Rain threatened the final races of the 2010 AMA Pro Road Racing season on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park, but the inclement weather failed to dampen the on-track competition.
Blake Young, on pole in American SuperBike, fought off heavy challenges from fellow Suzuki rider John Hopkins and Ducati-mounted Larry Pegram to win his third race of the season. Regarding his long absence from the series with a broken back, Young said, “It was pretty hard for me to get the phone call and be told that I was going to sit out for the next three months. This is what I love to do.”
Hopkins was the only rider on the front row of the grid to choose Dunlop’s treaded intermediate tires; everyone else opted for slicks. Buell’s Geoff May was in the mix, as well, running as high as second before fading to sixth. In spite of the wet surface, lap times near the end of the race weren’t far off those posted during Saturday’s event, which was run in completely dry conditions.
Hopkins was all smiles. “I had more fun out there than I’ve had in years,” he said. “I have nothing but good things to say about the series and the tracks where we race.”
Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes finished seventh, good enough to secure his first American SuperBike title. The championship didn’t come without drama, though. When Jordan Suzuki’s Brett McCormick highsided directly in front of him, Hayes was forced to take his chances in the wet grass lining the track.
“Fortunately, it was the slowest part of the racetrack,” laughed Hayes. ‘It wasn’t too big of a deal, though it could have quickly gone bad. Fortunately, it didn’t.”
Daytona SportBike frontrunners Danny Eslick and Josh Herrin continued their on-track slug-fest, which helped Martin Cardenas score his second win of the race weekend. The M4 Monster Energy Suzuki rider turned what had been a 12-point championship deficit on Friday into an 8-marker advantage on Sunday afternoon. Eslick was second, while Project 1 Atlanta’s Dane Westby, whose highside crash brought out a red flag with eight laps remaining in the 21-lap event, was third.
Cardenas admitted that he doesn’t enjoy racing in wet conditions. “I do pretty well,” he said, “but I don’t like it. You can make mistakes very easily.” The Columbian dedicated the victory to his late brother.
In SuperSport action, Austin DeHaven took home the Young Gun award by virtue of his fourth- and second-place finishes in the two-moto format. Tyler O’Hara won the number-one plate in Top Gun after finishing ninth and seventh, respectively.
Former Grand Prix star Jeremy McWilliams won the wet Vance & Hines XR1200 race. Michael Barnes was second, followed by P.J. Jacobsen. Three-time-race-winner Eslick took home the title.
Class winners will receive their respective honors at the AMA Pro Racing Awards Banquet on Monday evening at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.