red flag that ended the contest.
Additionally, East Region contender Stefano Mesa crashed on the race’s original opening lap, which also brought out a red flag and led to a complete restart. As a result, Lewis has surpassed Dominguez in the standings and now holds a commanding East Region lead, boasting a 17-point advantage heading into Sunday’s season finale.
“Bummer for (Dominguez), but I’m happy to be leading the championship for the whole team,” Lewis said. “We just need to finish strong tomorrow and hopefully I’ll get my first AMA Pro championship.”
Gillim’s teammate, Tomas Puerta, finished third, handing the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull squad their first-ever double podium result.
Sunday, Race 2 Report
Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff won the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race at NOLA Motorsports Park on Sunday, topping Saturday’s winner Hayden Gillim of the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull team and overall championship winner James Rispoli of Celtic Racing/ Orient Express Racing.
Gerloff took the lead early and was never challenged, winning by 11.725 seconds. The young standout, who began the year in GoPro Daytona SportBike before being injured, ran away from the field in a dominating performance in the 15-lap race. It was reminiscent of Gerloff’s first Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport win in New Jersey last year.
“Everything went really well and I got a good start for once,” said Gerloff. “I was just trying to get into my rhythm and pull a gap.”
Tomas Puerta finished fourth for RoadRace Factory/Red Bull.
In the SuperSport East championship, Dustin Dominguez finished fourth but unfortunately his effort wasn’t enough to win the divisional title. Jake Lewis of the Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki team finished 11th and managed to hold on to the title by a margin of 11 points, 256 to 245, respectively.
“I knew where I had to finish,” said Lewis. “I kept an eye on Dustin, then I laid back a little bit and brought the championship home.”
Travis Wyman (Harv’s H-D) was sixth, just ahead of Miles Thornton (Eyeball NYC) and Ryan Kerr (Best Book 1 Kawasaki) and Suzuki SportBike TrackGear.com’s Elena Myers.