Born to Run: Josh Hayes Wins 40th Career AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Race in New Jersey but Josh Herrin Leads The Points
NEWS September 15, 2013
Photo by Brian J Nelson
MILLVILLE, N.J. (September 15, 2013) - Three-time AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike champion Josh Hayes turned 40 on Sunday at the New Jersey Lottery Devil's Showdown. Not in years, but in career National Guard SuperBike victories, as the Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha superstar rebounded from Saturday's disappointment with a vintage ride that served as a clear reminder that he's still the man to beat in any given premier-class race.
While he faces long odds in his quest to claim an unprecedented fourth-straight AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike title, the Mississippian got a measure of revenge for yesterday's contest. On Saturday, Hayes fought his way through the field after suffering an early electrical issue to take the checkered flag first, only to ultimately be dropped down to fourth in the official standings due to his third jump-start infraction of the 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season.
On Sunday, after getting away cleanly at the start, Hayes powered into Turn 1 in third position from pole and then worked his way into the lead by the time the field returned to the start/finish straight for the first time in the 23-lap race.
Hayes' Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha teammate, Josh Herrin, slotted in behind Hayes' rear wheel and the two factory Yamaha pilots made a quick escape from the remainder of the pack. Herrin, who (again) capitalized on Hayes' costly mistake on Saturday to pick up his fourth win of the season and grab the inside line to this year's crown, tagged along for several laps before Hayes' blistering pace finally proved too much.
With Herrin no longer in his shadow, the champ immediately ripped open a sizable advantage, which he managed for the bulk of the race. Hayes ultimately scored his seventh victory of 2013 by 3.199 seconds.
The triumph was Hayes' eighth SuperBike win at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Afterwards, the straight-faced Yamaha ace said, "The race went pretty good. This morning I went out and put in a good string of laps so I knew I was capable of doing a lot of '21s. I just tried to get myself to the front and see how fast I could go. I did a couple '20s and Josh did a pretty good job -- he was able to hang on while we were doing those. I just tried to keep the pressure on so I could get a little gap. It seemed like I got it and then it kind of hovered… I just tried to be steady and not make any mistakes or miss any marks. I just had a good, smooth ride and was able to bring it home."
Herrin wouldn't be lonely in second for long after losing Hayes' tow, however, as he was tracked down by Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Martin Cardenas and National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden. They clawed their way up to make it a three-way fight for second position with just two laps to go.
Colombian Cardenas made his bid for the position on the final lap but Herrin was able to counter his pass with one of his own and hold the spot by 0.055 of a second at the stripe.
Hayden, who overtook Cardenas for third momentarily the lap before, was an interested observer in the heated battle as he accepted fourth just a half-second removed from a runner-up finish.
As a result of yesterday's win and today's second, Herrin now boasts a comfortable 22-point advantage heading into the '13 finale. A finish inside the top ten is all he needs to earn his first-ever AMA Pro title.
Herrin said, "It feels good. It's been since 2008 that I've been trying to get a championship. I'm not there yet but it's getting closer. Today I went into the race really nervous -- I'm not going to lie. I was thinking about the points and what I needed to do to get enough of a gap to where I wouldn't have to worry too much at Laguna and I think we accomplished that. It's not going to be easy to finish in the top ten but it's a lot of weight off my shoulder knowing that's the goal. We've been working hard all year and we've had minimal problems and we've only not finished on the podium twice all year. That was something that was real important to me this year… I'm just really excited to go to Laguna."
Cardenas is now third, 23 points back of Herrin. The Suzuki runner said, "It was a very long and tough race; I didn't have rest at any time. I made a good start but, at the end of the first lap, the two Josh's passed me and they were a little bit faster than me on the first few laps. And then Danny (Eslick) and Roger tried to pass me and I had to fight back. By that time, Herrin and Hayes had a little gap and all the race I was trying to close that gap. I was trying as hard as I could every lap, and I saw the gap was coming down (to Herrin) little by little. On the last lap, I caught Herrin and tried to do my best to pass him and hold the position. I made an attempt, and it worked but only for a little bit and he passed me back. There was no other chance, so I had to settle for third."
