Four Titles on Line in N. J. Finale
August 31, 2011 | 11:48 A.M. EST
Josh Hayes and Blake Young will battle it out again in New Jersey. (AMA Photo)
The final round of the 2011 AMA Pro Road Racing Championship will play out in an action-packed Labor Day Weekend event at New Jersey Motorsports Park, where no fewer than four national championships will be decided. At stake are the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, Daytona SportBike, and Vance & Hines XR1200 titles, while the young-gun AMA Pro Motorcycle-SuperStore.com SuperSport series will crown both an East Division Champion as well as an overall national champion.
In the premier National Guard SuperBike class, the championship battle has come down to three riders: Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammates Blake Young and Tommy Hayden, and Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's defending SuperBike champion, Josh Hayes. With six 2011 wins to his credit thus far, current points-leader Young is celebrating his most successful year of AMA Pro Racing to date, but Hayes -- known for his determination -- lurks just five points behind as the series enters its doubleheader finale. And while Hayden heads to NJMP a full race's-worth of points back in third, he's coming off of two consecutive race victories and is poised to strike should either of the top-two falter.
The Daytona SportBike Championship advantage, meanwhile, rests firmly with 2009 class champion Danny Eslick (GEICO Powersports RMR Suzuki), whose closest rival -- Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Herrin -- suffered the brutal disappointment of a mechanical DNF at the class' previous round. But in a class known for multiple winners, intense racing, and unpredictable outcomes, even Eslick's significant points lead can't promise protection against the hard-charging Herrin, who is himself being stalked by Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo, just two points behind in third.
In the Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport class, local rider James Rispoli (ANT Racing Motorsports) has his New York-sights set on the East Division title as well as the overall Motocycle-Superstore.com SuperSport championship -- in addition to part of the $25,000 year-end prize money, provided by class sponsor Motorcycle-Superstore.com, that goes with it. Rispoli holds a commanding lead in the East Division series over LTD Racing Y.E.S. Yamaha rider Tomas Puerta, whose teammate, West Division Champion David Gaviria, is Rispoli's toughest competition for the overall title.
And finally, thanks to the incredible action of the past weekend's Red Bull Indianapolis GP -- where the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 presented by Harley-Davidson Insurance doubleheader brought Harley-Davidson machinery to the Speedway for the first time in 100 years -- AMA Pro's newest class championship has narrowed to just twelve points. Points-leader Chris Fillmore (Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing GEICO) came back from a demoralizing crash in Race 1 to take the Race 2 victory, burning up his previous surplus of points but preserving a narrow lead. With just one race to settle the score, he and runner-up Steve Rapp (Parts Unlimited) will have each other and a full field of equally hungry competitors to contend with at NJMP.
Same-day television coverage of the weekend's racing begins at 10 p.m. ET both Saturday and Sunday on SPEED.