LEXINGTON, Ohio — Two-time AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Champ Josh Hayes accomplished the goal he set for himself a year ago by claiming his 10th victory of the 2012 season on Sunday at Mid-Ohio, but it was far from the romp that many expected.
Hayes fell well short of the feat in 2011, taking just three wins en route to his second consecutive title. The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha ace has been in peak form in ’12, however, notching up ten wins already with several races remaining, but he was pushed to the brink to double at the Buckeye SuperBike Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire by the resurgent Roger Hayden on the National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Hayes found himself embroiled in an early dogfight with Hayden and Yamaha teammate Josh Herrin, who actually led in the race’s early stages. The trio became a duo on lap 7 of 21 when Herrin ran wide on the brakes at the end of the back straight. Once he lost the rear wheel of Hayes to measure off of, Herrin had no chance to run the lead pace and quickly drifted back into the clutches of a charging Blake Young.
The battle for third didn’t rage long though — Young crashed out of the fight on lap 9, losing the front of his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the keyhole as his faltering title campaign suffered a huge hit.
The scrap at the front remained heated until the end, however. The Kentuckian spent the majority of the race tucked a tenth or two behind the champion, but also took control of the race for a couple of brief moments.
Hayden swung by on lap 16 before Hayes powered by on the straight and then made what he hoped to be a decisive assault on the race’s final lap, diving by deep on the brakes at the end of the back straight.
Hayden miraculously held his line relatively tight considering his rapid approach but Hayes still had a counterpunch to deliver, slotting his Yamaha YZF-R1 right back in front into the following corner.
At that point, Hayes successfully defended the position and claimed his seventh consecutive victory, equaling the single-season consecutive win record, previously accomplished by both Ben Spies and Mat Mladin.
Hayden was just 0.224 seconds back in second, his most impressive National Guard SuperBike ride to date.
The win was Hayes’ 27th SuperBike triumph, just one behind Spies for third all-time.
“I was pretty sure (Hayden) would try on the last lap at the end of the back straight. I was pretty slow in the middle of the Keyhole to make sure I didn’t spin up and make a mistake on the exit. I felt like I got out of there pretty good, but probably because I was slow in the middle, it allowed him to do the same thing behind me. When he came by he was moving pretty quick; I was actually surprised he got it stopped as well as he did. Whenever I came back up the other side of him I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get him. I wasn’t trying to bump him but I was trying to crowd him a little bit. All I needed was an instant for him to get off the throttle to get in there. It worked out and at that point it was just ride around the inside line of the racetrack to the finish line.
“I’m really glad I was able to pull it off. It’s fun. It was exciting racing and I’m glad to come out on top of one of those.”
Speaking on his ten 2012 victories, Hayes said, “No SuperBike win is easy and to get ten at this point of the season is huge. I’m glad I could win one by less than a second whenever it came down to the barnburner at the end; I’m really excited about that. I’m greedy — I want them all. (Wife) Melissa (Paris) keeps telling me now I need to win seven more to make up for last year. I think that’s a bit to ask for but I’m sure going to try.”
Hayden, who actually set the fastest lap of the weekend with a 1:25.278 during the race, said, “It was a good race for me. I got a really good start. This morning we put a heat cycle in the tire which really helped me. It allowed it to come in early so I could go with these two guys. I felt pretty good in the beginning and then Josh Herrin made a mistake and I got by, and I thought, this is my chance to run with Josh. I just put my head down and put it all out there. Once I got to the back of him I felt pretty comfortable. I was counting down the laps because I was pretty sure if I passed him I wouldn’t be able to hold him off. I really wanted to pass him coming out of Turn 1 because that’s my best place on the track but I went through the Keyhole really good and got a good drive. It wasn’t like ‘win or crash’ but I was going to go past him and just pray that I got it stopped. I didn’t and I wasn’t going to force it by him and knock us both down or anything crazy like that.
“I’m definitely happy. Both Joshes have kicked our butts pretty bad the last couple races, so I think it’s good for me and good for the team. We have to build on this and not make it a one time thing.”
Herrin cruised to a lonely third, finishing 13.674 seconds off the win. He said, “It’s nice to get up here after yesterday’s fall. It’s been a really steep climb since I started at the beginning of the year. I’ve made really hard charges to get better on this bike. I’ve gotten to the point where I can do the times Josh is doing but I just can’t do them consistent the entire race. It’s just going to take more hard work. Every time I get on the track I’m learning.”
Attack Performance Kawasaki’s Steve Rapp equaled yesterday’s effort with another fine fourth-place run.
Team Amsoil/Hero EBR’s Geoff May rounded out the top five, taking advantage of a technical issue for Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom, who earlier battled for position with Rapp before falling off the chase.
Local hero Larry Pegram won a tight fight for sixth, putting his Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing BMW S1000RR just in front of Danny Eslick’s Team Hero EBR 1190RS and Taylor Knapp’s Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Chris Clark came home in ninth with M4 Broaster Chicken Suzuki’s Chris Ulrich rounding out the top ten.
