Good Day to be a Hayden
July 10, 2011 | 9:43 P.M. EST
Sunday was a very good day to be a Hayden at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, as Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy and National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger matched or scored their best finishes of the 2011 season in arguably the most exciting battle the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike class has seen yet. Tommy earned his second victory of the year, while Roger bested Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes to take third. Between them in the winner’s circle was a reasonably happy Blake Young, who -- if he couldn’t himself earn the win -- was at least glad the points hadn’t gone to championship rival Hayes.
Hayes and Young swapped the lead furiously as the halfway mark came and went, while Roger maintained an almost defiant chokehold on third. With big brother Tommy just off Roger’s rear wheel, the lead four tore through the second half of the race covered by six-tenths of a second, a changing of the guard coming as first Roger then Tommy slipped past Hayes, relegating the Yamaha rider to fourth. Tommy was far from done advancing, however, sliding unstoppably past first Roger then Young, claiming the lead from his Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate.
Tommy and Young traded positions several times as the quartet blazed through the end laps, but it was Tommy whom the final corners forced to defend the position with every ounce of skill and courage in him.
“Once I settled in,” said Tommy post-race, “I could tell it was going to come down to the last lap, and Blake pushed me all the way to the end. There was a point there, coming on to the front straight for the last time, where I was totally committed -- I couldn’t do anything else or I was gonna hit him. And Rog, I followed him for ten or twelve laps, and he was in that back straightaway deep. It was just tough -- that big of a battle, and this place is tight; it’s hard to make passes. I’m just happy I was able to get through those guys and make it happen today, which I haven’t been able to do the last few races.”
“I was glad to see my teammate come by,” Young agreed, “and it definitely helps as far as points are concerned. There are no team orders, and what happened to Tommy at Barber [engine failure] could happen to anyone. He knows that, and then again, he could be right back here again at any weekend. First and foremost, though, I’d like to thank my team --those guys keep impressing me. Every time I go out, the bike is great. I think we’ll take this momentum into the next race and just continue to try to lead the points.”
Roger, who used a harder tire in today’s race and expressed regret at not having done so in yesterday’s contest, said, “The race was pretty good for me; I felt like I had a pretty good rhythm going, and in the beginning Josh was kind of making it easy because he and Blake going back-and-forth definitely slowed the pace up. I couldn’t get out of the Keyhole good enough to make a pass on anybody, but I did twenty-one good laps and this is something we can build on and hopefully be here every weekend. A couple races this year, I felt like I left a lot out on the track after the weekend was over, so I’m trying to push it a little harder, come out of the gate faster, and be competitive."
M4 Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas followed Hayes across the line in fifth, heading Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom, who came out on top of a race-long battle with Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing BMW rider Larry Pegram. Cycle World/Attack Performance Kawasaki’s JD Beach was eighth, followed by Factory KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore and EBR Racing’s Geoff May, the latter piloting the new 1190RS in its debut AMA Pro SuperBike weekend.
Young now leads the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Championship chase by 11 points over Hayes, with Tommy Hayden, Cardenas, and Pegram rounding out the overall top five.