Racing A Superbike
|07/13/2012||Posted by under Carburetor Parts|
Geico Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas hasn’t missed a beat since returning to the Daytona Sportbike class following a year in Superbike. When last we saw him on a Daytona Sportbike, Cardenas was collecting the number-one plate for winning the championship in 2010. Then came a year on the big bike, after which he returned to the class where he has the most prolific resume. Over the course of a pair of races at Road Atlanta, the Colombian won twice, convincingly in race one and determinedly in race two.
His class-leading tally of Daytona SportBike wins is now 18. The next active rider in the class, Jason DiSalvo, has three. Cardenas’s list includes five doubleheader sweeps, including this weekend’s in Braselton where he won both races in 2010 en route to his championship. He returned to a class that is markedly different than the one he left. Gone are Danny Eslick and Josh Herrin, the two riders whose feud kept them from challenging Cardenas. New to the class are Graves Yamaha riders Cameron Beaubier and Garrett Gerloff, neither of whom suited up in Atlanta. Both are on the disabled list – Gerloff from a racing injury, Beaubier from a scooter accident.
Tommy Hayden was called in to replace Gerloff at Daytona and, with Beaubier also out, was the lone representative of the factory team at Road Atlanta. The last time Hayden rode a 600 at Road Atlanta was 2007, he said. For the past four years he’s been racing a Superbike, which requires a much different technique. He admitted he’d found it difficult to transition back to the displacement where he won two National Championships, and with very little seat time. Hayden’s Daytona experience was a whirl-wind. Then came a test at an un-familiar track, Miami-Homestead Raceway, and now Road Atlanta.
When he crossed the line after 22 laps of the 2. 55-mile road course, he had 4.461 seconds in hand. M4 Broaster Chicken Suzuki’s Dane Westby was second with 5.6 seconds on Hayden. Then came the veteran Jake Zemke on the Ducshop Racing 848EVO. There were two harrowing moments he admitted. One came when he nearly crashed after accidentally engaging the rear brake up the hill out of turn one. The second time he ran through the grass in the chicane at the top of the hill. That cost him a second and a half, but it didn’t matter. He said he prefers to race with other people, which he got to do in race two. If Hayden was to make a run at Cardenas, he said it would be in Turn 10A, the popular downhill passing spot.
On the 19th lap the pair encountered a lapped rider that Cardenas made use off. Westby, who’d been second on Saturday, was a distant third and in the fight of his life to hold off Zemke. Now he and the rest of the field have to figure out how to keep pace with the veterans Cardenas and Hayden.