James ‘Rocket’ Rispoli put the finishing touches on his 2011 season with a win in the final Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race on Sunday at New Jersey. In doing so the Ant-Racing Suzuki rider officially claimed the AMA Pro East SuperSport title, as well as the overall SuperSport Championship with three wins and another five podium finishes.
“I had a little bit of a game plan going into it — I didn’t try to hammer every lap, just tried to get to the front and ride my own race and it seemed to pay off,” said Rispoli. “I think we had three laps to go when the red flag came out, and I was ready to go and put it in there because I knew these guys would be dicing it. It feels really good to end the season this strong.”
Grave Motorsports Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff followed his debut-winning performance with a second-place finish, the 16-year-old finishing just 0.083 seconds shy of Rispoli after a red flag ended the race prematurely on Lap 14. Meanwhile, Hayden Gillim rounded out the podium in third just over three-tenths behind.
“I didn’t know Hayden was behind me, and then [when he passed me], I knew it was time to go,” Gerloff said. “I got back around and we were coming up the front straightaway when the red flag came out, and I was so disappointed not to get another chance. But I did the best I could, and I’ve got to give a thumbs-up to Rispoli and Hayden — they were riding awesome.”
Rispoli had another good start in the second race ahead of Gillim, Vesrah Suzuki’s Corey Alexander, Roadracingworld.com Honda’s Benny Solis, LTD Yamaha’s Tomas Puerta and David Gaviria. Just after moving ahead of Solis for fourth, Puerta crashed out on the second lap. Shortly after Puerta’s teammate, Gaviria, also hit the mat. By the start of Lap 3 Gerloff had made up for a poor start and was rapidly closing on Alexander. The following lap the young gun made the pass to move into third, while Rispoli remained up front. At this point Gerloff started laying down some fast laps to make up ground on Gillim and Rispoli. Once again he set the fastest lap of the encounter, and on Lap 6 he passed Gillim to move up to second behind Rispoli.
Further back Miles Thornton had passed both Solis and Stefano Mesa for seventh, while Gerloff remained less than a tenth behind Rispoli. A few laps later Dominguez bettered his position by taking fourth from Alexander. Just then a red flag was issued as Rispoli clung to a 0.083-second advantage ahead of Gerloff. Dominguez and Alexander rounded out the top-five finishers. Despite crashing out of the final race, Gaviria was awarded the AMA Pro SuperSport West title.
Grave Motorsports Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff was on pace to take the lead from Rispoli when the race was red flagged five laps early.
AMA SuperSport New Jersey Race 2 Results:
1. James Rispoli (Suzuki)
2. Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha)
3. Hayden Gillim (Yamaha)
4. Dustin Dominguez (Triumph)
5. Corey Alexander (Suzuki)
6. Eric Stump (Yamaha)
7. Miles Thornton (Yamaha)
8. Stefano Mesa (Suzuki)
9. Benny Solis (Honda)
10. Elena Myers (Suzuki)
11. Alex Shaw (Yamaha)
12. Ryan Kerr (Kawasaki)
13. Tyler Sweeney (Yamaha)
14. Rocco Horvath (Kawasaki)
15. Ryan Matter (Suzuki)