Hayes claims first win of '08 Saturday's incident-heavy AMA Superbike race was immediately followed by a red-flag shortened AMA Formula Xtreme contest that saw two-time defending champion Josh Hayes claim his first race victory of the ...
Hayes claims first win of '08
Saturday's incident-heavy AMA Superbike race was immediately followed by a red-flag shortened AMA Formula Xtreme contest that saw two-time defending champion Josh Hayes claim his first race victory of the season.
The race was stopped following ten of a scheduled 16 laps due to a very scary looking crash on the front straight by Matsushima Performance Suzuki's Garrett Carter. Carter was thrown from his machine directly in front of teammate Danny Eslick, who appeared to clip the fallen rider.
Carter lay motionless for several agonizing minutes before finally coming to and showing movement, taking his own gloves off.
After watching Team M4 EMGO Suzuki's Martin Cardenas and LeoVince Foremost Insurance Ducati's Larry Pegram take their turns leading the six-rider pack, Erion Honda's Josh Hayes and Jake Zemke finally worked their way into first and second.
Title leader Zemke closed in on the reigning champion (and actually passed him just prior to seeing the red flag), setting the stage for another exciting showdown to the checkered flag before the race was stopped and called complete.
Hayes, who won an incredible 11 combined races in 2007, finally got the monkey off his back in by scoring his first of a difficult '08 season.
"The first part of the race was really exciting," Hayes remarked. "It was very, very frustrating but really exciting. I got off the line terribly; I think Jake was the only one that got a worse start than me. But Martin was really aggressive right off the bat. He got out front and went for it. And Jake and I were still trying to figure out how to get by Larry and we kind of had to wait for Larry to decide he wanted to run down Martin along with us.
"So we finally got up there and things started jostling around and trying to figure out where to go. I had to make a pretty aggressive pass on Martin in turn 1 and Larry was tougher. I had to come from pretty far back to outbrake him on the back straightaway. Finally the next two laps, I was making a lot of mistakes because I hadn't seen the front in a while. I hadn't had any clear laps in a while and I was just trying to find all my marks again. Both of them were mid-'26s and I thought that wasn't too bad but I thought I could go faster.
"The gap was growing and pretty quick I started getting in trouble. I started losing the front and it got bigger and bigger and bigger. I was trying to just salvage it and just keep going and keep a decent pace to try to keep Jake back as far as I could, but every time I did I'd make a mistake that cost me a lot. He was coming with us and I think a bit of my front-end problems were with how the day played out with the long break and the Superbike race. The tires sat on warmers for a long time and it just created a bit of havoc for us I think. It just didn't seem to affect Jake as much. Maybe he was a bit more relaxed trying to come through those guys.
"But I'm glad a little bit of luck came my way. What a hectic day."
Runner-up Zemke commented, "It was a good race. There was a lot of passing going on, a lot of action. I came here with one goal and that was to leave here with a full race points lead and we accomplished that. So we accomplished one goal but the second goal was to win and that didn't work out this weekend.
"But Josh rode great -- everybody was riding good. Like I said, there was a lot of close battles going on out there out there. Once I got into second and got some clear track I was able to put my head down and put a little dent into Josh's lead -- he had jumped out there pretty good while we were out there swapping positions. I had to run Josh down and unfortunately for me the red flag came out because I had just passed Josh going in off the back straightaway and the next corner we came to the red was out."
Colombian Cardenas looks to be fully back up to speed from his early season injuries, guiding his Team M4 EMGO Suzuki GSX-R600 to third, his second podium finish of the season.
"Today was a very good race for me," Cardenas said. "I got a great start, I started in first and did a couple laps in first place. But the other guys came and we started passing each other. Then Josh went to the front and then Jake came and I tried to stay with them. I did ride as hard as I could and at the end it was red-flagged and I got third. It was a very good race."
Attack Kawasaki teammates Chaz Davies and Steve Rapp made their way into fourth and fifth, respectively, dropping Pegram to sixth.
Eslick was awarded seventh, with Rockwall Honda's Aaron Gobert, Graves Yamaha-backed Michael Beck, and Moto Uno's Nicky Moore completing the top ten.
Zemke now leads by 39 points over Rapp (235-196), while Pegram is third (192) and race-winner Hayes is fourth (178).