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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Eslick snags first SportBike win

From AMA Pro Racing

BIRMINGHAM, AL - "As you can see," said GEICO Powersports/RMR Suzuki's Danny Eslick in the post-qualifying press conference, "this is a pretty mean front row." Sitting beside the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike pole-earner in Barber Motorsport Park's pressroom were the other three most-wanted men in 2011 Daytona SportBike racing: PJ Jacobsen (Celtic Racing/Fast by Ferracci), Josh Herrin (Monster Energy Graves Yamaha) and Jason DiSalvo (Team Latus Motors Racing).

The stakes were sky-high for all four heading into a sweltering Race 1 at the gorgeously green Birmingham facility, as a pair of DNFs at the previous round had seen DiSalvo forced to cede the lead to Herrin for the first time this season. In the end, however, victory shone not on points-leaders or former points-leaders, but on those from the road race-proud state of Oklahoma, as Broken Arrow's Eslick led M4 Suzuki's Dane Westby (Tulsa) and Vesrah Suzuki's Cory West (Oklahoma City) to what some OK-fans have labeled an "Oklapodium."

"It's been a tough season so far," said Eslick, who'd gone winless in 2011 until today. "It means a lot to get this win ... it's pretty awesome."

Eslick launched into the lead off the start, and - in an almost unheard-of occurrence in the shark-tank-like Daytona SportBike class - was never forced to release it, save for a brief skirmish with Jacobsen on Lap 1. Instead, he began almost immediately to spin out a modest lead that grew, over the 21 laps, to an unassailable one. Helping matters were that fact that two of his biggest recent threats, Herrin and Jacobsen, were negated early in the contest, Jacobsen sliding out at the end of Lap 1 and Herrin - pounding his tank in fury - having to pit just minutes later with a seized engine.

DiSalvo, trying desperately to chase down Eslick from second, initially appeared to be the heir-apparent challenger once Jacobsen and Herrin were out, but the Latus rider was likewise soon struggling, getting shuffled back to fifth in the lead pack. With about seven to go, a three-way battle for second kicked off between Tommy Aquino, Westby, and West, and as the laps clicked down, it only intensified.

"I could see the numbers on the scoring tower changing position," said Eslick, "[and] I kept seeing different numbers in second, so I knew they were racing pretty hard back there. I just didn't want to do anything crazy and mess up."

While Eslick checked out, heading the field by nearly four seconds at one point, DiSalvo did everything he could to keep the trio in front of him within grasp, but was ultimately forced to settle for fifth, his run of recent bad luck seeming to stretch yet further. And while Aquino was left to a solid but somewhat disappointing fourth, Westby and West each had plenty to celebrate, Westby claiming the race's runner-up position while West took over the overall points-lead in the Daytona SportBike Championship, 136 points to Eslick's 135.

"It's awesome," said West later, shaking his head. "I can't thank the Vesrah guys enough. Now we just have to try to push on and get another podium tomorrow."

Belfountain, ON's Kenny Riedmann was classified 23rd on his Triumph 675 Daytona.

The opening race of the Barber SuperBike Classic Weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL stepped up the intensity of AMA Pro's "young-gun" class yet another notch -- and set the tone for the races to follow. Saturday's 17-lap AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race saw Roadracingworld.com's Benny Solis take his third victory of the season, but only after a race-long battle with pole-sitter James Rispoli (ANT-Racing.com Star School Suzuki) and a determined Elena Myers (Team SuzukiScoopFans Racing).

Both Ben Young and Emerson Connor were DNFs in the first SuperSport race of the weekend.

SportBike Race Results
1. Danny Eslick (Richie Morris Racing) Suzuki GSX-R600 21 Laps
2. Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R600 +2.842
3. Cory West (Vesrah Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R600 +3.005
4. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha Extended Service, Pat Clark Sports, Graves, Yamaha) Yamaha YZF-R6 +3.144
5. Jason DiSalvo (Team Latus Motors Racing) Ducati 848 +3.682
6. Taylor Knapp (Vesrah Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R600 +4.556
7. Kris Turner (Turner`s Cycle Racing) Suzuki GSX-R600 +33.576
8. Tyler OHara (GP Bike Parts Racing) Yamaha YZF-R6 +37.303
9. Huntley Nash (LTD Racing Y.E.S Yamaha) Yamaha YZF-R6 +45.745
10. Ricky Corey (GP Bike Parts Racing) Yamaha YZF-R6 +48.782
11. Barrett Long (Longevity Racing) Ducati 848 +1:04.276
12. Tyler Odom (Don Odom Racing) Honda CBR600RR +1:12.767
13. David Sadowski, Jr. (Top Shelf Motorcycles Racing) Ducati 848 +1:16.211
14. Nahun Alvarez (NA Racing - MFM) Honda CBR600RR +1:16.542
15. Michael Morgan (Autolite RIM Racing) Suzuki GSX-R600 +1:33.038
16. PJ Jacobsen (Celtic Racing) Ducati 848 20 Laps
17. Wes Humphryes (Humphryes Racing) Suzuki GSX-R600 +7.050
18. Melissa Paris (HT Moto Yamaha) Yamaha YZF-R6 +8.283
19. Sam Rozynski (Triple Crown Industries) Yamaha YZF-R6 +1:07.915
20. Fernando Amantini (Team Amantini) Kawasaki ZX-6R +1:11.146
21. Santiago Villa (M4 Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R600 19 Laps
22. Matthew Sadowski (Top Shelf Motorcycles Racing) Ducati 848 15 Laps
23. Kenny Riedmann (Kenny Riedmann) Triumph Daytona 675 14 Laps
24. Josh Herrin (Monster Energy Graves Yamaha) Yamaha YZF-R6 4 Laps
25. Dirk Sanchez (Sons Mexico) Ducati 848 +19:25.563
26. Paul Allison (Triple Crown Industries) Yamaha YZF-R6 2 Laps
27. Cameron Beaubier (GP Bike Parts Racing) Yamaha YZF-R6 +16:27.547
28. Matt Hall (CS Carey Racing) Yamaha YZF-R6 0 Laps
Race Time: 32:03.777
Margin of Victory: 2.842
Best Race Lap: Jason DiSalvo (1:30.845)

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