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Monday, June 20, 2011

Herrin rebounds with SportBike win

From AMA Pro Racing

BIRMINGHAM, AL - Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Herrin had something to prove -- and points to regain -- in Sunday's AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Race 2, and when the light went green at Barber Motorsports Park, that's exactly what he did. After stalking GEICO Powersports/RMR Suzuki's Danny Eslick through the majority of the hard-fought race, Herrin turned the misery of Saturday's DNF into a very sweet .022-second margin of victory, then celebrated by scaling an enormous fence to cheers from fans.

"I consider this my home race, and I was really excited," said Herrin. "I did the Track Walk yesterday and told a couple fans I'd climb the fence, and they were pretty excited about it. So, I thought I would be nice to the fans," added the rider who'd just taken a win in 96-degree heat, "to get them out of the shade up there."

Saturday's seized engine may come back to haunt Herrin in the overall points chase, but for Sunday, the Yamaha rider -- followed across the line by Eslick and Jake Holden Racing's Cameron Beaubier -- is back on top. Only on top of the Barber podium, however, as it's Eslick who's taken over the championship points lead now, becoming the fourth rider to do so this year.

For Celtic Racing/Fast by Ferracci's PJ Jacobsen, Sunday's event was eerily and unpleasantly similar to Saturday's, in which he crashed out early in the race after leading briefly. In Sunday's contest, he lost that lead to a string of other riders before sliding out, but he was far from the only front-runner to suffer sideline fate: M4 Suzuki's Dane Westby followed suit after running as high as third, while former points leader Cory West (Vesrah Suzuki) ran off just minutes later while trying to move up from fourth. (West was able to reenter, ultimately finishing 20th.)

As Herrin put steadily increasing pressure on Eslick while clearly planning a last-minute attack, it was Y.E.S./Pat Clark/Grave Yamaha's Tommy Aquino who grabbed the spotlight, putting on a performance unlike anything the 19-year-old's shown the paddock this year. Though Beaubier ultimately got him at the last minute -- "It was a little close," said Beaubier, "but I had to do it" -- Aquino demonstrated he's still got what it takes to land on the box. 

When the white flag flew and the last lap unspooled, Herrin's attack, which he later labeled part of a "just I hope I can get it, and hope it'll stick" strategy, let loose on the string of final corners, delivered Herrin to the finish-line less than three tenths ahead of Eslick. "I can say I got beat," Eslick said later, laughing. "There's not much else to it. I led every lap down to the last corner pretty much, and he was definitely in a good position. After following me for 20 laps, he knew exactly where I was going on every lap. He definitely had options, and I didn't know where [the attack] was going to come from, but at that point I knew it was coming pretty quick."

When asked how the riders handled Sunday's heat, Eslick quipped, "The same as we do whenever it's cold -- we're not the smartest people out here."

Third-place finisher Beaubier later described his strategy as "just trying not to make any mistakes at the beginning. I knew if I didn't charge hard enough at beginning, I wouldn't be there at end," he continued. "It was a really tough race. I had a couple hard moments trying to keep up, but it was an awesome race."

Behind Beaubier, Aquino, Taylor Knapp (Vesrah Suzuki), Jason DiSalvo (Latus Motors Racing), Kris Turner (Turner's Cycle Racing), Tyler O'Hara (GP Bike Parts Racing), Barrett Long (Longevity Racing) and Tyler Odom (Don Odom Racing) rounded out the top 10.

Kenny Riedmann of Belfountain, ON finished 17th on his Triumph 675 Daytona.

The weather wasn't the only thing that was hot at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday, as the second AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race of the weekend boasted some seriously steamy action. ANT-Racing.com Suzuki rider James Rispoli barely edged out Saturday's winner, Benny Solis (Roadracingworld.com Honda), for the victory, while Hayden Gillim finished third and celebrated his first Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport podium.

Collingwood, ON's Ben Young placed an impressive 10th on his Lean Angle Yamaha YZF-R6 but Burlington, ON racer Emerson Connor was a DNF aboard his Ducati 848.

The AMA Pro Road Racing Championship next heads to Lexington, OH's Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the July 8-10 weekend, Round 6 on the series calendar. For tickets and information, visit www.midohio.com or call (419) 884-4000.

SportBike Race Results
1. Josh Herrin (Monster Energy Graves Yamaha) Yamaha YZF-R6 21 Laps
2. Danny Eslick (Richie Morris Racing) Suzuki GSX-R600 +0.022
3. Cameron Beaubier (GP Bike Parts Racing) Yamaha YZF-R6 +0.187
4. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha Extended Service, Pat Clark Sports, Graves, Yamaha) Yamaha YZF-R6 +0.448
5. Taylor Knapp (Vesrah Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R600 +4.854
6. Jason DiSalvo (Team Latus Motors Racing) Ducati 848 +14.432
7. Kris Turner (Turner`s Cycle Racing) Suzuki GSX-R600 +14.707
8. Tyler O'Hara (GP Bike Parts Racing) Yamaha YZF-R6 +38.605
9. Barrett Long (Longevity Racing) Ducati 848 +38.619
10. Tyler Odom (Don Odom Racing) Honda CBR600RR +45.133
11. Santiago Villa (M4 Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R600 +47.033
12. David Sadowski, Jr. (Top Shelf Motorcycles Racing) Ducati 848 +1:08.580
13. Matthew Sadowski (Top Shelf Motorcycles Racing) Ducati 848 +1:08.604
14. Wes Humphryes (Humphryes Racing) Suzuki GSX-R600 +1:20.560
15. Michael Morgan (Autolite RIM Racing) Suzuki GSX-R600 +1:22.306
16. Matt Hall (CS Carey Racing) Yamaha YZF-R6 +1:24.688
17. Kenny Riedmann (Kenny Riedmann) Triumph Daytona 675 +1:28.291
18. Dirk Sanchez (Sons Mexico) Ducati 848 20 Laps
19. Sam Rozynski (Triple Crown Industries) Yamaha YZF-R6 +28.791
20. Cory West (Vesrah Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R600 +49.599
21. Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R600 8 Laps
22. PJ Jacobsen (Celtic Racing) Ducati 848 +3:42.981
23. Paul Allison (Triple Crown Industries) Yamaha YZF-R6 7 Laps
24. Huntley Nash (LTD Racing Y.E.S Yamaha) Yamaha YZF-R6 6 Laps
25. Ricky Corey (GP Bike Parts Racing) Yamaha YZF-R6 2 Laps
26. Melissa Paris (HT Moto Yamaha) Yamaha YZF-R6 +8.209
27. Nahun Alvarez (NA Racing - MFM) Honda CBR600RR +5:56.219
28. Fernando Amantini (Team Amantini) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1 Lap
Race Time: 32:07.565
Margin of Victory: 0.022
Best Race Lap: Cameron Beaubier (1:30.584)

SportBike Point Standings (Top 15)
1. Danny Eslick 161
2. Josh Herrin 157
3. Jason DiSalvo 141
4. Cory West 137
5. Tommy Aquino 126
6. Cameron Beaubier 113
7. Dane Westby 96
8. PJ Jacobsen 90
9. Taylor Knapp 82
10. Tyler O'Hara 72
11. Paul Allison 59
12. Fernando Amantini 58
13. Santiago Villa 57
14. Huntley Nash 55
15. Tyler Odom 45
36. Kenny Riedmann 4

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