News 26 Jul 2010

AMA SBK: Bostrom takes third career victory at Laguna Seca

Today’s AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike race at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix was won by a rider who loves everything about Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and he has the record here to prove it.

Ben Bostrom and his Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha team culminated a very special weekend by winning from the pole position to capture his third career AMA Pro SuperBike victory. Bostrom also won at Laguna Seca last year in Daytona SportBike and also a World Superbike race in 1999.

Finishing second was points leader Josh Hayes aboard his Team Graves Yamaha. Hayes led the race early and fought all the way until the checkered flag on what was on paper a fine weekend. Hayes was disappointed with himself but he admitted that this was a difficult track for him and he paid tribute to his Team Graves Yamaha team for their hard work in giving him a bike he could win with.

Third place went to Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Tommy Hayden. Hayden maintained second in the points standings despite having a weekend where he felt he didn’t get the best from himself and his machine. Once again, his mental toughness was on display as he took a solid points haul when his situation wasn’t at its best.

Ben Bostrom almost gave the game away early on in the race when he came into the famous Corkscrew turns at the top of the circuit and had a big moment under braking and had to run off the track and rejoin, albeit very carefully.

Streaking by was a very strong starting Jake Holden on his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki as he took full advantage of the moment to lead until Hayes got by a fine riding Holden in a hold-your-breath pass on the front straight.

Hayes and Holden were side-by-side coming out of the last corner and held station right next to each other until Hayes was able to squeak by to take the lead that he would hold for the next 12 laps. It took Bostrom a little while but he eventually got by Holden for second and set sail after Hayes.

Bostrom closed up on Hayes and the two rode in synchronized fashion for a number of laps until Bostrom got by Hayes in turn five on lap 15. Hayes didn’t let up whatsoever but Bostrom was in sync on a track he loves and he captured his third career AMA Pro SuperBike win in fine fashion.

Ben wasn’t the only Bostrom that had a great day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, his brother Eric, riding the new Cycle World Attack Performance Yoshimura Suzuki put in a stellar performance in only his second appearance this year.

Starting sixth, he fell back to 16th at the start and then began a sterling comeback ride to seventh at the flag. He battled his way back into contention with the likes of Geoff May on his Buell, a strong running Chris Peris on the Team Iron Horse BMW and Brett McCormick who rewarded the hard work of his Jordan Suzuki team with eighth place after a couple of off-track excursions in yesterday’s qualifying sessions.

Foremost Insurance Ducati’s Larry Pegram also ran well today, continuing his solid year. He and Jake Zemke aboard his National Guard Jordan Suzuki had their own battle but Pegram was able to pull away from Jake to finish fifth with Zemke in sixth well ahead of the aforementioned Eric Bostrom in seventh.

But it was Ben Bostrom’s day. He said yesterday that if he didn’t lead right away he would go and get the win and he did just that. Josh Hayes and Tommy Hayden stayed in lock step in the championship chase by finishing together, therefore not allowing the other to break away on points.

“Every time I ride into this track, it reminds me of home,” Bostrom said. “I love the fog and when I can ride up here and see the blue sky start to break through, it makes me happy and a happy rider rides well.”

Hayes was content with second, however would have liked to win at a track he usually finds difficult.

“I wanted to win here, this has always been a very, very difficult racetrack for me,” Hayes said. “I don’t have a single excuse, I had a great motorcycle but I was very inconsistent this week but I am happy with second. Now we are going to two tracks that are really good for me that I had great weekends last year so I want to hurry up and get there and let’s get back to business.”

When the dust cleared it was Martin Cardenas and his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki that rode to his sixth and maybe best win of the 2010 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike by AMSOIL season.

Certainly for Cardenas, winning today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca had special meaning but it is the way that he won that also made for another thrilling day of racing in this competitive series.

After starting eighth, the irrepressible Steve Rapp and his small but effective Team Latus Motors Ducati team took yet another podium finish with a very determined second place. Finishing third was Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha rider Clinton Seller, who mixed it up with the front runners from the very drop of the flag and in the process posted his best finish of the season.

These results alone don’t tell the story of the race and it was DNA Energy Drink Ducati rider Bobby Fong that really put on an impressive show. Fong fought his way quickly to the front passing Pole sitter Tommy Aquino before the end of lap one basically set sail, at one point building a lead of over two seconds on the usually close Daytona SportBike field.

And close it was behind Fong with at least five riders grouped together battling for every inch on the 11 turn flowing 2.238-mile natural road course.

Aquino and his Team Graves Yamaha teammate Josh Herrin were in the mix as was Seller and also Danny Eslick who actually grabbed second and led the six bike train for a while. Eslick, Herrin, Seller, Aquino, Cardenas and Rapp all made up this group but as the race went on Eslick dropped back and Cardenas started his march to the front.

Try as he might, Herrin could not shake off Seller, Aquino and Cardenas. Rapp fell back a little and battled with Eslick.

On lap 11, things started to happen, Cardenas passed Aquino and in the famous corkscrew at the top of the circuit, Josh Herrin ran off the track and did a great job staying upright as he rejoined but now back in seventh. At the end of this lap, Cardenas made a solid pass on Seller at the last turn and set sail for Fong.

“Bobby was two or three seconds clear and I was a little bit worried because I saw that Herrin wasn’t gaining on him,” said Cardenas. “I thought maybe today the best finish was going to be second but I pushed very hard for two or three laps and I caught him.”

At that point Fong caught some slower riders and Cardenas was able to get right up to him quicker than even he expected, “I caught him and stayed with him and unfortunately for him, he lost the front under braking. From then on it became a little bit difficult to maintain concentration but I was able to break through here and win,” said a pleased Martin after the race.

Winning here at Laguna Seca is special for the Suzuki rider, “I always wanted to win here, ever since I first came here in 2007, it is my favorite track but for some reason, I was always fast but like last year, when I had pole, I crashed. Fortunately for me this time I could do it, I am very happy.”

Bobby Fong had his mishap on lap 15 and even thought he quickly picked up his Ducati and rejoined, there was too much damage to continue and he retired. Since Road America, Fong has been riding well and he is now another part of the mix at the front of the field.

Meanwhile, it looked like Tommy Aquino was going to lead Seller home for the other two podium spots but on lap 21 of 23, Steve Rapp pulled a double pass and went from fourth to second in one move in turn two.

Seller tried to fight back at turn eleven but Rapp’s Ducati was running better and better and he was able to pull away and take his fifth podium finish and his third second place finish of the season. A win can’t be far behind for him and Team Latus Motors Ducati Racing.

Seller took a nice third in his best finish of the season, his best previous finish was fourth at race one at Road America. “I look forward to trying to be up here from now on,” Seller said as he came off the podium.

Aquino was disappointed in fourth but he continues to ride well and his day will come. Eslick was OK with his fifth. “It wasn’t our best day for the GEICO Powersports Suzuki, but I’ll take fifth and let’s move on,” said Danny.

Herrin took a subdued sixth and maintains the points lead by one point over Eslick.

Cory West and Chris Fillmore took seventh and eighth on their Vesrah Suzuki’s and Michael Beck did post a result for the DNA Energy Drink Ducati team in ninth. Fernando Amantini took another good result with tenth on his Kawasaki, following up from his ninth place finish last week at Mid-Ohio.