MILLVILLE, N.J. – Three-time AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike champion Josh Hayes turned 40 on Sunday at the New Jersey Lottery Devil’s Showdown.
Not in years, but in career National Guard SuperBike victories, as the Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha superstar rebounded from Saturday’s disappointment with a vintage ride that served as a clear reminder that he’s still the man to beat in any given premier-class race.
While he faces long odds in his quest to claim an unprecedented fourth-straight AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike title, the Mississippian got a measure of revenge for yesterday’s contest. On Saturday, Hayes fought his way through the field after suffering an early electrical issue to take the checkered flag first, only to ultimately be dropped down to fourth in the official standings due to his third jump-start infraction of the 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season.
On Sunday, after getting away cleanly at the start, Hayes powered into turn one in third position from pole and then worked his way into the lead by the time the field returned to the start/finish straight for the first time in the 23-lap race.
Hayes’ Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha teammate, Josh Herrin, slotted in behind Hayes’ rear wheel and the two factory Yamaha pilots made a quick escape from the remainder of the pack. Herrin, who (again) capitalized on Hayes’ costly mistake on Saturday to pick up his fourth win of the season and grab the inside line to this year’s crown, tagged along for several laps before Hayes’ blistering pace finally proved too much.
With Herrin no longer in his shadow, the champ immediately ripped open a sizable advantage, which he managed for the bulk of the race. Hayes ultimately scored his seventh victory of 2013 by 3.199 seconds.
The triumph was Hayes’ eighth SuperBike win at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
“The race went pretty good. This morning I went out and put in a good string of laps so I knew I was capable of doing a lot of ’21s,” Hayes said. “I just tried to get myself to the front and see how fast I could go. I did a couple ’20s and Josh did a pretty good job — he was able to hang on while we were doing those. I just tried to keep the pressure on so I could get a little gap. It seemed like I got it and then it kind of hovered… I just tried to be steady and not make any mistakes or miss any marks. I just had a good, smooth ride and was able to bring it home.”