AMA Sportbike: 2009 VIR Results

Herrin sweeps Virginia

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Aug. 17, 2009
Josh Herrin earned his first two AMA Daytona Sportbike wins in a weekend sweep at Virginia International Raceway.

The Graves Yamaha racer edged out M4 Suzuki’s Jason DiSalvo in Race One, Aug. 15 at the Alton, Va. circuit, and fought off a hard charging Danny Eslick on the final stretch of Race Two to complete the sweep.

Herrin took the lead in Race One on the opening lap, moving up from a fifth-place start, before losing it to DiSalvo. The Suzuki rider led eight laps, as did Erion Honda’s Jake Zemke, but in the end, the race came down to a thrilling final lap with Herrin and DiSalvo trading the lead three times.

“At the start of the race I just had to stuff it in there,” says Herrin. “I think I passed six guys right there. I didn’t think I was going to make it but I did. From there on out it was a pretty smooth race, no big moments. I try not to be a real contact racer. I tried to pass Jason as clean as I could and I didn’t feel any contact.”

Josh Herrin didn't lead many laps through the weekend, but he led the ones that counted.

Herrin began the exchange with a pass on the first turn of the final lap before DiSalvo returned the favor a few turns later. Herrin moved ahead again on turn 16 leading to the front straight. DiSalvo made one last charge only to fall short by 0.010 seconds.

“I just felt really, really good making passes out there today, which I needed to,” says DiSalvo. “That was one of the biggest things that I focused on after yesterday, because I knew I’d be coming from ninth. Just figuring out what I needed to do to get from ninth to first, and we did it, we just couldn’t hold on. I knew I had the pace. I didn't really expect Josh to come with me, but he did and he put up a great fight at the end. The pass up at the top of the hill was good. I leaned on him a little bit, because at that point that’s really all I could do. It was a good race.”

Completing the Race One podium was Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking.

Josh Herrin and Jamie Hacking found a good way to cool off at VIR.
Travis Knapp led after the Race Two restart.

Race Two started with a crash on the opening lap. The incident took down five riders including Yamaha rider Brent Lyskawa and Melissa Paris, wife of Yamaha racer Josh Hayes. Lyskawa received a precautionary CT scan while Paris fractured her right leg.

The crash brought out the red flag and forced a restart. Pole-sitter Taylor Knapp of Latus Buell led the opening lap when racing resumed, but it was Hayden who soon took the reins.

Still looking for his first win of the year, Hayden led a race-high 14 laps before overshooting a corner on lap 19. The miscue allowed Herrin to take the lead, followed by RMR Buell’s Eslick who started 12th on the grid. Herrin and Eslick would stay ahead of the pack the rest of the race with Herrin winning by 1.874 seconds. Herrin’s teammate Tommy Aquino finished third for the final podium position.

“That was a real fun race,” says Herrin. “As soon as I heard the Buell coming I just tried to hold him off for a couple more laps so I could run away. It ended up working out exactly how I wanted to. My pit board said there were three laps left, and there were four laps left, so I actually had to make an extra lap. It was a really good race, everybody rode a good race, it was clean and lots of fun.”

Thanks to his second-place result in Race Two and a seventh-place finish in Race One, Eslick moves ahead of M4 Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas for sole possession of the championship points lead. Cardenas had a disappointing weekend, finishing ninth and 11th, while Eslick’s podium finish was his fifth in six races.

“I guess I forgot about the championship for awhile, I don’t know,” says Eslick. “I didn’t really think about it too much, just tried to ride a good, hard race and go forward. We made some changes overnight to the bike, nothing real major. We knew it wasn’t anything real big that was holding us back, just made some adjustments on the shock and changed the gearing a little bit. Just those two small things made all the difference. We were able to run the pace there at the beginning or at least stay consistent and not let the guys get too far away, just run good laps. I knew I had something going I just didn’t know I was going to be that strong at the end.”

The 2009 Daytona Sportbike championship will be decided at the Sept. 5-6 finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J.

2009 AMA Daytona Sportbike top five standings
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1st Danny Eslick Buell 1125R 357
2nd Martin Cardenas Suzuki GSX-R600 340
3rd Josh Herrin Yamaha YZF-R6 321
4th Jamie Hacking Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R 274
5th Jason DiSalvo Suzuki GSX-R600 261