Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes ran a careful and calculating race and finished seventh in damp conditions to clinch the 2010 National Guard SuperBike title, his first in the AMA Superbike Championship series.
Hayes had seven wins and three pole positions on his Team Graves Yamaha in a season that saw him battle to the very last race of the season with yesterday’s winner, Tommy Hayden. Hayden took fourth today but it wasn’t enough to overcome the 18-point lead Hayes held at the start of the day.
Hayden’s Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate Blake Young won Sunday’s thrilling race over John Hopkins and Larry Pegram.
The moment of truth for Hayes came on lap ten when Jordan Suzuki’s Brett McCormick had a fall at turn four and Hayes had to take to the wet grass to avoid a collision.
“I had to go on the grass when Brett high-sided and it was very slick, but it was the slowest turn on the track and I thought, ‘even if I fall, I can pick the bike back up and continue,'” said Hayes after the race.
Meanwhile, up front it became Young’s day as he led all but two laps of the race to take his third win of the 2010 SuperBike season.
For Young it was a great day after suffering a severe back injury earlier this year here at Barber Motorsports Park. He missed three events and five races and for him to come back this weekend and win from pole position was very meaningful to him.
“When I was lying on the couch at home recovering, it was hard watching these guys race,” said Young. “But I worked hard to come back. I knew the championship was gone so all I could do is win races and repay the hard that my team has put in for me all year.”
In the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike class, Martin Cardenas captured his series high ninth win of the year to take his first AMA Pro Racing championship by eight points over last year’s champion, Danny Eslick and his GEICO Powersports Suzuki team.
Cardenas, on his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki, took a solid victory over Eslick and Dane Westby in another classic Daytona Sportbike race.
“I have to thank my M4 Monster Energy Suzuki team, they work so hard and are the best team I have ever worked with, I feel so good for them,” he said.