The second round of the 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Championship was held at the historic Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, over the June 1 - 3 weekend. It was the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader and, as the name states, there were two races on the schedule for both the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike and AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport classes. Professional racers in all included classes have had a very long wait to get back to racing again as the first round was held during Daytona Bike Week in Daytona, Florida, way back in mid-March. That made for ten weeks away from competition. However, riders did not actually take any time off as there were official and unofficial practices to attend and many, many upgrades and changes to implement on race bikes, team equipment and team members, all of which required the intimate involvement of each and every racer.
For the MotoSport.com supported riders, it was a time of preparation, work, and constant and continual improvement. For one, though, it was more than that. "Aussie" Dave Anthony had to contend with running his team's AMA Pro Supercross Championship operation as well as doing all of the work required of a top-level AMA racer, manager and mechanic. To say he was busy is understatement.
Also wearing the MotoSport.com colors are the members of the newly minted MotoSport.com/Erik Buell Racing team - Dustin Dominguez and Cory West in the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Championship, Stefano Mesa in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport East Championship, and Brandon Cleland in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport West Championship. Dominguez and West have both changed classes for this season; Dominguez raced in SuperSport and West in Daytona SportBike in 2012. Mesa almost did not make this season due to his former team folding right at the start of the year. Fortunately, for him and for MotoSport.com, he is now fully backed. Cleland comes in as another "promoted" rider as he rose up from amateur racing to join the professionals for 2013.
With these very talented riders on AMA Pro Racing tracks all over the USA this year, it will be nearly impossible to turn away from the action. Anything can, and often does, happen in racing. Let's take a look at the results from the Round 2:
MotoSport.com/Aussie Dave Racing:
When "Aussie" Dave Racing last took to the track with for the MotoSport.com/Aussie Dave Racing team at the Daytona round, he put on an impressive performance and landed an 8th and 14th place showing in the SuperBike Races 1 and 2, respectively. This garnered Anthony 20 Championship points and a high position on the overall standings chart coming into the Road America round.
At the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader, Anthony had his bikes up, tuned and running as he entered practice. He was fast right from the get-go and recorded the 6th quickest lap time in Practice 1. He took this into the first Qualifying session and built on what he had achieved, shaving more time off his laps, and finished in 8th position overall against other riders who had also found more speed. The following day, in the second Qualifying Practice, Anthony managed to get marginally quicker and he went up one slot to earn himself the 7th spot on the grid for the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike race later in the day. Taking to his first SuperBike race since mid-March, Anthony picked up right where he left off. When the checkered flag drew this first event to a close, Anthony recorded an 8th place finish.
Again, he knew he could use this for the next day's racing. In the following morning's Practice 2 session, lap times went up a little due to the track conditions, but Anthony was still right near the top in 6th when it wrapped up. The weekend's second SuperBike race was almost a repeat of the previous. Anthony again put in quick times, riding right up with the top riders in the series, and he came home with a 7th place when all was said and done. Anthony's trip to Elkhart Lake certainly turned out well. Now that two rounds are completed, he has accumulated 47 points, 27 of them coming from this round alone, and stands in 9th place overall. Consistency is the name of the game in racing, and Aussie Dave is nothing if not consistent this season. Finishing in the top-10 at nearly every race against the best riders in North America is an incredible achievement, but can he keep it up? We will all find out at the next round, the Triumph SuperBike Classic at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, which takes place over the June 21 - 23 weekend.
Promoted into the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike series from the AMA Pro SuperSport class this year, Team MotoSport.com/EBR's Dustin Dominguez is looking to build on the success he had in that smaller-displacement class. In 2012, Dominguez was runner-up in the final overall standings of the SuperSport class, demonstrating that he does have what it takes to accomplish his goal. At the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader, he got off to a fine start. In his first trip out in Practice 1, Dominguez registered the 14th quickest lap on his Erik Buell Racing 1190RS. He followed this up later in the day with a 13th place showing in the first Qualifying Practice. The next morning, with the final Qualifying Practice of the weekend, Dominguez's time suffered a slight drop-off, but he was able to land on the 15th grid slot for the two coming races.
The actual 13-lap AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike race, however, was a different story. Dominguez began it in sterling fashion and was racking up decent lap times and running as high as 13th place when it all went bad. His EBR 1190RS expired and left him on the side of the track - this ended his race with a DNF, unfortunately. The MotoSport.com/EBR team did get a bike up and running for the next day's work, and so Dominguez took to the Practice 2 session. There, he again ran top-20 and recorded the 14th quickest time. He made the start in the SuperBike Race 2, but only made it around the track three times before he again had a mechanical failure and had to retire - in true racer fashion, though, he did pit, had repairs made and tried to go at it again, but the issue could not be resolved. This makes for four races and four DNFs for the dedicated rider. It is unfortunate that Erik Buell's new race machine is having teething problems, but it is an all-new machine and it takes time to develop a bike which can perform at this level consistently. Fortunately, Dominguez needs none of this extra effort himself, but he does have to go through it with the bike. The next round - Triumph SuperBike Classic at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama - is another chance for Dustin Dominguez to get out and try, try again.
