2014 Mid-Ohio AMA Pro SuperBike Results
Due to heavy rains falling on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Saturday afternoon, all AMA Pro Road Racing action from round five was canceled and moved to Sunday.
This included the AMA Pro SuperBike Class, causing an extremely tight schedule for the racers. This created only a three-hour gap between start times, but it didn’t affect two riders.
When Sunday’s Buckeye SuperBike weekend wrapped up, the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha boys shared wins, Cameron Beaubier in race one and three-time SuperBike Champ Josh Hayes in race two.
This was penultimate round of the AMA SuperBike Championship, and all will be decided in the showdown between the teammates at New Jersey Motorsports Park in September. Heading into New Jersey, Hayes holds a 40-point lead over Beaubier.
Following are recaps from Mid-Ohio AMA SuperBike:
AMA Pro SuperBike Race 1 Recap
Hayes took the holeshot from pole (the grid was based on points) but Beaubier drove past his teammate on the back straight on lap 6 of 16. Once in control, Beaubier withstood the intense pressure and last-lap assault the three-time champion subjected him to in a concerted attempt to steal away the victory.
The Mississippian blanketed his 21-year-old rival throughout the second half of their intra-team duel, yet the resurgent Beaubier proved unflappable. Hayes made a bid on the final lap, striking momentarily only to have the rookie immediately snatch back the position and ultimately hold on for a thrilling 0.293-second victory at the checkered flag.
“It feels great to be able to beat Josh after a really good battle,” said Beaubier. “I know he probably has the championship in the back of his head, but I was pushing hard. … I had the intention to push the last three laps but I made a few mistakes and ran wide here and there.
“I knew I wasn’t going to break him, obviously, so I was just trying to ride protectively. I was braking a little harder going into the corners, (trying to) not use the whole track, and go up the inside of a lot of corners. He did sneak up on me and caught me by surprise. I saw him run a little wide so I stayed out a little wide and cut pretty hard on the inside. It was a good clean race and it was hard.”
Hayes was happy with his safe second-place finish.
“It was a good race. I wanted to win it if the opportunity presented itself but I can’t be silly either,” said Hayes. “I don’t like thinking about championships, but you know … I was trying to be careful, but if he gave me a chance, take it. I took one shot at him on the last lap and I think if it had been anybody else, it would have been a little bit closer of a pass. I wanted to make sure I got all the way through to make sure we got through the corner clean and I overshot it enough that he was able to zip past through.”
Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing teammates Roger Hayden and Martin Cardenas were interested spectators early in the contest, clinging on to the battle for the lead in the race’s opening stages before gradually losing touch. Colombian Cardenas was the first to lose the chase, fading back around lap 8, while Kentuckian Hayden dropped out of contention a couple laps later.
“I hung on for a while but I started to make some mistakes,” Hayden admitted. “I was having trouble getting my bike into the corner and was missing my apex in a couple spots. A little over half way they started pulling away and I didn’t want to crash and lose my data for the next race so I kind of put it on cruise control so we could make the bike a little better for the second race. That race was really our first real practice being here on the new bike.”
The two held their positions, however, with Hayden rounding out the podium in third.
KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore took a lonely fifth, while third Yoshimura pilot Chris Clark chased down ADR Motorsports/Sic/Motul Fly Racing’s David Anthony for sixth, with Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram just behind in eight.
GEICO Motorcycle Honda’s Chris Ulrich and Babuska Racing’s Frankie Babuska completed the opening race’s top ten.
AMA Pro SuperBike Race 2 Recap
After being edged by his young teammate earlier in the day, Hayes got his revenge in what proved to be an ever tighter rematch.
Again starting from pole (this time due to posting the fastest lap in Race 1), Hayes ran in front with Beaubier close in formation as they quickly broke free from the pack. The lighter Beaubier finally made his move on lap 13 of 16, again powering past at the end of the back straight, in an attempt to duplicate his earlier victory.
However, this time around Hayes made that aggressive last-lap pass that he overshot in the first race stick. Seemingly in strong shape to maintain first from there to the flag, Hayes got off line through the Carousel. That miscue allowed Beaubier to get the drive and rip up alongside him as they sprinted to the stripe.
Too close to call without a review, the photo finish ultimately showed that Hayes held on by mere inches to claim the win.
The narrow triumph was Hayes’ eleventh AMA Pro Road Racing victory at Mid-Ohio, making him the winningest rider in the event’s long history, one up on the legendary Mat Mladin.
“I was thinking about passing him earlier in the race and just kind of mix up my rhythm instead of waiting for some kind of desperate move on the last lap,” said Hayes after Race 2. “While I was thinking about these things, we came up and I saw the white flag. I was completely taken by surprise with the white flag. I hadn’t been watching the lap board and had no idea it was last lap of the race.
“We were going through Turn 1 and I got a good run and I thought, ‘What am I going to do?’ I knew what he was expecting. I still felt very confident in there so when I was close enough to have a go, I did and got it stopped. From that point forward, it was probably the ugliest half lap of riding I’ve ever done in my life.
“I was pretty sloppy in the Carousel but I thought I had it because there are really no passing opportunities. I was just trying to get back to the inside and I ended up losing the front and really botching the last two corners. I never upshifted, I just held second and hit the rev limiter at the line.
“When I glanced over to my left I actually thought Cameron had got me, but it was so hard to tell right at the line. I was pretty relieved to get to the podium and find out I had won the race. I wanted to win it really bad and I had a lot of fun racing with Cam.”
Beaubier said he enjoyed the race as well.
“Josh made a hard, clean pass on me,” said Beaubier. “After that I was just looking for any way I could to get around him. He was braking pretty deep trying to not give it away. I tried to set him up coming off the last corner and I didn’t know who won.
“Regardless who won today, it was a great race. It’s kind of crazy not knowing who won until we came into pit lane.”
Hayden finished third for a second time on the day. He actually made inroads on the leaders for a couple laps after losing touch early, but a compound mistake dropped him well and truly out of contention on lap 7. The Kentuckian carried on to claim a lonely third, further enabled by Cardenas’ early-race crash in the braking zone at the end of the back straight.
“It was a decent weekend,” Hayden said. “Third place is not bad when you’re battling for the win but when you’re however many seconds back it’s not very satisfying. I don’t know… I’m having trouble keeping up off the corners and on the straights. I’m just riding so far above what I can do every lap and I just start making mistakes. We have some tests lined up and we need to make things a little better and hopefully at New Jersey make a race out of it.”
Fillmore took advantage of the Colombian’s mistake as well, coming home in fourth while Clark edged TOBC’s Racing Suzuki’s Taylor Knapp for fifth.
Anthony got off to a poor start and slashed his way up to seventh, while Ulrich and Team AMSOIL Hero EBR’s Cory West took eighth and ninth, respectively. Babuska again rounded out the top ten.