Photography by Andrea Wilson
Josh Hayes was hounded all day long and was actually passed at one point, but in the end it was the defending AMA Superbike champ coming through with yet another perfect weekend aboard his Monster Energy Yamaha R1, sweeping both Superbike rounds at Barber Motorsports Park with his victory Sunday.
The win for Hayes, his fourth straight, moved him past teammate Josh Herrin to second in the standings. That combined with Martin Cardenas suffering his worst result of the season (fourth) means that Hayes is now within 10 points of the series lead, recovering quickly from his nightmarish two-DNF Daytona that put him behind the eight ball at the start of the season.
“It was a really hard race,” Hayes explained. “I was driving it as hard as I could, trying to push it until everybody’s tires were junk and hopefully at the end no one’s able to make any moves. I was trying to pick my lines smart where I didn’t make a lot of mistakes. It got pretty greasy. I had my share of mistakes still, but fortunately I did it in areas that maybe give up a little time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy to get by you. Fortunately it was enough.”
Roger Lee Hayden took second on the National Guard/Jordan Suzuki. This time Hayden shadowed Hayes nearly the entire race. On the last lap you could clearly see that Hayden went all out in trying to make a pass on Hayes, but he kept sliding the rear tire as his Suzuki strained for grip and was losing precious drives out of the turns. In the end Hayden came up about ten bike lengths short at the checkered flag in a valiant effort.
“There on the last couple of laps I was right on his back tire just trying to find a place to make a pass,” said Hayden, who earned his third podium of the season. “I was starting to slide around a little bit and so was he in a few spots. Every time I tried to get a good run on him on the last lap, you know if I got close enough I was just going to outbrake him, I was going to take a shot at least, but I could never get just that little more that I needed.”
Josh Herrin passed Hayes six laps into the 21-lap final and actually held the lead for couple of laps, but Hayes got him right back in the same turn five, where Herrin had passed him. Then while riding in Hayes’ draft the rear end of Herrin’s Yamaha came around in turn three under heavy acceleration and it snapped violently, throwing him out of the saddle. With that he was out of the race for the win.
“I wasn’t too close to high-siding, but I was worried about getting shot off into the grass after that happened,” Herrin said of his big moment. “I was charging hard to try to get by Josh to get some bonus points (for leading the most laps) and I made a big mistake and it cost me. I was really just hanging on to those guys; I hadn’t done anything close to that time all weekend. After I lost that gap I couldn’t catch back up.”
Cardenas came home fourth, the first time he finished off the podium this season. He said they tried changes on his Yoshimura Suzuki that made it better in the early laps, but worse as the tires wore.
In the battle of former flat trackers Larry Pegram beat out Danny Eslick on the last lap in a fine race for fifth.
KTM’s Chris Fillmore won a five-rider race within a race which lasted nearly the entire 21 laps. Fillmore finished just ahead of Geoff May, Taylor Knapp, David Anthony and Aaron Yates. TV cameras spent a lot of time focusing on that battle that saw dozens of passes between the five riders.
The series now moves to Mid-Ohio on July 12-14. Hayes swept both races there last year.
AMA Pro Superbike results from Barber Motorsports Park – Sunday, June 23, 2013
1 1 Josh Hayes Gulfport, MS Yamaha R1 21 Laps
2 54 Roger Hayden Owensboro, KY Suzuki GSX-R1000 +00.221
3 2 Josh Herrin Dublin, GA Yamaha R1 +10.280
4 36 Martin Cardenas Medellin, Colombia Suzuki GSX-R1000 +15.018
5 72 Larry Pegram Hebron, OH Yamaha R1 +27.641
6 23 Danny Eslick Broken Arrow, OK Suzuki GSX-R1000 +28.014
7 11 Chris Fillmore Oxford, MI KTM RC8R +41.082
8 99 Geoff May Gainesville, GA EBR 1190RS +41.509
9 44 Taylor Knapp Lapeer, MI KTM RC8R +41.874
10 25 David Anthony Murrieta, CA Suzuki GSX-R1000 +42.482