Jordan Suzuki's Danny Eslick shined in the race's early stages, dicing back and forth with Cardenas and Hayden while contesting third position. Eventually he fell off that chase and into a fifth-place finish -- his ninth top-five of the 2013 campaign.
KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore shook Team HERO EBR's Geoff May and made a late run on Eslick, ultimately coming up just over a second short while claiming sixth position.
May finished a lonely seventh while Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram was an equally clear eighth.
Fillmore's KTM teammate Taylor Knapp won out in a race-long scrap for ninth ahead of tenth-place finisher David Anthony (Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing) and eleventh-placed Aaron Yates (Team Amsoil/HERO EBR).
With just a single race left to contest, Herrin heads to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at the end of the month with 320 points and on the verge of his first SuperBike title. Hayes and Cardenas are still alive should things go wrong for Herrin, however, holding 298 and 297 points, respectively.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier won AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race number 11 of the 2013 season in dominating fashion, logging a 7.693-second victory over his Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha teammate Garrett Gerloff. Bobby Fong and D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph returned to the podium with a strong third place.
Beaubier got away quickly and consolidated his lead. After a red flag, he did it again to extend his record the day after he clinched the 2013 championship, proving himself to be the class of the field as both Jake Lewis (Meen Motorsports) and Jake Gagne (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) crashed out of second place.
“Going into today, it was a relief wrapping up the championship, and I went into today with no pressure. I tried to get a good start and put my head down,” said Beaubier after the win. “For the restart, I was trying to be really aggressive. I didn’t know both Jakes crashed until I came in but I have to give it up to my team. It feels good having won one more race and be the champion.”
Gerloff’s second place was a nice rebound after a fall on Saturday. He also watched on Sunday as two riders fell in front of him while chasing Beaubier.
“I was hoping to do better, given how I went in qualifying and how I felt. The crash didn’t do me any favors as far as confidence goes,” said Gerloff, who had a firm cushion late in the race. “I decided I was going to take it easy, stay in second. Congrats to Cameron and Bobby, they did a great job.”
Fong was able to return to the podium after earning third at Daytona. “The pace was pretty hot in the beginning; I felt like I could run that pace the whole race,” said Fong. “Honestly, I wish I had a battle through the whole race. It was pretty lonely. I wanted to at least battle for the podium. We've got a lot of momentum, and the bike has been working really well. We still have a steep hill to climb but it's getting better and better every race weekend.”
Benny Solis earned his best result yet in the class after a spirited four-rider fight for fourth. The M4 Hotbodies Racing pilot beat Latus Motors Racing’s Jason DiSalvo, GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing’s Dane Westby and Jake Zemke on the Riders Discount Racing Triumph for the position.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
The 2013 AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport East Division championship came down to 18 laps of furious action in New Jersey, and Corey Alexander won the championship by a sole point over Hayden Gillim in a thrilling race won by overall Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport champion Tomas Puerta of RoadRace Factory/Red Bull. Team 95’s Gillim was able to beat National Guard/Celtic Racing’s Alexander and finish second, while Alexander took third place over MotoSport.com RSRacecraft’s Stefano Mesa at the stripe by just 0.013 of a second.
“Today, I really wanted to win the race,” said Puerta, who won three events in his 2013 season. “I want to say congratulations to both of these guys, they rode really hard. Hopefully, we can see each other in the races next year.”
The race will be remembered as a four-rider battle for the entire 18 laps, with turn one being the action spot. Alexander was able to lead the most laps and earn the bonus point that eventually served as his margin of victory in the championship, but Puerta took the lead on the last lap and Mesa relegated Alexander to fourth place. Had the contest ended then, Gillim would have been champ, but Alexander got a better drive than Mesa and powered past by the slimmest of margins just before the finish line.
