LEEDS, ALA, JUNE 23 - Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha's Cameron Beaubier won his first Daytona Sportbike race with a hard-fought victory over Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki) and teammate Tommy Hayden on a 95 degree day at Barber Motorsports Park.
It was the culmination of a long road back for Beaubier, who'd suffered a broken kneecap in a scooter accident following his third place finish in Daytona. The 19-year-old from Roseville, California missed two races before returning at Infineon Raceway. He finished third in Saturday's race, but wasn't able to race on Sunday. He followed that with another third at Miller Motorsports Park, then a second in race one at Road America and a downfield finish in race two.
Earlier in the day he'd served notice that he'd be a contender by taking his first pole position. And in the race he was straight into the mix, taking third behind early leader Jason DiSalvo (Latus Motors Racing Castrol Triumph) and Hayden, with Westby just off the back.
Beaubier passed Hayden on the fourth lap and on the sixth took the lead from DiSalvo, beginning a battle that would go on for several laps. On lap 10 DiSalvo went under Beaubier in Turn 4 to go back in front, with Beaubier taking it back from DiSalvo into the museum turn on the 13th lap. Not long after DiSalvo would faded from contention, finishing a solid fourth.
Up front a battle had formed among Beaubier, Hayden, and Westby. Hayden led across the strip ending lap 17 with Beaubier losing one more spot to Westby in the final corner.
Beaubier took back the lead on the next lap and for the final three of 21 laps the order changed repeatedly.
Beaubier led to start the final lap from Westby, who made a move into the Turn 4 hairpin left. But he was carrying too much speed and Beaubier re-took the lead. Hayden was watching from third.
From there to the end the order wouldn't change, with Beaubier streaming across the line .242 sec. in front of Westby. Hayden was third, another .432 sec. back.
Another five seconds went by before DiSalvo crossed in fourth, with nearly 11 seconds on championship leader Martin Cardenas (Geico Suzuki). Cardenas got the best of his battle with Bobby Fong and Benny Solis.
Despite finishing fifth, Cardenas continues to lead the championship with 222 points. DiSalvo remains second with 177, with Westby third (167) and Hayden fourth (161).
Barber Daytona Sportbike Results:
1. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
2. Dane Westby (Suzuki)
3. Tommy Hayden (Yamaha)
4. Jason DiSalvo (Triumph)
5. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki)
6. Bobby Fong (Yamaha)
7. Benny Solis (Yamaha)
8. Jake Zemke (Ducati)
9. JD Beach (Yamaha)
10. Michael Beck (Yamaha)