Photography by Andrea Wilson
MILLVILLE, NJ (Sept. 15, 2013) -- Josh Hayes bounced back the disappointment of Saturday’s race to dominate Sunday’s AMA Superbike race at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Hayes took over the lead on his Monster Energy/ Graves Yamaha on the second lap and the cleared away to a 3.199-second margin of victory. The win moved Hayes into second and kept his championship hopes alive, but Herrin will simply need to score a top-10 finish in the finale at Laguna Seca to secure this year’s championship.
The battle for second was an intense last-lap affair that came down to a spirited tussle between Yamaha’s Josh Herrin, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas and National Guard/Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden. They finished in that order, but not without attention-grabbing moves on the final go around.
The race kicked off with Cardenas taking the early lead with a strong start into turn one. He was followed by the Yamaha’s of Herrin and Hayes. Hayes got by his teammate halfway through the first lap.
At the start of the second lap Hayes took over the lead going into turn one and Herrin followed. Cardenas was shuffled back to third. And then Roger Hayden moved up to pass Cardenas and Danny Eslick was right there as well, as a good battle for third was shaping up.
Eslick rode some of the best laps of his season by moving by Cardenas and Hayden for a few laps in the early going, but the aggressive-riding Oklahoman couldn’t hold the position. He said he experienced some issues with his bike in the second half, although he wouldn’t specify exactly what the problem was.
In the second half of the race Hayes continued to build his lead as Cardenas and Hayden continued their close fight for third. It was intense enough between the Suzuki riders that they began closing on second-place Herrin.
While Hayes was secure in front, 3.2 seconds ahead, the battle for second heated up on the last lap. Hayden moved past Cardenas going into turn one, but couldn’t hold the line. Then Cardenas made an attack on Herrin and took second, but Herrin fought back and the two swapped the position. Coming out of the final turn Herrin was second, Cardenas was lined up for a draft move, but couldn’t quite make it work by the line. Herrin edged Cardenas and Hayden, with just 4-10ths of a second covering all three riders.
Eslick fell back to a distant fifth at the finish on the Jordan Suzuki. He was nearly caught by KTM’s Chris Fillmore. Geoff May was seventh on the EBR. Larry Pegram came home eighth on his Foremost Insurance Yamaha. Taylor Knapp and David Anthony rounded out the top ten – Knapp coming out ahead in a great late-race battle with Anthony and Aaron Yates.
Never has a rider looked as dour in victory as Hayes Sunday. It was understandable considering his championship chances after this weekend. Facing the media afterwards Hayes commented on how he felt.
“I’m proud of the way I rode,” he said. “Proud of my team for putting a good bike back underneath me. I can’t say I’m happy, just proud. A job well done. I feel good about the way I put the day together.”
The series now moves to the finale later this month at Laguna Seca. Herrin has a fairly clear path to the championship, but if this season has taught us anything, nothing is insured in this year’s campaign.
AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike result fromNJMP – Sunday, September 15, 2013
1 1 Josh Hayes Gulfport, MS Yamaha R1 23 Laps
2 2 Josh Herrin Dublin, GA Yamaha R1 +03.199
3 36 Martin Cardenas Medellin, Colombia Suzuki GSX-R1000 +03.255
4 54 Roger Hayden Owensboro, KY Suzuki GSX-R1000 +03.701
5 23 Danny Eslick Broken Arrow, OK Suzuki GSX-R1000 +25.
6 11 Chris Fillmore Oxford, MI KTM RC8R +26.520
7 99 Geoff May Gainesville, GA EBR 1190RS +37.688
8 72 Larry Pegram Hebron, OH Yamaha R1 +45.516
9 44 Taylor Knapp Lapeer, MI KTM RC8R +53.819
10 25 David Anthony Murrieta, CA Suzuki GSX-R1000 +55.345
Standings (after 13 of 14 rounds)
1. Herrin, 320.
2. Hayes, 298.
3. Cardenas, 297
4. Hayden, 228.
5. Eslick, 213.