News 19 Jul 2010

AMA SBK: Hayden and Eslick win on Sunday at Mid-Ohio

Tommy Hayden won on Sunday at Mid-Ohio for Suzuki.

Tommy Hayden won on Sunday at Mid-Ohio for Suzuki.

The tables were turned today as Tommy Hayden ended up two spots better than yesterday in taking his third career National Guard SuperBike victory ahead of main championship rival Josh Hayes during the last day of competition in the Honda Super Cycle Weekend Presented by Dunlop at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Hayden, riding his Rockstar Makita Suzuki, bounced back from a third place finish in yesterday’s SuperBike race and took a calculated victory in the second race of the weekend.

Hayes did hold onto the points lead that he gained yesterday but Hayden trimmed it down from ten points to just four, 285-281.

Foremost Insurance Ducati rider Larry Pegram thrilled his local fans by taking the lead into the first corner and leading lap one. Hayden had other ideas though, and he passed Pegram on lap two and proceeded to lead the next six laps.

By this time, Hayes had passed Pegram and was shadowing Hayden’s every move and for a while it looked like Hayes was going to repeat his win from yesterday when Josh took the lead and led laps eight and nine. Hayden re-passed Hayes and controlled the race from lap ten on all the way to the flag. Hayes never let up though and the margin of victory was only 0.194 of a second at the end of the 21-lap race.

Pegram was able to take what he felt was a satisfying third place finish ahead of yesterday’s second-place finisher Ben Bostrom on his Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha. As with the first two, Bostrom kept the pressure on Pegram all day but just couldn’t find a way by the Columbus, Ohio rider.

After another strong start to the race, Jake Zemke with his National Guard Jordan Suzuki found himself battling with teammate Canadian Brett McCormick on the Jordan Suzuki. These two ran nose-to-tail for the last part of the race and McCormick continued his nice progression in the sport by passing Zemke on the last lap.

Behind the Jordan riders were Taylor Knapp on his Suzuki and Chris Ulrich with his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki in eighth. Georgia rider Geoff May finished ninth on his Erik Buell Racing Buell and Kurtis Roberts made a nice return to the sport with a tenth place finish on his Yamaha.

Tommy Hayden and Josh Hayes each staked a claim for this year’s National Guard SuperBike Championship this weekend and this fight looks like it is going right down to the wire. The teams will gather again in five short days as they will race next weekend at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix in California.

Just when everything was falling into place, the entire apple cart was overturned today in AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL.

Last year’s Daytona SportBike Champion Danny Eslick took a hard-fought victory today and with this year’s championship points leader Josh Herrin suffering a dramatic fall on the last lap, Eslick and his GEICO Powersports team have pulled themselves right back into the thick of the championship battle. Herrin and his Team Graves Yamaha team now lead Eslick by only two points, 249-247.

The 21-lap race at Mid-Ohio began somewhat like yesterday’s event, with furious action at the front involving yesterday’s main cast, Eslick, Herrin, Martin Cardenas (M4 Monster Energy Suzuki), Bobby Fong (DNA Energy Drink Ducati), Herrin’s Team Graves Yamaha teammate Tommy Aquino and Team Latus Motors Ducati rider Steve Rapp.

These six riders once again made a break and dueled back and forth, exchanging the lead lap after lap, sometimes two or three times per lap. Eslick would lead, Cardenas showed his speed with a nice outside pass into first at the end of the back straight, then Herrin would reassert himself back at the front.

Under partly cloudy but hot and humid conditions, something had to give and it happened as the leaders were finishing the eleventh lap. Coming through the Carousel corner, Cardenas went down and Herrin had to take evasive action, allowing Fong, Rapp and Aquino quickly by.

Eslick was in front and didn’t really know what happened until after the race but this gave him the break he needed to consolidate his second win of the season and vault him right back into the chase for the championship. In a great display of courage, Cardenas picked up his Suzuki and continued to the finish, and his persistence was rewarded as he ended up fifth at the flag.

Another rider who stayed the course all day was Aquino, who raced hard with Fong, Rapp and Herrin as well and took home a solid fourth place finish. Gathering his second consecutive podium finish was Fong. He has been showing good speed so far this season but this weekend at Mid-Ohio he really showed his great potential with another strong run up front all day.

It was only the hard riding of another Ducati rider, Rapp that prevented Fong from another second place. Rapp, who started strong yesterday but ran into some mechanical issues, came back today and contended all the way and took a well deserved second place for his close knit Team Latus Motors team.

In a cruel twist of fate, as Herrin headed into turn six at the end of the long Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course backstraight for the last time, his motorcycle seemed to twitch and the next thing you knew, he was down.

Rapp and Fong were quickly by as Herrin struggled to pick up and restart his Yamaha. He did so and to cheers from the appreciative crowd, he slowly rode back around on the damaged bike to post a 19th place finish, thereby scoring two valuable points.

P.J. Jacobsen ran well again but was passed on the last lap by Cardenas; Jacobsen still had a solid weekend on his Celtic Racing Suzuki.

Cory West took seventh on his Vesrah Suzuki, Josh Day, the 2009 SuperSport Young Gun East Division Champion ran well again on his Four Feathers Racing Yamaha, finishing eighth. After making a change in his Dunlop tire choice, Fernando Amantini took a nice ninth place finish aboard his Kawasaki followed by Kris Turner in tenth on his Turner Cycle Racing Suzuki.

The AMA Pro Daytona SportBike riders will reassemble next weekend in California for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. The Daytona SportBikes will race on Sunday, prior to the MotoGP event.

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