POINTS LEADER HAYDEN TO MISS CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY SUPERSPORT RACE PICKERINGTON, Ohio (April 26, 2006) -- Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei leader Roger Lee Hayden will miss this weekend's race at California Speedway ...
POINTS LEADER HAYDEN TO MISS CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY SUPERSPORT RACE
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (April 26, 2006) -- Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei leader Roger Lee Hayden will miss this weekend's race at California Speedway following a high-speed crash at Barber Motorsports Park this past Sunday, which left the Kawasaki rider with a badly broken right leg. With Hayden out, perhaps until June, Yamaha's Jamie Hacking becomes the de facto series leader in this, round three of the 11-race series, which takes place on Sunday, April 30 in Fontana, Calif.
Roger Lee Hayden was heir apparent to the Supersport throne after finishing runner-up to his older brother Tommy for two straight years. He'd won at Daytona in March and again last Sunday in Birmingham, Ala., to build an early eight-point lead over Hacking. Now it appears Hayden may have to wait yet another year for the highly coveted Supersport title. It's a disappointing blow to the youngest Hayden brother.
Hacking was sorry to hear of Hayden's misfortune. He knows exactly how badly Hayden feels. Last year Hacking led the Repsol Superstock Series when he was involved in a bicycle accident and was forced to miss the rest of the season.
Hacking is trying to win back the AMA Supersport title he owned in 2003. The Carolinian looked strong in his return from last year's injuries with a pair of second-place finishes. Now he comes to California Speedway, a track where he's won the Supersport race twice before.
"I've had some good races in Fontana," Hacking said. "It's a track that suits my style and Yamaha always give me a great bike that works well there. Even though I've won there before it's not going to be easy that's for sure. There are some fast up-and-coming riders in the class and I'm going to have to be on top of my game if I want to get another win."
The rider who is clearly making a breakthrough in the class this year is M4 EMGO Suzuki's Geoff May. May scored his first career podium last week in Alabama and brings a new mind-set to California Speedway this weekend.
"It's great to get my first podium in Supersport," said May, a former AMA Rookie of the Year. "Now that I've accomplished that I need to keep improving and see if I can take it to the next level."
May nipped Attack Kawasaki's Ben Attard at the line last week in Alabama. Attard is hoping to return the favor this Sunday so he can continue to move up from his current sixth-place position in the standings.
A good battle is developing between veteran Damon Buckmaster and relative newcomer to the class Danny Eslick. The two are tied for fourth in the standings. "Bucky" is teammate to his fellow Australian Attard and is in his eighth season of competing in the AMA series. Buckmaster is a former Australian Supersport champ. Eslick is a former flat track racer who continues to show steady progress racing for the Matsushima Performance Suzuki team.
Michael Barnes came back in Alabama in spite of riding with an injured knee he had surgery on after Daytona. The longtime veteran turned in a solid seventh-place performance on his M4 EMGO Suzuki at Barber Motorsports Park last week and hopes to continue to climb in the rankings after Fontana.
A new face to watch for at California Speedway is Ryan Elleby. Elleby is an up-and-coming rider from Georgia riding under the Leo Vince/Pegram Racing Honda banner. He comes to California Speedway as the top ranked Honda Supersport rider having scored an impressive eighth at Barber, just behind Barnes. As Elleby gains in confidence he could become a bigger factor in the series as the season progresses.
The Pro Honda Oils Supersport race presented by Shoei is part of California Speedway's Suzuki Superbike Challenge that runs April 28-30. For ticket info call 1-800-944-RACE or visit www.californiaspeedway.com
The Fontana Supersport final will be televised nationally on SPEED at 1 p.m. EST Tuesday, May 2.