RACE REPORT: Action Heats Up in Barber Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport Race 2
NEWS June 19, 2011
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
BIRMINGHAM, AL (June 19, 2011) – The weather wasn’t the only thing that was hot at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, on Sunday, as the second AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race of the weekend boasted some seriously steamy action. ANT-Racing.com Suzuki rider James Rispoli barely edged out yesterday’s winner, Benny Solis (Roadracingworld.com Honda), for the victory, while Hayden Gillim finished third and celebrated his first Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport podium.
At the start of the 17-lap race, Rispoli put on a masterful display of control and pace as he worked his way toward a second career AMA Pro SuperSport win. He couldn’t shake loose Solis, however, who even managed to shoot past Rispoli in the final turn on lap eleven. But Rispoli would not be denied, and he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by just 0.064 of a second.
"I made a couple mistakes toward the middle of the race,” acknowledged Rispoli, “and I looked back a couple times and saw he was right there, so I knew it was going to be pretty hard to gap him and then keep the tires. So I slowed the pace down a lot -- I think it was about a half-second slower through the middle of the race -- I was really trying to conserve tires. I saw him try that pass and said, 'It's not gonna happen, dude' [laughs], but it was clean race, and I really trust him, so it was cool. It was like dirt track again -- really cool. Hats off to my crew and everyone else ... it's been a great weekend with the second and first, and hats off to all men and women serving overseas -- I want to give a big shout-out to them."
“The whole race was just exciting for me,” added Solis. “I was nervous the whole time, but having a lot of fun. I tried really hard to close the gap [on Rispoli], but once I was there I think I wore out my front tire. Every time I tried to catch him on the brakes, it started stepping out. I couldn't show him a wheel -- I tried really hard and wanted to attempt that last pass again, but I knew it wasn't going to work out, and I would rather have had second than both of us crash out. But other than that I'm just happy to be on the podium, and it was a lot of fun."
Behind the lead duo, there was action aplenty as yesterday’s third-place finisher Elena Myers (Team SuzukiScoopFans Suzuki) got another great start and ran as high as third before having to settle for fifth. She had her hands more than full with Tomas Puerta (LTD Racing Y.E.S. Yamaha), Road America winner Travis Wyman (Harv’s Harley-Davidson Yamaha), Stefano Mesa (Rata Racing Ducati), and Dustin Dominguez (Latus Motors Triumph), all of whom put on a great show in the young-gun class.
Gillim, meanwhile, was making quiet but steady progress up through the ranks from his tenth-place starting position. Before some of his competitors realized it, Gillim had worked his way up to third place – just in time to take the last podium spot as the checkers flew.
"I started on the third row, but I knew I could run the same time as these guys,” said Gillim. “I got a decent start and was seventh going into Turn One. From there, I was just trying to work my way up to front. About five laps into the race, I caught Travis and Elena and kind of had to sit back for a little bit; they were both running strong and I couldn't find anywhere to pass them. [Once I did], I put my head down and just tried to catch [Solis and Rispoli], but they had a four- to five-second lead by then. I'm just happy to be up here -- it's a good Father's Day present for my dad, and hopefully we can just keep the momentum going."
Corey Alexander put in a solid ride on his Vesrah Suzuki, finishing fourth ahead of Myers and Dominguez. Ricky Parker brought home seventh on his Yamaha, and Puerta took eighth ahead of James Dellinger on another Vesrah Suzuki. Ben Young rounded out the top ten on his Lean Angle Yamaha.
So far this year, there have been six different winners in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport class, and the field continues to chase the $25,000 Motorcycle-Superstore.com points-fund bonus. Rispoli currently leads the East Division SuperSport standings, 92 to Puerta’s 69.
The AMA Pro Road Racing Championship next heads to Lexington, Ohio’s Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the July 8-10 weekend, Round 6 on the series calendar. For tickets and information, visit www.midohio.com or call (419) 884-4000.
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