AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Recap: Buckeye SuperBike Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
NEWS July 19, 2012
Photo by Brian J Nelson
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NEWS July 19, 2012
Photo by Brian J Nelson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 19, 2012) - If Martin Cardenas and Jason DiSalvo headlined the first part of the 2012 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike season, the most recent two events saw Cameron Beaubier and Dane Westby take the spotlight.
Beaubier, a Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha YZF-R6 pilot, doubled in Alabama and took the Sunday win during the Buckeye SuperBike Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Westby, who competes aboard the M4 Broaster Chicken Suzuki GSX-R600, won the Saturday race in Ohio and finished second in three out of the last four outings.
On Saturday, Westby showed his resurgent form. After having a series of bad starts to the year, Westby got the holeshot to start race one. He led DiSalvo (Latus Motors Racing Triumph Daytona 675) and Cardenas (GEICO Suzuki GSX-R600) on the first lap.
By mid-race, Westby, Cardenas, and Beaubier had broken away from the rest and the three traded the lead. It was typical hard-fought GoPro Daytona SportBike racing, with the riders taking varied lines and making plenty of moves as the excitement built. Beaubier and Cardenas both had big moments in the waning laps; Beaubier lost the lead pack, but Cardenas was able to hang on to dice with Westby.
Cardenas led entering the last lap before Westby made a move in the double right-handers. The Oklahoman couldn't make it stick and it looked like his best shot for a win was gone.
He tried again with three turns to go when Cardenas ran a tad wide in turn 13, and this time Westby wrestled first from his stablemate and held it to the flag by just 0.223 of a second.
"We made a little contact in Thunder Valley. He had me covered on the brakes so I had to do something creative," said Westby, adding that his plan was to make his move in the double right-handers. "That worked, but he got the drive on me, but then he made a little mistake. It was a barn-burner."
"We passed I don't know how many times," said Cardenas. "My plan was to get a quick lap and try to win but unfortunately he passed me in some places I didn't expect him to be. He rode great. Congratulations to him."
Beaubier took third but cut some quick laps after he lost the leading duo with five to go, including the fastest lap of the race. "My bike was working awesome but I just made that little mistake," he said.
The battle for fourth saw Tommy Hayden (Y.E.S./ Graves/ Yamaha) earn the spot over Jake Zemke (Ducshop Ducati). J.D. Beach was able to survive an off-track excursion to earn sixth on his RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6. Venezuelan Fernando Amantini (Team Amantini) beat Cory West (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki) in a close battle for seventh. Derek Wagnon earned ninth on his HSBK Ducati, ahead of Michael Beck on his Team Beck Yamaha YZF-R6.
There was a high amount of attrition in the race - mostly from crashes -- with notable retirees including polesitter DiSalvo, Jake Gagne (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull), Meen Motorsports' Bobby Fong, Daytona 200 winner Joey Pascarella (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki) and LTD Racing's Huntley Nash.
For Sunday, the race began under the threat on rain. Pole man DiSalvo got the holeshot, but Cardenas quickly took the lead in the first braking opportunity, turn six. Westby and Beaubier were charging and by lap two had taken the point. On lap six, light rain began to fall and the race was stopped.
On the restart, Fong got the holeshot, once again impressing. When Cardenas came by, Fong stuck to the 2010 champ's tail until Beaubier and Westby were able to get by on lap 10. With eight to go Westby and Beaubier had moved to the front and dropped their lap times and by the time seven circuits were left in the race, Beaubier clocked a 1:28.300, the fastest GoPro Daytona SportBike lap ever turned at Mid-Ohio. Fong was able to follow that up with 1:28.100 of his own on the following lap.
When he finally got clear at the front, Beaubier was able to pull out a gap of several bike lengths and ran to the checkered flag to take his third win of the year by 0.7 of a second.
"I was struggling a little bit getting past people on the brakes," said Beaubier. "I knew I had the pace. In warm-up, I tried the hard tire and it worked a lot better. I was pushing as hard as I could."
Westby was able to hold off Fong for second. On the weekend, Westby moved clear from a second place tie in the Daytona SportBike points with DiSalvo and closed the gap on points leader Cardenas. Westby now trails the Colombian by 40 markers after gaining 11 on the weekend.
"We had some problems that we didn't have yesterday," said Westby. "We changed out the brake pads and I was able to attack in the braking zones a little bit better but we gave it up for some other chatter issues. It was pretty close -- that extra bit I was holding back because of the chatter might have been it. But it is what it is. It was a good race. I'd have liked it to be closer like it was yesterday but every race is different. That's how the cards played today."
Fong earned his first podium since the 2010 season. After a year away from the Daytona SportBike scene, Fong has ridden hard and fast all year and is wildly outperforming expectations.
"I had an awesome restart," said Fong. "Martin got by me and I wanted to sit behind him and save my energy for the end. It didn't turn out that way, though. We started battling. It was a gamble at the end to see who would get it. I gave it all I had and it was our first podium of the year."
Cardenas and Hayden diced for fourth, with Cardenas nosing out his fellow veteran by less than 0.1.
West rebounded to earn sixth in what has been a tough season for him after a fine 2011 when he led Daytona SportBike points at one stage. He was able to beat Nash, who put a good race together Sunday after his Saturday struggles.
Beach jumped the restart early but was able to make up the ground he lost to finish eighth. After crashing on Saturday, Pascarella earned ninth ahead of Austin DeHaven (Kneedraggers.com Yamaha).
Headed to the Laguna Seca round, Westby and Beaubier have the momentum. It will be interesting to see if their rivals can reverse it when the GoPro Daytona SportBike stars join the global superstars of the MotoGP World Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, scheduled for July 27-29.
J.D. Beach leads the Sunoco "Go the Distance" Award chase, having completing 697 laps and logged 1985.32 miles over second place Dane Westby with 679 laps and 1952.24 miles.
Benny Solis sits atop the standings for the $5,000 year-end Saddlemen Rookie of the Year Award, sitting just two markers over Jake Gagne in the GoPro Daytona SportBike points.