RACE REPORT: Young Takes Emotional SuperBike Victory at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
NEWS July 9, 2011
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
LEXINGTON, OH (July 9, 2011) – While a Lap 8 red flag changed the fortunes of many, Saturday’s AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike winner Blake Young (Rockstar Makita Suzuki) and runner-up Josh Hayes (Monster Energy Graves Yamaha) ran down to the wire in a contest that was clearly inevitable. The lead pair were hunted throughout the race by the field’s strongest would-be challengers, including third-place finisher Tommy Hayden (Rockstar Makita Suzuki) and National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden, but Young had extra motivation pushing him toward today’s victory.
“Today is the fifth anniversary of my dad’s passing,” said Young, “and that put a little bit extra on me today. This place is pretty special to me -- I won my 2005 Horizon Award here with him, and I really wanted to get the win today and dedicate it to him. Hats off to Josh, he rode really, really good. When I was back in fourth place, I thought, ‘Is this one of those days when we ride aggressive to the front, or do we let him go?’ But I came into this race just really wanting to win it for my dad’s fifth anniversary, and that’s what we did.”
The win didn’t come easily for Young – he crossed the finish just .177 seconds ahead of Hayes – and the closing laps saw frequent lead changes as Hayes attacked for P1 again and again. “I rode a little rough in the beginning,” said Hayes, “and made a lot of mistakes. The restart was probably the best start I’ve gotten all year, but … I don’t know if I’ve ever had a front end move around that much in a race, and I just didn’t have the confidence to stick it in there. So that’s what we had today, and I think tomorrow we’ll try to sort out a solution for the front end to be a little big stronger. [Blake and my] strengths are different, and right now he seems to have the trump card. So we’ll keep working to come up with something we can beat him with.”
Tommy Hayden – who’d earned a fifth-place grid position after struggling in qualifying -- crossed the line third, having stuck close behind the lead pair on the restart. A terrible first start had forced him to fight his way up from eighth to fourth, “but once we got going,” said Hayden, “even on the first start, I thought I had the speed to run with these guys, and I felt pretty smooth. With five to go I really thought I was going to win that race; I felt hooked up pretty good and it seemed like I could make it happen. But the last couple laps Blake seemed to step it up a little bit, and Josh was sticking his wheels in, and with the tires getting greasy I couldn’t really send the front in there. Overall we’ve been struggling a little bit this weekend, so I felt the race went pretty well given all that.”
While Roger Hayden was able to stay solidly in the lead pack both before and after the red flag, ultimately finishing fourth, his Jordan Suzuki teammate Ben Bostrom – who’d run as high as third prior to the flag – went wide shortly after the restart and was relegated to a disappointing fourteenth.
On the emotional flip side, Chris Fillmore piloted the KTM/HMC Racing RC8R to an impressive seventh-place finish in the OEM’s factory AMA Pro SuperBike debut, besting San Diego BMW’s Steve Rapp after a race-long battle. Ahead, M4 Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas led the chase group across the line in fifth, followed by Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram. David Anthony (ADR Fly Racing) and JD Beach (Cycle World/Attack Performance Kawasaki) rounded out the top ten, respectively.
Iron Horse BMW/ESP rider Chris Peris, whose crash in the Keyhole brought out the red flag, was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. His team has reported the Canadian is basically okay.
Young’s Race 1 victory moves him into the overall AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Championship lead for the first time, just three points ahead of Hayes. Tommy Hayden, Cardenas, and Pegram round out the top five in current standings.
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