LEXINGTON, Ohio – The Buckeye SuperBike weekend doubled up the action on Sunday after inclement weather spoiled the fun at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course the day before.
Both AMA Pro SuperBike races were run Sunday, with Monster Energy Graves Yamaha teammates Cameron Beaubier and Josh Hayes share top honors in the premier AMA Pro SuperBike class.
Hayes took the holeshot from pole in race one (the grid was based on points) but Beaubier drove past his teammate on the back straight on lap 6 of 16. Once in control, Beaubier withstood the intense pressure and last-lap assault the three-time champion subjected him to in a concerted attempt to steal away the victory.
The Mississippian blanketed his 21-year-old rival throughout the second half of their intra-team duel, yet the resurgent Beaubier proved unflappable. Hayes made a bid on the final lap, striking momentarily only to have the rookie immediately snatch back the position and ultimately hold on for a thrilling 0.293-second victory at the checkered flag.
“It feels great to be able to beat Josh after a really good battle,” said Beaubier. “I know he probably has the championship in the back of his head, but I was pushing hard. I had the intention to push the last three laps but I made a few mistakes and ran wide here and there. I knew I wasn’t going to break him, obviously, so I was just trying to ride protectively. I was braking a little harder going into the corners, (trying to) not use the whole track, and go up the inside of a lot of corners. He did sneak up on me and caught me by surprise. I saw him run a little wide so I stayed out a little wide and cut pretty hard on the inside. It was a good clean race and it was hard.”
Hayes was happy with his safe second-place finish.
“It was a good race. I wanted to win it if the opportunity presented itself but I can’t be silly either,” said Hayes. “I don’t like thinking about championships, but you know … I was trying to be careful, but if he gave me a chance, take it. I took one shot at him on the last lap and I think if it had been anybody else, it would have been a little bit closer of a pass. I wanted to make sure I got all the way through to make sure we got through the corner clean and I overshot it enough that he was able to zip past through.”
Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing teammates Roger Hayden and Martin Cardenas were interested spectators early in the contest, clinging on to the battle for the lead in the race’s opening stages before gradually losing touch. Colombian Cardenas was the first to lose the chase, fading back around lap 8, while Kentuckian Hayden dropped out of contention a couple laps later.
“I hung on for a while but I started to make some mistakes,” Hayden admitted. “I was having trouble getting my bike into the corner and was missing my apex in a couple spots. A little over half way they started pulling away and I didn’t want to crash and lose my data for the next race so I kind of put it on cruise control so we could make the bike a little better for the second race. That race was really our first real practice being here on the new bike.”
The two held their positions, however, with Hayden rounding out the podium in third.
KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore took a lonely fifth, while third Yoshimura pilot Chris Clark chased down ADR Motorsports/Sic/Motul Fly Racing’s David Anthony for sixth, with Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram just behind in eight.
GEICO Motorcycle Honda’s Chris Ulrich and Babuska Racing’s Frankie Babuska completed the opening race’s top ten.