AMA Pro SuperSport returns to the card at Mid-Ohio and the Buckeye SuperBike Weekend. With 50 riders pre-entered, the competition will be hot and heavy once again in the class for tomorrow's stars and today's fast club aces. While the class wasn't featured in the event, some of the top talent in AMA Pro SuperSport raced last weekend in California, AMA Pro allowed some of the top SuperSport talent to jump up a class to GoPro Daytona SportBike for the weekend.
The top SuperSport finisher in Monterey was Kaleb De Keyrel on the No. 51 De Keyrel Racing Yamaha YZF-R6. The 17-year-old carried the momentum of a double podium at Barber Motorsports Park into California and fought inside a tough pack vying for tenth place in the race. The fast teen finished a respectable 17th, leading a pack of AMA Pro SuperSport regulars including Jason Aguilar aboard the No. 96 Tuned Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, Erick Sanchez on the No. 64 EYK Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, and Miles Thornton, pilot of the No. 72 D&D Castrol Triumph Daytona 675.
De Keyrel has been building momentum in his recent SuperSport races. He's finished in the top five four times in a row, including two third place results in Alabama. The Californian is in a good spot. Finding the speed to run with the class' top competitors has enhanced his learning curve as he has gotten some up-close schooling. De Keyrel will get two more chances to show what he's got and perhaps learn some more at Mid-Ohio. He's currently fifth in points in a very close championship.
At the front of the chase, Corey Alexander on the No. 5 Celtic/HVMC Racing Suzuki GSX-R600 and Hayden Gillim aboard the No. 69 TOBC Racing Suzuki GSX-R600 are tied for the lead at 141 points. Alexander holds the first tiebreaker (overall wins) but with four races to go, it is unlikely things will stay the same over the last two events in this unpredictable class. Alexander had a bit of a disappointing national the last time out at Barber, notching a 13th and a fourth - well below the early season form that saw him win three races and earn a strong second place that was a wheel short of another victory.
In Alabama, the twisty course didn't do any favors for the rider who has been dealing with a shoulder injury since Round 2 at Road America, but there has been substantial recovery time for one of the most experienced class competitors.
Gillim, like Alexander, did not race in California. The Kentuckian has built momentum as he has adjusted to a new team and motorcycle in 2014. Known as a "streak" rider, Gillim can be unbeatable on his day and he will, no doubt, be looking to add to his win total in Ohio. For Gillim, a streak of five podiums in a row has put him back in the championship picture despite Alexander's prowess. Both Suzuki pilots will be tested in the two-day race format that requires getting up to speed quickly and not making any mistakes, like crashes or mechanical issues, along the way.
Just behind the dynamic duo is another class star. Dustin Dominguez and his No. 68 HSBK Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 won the last race in Alabama and are just 12 points behind heading into Ohio. With four rounds left, the Oklahoman still controls his own destiny. Winning races nets the victor a five-point margin over second place in AMA Pro scoring, so Dominguez can close that gap quickly with race victories. Of course, that is easier said than done.
Lurking fourth in points is Wyatt Farris on the No. 19 Celtic/HVMC Racing Suzuki GSX-R600. Farris has been the adventure man so far in 2014 AMA Pro SuperSport, usually finding himself in a tough and entertaining battle on the circuit. Farris had been entrenched in the top five at every race this year until Alabama, where he earned seventh and 12th place results. The Californian was better than everyone but Alexander at Daytona, so he has it in him to run up front and become a large factor in the last four races of the year. Farris has a 15-point gap on De Keyrel for fourth in the championship standings.
Class rookie Aguilar has done well as he learns the tracks this year. He is the only rider besides Gillim and Dominguez to finish in the top ten in each AMA Pro SuperSport race this year. After his taste of the podium in Wisconsin, the Californian will no doubt be looking to get back on the box and improve his sixth place in the points, too.
The next three spots in the championship are highly contested as well. Texan J.C. Camacho on the No. 623 Camacho Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 has three points in hand over Cody Wyman and his No. 3 Harv's Harley-Davidson Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, so fans should keep their eyes on that battle this weekend. Mexico's Sanchez is just six points back of Wyman and coming off his best result of the year - a fifth place at Barber.
Thornton is tenth in points and has struggled a bit this year. However, Mid-Ohio is a good circuit for the Georgian. The 20-year-old earned pole position and two second place finishes in last year's races, so he clearly knows what it takes to go fast around Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
There won't be much time to waste in AMA Pro SuperSport as qualifying begins at 8 a.m. (5 a.m. PT) on Saturday. The first of the 15-lap finals begins at 2:10 p.m. (11:10 a.m. PT) on Saturday. Sunday's race will fire off on the 2.4-mile course at 1:10 p.m. (10:10 a.m. PT).
FansChoice.tv is the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Road Racing and AMA Pro Flat Track events in 2014. The site also provides coverage of IMSA's development and single-make series, and NASCAR's touring and weekly series.