Hayes Does It Again In New Jersey
MILLVILLE, N.J. — More records fell as Josh Hayes extended his historic run of GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing excellence Sunday at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
The conquering Hayes yet again looked to be in a class of his own as he completed the double at the American Red Cross Devil’s Showdown presented by Team Pro-Motion.
He quickly ended any dreams his rivals may have held of mounting a challenge on the race’s opening laps and steadily built his advantage from there.
Following 23 faultless circulations, Hayes claimed the checkered flag with more than eight seconds to spare to score his 13th victory of the season — a new all-time AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike record.
The win also stood as the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha pilot’s tenth straight in succession, further extending his series’ mark.
Hayes said, “To be able to stretch away and pull away like that… just having pace on people — that’s what racing is all about. I like it and I’m working really hard and having fun.
“It’s a big testament to my crew and how hard they’ve worked. It makes the hard work I’ve been doing at home feel like a big payoff. I’m glad I’m able to do this for my team.”
Hayes’ Yamaha teammate, Josh Herrin, gave the squad a third 1-2 result of the ’12 season in a fine return to form. After struggling throughout the weekend, Herrin relied on a tactic that has worked well for him in the past. The rookie pushed hard on the opening lap and clung on as long as possible to Hayes’ disappearing rear wheel. While he wasn’t able to stay there for more than a lap or two, it proved enough to pull him free from majority of his competitors.
However, Herrin’s opening lap featured an extra bit of drama as he and Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom made contact while contesting second. The Yamaha pilot pushed his way through in pursuit of Hayes. Bostrom, meanwhile, suffered a less enviable fate, pushed off track and falling all the way down to 15th.
Runner-up Herrin said, “Yesterday was horrible; it was nice to get a good start and be up there today and not have to work twice as hard to get there.
“I was trying to make the least amount of mistakes that I could. Josh had already gotten a little bit of a gap so I was trying to put a gap on them so I didn’t have to keep working super hard to keep them from passing me.
“This was probably the worst weekend I’d had all season as far as all the sessions go. It was definitely cool for me to fall and have a race like we did yesterday and bounce back like we did today.”
Team Amsoil/Hero’s Geoff May worked hard to stick with Herrin but eventually fell into the clutches of Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Young. The rivals dropped out of podium contention in a Turn 1 incident on lap 17 of 23 that left May and his #99 EBR 1190RS on the ground and Young off-course.
National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden inherited the position and went on to score his sixth podium finish of the ’12 season.
“The podium was maybe a gift today,” Hayden said. “We pretty much struggled all weekend being consistent. I think I showed up a little bit rusty… But all and all, I’m happy with the podium. My pace was a lot better than yesterday but we still have to cut down the gap to the two Joshes.”
Young returned to the fray amidst a group battling for fourth that also included Bostrom, who had successfully charged forward following his early misfortune, Attack Performance Kawasaki’s Steve Rapp, and Riders Discount L&L Supply’s Taylor Knapp.
Bostrom took control of the position late but was aced on the final lap by Young in a reversal of their Saturday shootout for second.
Rapp picked up sixth, just two tenths ahead of Knapp, while Team Hero EBR’s Danny Eslick, Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing BMW’s Larry Pegram, and KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore rounded out the top 10.
Hayes heads to the series’ penultimate round at Homestead-Miami Speedway carrying a massive 98-point advantage and in strong position to clinch his third consecutive AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike title a round early.
Martin Cardenas and GEICO Suzuki won Sunday’s AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race from New Jersey Motorsports Park, his seventh win of the year. Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki) and Bobby Fong (Meen Motorsports) finished just behind Cardenas after the Colombian passed them in the final run to the flag.
“I gave it a go on the last lap and tried to go as fast as I could. I’m happy,” Cardenas said.
Earlier in the race, a red flag came out after Tommy Hayden hit fluid on the track from another rider returning to the track after an off-course excursion. Hayden highsided in the water on the track. Cameron Beaubier also crashed, as well as Aaron Gobert and Michael Beck.
After the restart, Cardenas looked to have the race in hand but got shuffled back in the lead pack as the laps counted down. Cardenas said Westby repeatedly made up nearly a half-second in turn ten, which made it tough to close up but he did so on the final lap.
