AVONDALE, LA, OCT 7 - Geico Suzuki's Martin Cardenas finished his second championship-winning season with an emphatic and exciting victory over Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha's Cameron Beaubier, the only rider in the Colombian's league this season.
Coming into the final race of the year at NOLA Motorsports Park, Beaubier had one more win that Cardenas. Cardenas had been more successful earlier in the season, while Beaubier was recovering from a scooter accident, and Beaubier was better in the second half.
Today, on a hot afternoon south of New Orleans, those two were the riders to watch. Cardenas got out to a lead of nearly two seconds before Beaubier, a notoriously late starter, ran him down.
Beaubier caught Cardenas halfway into the 18-lap race, then lost touch when he ran wide in turn one on lap 12. It took him two laps to catch back up and on the 15th lap Beaubier took the lead with a move on the inside in the right hand Turn 8.
On the final lap, Cardenas followed Beaubier across the stripe and for the first half of the lap before making his pass in the esses. Beaubier attacked on the inside, then backed out.He attacked again, bumping Cardenas, but not making the pass. From that point on he held his place to the final run to the flag. Out of the final double right Cardenas got a perfect drive and had enough of a gap to steam to the line with a .208 sec. margin of victory.
The victory was his eighth, putting him one up Beaubier.
The battle for third was equally entertaining, with Kneedraggers.com/Triple Crown Industries' Tommy Aquino (Yam) passing M4 Suzuki's Dane Westby on the final lap. Westby fought back, they swapped spots, but Aquino won the fight by .195 sec.
Road Race Factory/Red Bull Yamaha's JD Beach beat Latus Motors Racing Triumph's Jason DiSalvo for fifth by .315 sec. The race was the last for DiSalvo on the Latus Motors Racing team.
Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha's Tommy Hayden recovered from a slow start to finish seventh.
Cardenas finishes the season with 447 points to 382 for Westby and 372 for Beaubier.
Daytona Sportbike Results:
1. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki)
2. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
3. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha)
4. Dane Westby (Suzuki)
5. JD Beach (Yamaha)
6. Jason DiSalvo (Triumph)
7. Tommy Hayden (Yamaha)
8. Michael Beck (Yamaha)
9. David Gaviria (Yamaha)
10. Kris Turner (Triumph)