AMA Superbike: 2009 Heartland Park results

Pegram sweeps American Superbike races

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Aug. 04, 2009
Larry Pegram dominated at Heartland Park Topeka, recording his first career weekend sweep in AMA Pro Racing.

Starting from the pole for the first time since 1996, the Foremost Pegram Ducati racer led every lap in both races, Aug. 1-2.

Pegram took the early lead in Race One and was never seriously challenged, winning by over two seconds ahead of Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom.

“For me, it’s just validation,” says Pegram. “Here we beat everybody again, and I proved to myself I can win at this level because I had lost a lot of confidence over the years riding bikes that weren’t capable of winning. You start to wonder if it might be you, but I always knew at the bottom of my heart that I could win races, especially if I got on a great motorcycle like this Ducati 1098R.”

Bostrom beat a pack of racers including Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young and Tommy Hayden and Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates to the finish line for second.

“It’s a great track, and there are passing spots here believe it or not,” says Bostrom. “The bike was fantastic, and the R1 did a good job. The rider just kind of sat on it and rode, and I was hoping to obviously race for the win. I did think I could catch Larry. Blake and I had a bit of a battle going, and Larry jumped out there and put in really, really fantastic laps.”

Larry Pegram leads Tommy Hayden and Josh Hayes at Heartland Park Topeka.

Race Two presented a bigger challenge for Pegram. The Ducati rider was pressed the entire race by Hayden but was able to cross the finish 0.333 seconds ahead of the Suzuki.

“I was sweating and Tommy was all over me, he was an animal,” says Pegram. “I could hear him back there, I could feel him. The last three laps I was riding fairly defensive. I was still trying to set a good pace but in the places where I knew there were opportunities to pass, I wasn't giving any room there. My hats off to him, I rode as hard as I possibly could and he was there the whole race.”

Hayden’s runner-up finish was his eighth of the season. Though he sits second in the championship standings, Hayden has yet to win a race this season.

“I was a lot stronger than Larry through two of the corners,” says Hayden. “I didn’t want to try a move until I thought I was close enough to make it. I tried the one spot and he got back by and I never really got close enough again through that area. He picked it up a bit there. It’s kind of frustrating to keep getting this close and not get a win, but I feel like I’m learning a lot in the races. I have to keep doing what I’m doing, it can’t be too far away.”

Yamaha’s Josh Hayes, who has three wins of his own, finished nearly six seconds after Hayden for his third podium result in four races.

The weekend’s races were overshadowed by concerns over the course’s safety. Heartland Park Topeka staff worked on track improvements up until qualifying day July 31. The biggest change was the removal of a wall near Turn One.

Series leader Mat Mladin of Rockstar Makita Suzuki did not participate in either race due to safety concerns. Despite the absence, Mladin maintains a comfortable 83-point lead in the standings with four races remaining. Had he raced, Mladin could have secured his seventh AMA Superbike title. He will have another chance at the next round, Aug. 14-16 at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va.

2009 AMA American Superbike top five standings
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1st Mat Mladin Suzuki GSX-R1000 390
2nd Tommy Hayden Suzuki GSX-R1000 307
3rd Larry Pegram Ducati 1098R 286
4th Josh Hayes Yamaha YZF-R1 273
5th Ben Bostrom Yamaha YZF-R1 281