Cardenas Steals a Thriller

Henny Ray Abrams | August 2, 2009

The Daytona SportBike championship will be decided in a four-race shoot-out after M4 Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas used a thrilling last lap pass of leader Danny Eslick (Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing/RMR Buell) to take his seventh win of the year, and end Eslick’s winning streak at three, on a hot afternoon at Heartland Park Topeka.The last lap was one of the best of the year with three lead changes and nearly a fourth, as Team Graves Yamaha’s Josh Herrin overcome a scary off-track excursion on the 11th of 20 laps to insert himself into the podium fray.Cardenas went up the inside into the left hand turn six on the final lap, Eslick taking it right back in the next corner for the run down to the chicane out of turn seven. But Cardenas wasn’t done. The Colombian again went up the inside of Eslick, this time into the left that starts the chicane, and as Eslick bobbled and nearly crashed, Herrin closed the gap. Then Herrin made a bold pass on the outside of Eslick in the turn twelve left, completing an amazing recovery by placing himself into second.With only the short straight to the flag remaining, Herrin made a run at Cardenas, but came up short by .245 secs. Eslick missed stealing back second from Herrin by .053 secs.Eslick and Cardenas are tied on points at 318 with the races at Virginia International Raceway and New Jersey Motorsports Park remaining. Herrin takes over third with 361 points.Early leader Jason DiSalvo, Cardenas’s teammate, finished fourth, two seconds in front of Team Graves Motorsports’ Tommy Aquino.Then a gap of over seven seconds to the first Honda of Erion’s Jake Zemke, followed in quick order by Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki’s Roger Lee Hayden, Latus Racing’s Taylor Knapp (Bue) and Paradigm Racing’s Bobby Fong.Erion Honda’s Chris Peris finished 10th.

Daytona SportBike:

1. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki)

2. Josh Herrin (Yamaha)

3. Danny Eslick (Buell)

4. Jason DiSalvo (Suzuki)

5. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha)

6. Jake Zemke (Honda)

7. Bobby Fong (Yamaha)

8. Roger Hayden (Kawasaki)

9. Taylor Knapp (Buell)

10. Chris Peris (Honda)

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.