MILLVILLE, N.J. — In the final race weekend of the current era of AMA Pro road racing competition, Josh Hayes clinched his fourth career Pro Superbike Feature crown at the Kawasaki Devil’s Showdown at New Jersey Motorsport Park with a second place finish on Saturday.
The works Monster Yamaha YZF-R1 rider worked his way up from a cautious start, handling the wet conditions in style. However, Hayes apparently passed under a waved yellow for a crash, and thus received a 20-second penalty, dropping him to second. Roger Lee Hayden thus was awarded his first win of the season for Suzuki.
Late in the race, the 39-year-old Hayes fought for the lead with the works Yoshimura-Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Hayden, several other potential winners (Martin Cardenas, Bernat Martinez of Spain, Chris Filmore) having already crashed out of the front group. Although the expectation was that Hayes would ease up to guarantee him his number one plate, he ended up fighting hard for first.
On the last lap, the pair bumped, and Hayes went wide, seeming to hand Hayden the win. But Hayden spun his rear Dunlop wet coming through the final corner, Hayes swung wide and moved back into the lead, taking the win by just .265 of a second at the chequered flag.
“This is the stupidest thing I could ever be in the middle of,” smiled Hayes of his fight to the front. “As I upped the pace, I made some mistakes, but I made up a little ground. That encouraged me. From there, I didn’t think about the Championship at all, I was smiling, I was having fun. I really wanted to win that race.”
Hayden was racing with a separated shoulder after a practice crash on Thursday.
Larry Pegram had a strong outing on his Foremost Insurance Buell EBR 1190RS twin to net third.
Newly crowned Mopar CSBK Pro National Champ Jodi Christie had a very promising day in New Jersey, the Accelerated Technologies-sponsored pilot making his first U.S. start in four years. Christie shocked the series regulars by qualifying sixth best in the 21-rider strong grid, running against machines worth significantly more than his rules restricted, Mopar title-winning Canuck CBR1000RR.
Christie was comfortable in the wet conditions from the start of the 23-lap feature, moving quickly from seventh into the lead dice, running fourth. However he fell from third on the third lap, damaging his machine to the point he could not continue.
“It was slippery right there, everyone was slipping and sliding, you couldn’t predict the traction,” explained the uninjured Christie after his tumble. “It happened really fast, and that’s the way it is when you push in these conditions.
“Overall, I was really comfortable, at least as much as you can be in the rain. Right now, I’m frustrated, and I felt bad for my sponsors and my team. But we’ll regroup and come back for the final tomorrow.”
Top Canadian was Marcel Irnie of B.C., once again showing his prowess in the wet aboard his Mobibuff-backed BMW S1000RR. After a slow start, the now Las Vegas-based Irnie moved though the pack late in the race, netting an impressive sixth, his best career AMA National result.
“I was having fun out there, I wasn’t really sure where I was,” explained Irnie of his eventual placing. “I’m really please with my ride, things have been going really well this season.”
Newly crowned Hindle Pro Sport Bike National Champ Kenny Riedmann has had a tough weekend, crashing twice in practice and injuring his finger. Riedmann’s hand wasn’t the major issue, however, with a concussion eliminating the Castrol Triumph rider from further action in the final AMA Pro National weekend of 2014.
“We were in a big rush after the first practice problem, we did around eight hours of work in two hours,” confirmed Riedmann. “My head wasn’t really hurting after the second crash, even though the bike landed on me, but I was having trouble with my vision, and medical said that I couldn’t ride.”
In Riedmann’s usual class, Dane Westby took control early to win his third National of the season aboard his Yamalube Yamaha YZF-R6. In another crash-plagued wet event, Jake Gagne earned second on another Yamaha while Jake Zemke placed third aboard a GEICO Honda.
UK-based Canadian rising star Ben Young, from Thornbury, ON, opted not to start the race in a rare North American appearance aboard his Team WD-40 Yamaha. Young currently competes full time in the British National Series.
In the “young guns” SuperSport category, Hayden Gillim pulled away for a clear win for the TOBC Suzuki squad.
In a full field of 50 riders, Canadian teenager Stacey Nesbitt had a good AMA National debut, working her way up to net 41st overall in very slippery conditions on the OCM Racing Honda. Nesbitt crashed in testing, falling in turn four in her first lap on the “Thunderbolt” layout, but felt comfortable in the actual race.
“I was really looking forward to my first chance to race in the united States,” said the popular Nesbitt, who will embark on her rookie Pro campaign in Canada next season. “I didn’t feel nervous, and I’m really glad to be here, make the cut to get a place on the grid and build on my experience.”
Canadian rookie Pro Mitch Card retired his Trackside Cuts Honda on the first lap, following a fall when he was run into by an errant fellow rider.
SuperBike Race Results
- 1 Roger Hayden Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 WINNER
- 2 Josh Hayes Monster Energy Graves Yamaha Yamaha R1 19.734
- 3 Larry Pegram Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing EBR 1190RS 1:13.091
- 4 Sean Dwyer Vicious Cycle Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 1 Lap
- 5 Cameron Beaubier Monster Energy Graves Yamaha Yamaha R1 45.146
- 6 Marcel Irnie Mobibuff/Irnie Racing/World’s Best Motorcycles BMW S1000RR 3.502
- 7 Chris Clark Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 4.514
- 8 Cory West Team AMSOIL Hero EBR 1190RS 1.946
- 9 Chris Ulrich GEICO Motorcycle Racing Honda CBR1000RR 0.897
- 10 Taylor Knapp TOBC Racing II Suzuki GSX-R1000 7.162
- 11 Johnny Rock Page United America All Nations Suzuki GSX-R1000 3 Laps
- 12 Jake Holden TPL Squadra Corse Ducati 1199 3 Laps
- 13 Bernat Martinez Proto-Tech Spain Yamaha R1 6 Laps
- 14 Frankie Babuska Babuska Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 1:31.814
- 15 Martin Cardenas Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 2 Laps
- 16 David Anthony ADR Motorsports, Sic, Motul Fly Racin Suzuki GSX-R1000 2 Laps
- 17 Chris Fillmore KTM/HMC Racing KTM RC8R 2 Laps
- 18 Jodi Christie Honda Canada/Accelerated Technologies Team Honda CBR1000RR 3 Laps
- 19 Tony Leong Push Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 DNS
- 20 Jon Couch TOBC Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 DNS
- 21 Scott Harwell TOBC Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 DNS
Race Time: 39:46.048
Margin of Victory: 19.734
Best Race Lap: Josh Hayes (1:41.407)
–By Frank Wood and Colin Fraser