LEEDS, Ala. – Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes once again had his hands full at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday, and once again, he came through like a champion.
The reigning AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike king was pushed to the brink by National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden in a virtual repeat of Saturday’s tense final-lap showdown to conclude the Triumph SuperBike Classic presented by America’s First Federal Credit Union in epic fashion.
The race took shape in the early stages as a four-rider shootout with Hayes’ teammate, Josh Herrin, powering into the lead at the start. Herrin hounded Hayes from second over the race’s opening five laps after Hayes made an opening-lap pass while Hayden and Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Martin Cardenas stalked just behind the Yamaha duo.
Herrin sliced up the inside of Hayes entering ‘Charlotte’s Web’ on lap six and led the next two laps, bunching the pack back up after it threatened to break apart. Hayes retook the lead on lap eight and Herrin made a crucial mistake a pair of laps later. That allowed Hayden to snatch second and close in on Hayes’ rear wheel, where he would remain for the remainder of the race.
The Kentuckian was within striking distance on the contest’s final lap, but that last circulation played out just as it had the day before, with the experienced triple champion never making a mistake or allowing his hungry rival an opportunity to find a way through into the lead.
Hayes launched off the final corner and beat Hayden to the stripe by a scant .221-second margin following 21-nailbiting laps.