Monster Energy Yamaha teammates Josh Hayes (1) and Josh Herrin (2) went 1-2 in Monday’s SuperBike race. Yoshimura Suzuki pilot Blake Young (79) rounded out the final podium position.
It was an interesting and exciting Memorial Day weekend at Miller Motorsports Park. The AMA Pro Road Race Series found itself in Tooele, Utah for Round 4 of the American series in conjunction with the World Superbike Championship. Last year we saw Mother Nature take control and deliver some wet weather conditions to factor into the racing as tire choices and bike set up for the wet and dry are completely opposite. The on/off rain mixed with little track time makes it very difficult to dial in a bike. This year almost looked like it was going to be a repeat but it turned out the skies just wanted to play games with riders and teams. Although some qualifying and practice sessions were ridden in wet conditions, the races were all completely dry.
National Guard American SuperBike
The American SuperBike contest came into Round 4 with Yoshimura Suzuki rider Blake Young at the top of the point standings. Young had taken over the points lead from Monster Energy Yamaha pilot Josh Hayes after the R1 rider took a tumble in Race 2 at Infineon and eventually finished seventh. The Mississippi native was only four points down from Young and definitely proved he wanted to be back in that number one spot from the beginning of the weekend.
From the first practice it was Hayes at the top of the charts in every session. Things stayed that that way until he crossed the checkered flag, winning his fourth American SuperBike race of the season.
“What an awesome day,” Hayes explained. “ It was good, things have been going pretty smooth for me this weekend, we really didn’t make any changes, the weather was changing enough so we figured we better stick with what we know, just try to work on getting in clean laps. All in all it was a pretty smooth run, we had a little bit of tire issues when it was cold but we were watching the weather and luckily today it was much better. It was a beautiful day for racing.”
Amsoil EBR mounted rider Geoff May (top) put on a great performance during Monday’s SuperBIke race finishing in fourth position after battling with Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom (bottom).
Second place in Monday’s SuperBike race, scoring his best finish in the premier class was Hayes’ Monster Energy Graves Yamaha teammate Josh Herrin. The Georgian had an intense battle the entire race with Young. The two riders really stepped it up on the final lap, making sketchy passes and even trading a little paint. In the end, Herrin would make the final pass and keep his composure to the finish line.
“I just can’t thank my Monster Energy Graves Yamaha team enough,” Herrin said. “The R1 is getting better and better every race and I’m getting more used to it. Hopefully I can be a contender for the win later on in the season but for now, getting second I’m ecstatic.”
Young had a crash in morning warm up which forced him to have to ride his “B” bike during the SuperBike final. The fall was caused when the GSX-R rider clipped his side case on one of the taller curbings on the track. Blake didn’t seem to be in the greatest of moods during the post-race press conference.
“You know, I had to ride the race on the back up bike,” said Young. “The guys weren’t going to put it back together for me to race this race but I don’t blame them. My crash this morning was a silly mistake. I caught the cases on the curb and it was kind of an amateur mistake that really just disappointed myself, I couldn’t believe I had just done that.”
EBR’s performace this weekend proved that their American-made machine was not only a contender at tighter tracks like Infineon Racway, where the team scored a pair of third place finishes. Geoff May had a solid run up front coming from behind to catch and pass Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom, who had late race grip issues, to secure a fourth place finish. May’s EBR teammate Danny Eslick grabbed hold of the reigns of his iron horse to score a very respectable sixth place finish just ahead of Foremost Insurance BMW pilot Larry Pegram.
Motorcycle-Superstore.com / Attack Performance rider Steve Rapp made a return this weekend after missing Infineon’s Superbike races due to injury. Rapp suffered a crash aboard a Brammo motorcycle when he filled in for an injured Steve Atlas at Infineon resulting in a broken hand. Rapp was obviously struggling with some pain as he was riding pretty hesitant, not like the Rapp we know.
(Top) Martin Cardenas (middle) shares the podium with Jason DiSalvo (left) and Cameron Beaubier (right). (Bottom) A last lap pass on DiSalvo (40) gave Cardenas (36) the race victory.
Go Pro Daytona SportBike
The Daytona SportBike class was full of surprises over the weekend with team changes for some riders. Benny Solis had moved out of the Vesrah Suzuki stable to a new home with Triple Crown Industries to pilot one of the team’s Yamaha R6’s for the rest of the season. With time on the Miller Motorsports Park track last weekend at the WERA National, Solis had showed everyone that he had done his homework by throwing down the fastest lap in the first practice on Saturday. Solis eventually went on to finish eighth on the weekend, his best finish this season so far.
