Josh Herrin (above) and Cameron Beaubier (below) both had cause to celebrate at Laguna Seca: Herrin claimed the American SuperBike title with his second-place finish, while Beaubier nabbed Daytona SportBike win number 12 in a dominating title-winning campaign. Beaubier will move into Herrin’s spot on the Graves Yamaha SuperBike team for 2014, with Herrin moving on to ride in the Moto2 World Championship.
“Josh Herrin has been with us since 2005, and he’s been a tremendous rider and great ambassador for the Yamaha brand and all our team sponsors,” said Yamaha racing manager Keith McCarty. “His long-term goals have always been to win a Championship here in the U.S., and then go and race in Europe. With his 2013 SuperBike Championship and an opportunity awaiting him to race in the Moto2 World Championship, his dreams are coming true. We’re thankful to Josh for all the terrific years he’s given us, and especially for winning the SuperBike Championship this season. We’re looking forward to seeing him race on the world stage beginning next year.”
Herrin cinched his American SuperBike title via second-place finish at last weekend’s Laguna Seca finale. The 23-year-old finished behind his dominating teammate, Josh Hayes, who was campaigning for his fourth consecutive SuperBike title. Hayes’ Laguna Seca victory was his eighth win of the season, but the 38-year-old Yamaha ace suffered three poor performances that doomed his title hopes.
“I think the best word to describe my season is ‘consistency.’ We were really consistent all year’” said Herrin on his championship win. “At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t even thinking about the Championship. We were fortunate at Daytona, but I figured Josh would come back, and he did. But, at the same time, we were smart and rode really consistent, and it paid off in the end. Overall, it went great.”
“This has been a lifelong dream of mine,” Herrin continued, “And it’s finally come true. I can’t even explain the emotions right now. Coming around on that last lap, I just filled up with tears. I could barely see where I was going. I’ve never felt that kind of emotion before. It’s crazy, the emotions you feel when you achieve something that you’ve been hoping to do your whole life.”
Beaubier decimated the Daytona SportBike field in 2013. The R6 pilot won 12 of 13 races on the year, his worst result a second-place finish at Road America. Beaubier moves up to the SuperBike team after three campaigns in Sportbike.
“Congratulations to Josh Herrin on his SuperBike Championship, and also on his opportunity to race in Moto2. It’s going to be cool to see him compete against the world’s best and represent the U.S.,” said Beaubier. “As for me, I’m very thankful that Keith (McCarty) has given me this opportunity to continue advancing my racing career with Yamaha. I love riding for Yamaha, and I’m looking forward to racing the R1 SuperBike. And, to have Josh Hayes as my teammate is icing on the cake. He’s helped me so much over the past couple of years, and I really respect him both as rider and a mentor.”
Josh Hayes now faces another season with a young up and comer looking to steal away wins and the title. Said Hayes: “First of all, big congratulations to Josh (Herrin) for winning the Championship this year. He really stepped up big this season. I’m looking forward to seeing him race against those boys in Moto2. It’s great to have another American carrying the flag for us. Good luck to Josh. As for Cameron, he had an amazing year in Daytona SportBike, and he deserves to be up here racing the Yamaha R1 and representing Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha in SuperBike. He’s already proven to be a phenomenal rider. I’m thrilled to have him as my teammate for 2014, and I have to say that I’ve definitely got my work cut out for me next season!”