Northern California’s Sonoma Raceway, formerly known as Infineon Raceway and, before that, Sears Point, will host the Arai Pacific Nationals this weekend, round 2 of a 3-race startup pro/am roadracing series officially known as the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout Presented By Yamaha.
John Ulrich, publisher of Roadracing World and a longtime motorcycle roadracing team owner, organized the Shootout because, at the time, AMA Pro Road Racing had no events scheduled west of the Mississippi River for the 2014 season. “We wanted to do something to make sure the fans in the western part of the United States had an opportunity to see their favorite racers in action,” he said in a statement.
Top AMA teams taking part in the Shootout include Graves Yamaha, Yoshimura Suzuki, GEICO Motorcycle Honda, KTM/HMC Superbike, and Latus Motors Racing. Dunlop is the exclusive tire supplier for Pro Superbike and Pro Sportbike. Likewise, Sunoco 260GTX is the only fuel allowed for the 2 professional classes.
RaceFuelz Pro Superbike and Dynojet Pro Sportbike races will run alongside semi-pro and amateur classes. Practice and qualifying will take place on Saturday, with sprints, one per class, scheduled for Sunday. The series will conclude May 24–25 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, one week before AMA Pro Road Racing makes its second stop of the season at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Fastrack Riders and WERA (Western Eastern Roadracing Association), AFM (American Federation of Motorcyclists), and UtahSBA (Utah Sportbike Association) have helped organize the events. 2 of the oldest motorcycle roadracing clubs in the nation, AFM was founded in 1954, and WERA is celebrating its 30th year in business. UtahSBA has likewise been around in various forms since the 1980s.
As expected, the pro riders who finished at the top of the order at the AMA Pro Road Race season-opener at Daytona International Speedway in March were at or near the front of last weekend’s inaugural Yamaha SoCal Nationals, held at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Auto Club, Sonoma, and Miller have previously hosted AMA nationals.
1. Martin Cardenas Yoshimura Suzuki 2. Cameron Beaubier Graves Yamaha 3. Josh Hayes Graves Yamaha 4. Roger Hayden Yoshimura Suzuki 5. David Anthony Aussie Dave Racing 3-time AMA Pro SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes was leading the 20-lap race when backmarkers balked him. He recovered to finish on the podium. “Martin [Cardenas] and I had a great battle just like we used to in Sportbike,” said Cameron Beaubier, Hayes’ Graves Yamaha teammate. “He was doing a good job blocking the inside line, so I tried to pass on the outside and square him up. It was a fun race, and I wish I’d won.”
Likewise, top national stars heavily weighted the front of the Pro Sportbike race.
Latus Racing’s Bobby Fong dominated the Pro Sportbike event on his Latus Racing Triumph. “We have an awesome crew and a lot of momentum and confidence coming off the Daytona 200 and last weekend’s win at Auto Club Speedway,” Fong said. “Sonoma’s my home track, and I’m going to attack it with everything I’ve got to bring home another win.”
MAV TV is scheduled to air coverage of the Superbike Shootout during the months of June and July.