“Thankfully I was able to ride here last weekend,” stated Solis. “It was a huge help. Switching bikes isn’t always the easiest thing but these guys really made things go pretty smoothly.”
Taking Solis’ spot over at the Vesrah Suzuki camp was Northern California’s Joey Pascarella. We have now seen Joey compete with three different teams in just four races this season. Luckily for him, he has finally inked a deal for the remainder of the season. The Daytona 200 winner never seemed to be fully comfortable on the Suzuki throughout the weekend, ending Sunday’s final in 15th position. Joey did mention that he had never ridden a Suzuki prior to the event. Hopefully, Pascarella can gain some confidence on the GSX-R and grab some more podium finishes this year.
Martin Cardenas and Jason DiSalvo had quite the last lap fight for the lead in Sunday’s race. Cardenas pushed his Geico Suzuki past the Triumph machine of DiSalvo with a super-hero move up the inside to go on and take his fourth win of the season by just 0.101 seconds.
“During the last two laps we were battling back and forth for the lead,” said Cardenas. “Some of my maneuvers did not work out trying to get around DiSalvo, so I thought that was the end. We caught up to lappers towards the end, DiSalvo was faster but I got a very good drive on the last lap, we went side-to-side and on the next corner I broke past DiSalvo for the win.”
Cardenas now tops the point standings by a huge 31 points over Monster Energy Yamaha rider Tommy Hayden who finished ninth in Sunday’s race.
(Top) The beginning of the SuperSport race looked like a promising battle until Hayden Gillim broke away from the pack. (Bottom) Roadrace Factory’s Gillim (center) celebrates his win with Vesrah Suzuki’s Jake Lewis (left) and Triumph’s Dustin Dominguez (right).
The Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport class was taken over by pure dominance all weekend long by one rider. One thing was for sure, Hayden Gillim was on point, topping every session besides the wet second qualifying, which was led by Travis Ohge riding a Ducati 848 machine.
Gillim would go on to win Sunday’s final in stylish form, leading most of the 13 lap race. The Roadrace Factory/Bell Helmets Yamaha R6 pilot was definitely on point making absolutely no mistakes the whole race, carrying a comfortable gap the whole time. An ecstatic Gillim stated:
“This is killer, I just put my head down and rode my own race. It feels awesome. Now it’s just time to get ready to take on Road America and get another win.”
Vesrah Suzuki’s Jake Lewis finished second to Gillim after a hard fought battle with Triumph pilot Dustin Dominguez. Tomas Puerta ended up with fourth position while Miller first timer Stefano Mesa rounded out the Top 5. Points leader James Rispoli finished eighth, losing ground to Gillim who sits second in the points chase now just 21 points back.
Motorcycle-Superstore.com sponsored rider Devon McDonough had a good run this weekend scoring a 16th place. McDonough rode the wheels off of his Yamaha R6 running in fifteenth most of the race but was picked off my Team Rotobox / Nexx Helmets Rocco Horvath on the final lap.
Vance & Hines XR1200
(Top) It was all Tyler O’Hara from flag to flag in the XR race. (Bottom) The XR race has seen the same three riders on the podium at every round so far this season.
Unfortunately the XR1200 race was not as exciting as some of the other races we have seen by the Harley boys this season. Bartel’s Harley-Davidson rider, Tyler O’Hara, was simply on another level this weekend winning the eight-lap race wire-to-wire with a 4.260 second margin over KLR Group Vesrah rider Kyle Wyman.
“It’s really cool to be able to get a win here in front of this World Superbike crowd, “said O’Hara. “I can’t thank my Bartel’s Harley-Davidson team enough. They work so hard to make sure the bike is working properly and give me no reason not to win.”
Second place Wyman stated post-race: “The race was pretty lonely, I think for all of us. That was probably the most boring XR race, I feel bad for the fans.”
O’Hara’s teammate and Infineon race winner, Michael Barnes, grabbed the final spot on the podium but just didn’t have what he needed to try and grab another win.
“These guys were on it,” explained Barney.” “Hats off to my teammate for putting it down and grabbing the win. I just didn’t have what I needed to be up there with them this time.”
The AMA paddock is heading to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin this weekend for Round 5 of the series. Last year we saw Josh Hayes and Blake Young share wins in the premier class. SuperBike rookie Josh Herrin won the Daytona SportBike class at Road America last year. Between the three riders, some good racing should be provided for viewers. Be sure not to miss any of the action.