Race Report: Infineon AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, Race 2
NEWS May 15, 2011
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
SONOMA, CA (May 15, 2011) - Sunday’s AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Race 2 at Infineon Raceway was red-flagged following two hugely dramatic first laps, which kicked off with Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden swooping into the lead while teammate Blake Young rubbed elbows with Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes immediately behind. Within a minute, however, the M4 Suzuki team had lost both its riders, Chris Ulrich suffering a nasty crash in Turn 2 and Martin Cardenas sliding out moments later, his bike coming to rest atop the AirFence. It was the second get-off for Cardenas in one day, as a crash in morning practice had left him with a dislocated left shoulder just hours earlier.
Cardenas regridded at the back, determined to grab some all-important championship points, but his misfortune was quickly overshadowed by a big crash on the restart that collected JD Beach (Cycle World/Attack Performance Kawasaki), Tony Kasper (Team Iron Horse BMW), and Jeremy Burgess (ADR Fly Racing). All injured riders were treated at the at-track facility and released, save for M4 Suzuki’s Chris Ulrich, who was transported by ground to the local hospital. (No additional information was available at press time; team news will be posted as it’s received.)
The track was cleared without bringing out the red flag, and Hayden tried to take advantage of his second holeshot to shake Hayes and Young, engaged in furious battle behind him. Hayes quickly bashed by Young, however, and set out after Hayden, passing via an aggressive move that nearly cost him. Once in second, however, Hayden didn’t particularly seem to mind—he stayed close on Hayes’ wheel through the following laps, periodically laying down a handful of the fastest laps the race saw and occasionally taking a look at the inside or outside of Hayes’ line. When Tommy finally passed for the lead with just a few laps remaining, he put his head down and built some safety into his first National Guard SuperBike win of 2011, crossing the line with a margin of 1.926 seconds.
Hayes and Young brought their bikes home uneventfully in second and third, respectively, while several battles were decided behind them. Steve Rapp (San Diego BMWE) came out on top of his fourth-place battle with Foremost Insurance Racing’s Larry Pegram, and Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom, who’d diced throughout the second half of the race with National Guard Jordan Suzuki teammate Roger Hayden for sixth, took at least that version of a victory. Equally valorous, thought the results may not reflect it, was M4 Suzuki’s Cardenas, who fought his way up to eighth from the back of the grid.
The top-ten finishing order was Hayes, Hayes, Young, Rapp, Pegram, Bostrom, Roger Hayden, Cardenas, Chris Peris (Iron Horse BMW), and Chris Clark (Y.E.S./Pat Clark/Graves Yamaha). For full results, click here.
Young, 3rd: “I felt better on the first start. When I got up there on the second start, I thought, ‘Maybe I can hang in here today and see where they go,’ but I looked down at my lap timer and didn’t think they were all that quick. I knew they were going to step up the pace, and I just don’t think I was ready for it. I tried to keep my head down and ride my own race, but today I couldn’t really stay there. I had to bring home third for my guys, at least get it on the podium, but I’m just looking forward to the next race already.”
Hayes, 2nd: “Man, both of them just came off the line like rocket ships. I got a pretty good jump, but I just didn’t get rolling as good as they did. I’m sitting here thinking about the race, and I really had a hard race. It’s just, the bike was a bit of a handful today … I think the red flag hurt me a little. Before that I felt pretty good, but on the restart, right in the beginning I had a couple of pretty big ones and I thought, ‘Man, I’ve been this route before. I’ve been able to do pretty good laps, so I’m just doing to dig deep and ride this thing the best I can. Knowing Tommy, he’s back there watching me, laughing at me, and getting ready to kick my butt,’ which is what he did [laughs].”
Hayden, 1st: “Seemed like as the race went on it was coming to me a little bit. I made some changes for the race, so it kind of took me a couple laps to be 100 percent confident with what I had. About the time I was feeling decent, Josh came by, and I kind of settled into that. It was tough for a few laps, but then my bike really started working good—felt like it was working better and better. With about ten to go I was following pretty close; I had a couple looks in a few places kept kind of botching it up a little and falling back a couple of bike-lengths. I was close to going by a few times and didn’t, and that hurt me a little bit, but I had two or three places I thought I could get by, so I was just trying to hurry up and do it and put my head down to the finish.
“This win today feels really good. I was really disappointed with my performance here last year, so I really challenged myself to come here this year and redeem myself, not give away the kind of points I did here last hear. That’s not something you can do when you’re racing guys like Josh and Blake, so this feels really good.”
The AMA Pro Road Racing Series next travels to Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park for the “Big M Weekend,” where it will run alongside the World Superbike series in a combined May 28-30 event. For tickets and information, visit www.bigmweekend.com.
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