SUBWAY SUPERBIKE DOUBLE HEADER
05 June 2012 | News
Less than a week after great racing from Dainese & AGV racers at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, AMA Pro Road Racing takes the battle to Road America's challenging 4.05-mile course where the competition continues to escalate.
Elkhart Lakes, WI- On the heels of a tough weekend at Miller, Dainese & AGV rider James “The Rocket” Rispoli hoped to race back to the place he knows so well, the podium. Through AMA SuperSport practices and qualifiers, Rispoli clung to the top three positions with consistent fast lap times that earned him a front row start on the grid. Under excellent track conditions, the start of Race 1 saw The Rocket get the hole shot down the long front straight. He led the first lap, but was overtaken at turn 1. Striking back immediately, Rispoli regained 2nd position from Dominguez and quickly began stalking Lewis when a crash halted the race with a red flag. From second position on the restart, James took to dicing it up with Lewis and Dominguez quickly with all three riders trading positions. Pushing his Celtic Racing Orient Express Suzuki to the limit by backing it through many of the courses turns, Rispoli began to experience front-end issues. Despite displaying masterful control, he was ultimately relegated to a 3rd place finish. Fast and very consistent all weekend, Dainese and Roadrace Factory rider Thomas Puerta battled lap after lap against his teammate Hayden Gillim. Beating him across the finish line, Puerta came home with 5thplace.
Race 2 kicked off like Race 1 had never ended, with James Rispoli engaging Jake Lewis from the first lap. Also mixing it up with the front runners, Dustin Dominguez had to retire on lap 3 with mechanical troubles. Pushing hard after showing Lewis a wheel through numerous turns, Rispoli overtook the lead on the brakes at Turn 1 on the 4th lap. Just a lap later in the same place, Lewis returned the favor as the two hard-chargers fought for top position. Pushing the bike sideways through turn after turn, The Rocket put up an impressive display as he again took over the lead at Turn 1 with 3 laps remaining. It didn't last as he again tangled it up with Lewis and Kneedraggers.com's Stefano Mesa. Riding the wheels off his Celtic Racing GSX-R 600 on the final lap, Rispoli couldn't calm the bike as it squirmed and low-sided. With a quick recovery, he was able to pick the bike up and come home with a 6th place finish, and more importantly, more points in the Supersport West standings. Fellow Dainese sponsored rider Thomas Puerta rode another consistent race, only dicing with his own teammate Hayden Gillim again, and bringing home a respectable 4thplace finish.
Racing at his home track, Wisconsin-native and Dainese rider Yoshimura Suzuki's Blake Young took the support of his home fan base and gave chase to Graves Yamaha's Josh Hayes in the AMA SuperBike class. Donning a specially painted helmet to resemble the cheese his home state is renowned for, Young started from the front row in a rain-delayed Race 1. Running at a blistering pace, Blake “The Snake” pulled a 7 second advantage over Dainese and AGV riders Josh Herrin, Ben Bostrom, and Steve Rapp, with 7 laps left, but could only follow in the wake of race leader Hayes. Despite such a strong showing and still-injured wrist, with 5 laps remaining Steve Rapp was forced to retire with a mechanical failure, leaving Herrin and Bostrom to fight for the final podium step. When rains returned on the final lap, race officials red-flagged the race earning Blake Young and Josh Herrin a 2nd and 3rd place finish, respectively.
Race 2 kicked off under perfect conditions, leaving great racing as the only element to affect Road America. From the drop of the flag, Josh Hayes cleared off and never looked back. Unfortunately for him, he missed the 3rdgreat battle within a week between Dainese riders Blake Young and Josh Herrin. From lap 1 the two racers showed their deep talents as they rode close enough they were seen exchanging glances. Bowing out on lap 2, Steve Rapp closed out his weekend with another mechanical DNF after showing great promise in the morning warm-up. While race fans enjoyed the Young vs. Herrin battle from trackside, the man with perhaps the best seat for the show was Ben Bostrom. Running a strong race just off their pace and displaying his years of experience, Bostrom ran the entire race in 4th place and finished just off the podium. With 4 laps remaining, and the duel reaching a boiling point, Blake Young passed Josh Herrin hard in Turn 1. The favor was passed back and forth between the riders for a full lap. Tearing down the front straight, Young waved Herrin by inexplicably, only to reclaim his lead immediately. Running only a bike-length apart for the rest of the race, Young claimed 2nd place from Herrin by less than one-hundredth of a second, and received a hero's welcome from his hometown fans at the podium.
Photos credits: Brian Nelson (Young, Herrin, Bostrom, Rapp) and Andrea Wilson (Rispoli's).