Tommy Hayden on Provisional Pole at NJMP

Henny Ray Abrams | September 2, 2011


 The rider who has the worst chance of winning the title had the best day.Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden’s hopes of winning his first AMA Pro Road Racing Superbike title were dealt a severe blow during a disastrous weekend at Barber Motorsports Park. Hayden finished seventh on Saturday and had a rare, but spectacular engine failure on Sunday. His take for the weekend was 14 points. Teammate Blake Young left Alabama with 52 points and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Josh Hayes collected 44.Hayden rebounded with a third in the first race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, then won the next two races, the second race at Mid-Ohio and at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, five weeks before this weekend’s New Jersey Motorsports Park season finale.

Hayden arrived in Millville trailing Young by 48 points and Hayes by 43. The title will likely go to one of those two, but Hayden will be there if they falter. The oldest of the racing Haydens took the first step this afternoon with the fastest lap in provisional qualifying. Hayden needed 1:21.005 mins. to lap the 2.25-mile, 14-turn road course in south Jersey. The lap, which came with just under six minutes remaining in the 50-minute session, put him on top. The only serious opposition he faced came from Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom, whose best effort of 1:21.119 mins. came up short by .114 sec. Bostrom’s Jordan Suzuki teammate Roger Lee Hayden was third, with Hayes fourth.And what of series leader Young? The Wisconsinite was stuck at the tail end of the top ten until the end of the session when he leapt up to fifth, but .748 sec. behind his teammate.

“It was a good session, obviously,” Hayden said. “Coming into this weekend I just want to have a good weekend, try to keep a little momentum going and try to go win some races. Really, that’s all I can do. Championship, that’s a super-outside longshot for me. Really, it’s not even worth talking about, really, at this point. I’m just here, last race, really no pressure and just want to have fun, ride hard and, like I said, try to win some races.”Last year Hayden was leading on Saturday when the race was stopped by a red flag on the final lap . Scoring reverted a lap, which put him second to Hayes. He also finished second to Hayes in Sunday’s race.”I want to win here,” Hayden said. “I’ve led a lot here, been really close, battled for the win at nearly, I think, every race. So would definitely like to get a win here. I feel like we have the bike and the speed to do it. We won two in a row now, so would be cool to kinda keep that going, end the year on a high note.”Superbike Qualifying: 1. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:21.005

2. Ben Bostrom (Suzuki) 1:21.119

3. Roger Lee Hayden (Suzuki) 1:21.160

4. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:21.458

5. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:21.753

6. Larry Pegram (BMW) 1:21.867

7. Steve Rapp (Kawasaki) 1:21.873

8. Geoff May (EBR) 1:21.971

9. Brett McCormick (BMW) 1:22.151

10. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:22.557


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.