ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 1, 2014) – Three-time AMA Pro SuperBike king Josh Hayes made it clear that he’s not ready to be put out to pasture any time soon at the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader. The 39-year-old dug deep in difficult conditions on Sunday and claimed the 43rd victory of his AMA Pro SuperBike career in a showcase of bravery and skill.
Just keeping his R1 on two wheels over the twice-stopped race’s final two laps was a supreme test of his skills as the rain poured down on the Wisconsin circuit. The Mississippian made it through despite a number of near-crashes on the tense run to the checkered flag – which was actually shown as a final red flag, stopping the race for good when a number of last-lap incidents.
“I’m really happy for my team,” Hayes said. “Big thank you to Monster Energy Graves Yamaha for providing me with what I need to win races.”
Commenting on the level of difficult of today’s victory, Hayes said, “It was harder than the hardest lap I’ve ridden around this racetrack just to negotiate around.”
Hayes’ Factory Yamaha teammate, Cameron Beaubier, made his first real rookie mistake during the dry portion of Sunday’s contest, prior to the race’s first red flag. The 21-year-old was the favorite coming into Race 2, having dominated in the lead-up to the race, reeling in the pole position and the win on Saturday.
Beaubier appeared content to sit just behind early-leader Hayes and Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Martin Cardenas and wait for the race’s second half before making his move, similar to the strategy he used so frequently en route to his 2013 GoPro Daytona SportBike crown.
However, looks can be deceiving. Beaubier lost the front of his No. 2 Yamaha YZF-R1 in Turn 1 on lap six of 13 and crashed out of contention. If he had won the race, he would have had more than a full race’s points lead over three-time champ Hayes, but the miscue completely altered the complexion of the developing title fight.
Later that same lap, riders started to signal it was raining in the back half of the circuit and the race was red flagged shortly after.
Until the stoppage, Cardenas was glued to Hayes’ rear wheel at the front of the race, well separated from the remainder of the pack. Cardenas’ teammate, Roger Hayden, was all alone in third at the time, with ADR Motorsports/Sic/Motul Fly Racing’s David Anthony leading a group that included Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram, KTM/HMC Racing’s Fillmore and third Yoshimura runner Clark.
At the restart, the frontrunners all took to the circuit with full slicks. The race resumed with Hayes opening an early advantage over Cardenas, while Hayden and Clark settled into a close fight for third.
However, when the rain returned a second time, it was with a vengeance. Hayes managed to hold on for the win, but Cardenas plummeted down the order.
Meanwhile, Anthony blasted forward and claimed the runner-up spot, the first podium result of his AMA Pro SuperBike career.
Hayden was credited in third, followed by Clark, who picked up his third fourth-place result of the season.
“It was pretty good,” Hayden said. “Actually, I don’t really don’t deserve third place; I got lucky with Cameron crashing. Those guys were faster than me. I’m just glad to finish the race on the two wheels.”
Fillmore crashed on the final lap, but was listed in fifth, as the late red flag reset the final results by a lap. He was followed by Pegram and Cardenas.
Spaniard Bernat Martinez finished in eighth on the Proto-Tech Spain Yamaha R1, while Seven Sports’ Trent Gibson and Dumas Superbike Team’s Fancois Dumas rounded out the top ten.
Despite being a lap down when the first red flag was shown, Beaubier reentered the fray from the pits at the restart. The rookie ran off track once and later crashed a second time. However, despite his difficult day, he picked up 13th place points for his title campaign.
As a result, Beaubier and Hayden are now tied atop the order with 90 points apiece. Hayes is right there as well, sitting third with 85 points.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
RoadRace Factory/Red Bull’s Jake Gagne swept the weekend’s GoPro Daytona SportBike action at Road America on Sunday, taking it to the field once again en route to his third class victory. Gagne was the master of the four-mile track and led all 12 laps in the weekend’s second race.
Much like Saturday’s race, drama in the late laps put Gagne’s result in doubt when rain began to fall on the final lap. The leaders slowed their pace until the checkered flag flew moments later.
“To come out of here and get pole and two wins, I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Gagne. “It was a nice race and I tried not to make any mistakes. It started raining at the end and it made me a little nervous. We’ll try to keep the momentum going into Barber and keep going faster.”
JD Beach on a Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha, and Dane Westby aboard a Yamalube/Westby Racing entry, battled for second place, with Beach earning the spot for his second podium of the weekend in a race stopped when teammate Garrett Gerloff crashed.
Westby rebounded from a last-lap mechanical issue on Saturday to get the result he’d been looking for since he contended for the win in the DAYTONA 200 in March.
Danny Eslick earned a solid fourth in his comeback from a crash on Saturday. The DAYTONA 200 champ cleared away from a hostile battle for fifth, which was won by Tomas Puerta on his RoadRace Factory/Red Bull machine. Team H35’s Benny Solis, D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph’s Steve Rapp and Kyle Wyman Racing’s Kyle Wyman all finished within a second of Puerta.
Veterans Jake Zemke of GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing and BGN Gonzalez pilot Blake Young also earned top ten finishes.
Gagne now leads series points over Eslick by 22 points.
AMA Pro SuperSport
After two red flags, the race shaped up as a five-lap affair with two of the most experienced SuperSport riders in the class, with TOBC Racing’s Hayden Gillim topping Celtic Racing HVMC pilot Corey Alexander in a photo finish.
Alexander led the white flag lap, but Gillim made the pass in turn one. Alexander retook the lead in turn fine and looked to have the drive off of turn 14, but Gillim was able to draft by and win the race by just 0.015 seconds.
“It’s so amazing after all of the bad luck I’ve had here over the years. I’m glad we could put on a good show for all the fans,” said Gillim. “He had a good gap on me and I slipped coming out (of the last turn). I thought I was done but somehow a miracle happened.”
Tuned Industriers rider Jason Aguilar took an impressive third. The youngster earned his first AMA Pro SuperSport podium in a tough fight with Kaleb De Keyrel of De Keyrel Racing, Alexander’s teammate Wyatt Farris on the Celtic Racing HVMC entry and House of Paint Designs’ JC Camacho. Just 0.170 seconds separated the four riders as they passed the checkered flag in a big blur. Aguilar went from 14th starting spot to achieve the best result of his young career.
Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
KWR/Millennium Technologies’ Kyle Wyman battled his way to a thrilling victory in Sunday’s Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series contest at Road America.
Wyman out-dueled Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson Benny Carlson and Ruthless Racing’s Danny Eslick during an intense final lap to claim the checkered flag first by a scant 0.033-second margin.
“It was a fun race,” Wyman said. “There was a lot going on I’m just really happy to be up here for Millennium Technologies at their home race and to redeem myself from Daytona and get maximum points.”
Eslick crossed the stripe in second with Carlson just another 0.123 seconds back in third.
Pole sitter Tyler O’Hara on the Josh Chisum Racing Bartels Harley-Davidson XR1200 took fourth, missing out on the win by just three tenths of a second.
O’Hara clawed his way back into contention on the race’s final lap after losing more than three seconds at mid-distance. The Californian was forced to take evasive action to avoid early leader Steve Rapp on the Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson when the defending champ crashed in turn one working lap four of seven.
Folsom Harley-Davidon’s Gage McAllister narrowly edged Thunder Roads Magazine’s Ryan Kerr and Chili Pepper Racing’s Hayden Schultz for fifth.
Round 3 of the 2014 AMA Pro Road Racing season will take place at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama for the Triumph SuperBike Classic on June 21-22.
Source and Photography: AMA Pro Racing/Brian J. Nelson