Pegram Wins in Topeka

Henny Ray Abrams | August 1, 2009

Larry Pegram had to wait ten years between his first and second Superbike wins. The third one came much more quickly.Pegram bolted away from the pole position and led every lap en route to victory in the return of Superbike racing to Heartland Park Topeka after an 18-year absence.Pegram built up a lead of over 4.5 secs. halfway into the 20-lap race around the 2.5-mile road course, then watched as it diminished in traffic over the final ten laps. In one span of two laps he lost 1.4 secs. Still, he was able to win with a comfortable cushion of 2.184 secs.Pegram’s last win came at Road America on the first weekend in June. Prior to that, he hadn’t won since Willow Springs in April of 1999. Pegram’s pole was his first in 13 years, the previous one also coming at Road America in 1996.Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom took second place from Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young on the fourth lap, but wasn’t able to put a dent into Pegram’s lead until the second half, and by then it wasn’t enough. He was part of a group of five contesting the podium spots, with the group shedding Josh Hayes (Yam) over the second half.Bostrom had over a second on Young starting the final lap, but Young closed it back up and finished .272 secs. behind to secure his fourth podium of the season.Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden attacked and passed Young in turn six on the final lap, but ran wide and Young stole it right back. Hayden finished fourth.Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates was a close fifth, then a gap to Hayes, followed at a distance by Jake Holden (Hon) and the National Guard Jordan Suzuki of Geoff May.Latus Racing’s Taylor Knapp finished ninth on his Suzuki after one race on the Buell 1125RR Superbike.Corona Extra Honda’s Neil Hodgson filled out the top ten.The last time the AMA raced in Topeka,  in 1999, the race was won by Scott Russell on a Muzzy Kawasaki.Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin, who left the facility on Thursday after choosing not to race because of safety concerns, continues to lead the championship with 390 points to 282 for teammate Tommy Hayden and 271 for Bostrom.

American Superbike:

1. Larry Pegram (Ducati)

2. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha)

3. Blake Young (Suzuki)

4. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)

5. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)

6. Josh Hayes (Yamaha)

7. Jake Holden (Honda)

8. Geoff May (Suzuki)

9. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki)

10. Neil Hodgson (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.