Cory West rides on the MotoSport.com/EBR team in the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike alongside his teammate, Dustin Dominguez. Riding for Vesrah Suzuki in 2012, West finished the Daytona SportBike series in 10th position after finishing in the top-5 twice during the year. Now he has moved into the SuperBike class to campaign the new Erik Buell Racing 1190RS. At the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader, West took to Practice 1 and promptly began to turn laps. He finished that session with the 13th quickest time. When it came time for the first Qualifying Practice later that day, West was again gaining some speed, and he actually shaved about 2 seconds off of his time on his way to an overall finish in 12th. The second Qualifying Practice witnessed West remove another second from his lap time which resulted in him grabbing the 11th spot on the grid for both races.
One piece of equipment which it appears that West brought with him, and his teammate did not, was luck. In SuperBike Race 1, West performed even better than he had in practice based on the times he was turning in, and he finished the race in 10th place. In the following morning's Practice 2, he did not push himself too much so that he could save it all up for the race later. He lapped about mid-pack and finished up with the 12th quickest lap. If it were not for the fact that West had two other riders close by him during SuperBike Race 2, it could have been a re-run of Race 1. When the checkered flag fell, West brought his EBR 1190RS in for another 10th place. These top-10 finishes earned West 22 points for the weekend in Wisconsin, and he now holds an overall 14th position in the Championship standings with 25 points. Though his first race at the first round in Daytona did not go perfectly to plan as he did not start the first race, the 4th place he registered in the second race there goes very well with what he did at Road America. If Cory West can keep his bike running well, he will be a force to keep an eye on in the AMA Pro SuperBike paddock. Follow him to the next round, the Triumph SuperBike Classic at Barber Motorsport Park, and you may be very surprised.
MotoSport.com/EBR rider Stefano Mesa is in first place in the 2013 AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport East Championship currently - there it is and it sounds good. Last year, Mesa finished in 4th place overall in the AMA Pro SuperSport East Championship, a year which included 12 top-5 finishes for him. This year may be his year. After winning the very first race of the season at Daytona, Mesa made this far more real for everyone. Coming into the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader with that sort of momentum had a measurable effect on the young rider. In his first Practice at the Road America circuit, Mesa began to show signs that he had preserved that drive over the intervening 10 weeks as he finished with the 4th quickest lap time, less than a second off of the fastest rider. However, once these started to count, Mesa was even faster.
In Qualifying Practice session 1, he was the quickest of them all. This performance was repeated the following day in QP 2, and Mesa secured the pole position with his Yamaha YZF-R6 for the weekend's two races. Staring from pole certainly helped him get clear of the field, but he was not alone. Throughout the early running of SuperSport Race 1, he was in a duel for position with other riders. One of them got ahead of him, but West held on to 2nd all the way to the end to earn 26 points. The next morning's Practice 2 session was mostly for warming up in preparation for the afternoon's race. Mesa still ran well, but was only 3rd fastest in the AM. The afternoon SuperSport Race 2 did not go well for some riders, and a very nasty pile-up sent some riders to the hospital and forced race officials to red flag the event and reschedule its start to after the SuperBike race. This change did little to cool anyone off and the second SuperSport race turned into a nail-biter. Mesa started from pole again, and had to once more deal with a group of riders at the front. It was very close, with racers continually moving back and forth, each one taking the lead for a brief time only to lose it to the next. In the end, by a margin of 0.012 seconds to the race winner and 0.001 back to 3rd, Mesa finished on the second step of the podium for another 25 points.
So, after two rounds and four races in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport East Championship, Stefano Mesa is atop the leader board in first place with 95 points. What a phenomenal way to begin the 2013 season!
Texan Brandon Cleland rides a Triumph Daytona 675R for the MotoSport.com/EBR team in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport West Championship. He comes to road racing via motocross, oddly enough, and actually began even that sport later than most. However, he learned very quickly and, once he switched to pavement, he notched numerous race wins and podiums on his way to 7 Championships in the amateur ranks. Though he did not get any results at Daytona, Cleland had a prepared bike and a desire to win when he arrived at the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America.
His first Practice session saw him turn good laps, but only quick enough to earn him 26th place. When he went into the first Qualifying Practice, it did not get much better; he finished with only the 28th best time. There was no Qualifying Practice 2 for Cleland the following morning, so he began SuperSport Race 1 way down the order. At least Cleland was consistently quicker in the race than his earlier trips around the circuit, but it did little to advance him and he brought his Triumph home in 30th position, thus earning no points in this event. Cleland's Sunday morning practice did not show any improvement in lap times, though he did manage to be 23rd quickest in that session. The final race of the weekend for the SuperSport competitors was a rough one; officials had to red flag the event and delay the start until after SuperBike Race 2.
Unfortunately, for Cleland, it did not alter his positioning very much as he finished up in 26th and again earned no points. However, it was marked progress and it does say something about the rider when he goes out and fights this hard with a new bike and a completely new team. Brandon Cleland is learning, and he will get faster as the year ticks by, so watch this space for more from the MotoSport.com/EBR rider.