BRASELTON, GA, APRIL 17: Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young was getting a massage when he was declared the winner of Saturday’s American SuperBike race and no one could immediately reach him.Various team members tried reaching him on his cell phone with luck. So they had to celebrate for him.Young earned his first AMA Superbike win after AMA Pro Racing officials assessed a penalty to original race winner Josh Hayes (Team Graves Yamaha), who jumped the start of the red flag-interrupted 20 lap race at Road Atlanta. The team was more than happy for the victory, which was the first for Peter Doyle as Young’ s crew chief. Doyle took on Young after Mat Mladin, whose crew he steered to most of Mladin’s race wins and championships, retired.Following on Tommy Hayden’s victory in the second race at Auto Club Speedway, this was the second win in a row , and first each, for the two riders left to carry on the Yoshimura Suzuki legacy with the departure of seven-time AMA Superbike Champion Mladin.The race was bathed in controversy almost from the start. Hayes clearly jumped the start and, on the second lap, he was assessed a ridethrough penalty. Hayes was on pit lane serving his ridethrough penalty when the race was red-flagged after he and the race leaders had completed the fifth lap. Because AMA officials originally decided that he’d served his penalty, he was allowed to start on the pole for the re-start. But in fact he was still on pit lane when the race was stopped, a point that wasn’t lost on rival teams, who immediately protested. Hayes went on to win the race from Young and Young’s teammate Tommy Hayden. Jordan Suzuki’s Jake Zemke was fourth and Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom fifth.After the race it was determined that timing and scoring had supplied race director Dave McGrath with bad information. Hayes had not cleared pit lane and therefore had not completed his penalty. Once McGrath was made aware of the discrepancy, and in consultation with other AMA officials, he changed the results.”During the red flag situation, I wanted to make a determination if Josh (Hayes) truly, before the race went red, served the entire time, basically clearing the pit exit,” McGrath said. “Which would’ve, in my mind, got him back on a green track. The information that was given to me at the time told me that, indeed, he did clear the pit exit and therefore he made the conscious effort to come in and pay the penalty before the track went red. Based off of that information I decided that he had indeed served his penalty. I felt that he went above and beyond to make sure he served the penalty.”If, at the time, the information I was given would’ve told me that Josh Hayes did not clear the pit exit and did not exit onto a green race track, he also would’ve served a ridethrough penalty after the re-start,” as Taylor Knapp, who also jumped the start, did.”The information, after the race was over, scrutinizing the information with timing and scoring, it proved that indeed Josh missed clearing the pit lane by 6.4 secs. so indeed he did not go out on a green track, he actually went out on a red track. Therefore the mistake was mine.”McGrath said he’d made his original decision “off an eyewitness of the flagman at the end of the pit exit and also from timing and scoring.”I told the parties involved I’m working on this information, I’ll let you know. Frankly, I waited till I heard the information I needed and that’s what I based my decision on.”Hayes was given a 21.4 second penalty, which placed him in sixth. Young was the winner, with teammate Tommy Hayden second and Zemke third. Zemke and Bostrom followed, then Hayes.Young wasn’t immediately reachable, but Yoshimura Suzuki team owner Don Sakakura was pleased with the final outcome.”Nice to see that there was mistakes somewhere, timing and scoring or wherever it may have been there, and they recognized that and made a proper call, which was very encouraging with some of the new changes in the policies they’ve implemented this year,” he said. “It was the right decision.”Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden, who was critical of the original decision to let Hayes start from pole, also believed the matter was properly resolved.”I mean, happy with what I feel like is the right call,” he said after being given second place. “I feel like there should have been a penalty assessed. I felt like there was a couple ways to do it, but there should’ve been a penalty assessed. I’m not going to sit here and beat my chest, because I don’t feel like I really earned the second on the racetrack. Josh did beat me, but I’m glad that it was handled in my opinion correctly.”The matter wasn’t entirely over, according to Yamaha race boss Keith McCarty. McCarty explained that “the rulebook said that that lap doesn’t necessarily count for the race, but it does count for a penalty. And so it doesn’t say you have to go back to an active or green track.”I think we would like to appeal it. Believe me, I totally understand, because it was very difficult for everybody to grasp how it went down, but I guess if we’re going to appeal and protest based on a rulebook, then we should have our day in the sun.”McCarty and Hayes were expected to meet with AMA Pro Racing COO David Atlas not long after the AMA decision was announced.Pending that appeal, Zemke leads the championship. After five races he has 127 points, seven up on Tommy Hayden. Young moved into third with 99.Results:1. Blake Young (Suzuki)2. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)3. Jake Zemke (Suzuki)4. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha)5. John Hopkins (Suzuki)6. Josh Hayes (Yamaha)7. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki)8. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki)9. Chris Clark (Yamaha)10. Barrett Long (Ducati)
Hayes Taken Down, Young Wins
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.