Beach Leads, Finishes Fifth for RoadRace Factory/Red Bull at Infineon Raceway
NEWS May 8, 2012
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Team Release Courtesy of RoadRace Factory/Red Bull:
SONOMA, Calif. (May 8, 2012) - This past weekend, the enthusiastic RoadRace Factory/Red Bull team competed at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA, for their third-ever AMA Pro event. The new team and their stable of fast, young riders took on the challenge of the twisting, 11-turn racetrack coming off a successful Road Atlanta event that saw the riders make their marks in the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike and Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport classes.
J.D. Beach impressed with his best weekend yet for the team. He took eighth on Saturday and followed that up with a strong fifth place on Sunday after some bike improvements. Beach ran at the very front on Sunday, getting away from the line in second place, and he took the lead just before the red flag flew and the race was stopped. After the restart, J.D. stole fifth place with a smart pass on the last lap.
"The Sunday race was good, and I wish we hadn't had the red flag. I got going with the leader in the first start. The bike was working really well. Still, it was the best finish for me this year," said Beach. "We learned a lot about the bike this weekend and made some really good improvements, so we'll keep moving forward. I made a little bit of a mistake in the second start on Sunday. I got a little tense and got some arm pump and went backwards a little bit, but it went away and I was able to move back up. I couldn't push too hard or the arm pump would come back again. I knew something was going to happen in the last turn by the way the other riders were riding, so I tried to put myself in the best position. It wasn't the best position because I had to square it off so much, but when I got on the gas, it spun some. The first couple of laps were tough, and I tried to put myself in a good spot for the tight turns. Last year, I crashed hard here, so I'm glad to be walking away from this one with some good results. The team worked really hard and got the bike working well."
J.D. is now eighth and climbing in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike points.
Jake Gagne qualified fifth and looked to be ready to contend for the podium like he did at Road Atlanta, but he had a crash in race one and a mechanical problem in race two. Jake ran as high as second place in race two, showing the excellent form he's displayed so far in 2012.
"Qualifying and practice went well, and I was fifth on the grid. The bike felt good, and I was excited for the races. On the first start, I didn't get the launch I wanted, but I passed a couple of guys. My restart was a good one, but I got too close to someone right in front of me. I ended up clipping a curb, and it threw me down," said Gagne, who immediately noticed his handlebar was broken. "It was a real bummer. For Sunday, I got away second behind DiSalvo, but I had a clutch issue that got worse, and I couldn't finish. It's not good having 2 DNFs, but I felt fast. I just had some bad luck."
Tomas Puerta led in AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and diced at the front at Infineon Raceway. The Colombian finished a clear fourth on Saturday with a seven-second margin and, on Sunday, he had his best race of the year. He was on point for the early laps and finished a close third, just 2.063 seconds back as he kicked up the pace even more. "I am really happy about the podium and happy for the team and everyone who worked hard. I cannot thank them enough and think they deserved it," said Puerta. "I'm really pleased about what this means for the next few races. I put my head down. The first red flag on Sunday helped me. The team changed the suspension a little and that improved the bike even more. I was disappointed a little at Daytona and Atlanta that I wasn't at the very front because I have raced these guys before, but we led some laps and got a holeshot and that was very good."
Hayden Gillim had a drama-filled weekend in what was a points-paying event for the West SuperSport man. Gillim qualified on the front row and started race one well, but Hayden was collected when another rider crashed in front of him on Saturday. The team scrambled to repair his machine during the red flag, and Hayden came back to finish ninth despite the long odds and bent forks. He passed 37 racers on his way to the checkered flag. On Sunday, he finished a close fifth, just 2.650 seconds off the win in a group that included Puerta.
"Saturday's race started out strong but then we had the drama with the crash," said Gillim. "We had to put the bike back together and barely made it. The team did a great job in a short amount of time, for sure. It was a really hectic couple of laps, and racing with bent forks from the crash meant it was really tough in a few of the corners. On Sunday, I was glad to be running in the top five. I made a little mistake on the last lap and ran wide in the last turn, so I couldn't get fourth place. I had a lot of fun riding and the team did a great job. We're all still learning but I can tell we are making a lot of progress and I can't wait until Miller."
Gillim is now third in AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport West points.
RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's Danny Walker said, "The best part of the weekend for me was after Hayden's crash on Saturday. How can you say a crash would be the best part? Seeing the team come together was awesome and spectacular, and Hayden was very determined. J.D.'s race was really inspiring, too. Jake had some clutch issues on Sunday but he was really fast all weekend. Neither one of our DSB racers really likes this track but we were really competitive. Tomas got his confidence back. He's on the podium and fired up. We had a typical race weekend with dramas but we worked together as a group, and I am proud of our team."
RoadRace Factory/Red Bull will next compete at Miller Motorsports Park May 26-28.