In WERA Pro Series A Superstock action at Willow Springs Raceway in 1991, Michael Martin (96) is shown here sprinting to a lead over Dean Mizdal (behind Martin), Chuck Graves (24) and Dave Deveau (31). On the next lap Graves moved into second much to the delight of the decidedly pro-Graves crowd sitting atop the balcony area in turn four. The Graves fan club fully expected their hero to reel in the visiting Texan and take the win. Instead Martin (running a string of 1:31 laps) continued to pull away; Graves could not make a dent on Martin’s three second lead. Martin went on to a six second win over Graves. “I know Chuck is a great rider here, that made the win really nice,” said a jubilant Martin. Graves later said his Yosh Suzuki had carburetion problems. Brad Hazen took third after a tough fight with Mizdal, Jason Pridmore and Deveau.
Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas rung up a magnificent AMA Pro Daytona SportBike victory today at Road America to put an exclamation point on a stellar weekend.
Cardenas once again displayed his late-race brilliance, fighting his way up through a deep pack of contenders to arrive at the front and then biding his time until the inevitable last-lap chess match.
Moving into first place on the brakes on the first corner of the final lap, Martin laid down a blistering lap on worn tires about his GSX-R600, which broke open up just enough breathing space to allow him to hold strong to the checkered flag.
Cardenas took his fifth win of the season with a slim 0.275-second margin of victory. The win, combined with his Saturday podium, saw the Colombian register an important weekend for his championship hopes as he sits third at the season’s midpoint with 184 points.
“I made a mistake on the opening lap and had to work my way up through the pack,” Cardenas said. “Once I arrived to the first group of guys I made a couple more passes and got into the lead. I put in two fast laps and built a little bit of a lead but the guys came back and we started passing in the draft again.
“It was a very intense race to the end. I knew to win this race it would have to be on the last lap. With all the long straights, if you pass someone they can pass you back very easily in the draft. I made the move on the last lap and pushed as hard as I could and protected the inside line in the braking zones. This time it worked out and I won. It was a very good result for me and my team.”
Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki also enjoyed a solid day’s work in the AMA Pro American Superbike class, with Jake Holden and Chris Ulrich both improving upon yesterday’s top-ten results.
Holden rode his #3 GSX-R1000 to fifth place after putting in a determined bid for fourth, falling less than a second short of the spot at the checkered flag. Ulrich, meanwhile, picked up ninth at the conclusion of the day’s 50-mile Superbike contest.
Following his second weekend riding with the team in place of the injured John Hopkins, Holden said, “We progressed this weekend and made some good changes on the bike. We learned a lot and I feel we’ll be even closer to the front at Mid-Ohio. I’m still getting used to the bike and how it works, and it’s hard to test and race at the same time, but I think today’s finish was pretty good. I would have liked to be challenging for a podium of course, but I’m happy with today’s effort.”
A nice piece by Dean Adams on the incomparable former Elkhart Lake PR man Roger Jaynes is here.
Part Five of the yearlong Jim Greening Match Race photo installment features the two stars of the 1972 Transatlantic Match Races – Cal Rayborn and Ray Pickrell. While the British team beat the U.S. squad that year, long running assumptions about road racing held by the people of the country that invented the sport were shattered by Rayborn’s record-setting performance.
Rayborn raced a Harley-Davidson XR with one of the early iron engines, a motorcycle that was considered hopelessly outdated by road racing pundits. The Brits fancied their short courses as tracks that took years to master. The short-circuit kings of the day were Ray Pickrell and John Cooper. There were six races over the Easter holiday at three different tracks – Brands Hatch, Mallory Park and Oulton Park. Rayborn shocked the British fans by winning half of those races on the Harley XR and setting a lap record at Brands.
Rayborn was awarded the BP Man of the Meet Award. It marked one of the first times an American rider had performed so spectacularly in an international competition.
Other posts in the Jim Greening Transatlantic Match Race photo series can be found here.
CARDENAS ON PROVISIONAL POLE AT ROAD AMERICA
Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas got his weekend off to a blistering start on Friday, claiming the provisional pole for this weekend’s AMA Pro Daytona SportBike doubleheader at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI.
The Colombian registered a session-best time of 2:21.135 aboard his GSX-R600 around the high-speed four-mile road course to lead the way by 0.054 seconds in the ultra-competitive class.
Cardenas, who typically elevates his game a step higher in the races than in practice and qualifying, will look to secure what would be just his second career pole position in Saturday morning’s final session. After qualifying is complete, he’ll then turn his attention to adding to his class-leading tally of four victories in 2010.
“As soon as I started practice today I felt pretty good and the bike was working great,” Cardenas said. “We didn’t have to make any changes to the bike, I could just ride it — I think that helps a lot. I have always liked this track.
“I think it’s very important here to brake very deep and I think I’m good at that. Maybe that’s a strong point that I have here, and I think that helped me make my fast lap. We tried some things with the brakes today and I pushed as hard as I could for two laps and one of them was the fastest lap of the session.
“I think if you’re in the first row, you’re okay. You have the same possibilities as if you have the pole because the racing has been very tight so if you start in fourth or first it’s the same. The first few laps you can change a lot of positions, but it’s always good to be on the pole and know that you were the fastest.”
Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki’s AMA Pro American Superbike riders put in strong efforts on Friday, taking a pair of slots on the provisional second row.
Jake Holden, who is taking part in his second race weekend with the team as a substitute for the mending John Hopkins, was sixth fastest on Friday. The multi-time AMA Superstock race winner laid down a best time of 2:15.427 aboard the team’s GSX-R1000 racebike.
Chris Ulrich was just two sports further down the order. The Californian posted the day’s eighth best time, clocking a 2:16.059 around the scenic midwestern circuit.
On Saturday morning Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki will settle their final grid positions and then kick off the weekend’s Daytona SportBike and American Superbike race action in the afternoon.