Saturday’s action at Barber Motorsports Park delivered three memorable races where some of the championship pieces began to fall into place as the 2010 AMA Pro Road Racing season draws to a close.
In the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike race, Tommy Hayden took his fifth victory of the year with a very determined ride chasing down early race leader Josh Hayes.
Hayes and his Team Graves Yamaha went on to lead the most laps and gained another valuable point in pursuit of his first AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike championship.
The result was what Hayden needed to keep his championship hopes alive, the points difference is now down to eighteen with a maximum of 31 points available in tomorrow’s second race of the weekend.
“I accomplished what I needed to today, I wanted to win the race and make Josh ride hard and I was able to do that,” said Hayden after the race. “Tomorrow, I will need a bit of luck but I will try to win again and then we’ll see what happens.”
Behind the two championship contenders, John Hopkins continued his run of strong results as he took another podium finish on his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki with third place.
Polesitter Blake Young took fourth on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki and Taylor Knapp finished a surprised fifth after a last lap incident between Eric Bostrom and Brett McCormick.
Geoff May and his Erik Buell Racing Buell also benefitted and he took sixth ahead of Jake Holden who is substituting for Ben Bostrom on the Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha. Jeff Wood took eighth on his Vesrah Suzuki. Shane Narbonne was ninth and McCormick was just able to finish the race in tenth.
Once again, tomorrow’s SuperBike race will be a battle of wits and speed between Josh Hayes and Tommy Hayden. If Hayden wins and takes the extra point for most laps led, Hayes will have to finish ninth or worse for him to lose the championship.
But if this year is to finish on form, anything can happen in tomorrow’s AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike season finale.
In Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL, Martin Cardenas rode one of his most measured and complete races of the year in capturing his series high eighth race win of the season and in the process, he took over the points lead from Danny Eslick.
Cardenas and his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki now lead the Daytona SportBike standings by five points over Eslick and his GEICO Powersports Suzuki by eight over Josh Herrin going into tomorrow’s final race of the Daytona SportBike season.
Taking a surprise second place was Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha rider Clinton Seller, however it was Danny Eslick that had the most eventful race, he grabbed the early lead but just as quickly, the race was red flagged due to a couple of incidents.
On the restart, Cardenas got a much better start and he and Sellers pretty much rode off into the sunset. It was Eslick and a number of other riders including the third contender in the points chase, Team Graves Yamaha rider Josh Herrin who captured much of the focus of the race.
As the bulk of the field was battling early, Herrin and Eslick got together and Herrin was pushed back to seventh place but he recovered well and put his head down to work his way right back up through the field.
He re-passed Eslick on lap six, worked his way up to third and then began chipping away at the first two, at one point he seemed to be making slight progress but at the end, the leaders encountered a big group of slower riders and as Cardenas and Seller were able to slice through, Herrin was delayed just enough to end his slight chance at victory.
Eslick battled all day and even though he might not have had the outright speed needed to win, as usual he never gave up and finished fifth behind Seller’s Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha teammate, Dane Westby.
Again, all bets are off for tomorrow’s race with 31 points up for grabs. As it has all year, the Daytona SportBike race will be a thriller and go right down to the wire.