LEEDS, Ala. – GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing superstar Josh Hayes continued to claw his way back into National Guard SuperBike championship contention with another standout performance Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park.
The defending triple champ claimed his third consecutive victory at the Triumph SuperBike Classic presented by America’s First Federal Credit Union at Barber Motorsports Park in a wild contest on Saturday afternoon.
Hayes’ 36th-career National Guard SuperBike race win came in anything but conventional fashion as he found himself forced to simultaneously overcome one rival on the timing boards and another one on track.
The start of the race led to a wild turn of events in the contest’s opening stages, as Hayes, second qualifier Roger Hayden (National Guard Jordan Suzuki), Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram, M4 Sportbike TrackGear.com Racing’s Chris Ulrich, and Neyra Racing’s Huntley Nash all rolled forward ahead of the race’s official start.
Hayes, who immediately let a number of his competitors by in an early attempt to avoid being penalized for his miscalculation, had to slash back past his Monster Energy Graves Yamaha teammate Josh Herrin and points leader Martin Cardenas (Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing) on track and then set after race leader Hayden.
Hayes dove up the inside of the Michael Jordan Motorsports pilot entering Turn 5 on lap 5 and was shown in the lead as they crossed the stripe to open lap 6. However, moments later, Hayes and Hayden were dropped to third and fourth as they, Pegram, Ulrich, and Nash were all hit with a five-second penalty for anticipating the start.
Soon enough, Hayes and Hayden’s dogfight moved them back to the head of the charts as they broke free from the pack and easily eclipsed their penalties, displacing Cardenas to third and Herrin to fourth once again.
Hayden’s challenge never withered, however, as he pressured Hayes to the very end. The Kentuckian closed to just .172 seconds back on the final lap and made an unsuccessful attempt to glide past up the inside on the race’s final corner.