“I think that's probably the hardest race I've ever ridden. Right off the bat, I knew I was going to have to work for it,” said Alexander after winning his first AMA Pro championship. “I put my head down but couldn't get down to the times I was able to do yesterday to try to gap these guys. I could feel the pace slowing down at the end, so I knew I could be a little faster if I needed to be but my bike was spinning a lot and it was hot out there. I didn't know where I would end up and who was where, or anything for that matter. These guys rode a great race, and that last lap was a little nerve-wracking. I led a little bit of it before Tomas took the lead and I found myself in fourth place going into that last section. I was a little scared for a second -- I wasn't sure if Hayden was going to be able to draft by into first. Fortunately, he didn't. I really wanted that lap leader point so, every lap, I made sure I crossed the line first.”
Gillim rode well, but the breaks did not go his way, and his 198 points were short of Alexander’s 199.
“Hats off to Corey and Tomas,” said Gillim. “We all rode a really good race. It was a hard-fought one. I look forward to next season to try to see what I can do and hopefully get on a bigger team. I wish these guys the best in the future, and I really think all three of us can go a long way in the sport.”
Mesa took fourth, way ahead of a tough fight for fifth won by CTR Racing’s Miles Thornton. He topped Meen Motorsports’ Wyatt Farris and Sebastiao Ferreira of BP Racing.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
Aerostar Global/Suburban Harley-Davison's Steve Rapp strengthened his bid to secure his first career GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing championship today at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Rapp returned to his winning ways on Sunday as he claimed his fifth AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series victory of the season in dominant fashion.
Rapp gapped the field from the start, opening up nearly a full second of padding on the race's opening lap. The veteran ace proceeded to manage his advantage from there, working up a margin of nearly five seconds before ultimately calling off the dogs and cruising to the checkered flag with 2.160 seconds in hand.
The blowout win -- along with the bonus points he earned for his record-breaking pole lap and leading the most laps -- extends Rapp's XR Showdown lead to 22 points with just the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca finale left to decide the 2013 AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series title.
After his triumph, Rapp said, "We had a good bike -- we made a few changes this morning, and they were definitely an improvement over what I had been riding. We're always making the bike better and getting confident, knowing the limits of the tires and the bike. I've done well at this track in the past, so that was a confidence building coming in here. I had a good weekend at Indy and, as the year has progressed, we've gotten a little better at every race."
While the title leader did his best to remove all drama from Sunday's Harley-Davidson contest as quickly as possible, his pursuers put on a tremendous show in the race for second. Rapp's Suburban Harley-Davidson teammate, Ben Carlson, Harv's Harley-Davidson's Travis Wyman, and Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade's Tyler O'Hara waged an early slugfest for second position.
That battle was more than doubled up as Designstar3.com/Empire Harley-Davidson's '12 NJMP winner Shane Narbonne, MOB Racing's Eric Stump, Kyle Wyman Racing's Kyle Wyman, and defending champ Michael Barnes (Spyke's Harley-Davidson) closed in and ultimately joined the podium tussle.
After considerable jockeying for position, O'Hara successfully worked his way past a very racey Stump to steal second position at the flag by just fractions of a second. Home-track hero Stump, meanwhile, once again demonstrated that riders from outside the XR Showdown can still play a major role as the season winds down by finishing an impressive third.
Title hopeful Travis Wyman finished inches ahead of his brother for fourth, while Carlson finished sixth after running second early. Barnes came home in seventh while Narbonne lost out in the final-lap shuffle this time around, crossing the stripe a distant eighth.
Aerostar Global/Suburban Harley-Davison's Nicholas Hansen and Thrashed Bike Racing's David Estok completed the top ten.
Next Up - The 2013 Season Finale
The thrilling 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season will conclude in two weeks as the series returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. to join the FIM Superbike World Championship on September 27-29.
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