It's been a busy two months since the 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing
season opener at Daytona Monster Graves Yamaha’s Josh Herrin underwent surgery
for arm pump, GEICO Motorcycle Honda’s Dane Westby recovered
from a severe spleen injury, the M1 Powersports rounds were officially dropped
from the schedule and CBS Sports Network
signed on to broadcast the remaining races this season. But now it’s finally time to leave aside the off-track activities of racers and the AMA series because Round 2 is just days away, with the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America taking riders to Wisconsin to pick up where they left off.
AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike
Following a record-breaking performance in 2012, it was expected that three-time defending champion Josh Hayes would be a force on track at Daytona. Though he did come out in characteristic fashion in the early laps of Race 1, a mechanical issue forced the Mississippi native to pull off track and out of competition. Herrin was one of the only riders on the grid to keep pace with Hayes in the first laps of the season, so when the 2012 champ pulled out, Herrin had an unobstructed line to the checkers. The young Yamaha rider faced pressure from 2012 Daytona SportBike champion, Martin Cardenas of Yoshimura Suzuki, but was able to hold off the Colombian rider to take the first win of the season.
Race 2 proved similarly disappointing for Hayes, who had to pull out once again due to another mechanical problem. He lasted through the first half of the race though and engaged in close combat with both Herrin and Cardenas. Cardenas even made a pass on Hayes for the lead at one point, though Hayes was quick to retaliate. Once The Yamaha ace pulled out, Cardenas sailed to victory while Herrin lost pace slightly, ending the contest in dramatic fashion with a close battle against Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram for second and third.
The battles at Daytona give hope for a more competitive season than in 2012, where Hayes typically ran out front early and went unchallenged as he built sizable gaps on the field. Last year's stop at Road America was no exception, where Hayes was able to double up for a perfect weekend at the Wisconsin track. This year, however, Herrin is no longer a rookie and appears to be riding with more skill and confidence and Cardenas will look to extend his stellar SportBike record at the track into the premier class. Cardenas took wins at Road America every year he competed in Daytona SportBike and in 2012 he notched wins on Saturday and Sunday.
Pegram will look to score another podium as well. For 2013 the veteran rider switched to a Yamaha mount and was able to leave Daytona with a 3-3 result. There’s also National Guard Suzuki’s Roger Hayden, who crashed out of the lead pack in Race 1 at Daytona but followed up with a fourth-place finish in Race 2. Hayden’s teammate, Danny Eslick, also looked comfortable on his new GSX-R1000, posting a 4-5 result in Florida.
Cardenas’ teammate, Chris Clark, showed improvement at Daytona as well, grabbing a career best 5-6 result in SuperBike. KTM riders Chris Fillmore and Taylor Knapp will look to set the RC8R inside the top-10 again as the team continues its development on the bike, as will EBR teammates Aaron Yates and Geoff May.
Herrin leads the series by just one point over Cardenas while Pegram sits third 14 points off the leader. Hayes is back in 18th and 48 points adrift of his teammate.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Y.E.S Graves Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier set himself at the top of the heap after winning the Daytona 200
in March. Beaubier was dominant in Florida, coming through as the fastest rider throughout the weekend and he’ll look to maintain his scorching pace at Road America. The Yamaha rider finished 2012 in third-place overall, rebounding after a difficult start to the season that left him out of competition at the Wisconsin track due to injury. He went on to win seven races after returning to action and is a title favorite in the class in 2013.
His teammate, Garrett Gerloff, will make his Road America debut this coming weekend and is coming off a second-place finish in the Daytona 200. Gerloff was plagued by injury as well in 2012, missing all but the final round at NOLA but coming back to win the final race of the season in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport West division.
Wesby was unable to challenge for the front at Daytona following a crash in qualifying that left him with an injured spleen and the risk of other serious internal damage. He spent the long break rehabilitating and is reportedly fully recovered and ready to compete.
Triple Crown’s Bobby Fong scored third in Florida on a Yamaha YZF-R6 but is expected to mount a Triumph Daytona 675 at Road America. Team Latus Motors Racing’s Jason DiSalvo will also contest the races in Wisconsin aboard the Triumph and will be looking for redemption after his disappointing result at Daytona, where he was forced to pull out of competition with mechanical issues. M4 Broaster Chicken’s Benny Solis and Meen Motorsports’ Jake Lewis both notched DNF’s at Daytona as well and will be fighting for a better result at Road America.
Daytona SportBike rookie, James Rispoli of National Guard/Celtic Racing finished seventh in the season opener and will be a podium threat as he continues to gain confidence on his new GSX-R600.
Castrol Triumph’s Elena Myers earned the honor of the best ever result for a female racer in the Daytona 200 with her ninth-place finish. Melissa Paris followed one position behind in 10th.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
East and West come together once again for the showdown at Road America with some of the best up-and-coming talent on display in AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com
SuperSport. Motosport.com’s Stefano Mesa and RoadRace Factory’s Tomas Puerta traded wins in the season opener in two tight battles for the checkers. Mesa enters the round with the added confidence of having won at Road America, the site of his maiden victory in the class in 2012.
Team 95’s Hayden Gillim made the podium in Race 1 at Daytona and will be a challenger for race wins at Road America, as will National Guard/Celtic Racing’s Corey Alexander, who took third-place in Race 2.
Brothers Matt Sadowski and David Sadowski Jr. both posted notable results in Florida as well, with David earning second-place in Race 1. As sons of former AMA SuperBike rider David Sadowski, the two riders have racing in their blood and will look to mix it up in the lead pack at Road America.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
The XR1200’s are also slated to return to action in Round 2 at Road America. AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson action kicked off at Daytona and it was Eco Fuel Saver’s Tyler O’Hara who walked away with the checkers. The close battle ended with Revolution Performance’s Kyle Wyman in second and Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson’s Bobby Fong in third.
Harv’s Harley Davidson’s Travis Wyman, like Fong, will also be doing double duty at Road America, competing in both the XR1200 series and the Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport races. Travis Wyman finished eighth at Daytona.
Other notable riders are Fong’s teammate, Michael Barnes, who battled within the top three for nearly all of the 2012 season before rocketing ahead of the field to secure the overall win in the final rounds. Suburban Harley-Davidson’s Benjamin Carlson finished second in the previous season but failed to qualify at Daytona. He took fifth in last year’s contest at Road America and can keep pace with the front runners if he’s able to put together a consistent weekend.
Plenty of other activities are in store for attendees at this year’s race weekend in Wisconsin. Stunt rider Jason Britton will be there with Team No Limit displaying his remarkable control aboard two wheels. The “Salute to Cycles” opportunity gives participants the chance to ride the road course before competition and, as always, the fan walk gives enthusiasts the chance to go onto the grid, check out the race-ready motorcycles and interact with riders.