MONTEREY, Calif. — Geico Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing’s first race of the weekend will be a hard one to top in the excitement department. James Rispoli won the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race on Saturday over Hayden Gillim by just 0.036 of a second with a thrilling last-turn maneuver.
The Celtic Racing/Orient Express Racing Suzuki GSX-R600 pilot came closer to clinching the Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport West division championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but will have to wait until the final round before he can claim the number-one plate as his strongest championship rival Gillim kept his chances alive.
Rispoli led most of the 16-lap race, but Gillim on the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6 harassed him from the opening turns. Rispoli was able to just keep his fellow dirt-tracker at bay as the duo moved away from the rest of the field. Both riders had moments, with Rispoli nearly highsiding in the Corkscrew and Gillim being forced onto the astroturf in the final turn.
As the white flag flew, Rispoli knew he would encounter a move from Gillim, and it came in turn five; a bold outside pass Gillim was able to convert. Rispoli’s only chance came at getting a better drive out of the final turn and he made it happen to earn the win when Gillim went a little wide.
“As soon as he got by, I tried to get the run back and pass him,” said Rispoli. “Through Rainey Curve, I wasn’t close enough but I thought, ‘This isn’t over.’ Once I saw him a smidge off line, I was on the gas trying to make a run.”
It was Rispoli’s fifth win of the year, and he now leads AMA Pro Motorcycle-SuperStore.com SuperSport West by 60 with just one event and two rounds to go.
Garrett Willis (GWR Kawasaki) earned his first-ever AMA Pro podium by beating out Jake Lewis (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki) by just 0.001. Corey Alexander (National Guard Fairhills Group Celtic Racing) was fifth, ahead of Stefano Mesa (Kneedraggers.com Yamaha) and Elena Myers (Suzuki SportBikeTrackGear.com).