AMA Pro Racing Barber Preview 2013

June 18, 2013
Byron Wilson
Byron Wilson
Associate Editor|Articles|Articles RSS

Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.

AMA Pro Racing returns to action for Round 3 of the 2013 season at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. The 2.38-mile road course is one of the most unique on schedule, featuring large art sculptures throughout the grounds and boasting a Vintage Motorsports Museum that has over 750 vintage and modern motorcycles. A free track walk on Friday June 21, 2013 will give attendees the chance to see the course close-up alongside some 20 racers, and there will be a host of other activities throughout the weekend. The real draw, of course, is the racing which includes AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, GoPro Daytona SportBike, SuperSport and Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series action.

AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike

In the previous round at Road America, Monster Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes returned to form earning two race wins, but was kept on his toes by the tenacious Martin Cardenas of Yoshimura Suzuki. The Colombian rider went 2-2 during the weekend and remained within striking range of Hayes during both races, should the Mississippi native have faltered even somewhat. In Race 2 Cardenas bolted off the start to claim the lead through the opening laps, but was soon bested by the Yamaha rider. Compared to the wide gaps Hayes pulled on his closest competition at the circuit in 2012, 13 seconds in Race 2 and 11 seconds in Race 1, the three-second advantage he held over Cardenas in Race 1 of 2013 appears paltry and the 0.818 gap in Race 2 is a serious assertion that the Yamaha rider faces stiff competition as he seeks to defend his title.

Hayes won both races at Barber in 2012 in SuperBike, his maiden victories at the track, while Cardenas went 5-3 in Daytona SportBike. In 2011 though the Suzuki ace notched his first-ever SuperBike victory at the Alabama track while in the same event Hayes finished fourth. Currently, Cardenas leads the series 13 points ahead of Hayes’ teammate, Josh Herrin, followed by Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram in third and Hayes in fourth.

Pegram has been inside the top-five in three of four races so far this year, including two third-place finishes at the opener in Daytona. National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden also scored a podium, in Race 1 at Road America, and will be looking to challenge for a top-three position once again at Barber. Hayden has a mixed history at the Alabama track though, earning his first AMA Pro win there in 2004 in SuperSport and repeating the feat in 2006 in the same class. That same weekend in 2006 he broke his tibia and fibula in a crash in SuperBike and then in 2008 broke his back, his pelvis and lost his pinky finger in another incident. His teammate, Jordan Suzuki’s Danny Eslick, has been top-five or better through the first two rounds of 2013 and could contend for a podium as well.

Team Hero’s Geoff May has seen mixed results so far this year and will be looking to rebound after a difficult Race 2 at Road America that saw him end in last-place. He went 4-4 at Barber in 2012 on the 1190RS and will look to gather valuable championship points there again this year. His teammate, Aaron Yates, took the first SuperBike race held at Barber in 2003 and then notched three consecutive SuperStock wins from 2006 to 2008. He’s struggled to find a competitive pace aboard his new mount in 2013, but finally broke the top-10 in Race 2 at Road America and will look to improve upon that result in Alabama.

KTM/HMC’s Chris Fillmore broke his hand prior to the races at Barber in 2012, so will be seeking a strong come-back there this year. Cardenas’ teammate, Chris Clark,’s David Anthony and M4 Broaster Chicken’s Chris Ulrich have all placed within the top-10 in races this year as well, and all will be fighting for a spot in the lead pack at Barber.

AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike

Yamaha Extended Services’ Cameron Beaubier leads in overall AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike points heading into Round 3 at Barber, having won two of three races in the class so far. RoadRace Factory’s Jake Gagne took over the top-step in Race 2 at Road America after a close battle with Beaubier, thanks in part to the Y.E.S. team rider’s mistakes late in the contest that allowed Gagne to claim the front and stretch a gap over four seconds wide. Gagne finished second behind Beaubier in Race 1 and sits second in overall points, 15 points adrift of the leader.

Beaubier’s teammate, Garrett Gerloff, put up a pair of fifth-place finishes at Road America and sits third overall. Gagne’s teammate, JD Beach, trails Gerloff by just two points in fourth after his 3-4 performance in Wisconsin. Both are capable of challenging for podiums and will push hard for a top-spot at Barber.

National Guard/Celtic Racing’s James Rispoli, the two-time SuperSport title winner, is a class rookie this year and has finished seventh in all three races so far. Rispoli will be a threat for race wins as he gains more experience in the field. He has been strong at Barber before, going 3-1 there in SuperSport in 2012.

Meen Motorsports’ Jake Lewis is also a class rookie this year and sits sixth in the points tally heading to Barber. His bad luck at Daytona left him finishing 27th, but he followed that up with a 4-3 result at Road America. Like Rispoli, Lewis will be a podium threat as he gains more experience in the class.

GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing’s Dane Westby returned to competition at Road America following a big crash in the lead up to Daytona, where he went 8-6 in the event. He posted 2-2 results at Barber in SportBike last year and is keen to situate himself as a challenger for the class title in 2013. D&D Cycles’ Bobby Fong, Castrol Triumph’s Elena Myers and Latus Motors Racing’s Jason DiSalvo all placed 10th or better at Road America in one or both races and each have the capability to challenge for a step on the rostrum at Barber.

AMA Pro SuperSport

National Guard’s Corey Alexander dominated the East-West combined AMA Pro SuperSport races at Road America, going 1-1 and moving to second overall in points behind current leader, Stefano Mesa. Barber will see the first of East-only competition this year and, as both Alexander and Mesa are competitors in the division, the action promises to be intense in Alabama.

Harv’s Harley-Davidson’s Travis Wyman sits third overall in SuperSport East, notching an 8-4 result at Road America. Team 95’s Hayden Gillim trails Wyman by four points and will look to return to the podium at Barber following a disappointing result in Wisconsin that saw him finish 27th in Race 1. Gillim opened the season with a third-place result at Daytona, followed by a 12th-place finish in Race 2.

Ajax Kawasaki’s Conner Blevins is fifth overall, showing marked improvement in the final race at Road America with his sixth-place result. Arai’s Miles Thornton is sixth in the class followed by’s Devon McDonough, who will fight for his first top-10 finish of the year at Barber.

Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series

Suburban Harley-Davidson’s Steve Rapp was an unlikely candidate for the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series XR1200 race win at Road America (he didn’t even arrive at the track until Sunday morning!), but his years of race experience proved to be a boon though as he promptly earned a front row grid position and led every lap to the checkers. Rapp’s teammate, Benjamin Carlson, scored second-place in the contest followed by Rossmeyer Harley-Davidson’s Michael Barnes in third.

Barnes leads the series heading into Round 3, trailed by Daytona race winner Tyler O’Hara of Eco Fuel Saver. Travis Wyman’s 8-4 record in the class places him third overall followed by Rapp, who shot up to fourth after his remarkable performance in Wisconsin.

Revolution Performance’s Kyle Wyman took the checkers at Barber in 2012 and will be a podium threat there this year as well.

Catch the race action from Barber on the CBS Sports Network, with live coverage of both SuperBike races, airing Saturday, June 22 at 4:00 p.m. EST and Sunday, June 23 at 4:00 p.m. EST. Live streaming video is available from AMA Pro Live as is live timing for all classes.