“The bike worked awesome all weekend. I led for about ten or twelve laps and I knew Bobby was right behind me,” Cardenas said. “Dane passed me and so did Bobby and they did some good laps. I thought about throwing in the towel but I made one more run. I got a good drive out of the last corner and drafted them on the front straight. I knew all three of us could win. The last few races I was close, so I am glad today worked out for me.”
Westby, who started 13th, said he got a bad drive the final time onto the straight. “It just didn’t work out for us but a trophy and some champagne is not so bad,” he said.
Fong, a fantastic rider on a smaller team, earned the podium this time out. He wanted more, though – a second AMA Pro class victory. “I’m really upset with myself and I timed everything wrong,” said Fong. “It’s a work in progress and every weekend, we’re getting better.”
Tommy Aquino was fourth on the Kneedraggers.com Yamaha, ahead of young rider Jake Gagne on the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha. A three-rider pack consisting of Cory West (Vesrah Suzuki), Jake Zemke (Ducshop Ducati), and J.D. Beach (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) battled for sixth.
Notably, several top riders retired from the race including Jason DiSalvo, Beaubier and Hayden.
Latus Motors Triumph’s Dustin Dominguez was awarded the victory at the conclusion of another wild AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport contest.
Already halted earlier by a red flag, the race was decided by a second red flag that flew with just three laps remaining.
Saturday winner James Rispoli took the lead from Dominguez aboard his Celtic Racing/Orient Express/Army National Guard Suzuki GSX-R600 on lap 16 of a scheduled 19 and put his head down in a bid to make a late escape.
Dominguez was hot in pursuit and weaved right to overtake a pair of lapped riders on the front straight after Rispoli had powered by them on the left.
Dominguez and Babuska Racing’s Chris Starke made contact as he attempted to draft past, sending Starke tumbling down to the tarmac.
The race was called at that point, and when the order was reset to the previous lap, Dominguez was declared the winner.
“The race was going good and James and I were going at it,” Dominguez said. “It was unfortunate there at the end. We got into lapped traffic and kind of collided there. I feel horrible — it’s probably one of the most uncomfortable wins I’ve ever had. I wish it would have come down to the end.”
Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki’s Jake Lewis took third, coming out on top of a deep, multi-rider struggle for the final podium position.
Lewis finished one spot ahead of National Guard/Fairhills Group/Celtic Racing Suzuki’s Corey Alexander, who earlier sliced his way up from ninth to third.
Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff added yet another top-five result to his tally in his return weekend.
Shane Narbonne won the New Jersey AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series race, a wild affair with seven riders vying for victory. Local rider Narbonne was able to make a late charge on his Teterboro Rams, LLC-backed Harley-Davidson XR1200 after running in the lead pack to beat the series regulars at their own game.
With seven racers fighting for the lead, including the men who normally dominate the XR1200 class podium, it was easy to overlook Narbonne’s fine form in the race – until he bolted into the lead on the last lap.
Narbonne immediately pulled the narrowest of gaps. When XR Showdown points leader Kyle Wyman highsided in turn 11a, no one could catch Narbonne, who earned his first AMA Pro win. “I didn’t even really know what lap it was, I just went to the front. I didn’t see the white flag, I just went,” said Shane. “It’s good to win at my home track. I’ve been working hard for this.”
Michael Barnes finished second and ran strong, leading the race several times on his KLR Group/Spyke’s HD XR1200, but had fallen to the back of the lead pack near the end of the race. Barnes took advantage of the chaos to jump up to second in the final moments of the contest. Barnes, like third place Tyler O’Hara saw the $60,000 XR Showdown tighten up, with four riders now within four points with two events to go.
“It’s great to be back up here on the box. On the last lap, I did the best I could to get past Tyler,” said Barnes. “I got shuffled back, one by one. I knew it was coming towards the end. Shane got a good pass on me and then I got passed by (Benny) Carlson and Jake Holden. I got aggressive and stuck up on the outside of him. I was making some progress and then I saw the big incident. I decided to take advantage, so I pushed the bike and got the maximum points for us Showdown riders.”
O’Hara, racing for Bartel’s Harley-Davidson, said. “The whole race was epic. There was battling every turn. Everyone was riding well and it was great. We’re racing really hard but I trust and respect all of these guys.”