Wet Race Crowns First-Time Winner in Saturday SuperBike Action at Barber
NEWS June 19, 2011
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
BIRMINGHAM, AL (June 18, 2011) – Saturday’s AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike action at Barber Motorsports Park started with a front-row shakeup in morning qualifying, as pole-earner Josh Hayes (Monster Energy Graves Yamaha) and runner-up Tommy Hayden (Rockstar Makita Suzuki) were joined by Iron Horse BMW/ESP’s Chris Peris and National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden. Tommy’s Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate, Blake Young – second in points as the series headed to Barber, with four victories to his name – was left to head up the second row, the fifth-place start adding up to his worst yet in 2011.
Once the race itself kicked off, though, Peris and Young both proved that qualifying is an entirely different animal from actual competition—and they weren’t the only ones. With a little help from inclement weather, Barber’s National Guard SuperBike Race 1 resolved into a podium that delivered M4 Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas his first AMA Pro career SuperBike victory, and welcomed second-place finisher Ben Bostrom (National Guard Jordan Suzuki) to the winner’s circle for the first time in 2011.
Off the start, Peris was shuffled to the back of the top-ten while Young sailed forward to land on teammate Hayden’s – who’d rocketed to the overall lead – rear wheel. Hayes immediately tucked into third with Roger Hayden right behind, and the lead four tore through the next handful of laps just bike-lengths apart. With sixteen laps remaining, however, heavy rain began to spatter riders’ windscreens, bringing out the red flag. In a holding pattern, teams waited to see whether the system would pass, or whether it would stay put and mandate a switch to rain tires.
On the restart, with the majority of the grid and all of the front-runners on full rains, it was Young who took over the lead as the field picked their way almost daintily around the track in wet conditions. With Young, Hayes, and Tommy Hayden all riding conservatively, however – seeming to have switched their focus to a defense of precious championship points -- it wasn’t long before new race contenders declared themselves.
First Roger Hayden made a bid for the lead, moving up to second behind Young with Cardenas just behind, and as Cardenas himself stole the lead from Young, Bostrom likewise broke into the lead pack, passing Roger and Young to settle into second position behind Cardenas.
With two laps to go, Bostrom was systematically stalking Cardenas, and while Young trailed in third, all eyes were glued to the lead pair as the white flag flew. Through the last two corners on the race’s last lap, Bostrom pounced, trying the outside twice and the inside once but pouring out onto the front straight just tenths behind Cardenas, crossing the line .137 second after the leader.
“We had a very good bike, and the thought was obviously to wait until a couple laps from the end, then attack him,” said Bostrom afterward. “I thought I was good on the brakes, but he was also very good on the brakes, so I got snookered there.”
And while Cardenas – the reigning Daytona SportBike champion turned SuperBike rookie -- was happy with his first SuperBike victory, he noted that rain victories come with a sort of asterisk, and that he’s got work to do yet. “It’s always great to win in whatever class you’re in, but it’s different to win in the dry than in the wet. So this is good, but if it were a dry race it would be much better. We’ll see tomorrow in the dry what happens … I’ll give my best. But today, I’m very happy for me and my team.”
Today’s National Guard SuperBike and Daytona SportBike races air tonight at 9 p.m. PST/midnight EST on SPEED. Tomorrow’s SuperBike Race 2 kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Central time; follow twitter.com/AMAProLIVE for live race play-by-plays.
For complete ticket and schedule information, please visit www.barbermotorsports.com. The Barber SuperBike Classic Weekend, honoring the men and women of the Alabama National Guard, features a host of activities and racing action at the magnificent Barber Motorsports Park facility, and special discounts are available for Guard members and their families.
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