Zemke concludes title campaign in style Erion Honda's Jake Zemke put the finishing touches on his first-career title season with a spectacular Formula Xtreme victory on Saturday afternoon at Laguna Seca. Zemke was embroiled in a ferocious...
Zemke concludes title campaign in style
Erion Honda's Jake Zemke put the finishing touches on his first-career title season with a spectacular Formula Xtreme victory on Saturday afternoon at Laguna Seca.
Zemke was embroiled in a ferocious battle with teammate Josh Hayes, the '06 and '07 FX champion, for much of the race as they traded the top position dramatically and repeatedly.
Ultimately, Zemke made some shrewd moves through traffic and clocked some very quick times late in the race, allowing him to just break the Mississippian's challenge. He grabbed the checkered flag with just over a second in hand following the 17-lap contest.
The recently-crowned champ said, "When Josh came by I thought, 'well, you better pick up the pace and get going.' It was a great race. I think that was the race a lot of people wanted to see all year long that for whatever reasons throughout the year... We should have had some great races like this but it wasn't working out. One of us would have a bad start or something would happen. But it was a lot of fun. We made quite a few mistakes and we were both pushing extremely hard. It was a lot of fun."
Hayes, who rebounded from a disappointing start of the year to finish second in the season's point's tally, said, "There is no better way to disgrace a pole position than to get the start that I got. It was bad. But, fortunately, I was pretty relaxed... I was worried Jake would just be absolutely gone, but I was able to relax and pick my spots and make passes that I knew I could make stick."
Hayes summed it up, admitting, "I sure would have liked to have won this race but things didn't happen for me at the end. I don't know if I could have beaten Jake anyway but I sure would have given it a good shot. Congratulations -- the champ beat me today."
Attack Kawasaki's Steve Rapp snapped Team M4 EMGO Suzuki's Martin Cardenas' run of three-straight podiums following another thrilling showdown, as Rapp just managed to fend off the Colombian's assault on the position on the final lap.
The third was Rapp's fourth podium result of the 2008 FX campaign and cemented his third-place ranking in the championship. "I couldn't see who was behind me until the last lap when Martin put a move on me in Turn 5. To be honest with you, I really had no intentions of going for the podium because of my thumb and being injured and everything. My goal was to finish third in the championship... My pit board was +0 for 17 laps and that put a little pressure on me."
Rapp's teammate, Chaz Davies, contested third as part of a three-man group until just after half-distance when Cardenas, his former 250GP teammate, displaced him and the Welshman fell off the podium pace. He ended up a safe fifth.
LeoVince Foremost Insurance Ducati's Larry Pegram was sixth, followed by Graves-backed Michael Beck and Cardenas' teammate, Cory West. Rockwall Honda's Aaron Gobert and Motion Pro Yamaha's Tony Meiring completed the race's top ten.