Eslick Claims Daytona SportBike as Herrin Doubles Again in New Jersey
NEWS September 6, 2009
His victories in the final four races vaulted him to second in the final championship standings, just five points behind 2009 Daytona SportBike Champion Danny Eslick (No. 9 GEICO Powersports/RMR Buell 1125R). Eslick finished seventh Sunday and ended his successful championship run with 387 points to Herrin's 382. Eslick's No. 9 GEICO Powersports/RMR Buell team also won the Daytona SportBike Team Championship with the same 387-point total.
Herrin's late charge helped Yamaha win the Daytona SportBike Manufacturer Championship. Yamaha's total of 441 points edged Suzuki and Buell who ended up tied with 416 points.
Herrin and most of the other front runners survived an opening lap dust up in Turn 1 that shuffled the running order and ended with four riders going down or off course. Herrin was in sixth place at the end of Lap 1 but was up to fourth and mixing it up with the leaders two laps later. He was challenging Saturday runner-up Chaz Davies (No. 57 Factory Aprilia /Millennium Technologies Team Aprilia RSV1000R) for the lead on Lap 11 when the Aprilia rider slid off course. Davies was uninjured but his weekend was over.
"Turn 1 was definitely really scary," Herrin said. "I thought we were done for, but luckily we got out of there. I think we were in seventh going into Turn 3 and it was definitely harder than I wanted it to be. A little more stress on us, but we made it happen. My Graves Yamaha crew has been working really, really hard all year. We came up five points shy but it's the best that we've done since I've been in AMA Pro so hat's off to them."
Herrin's final battle for the lead was with Jake Zemke(No. 1x Erion Racing Honda CBR600RR), who joined his teammate Chris Peris (No. 10 Erion Racing Honda CBR600RR) in having one of Honda's best races of the season. Zemke passed Herrin for the lead on Lap 21 only to have the Yamaha rider draft past two laps later in the fast run down the front straight to start the last lap.
"On the white flag lap we went down into Turn 1 and I thought 'There's no way he's going to make the corner, I'm just going turn right back underneath him,'" Zemke said. "As soon as I took the thing in, I lost the rear and it skidded away. It gave Josh a nice little gap. I was able to close back up a little bit there at the end but it was just not enough. So, congratulations to Josh and congratulations to Danny on his first championship, that's great to see. It's been a long year for us. It would have been nice to finish it off with a win but we'll take the second place. It's going to be a long winter but we'll come out swinging next year."
The young Yamaha standout crossed the line just .063 of a second ahead of Zemke for the win while Herrin's teammate Tommy Aquino (No. 6 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6) finished third.
"I got a really clean start and apparently I was the only one," said Aquino, who led the first lap. "I was out in the lead for a little bit. I got passed a couple of times and I just settled in. Once I thought I was settled in, somebody else would kind of stuff me, but I was trying to ride my race. Eventually some people either moved out of the way by themselves or I moved them out of the way. It went pretty good and I'm happy with this."
Peris finished fourth after running as high as second while Jamie Hacking (No. 88 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R) rounded out the top five.
Hacking's teammate Roger Hayden (No. 95 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R) edged Eslick for sixth place at the line, but the 2009 Daytona SportBike Champion raced to the end while wrapping up the title.
"Going back all the way to three weeks before Daytona, I didn't have a ride," Eslick said. "The season has been amazing and with just the first couple of wins, we would have been happy with that. We've kept on going and won a couple more races, had some off weekends and made the best of what we have. My guys have worked so hard. The GEICO Powersports/Bruce Rossmeyer/RMR Buell team has just worked so hard all year long and never given up. It's been a long, hard fight the whole way and this weekend is no different. We've had some tough times a month ago, but we made it through. Who would have thought I'd have any wins coming into the season, and to leave with the championship, I couldn't ask for anything more."
Superpole winner Jason DiSalvo (No. 40 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600) had another challenging race and finished eighth. Saturday's third place finisher Steve Rapp (No. 48 Bazzaz/Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R6) was also uninjured in a lowside incident in Sunday's race.
Of the riders involved in the opening lap incident, only Aaron Gobert (No. 97 Factory Aprilia /Millennium Technologies Team Aprilia RSV1000R) required medical attention, but he was examined and released.
Sunday's Daytona SportBike final and other action from the New Jersey AMA Pro Superbike Championships can be seen in late-night coverage tonight on SPEED tonight at 12:30 a.m. ET (9:30 p.m. PT).
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