Photography by Larry Lawrence
Joe Roberts is a name road racing fans will probably start hearing more and more. Roberts made a stunning pro debut Saturday by easily running away with the victory in SuperSport action at Barber Motorsports Park aboard his California Superbike School/Roadracingworld.com Honda.
Roberts overcame a poor start and quickly worked his way to the front. By lap two Roberts made a daring inside pass on Hayden Gillim coming out of the final turn to take the lead. Once up front the 16-year-old from Glendale, California, simply walked away from the rest of the field. His margin of victory after 17 laps of racing was 8.122 seconds.
It was one of the most impressive pro road racing debuts in a long time.
Colombian Tomas Puerta finished second on his RoadRace Factory Yamaha. Puerta held off another 16-year-old first-time pro in WERA Champion Nick McFadden of Owensboro, Kentucky.
Roberts, who started from the pole, accidently wheelied his Honda CBR600RR off the line and was passed by a number of riders before the field got into the first turn.
“I think I got the worst start ever,” Roberts smiled in the post-race press conference. “I wheelied pretty bad off the line and about six riders went by me. By the (end) of the first lap I was up to about fourth and then I made a pass on Tomas and Hayden. As soon as I got in front I knew I needed to push and go as fast as I could. I ended up getting the gap and just managed that gap.”
Roberts is a regular on in the Red Bull Rookies Cup that runs alongside MotoGP events. He plans to do two more AMA road races this summer.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-SuperStore.com Supersport Results
1 2 Joe Roberts Glendale, CA Honda CBR600RR 17 Laps
2 12 Tomas Puerta Medellin, Colombia Yamaha YZF-R6 +08.122
3 118 Nick McFadden Owensboror, KY Suzuki GSX-R600 +09.477
4 69 Hayden Gillim Philpot, KY Yamaha YZF-R6 +11.385
5 72 Miles Thornton West Point, GA Yamaha YZF-R6 +13.961
6 5 Corey Alexander Carmel, NY Suzuki GSX-R600 +24.040
7 9 Wyatt Farris Calistoga, CA Yamaha YZF-R6 +27.709
8 37 Stefano Mesa Boca Raton, FL Yamaha YZF-R6 +27.744
9 73 Sebastiao Ferreira Parauna, Brazil Yamaha YZF-R6 +28.657
10 13 Charles Weaver Roseville, CA Yamaha YZF-R6 +30.369