Hayes now leads by a mammoth 67 points over Young, 383-316.
Cameron Beaubier of the Y.ES./Graves/Yamaha team won the Sunday AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Beaubier took his third win of the year by outlasting the early drama, then dropping the hammer in the last few laps to win by 0.779 of a second over yesterday’s winner, Dane Westby of M4 Broaster Chicken Suzuki, and the resurgent Bobby Fong of the Meen Motorsports team.
Beaubier kept rising to the lead in the multi-rider pack that included Westby, Fong, Martin Cardenas of GEICO Suzuki, Jake Zemke (Ducshop Ducati), Tommy Hayden (Y.E.S. /Graves /Yamaha) and Jason DiSalvo (Latus Motors Racing Triumph).
“My team gave me an awesome bike and I’m doing everything I can after my injury to get into shape and win some races,” said Beaubier, who was injured in an off-track scooter accident but quickly regained his form despite plenty of surgical metal still in his knee. Cam has won three of the last four AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike races.
Westby couldn’t mount a stronger challenge to Beaubier when he developed a little chatter at the end of the race, plus had his ands full with Fong. “It was a hot one out there. That’s the way the cards fell,” said Westby, who is now in second place in class points after some strong runs.
“It is not first place, but it’s our first time on the podium this year,” said Fong.
Cardenas lost the lead pack on lap 14 when the pace dropped into the 1:28s. The current Daytona SportBike points leader couldn’t quite match the pace and was relegated to fourth. He and fifth place Tommy Hayden were well clear of the rest of the field, though.
Cory West (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki) and Huntley Nash (LTD Racing) topped a competitive battle for the next positions. West took sixth and Nash equaled his career-best Daytona SportBike finish with seventh.
Zemke and DiSalvo both had machine issues in the race.
Dustin Dominguez swept the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport class at Mid-Ohio, winning Sunday’s race, before effectively winning Sunday’s race twice. After a bad start, Dominguez on the Latus Motors Racing Triumph Daytona 675 ran through the top ten and moved into the lead, only to have the race red-flagged on lap 6.
After another rough start following the clean up, Dominguez ran through the field yet again. When he passed James RIspoli (Orient Express Celtic Racing) for the lead, it seemed as if Dominguez would pull away. Rispoli was able to hang tight, though, along with Hayden Gillim (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull). As the last lap began, less than half a second covered the top three.
Dominguez was able to put together a very clean final lap and Rispoli couldn’t mount a passing move for the lead on the final time around the circuit. The Oklahoman held on for the win by 0.486.
“The last couple of laps I had a strategy, I wasn’t going to show all my cards until the last lap and it worked,” said Dominguez, who was the class of the field this weekend.
“It was a blast and I was pushing with everything I had but Dustin was riding great,” said Rispoli. “I wish we could have ridden another five laps. It was fun. Dustin just shattered my plans with that last lap.”
With his double, Dominguez moved into a tie with Jake Lewis (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki) in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport East division points.
Gillim was third in the race and had a great view of the action. He was just off the win in a strong race for the Kentuckian.
Stefano Mesa (Kneedraggers.com Yamaha) held off Elena Myers (Suzuki SportbikeTrackgear.com) for fourth place as Mesa earned another quality finish. Myers ran especially strong after the red flag.
Local rider Ryan Kerr (RFC) barely held off Travis Wyman (Harv’s H-D) for sixth place. East points co-leader Lewis had an off weekend and was eighth on Sunday.
Bartel’s Harley-Davidson’s Tyler O’Hara got his revenge following two straight victories on the part of title rival Kyle Wyman with a hard-earned win in Sunday’s AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series 11-lapper at Mid-Ohio.
The race took shape in the usual XR1200 fashion, with O’Hara, KLR Group/Vesrah Racing’s Wyman, and MOB Racing’s Michael Barnes all mixing it up in the lead group, each man taking their turn at the front as they jockeyed for the checkered flag.
While Wyman led early, polesitter Barnes actually looked to be O’Hara’s biggest worry throughout the bulk of the race. However, Wyman made a Turn 1 dive under Barnes on the contest’s final lap and set off after O’Hara but the title leader proved too strong on the brakes to overcome.
Wyman took second just 0.135 seconds back while Barnes accepted a very close third, 0.352 seconds removed from the win.
Race winner O’Hara said, “These last couple weekends, I’ve kind of had to play it perfect but I haven’t gotten the result. This weekend we came out and we were a little off at the beginning but made a huge turnaround with the bike setup and made a bunch of changes. We just made it to where I could feel comfortable and run with these boys. They had a blistering pace yesterday and the main goal was to get a front row start and be there at the end of the race.
“Kyle was out front and got a great start and I kind of reeled him in and got by him. Barney was all over me the whole race. Both of these guys were riding awesome. Hats off to them. I definitely had to earn it today. ”
Wyman’s brother, Travis, piloted the Harv’s Harley-Davidson to a lonely fourth after threatening to cling onto the lead group in the race’s early stages.
XP Motorsports’ Michael Corbino won out in a scrap to claim the final spot in the top five.
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