The class for fast young riders and quick club aces has produced another banner year, with enough ups and downs and close racing to cover several seasons.
Early on, it looked like Corey Alexander, pilot of the No. 5 Celtic/HVMC Racing Suzuki GSX-R600, would dominate the year as he kicked off Daytona with a double win. Then Gillim turned up the juice with two wins. Dominguez then got hot and the Oklahoman won the last three races, with Gillim giving him a hard time and finishing second each time.
The stage is set for Gillim or Dominguez to take the first class crown after AMA Pro revamped the way SuperSport points are calculated last offseason.
Gillim has the slightest advantage going in, but a mere two-point lead doesn’t hold much weight, though, with a five-point difference between finishing first and second.
Gillim has been on the podium every race since the opener at Daytona. The Kentuckian, a cousin to the famed Hayden brothers, has always shown flashes of speed but he has been much more consistent over the past two campaigns.
A class veteran, Gillim has always been an easy pick to dominate a race or two during the year. He nearly won the East title last year and rode valiantly before coming oh-so-close to Alexander in the final points tally. Gillim was just one point short of taking the East crown.
With that experience under his belt, Gillim found a way to bring it every week in his bid to claim the No. 1 plate.
The Suzuki-mounted pilot has found a way to get up to speed quickly, something that had, at times, eluded him earlier in his career.
Since Barber Motorsports Park in 2013, Gillim has been on the box in 12 of the last 13 races that paid him points. A run like that lasting a year and a half isn’t as much of a “hot streak” as it has become Gillim’s normal pace.
Dominguez’s return from the SuperBike class has seen him pick up where he left off – winning races and showing his considerable talents.
The Yamaha-mounted rider’s three-win streak helped make up for a difficult patch early on. If he can somehow take the title, Dominguez will look back on Race 2 at Road America (his worst result of the year) and ironically take a great deal of pride in that one.
Domiguez had crashed and was last on a restart but charged up to eighth at the checkered flag in Wisconsin. That race saw 32 riders finish on the lead lap. It might go unnoticed with the wins and podiums, but the valuable points gained in a disappointing race show Dominguez is not the type to pack it in when things don’t go his way.
Dominguez really found his form after that, finishing second in Race 1 in Alabama before the run of three straight wins.
With more than 40 points in hand over third place, the duo will essentially be racing each other in New Jersey. For two racers who don’t mind close passes and have battled tight before (see Race 2 at Mid-Ohio), then this weekend’s action is “can’t miss” for racing fans.
Third place points man Wyatt Farris aboard the No. 19 Celtic/HVMC Racing Suzuki GSX-R600 has something to race for as well. The young Californian is still looking for his first class win. He’s also three points ahead of teammate Alexander in the standings. Getting that victory would provide some valuable momentum heading toward the future for Farris. Topping Alexander in the points would be another feather in his cap.
For Alexander, the season slipped away from him in what can be described as a series of misfortunes. He injured his shoulder in a training accident but was able to perform well at Road America when it wasn’t clear if he would even ride heading into the weekend. Alabama, though, was tougher on the shoulder. At Mid-Ohio, he crashed midway through Race 1 then had a mechanical issue on the grid that forced him to retire before the race began.
The New Yorker could still prove a point by topping the two championship contenders at the finale, though.
Fast youngster Kaleb De Keyrel, and his No. 51 De Keyrel Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, have been strong this season. The Minnesotan has run up front, been on the podium and set the fast lap in a race. Competing against racers with more experience, De Keyrel is certainly one of the most promising riders on the scene.
If he could earn that first class win, De Keyrel would find himself ahead of schedule as the 17-year-old continues to home his craft.
Another young rider, Jason Aguilar, pilot of the No. 96 Tuned Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, trails De Keyrel in the points. In his first season contesting the full tour, the Californian already has earned one podium this season. Aguilar leads J.C. Camacho aboard the No. 623 Camacho Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 in the standings.
Cody Wyman riding the No. 3 Harv’s Harley-Davidson Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, the youngest of the racing Wyman brothers, has turned a string of top ten finishes into eighth in points.
Connor Blevins on the No. 33 Excel Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R had his best weekend yet (fourth, third) at Mid-Ohio.
Curtis Murray aboard the No. 180 TOBC Racing Suzuki GSX-R600 is poised to finish in the season’s top ten, but he will have to hold off a group that includes class veteran Miles Thornton and his No. 72 D&D Castrol Triumph Daytona 675.
A staggering 59 riders have pre-entered for the pair of races, so there will be no shortage of bikes for the fans to check out on the track and in the pits.
The first of two 16-lap races on the weekend will begin at 2:10 p.m. local time (11:10 a.m PT) on Saturday. Sunday’s race goes green at 1 p.m. (10 a.m. PT).
How to Watch
FansChoice.tv is the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Road Racing and AMA Pro Flat Track events in 2014. The site also provides coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series.
About AMA Pro Road Racing:
AMA Pro Road Racing is the premier motorcycle road racing series in North America and is universally regarded as one of the most competitive road racing organizations in the world. The series is comprised of four production-based classes: AMA Pro SuperBike, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. Learn more about AMA Pro Road Racing at www.amaproracing.com/rr/.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.