TOPEKA, KS -- The No. 8 Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Racing Buell 1125R of Oconomowoc, Wis. rider Shawn Higbee and Boca Raton, Fla.’s Michael Barnes won its second SunTrust MOTO-ST Series race of the season in the Level 5 Heartland Park 500 presented by Hooters at Heartland Park Topeka on Sunday.
Higbee and Barnes took the lead for the final time on lap 92 of the 119-lap race around the 2.5-mile Heartland Park Topeka circuit and survived a late pit stop to beat the No. 75 Touring Sport Ducati 848 ridden by Camarillo, Calif.’s Doug Polen and Ryan Gordon of Clemson, S.C. by one minute, 36.262 seconds.
Benny Carlson (West Bend, Wis.), Mike Luke (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) and Andrew Deatherage (Boca Raton, Fla.) finished third on the Team Hooters Aprilia Tuono 1000R, three laps behind the winners.
Higbee and Barnes completed the 119 laps in 3:30:42.572 for an average speed of 84.714 miles per hour.
“This new 1125R is something else,” said Barnes, who was making his first start for the team. “I’d like to give a shout out to [team owner] Richie Morris, who couldn’t be here because he’s a bit under the weather. I hope he’s feeling better.”
The Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Racing team, which triumphed in the third round of the series at Road America in June, managed to win despite having to make four pit stops, compared to only three for the No. 75 Ducati.
“Early on we were worried about the tire wear on the front,” said Higbee, who was celebrating his birthday at Heartland Park Topeka. “We couldn’t go the full fuel load on the tires so we had to go with a different pit strategy and run a fast enough pace to make up for the extra stop. We were able to maintain a fast enough pace.”
Both Polen and Gordon were feeling the effects of suspected food poisoning, and Polen lost time as he battled a leg cramp late in his second stint on the Ducati.
“We had the bike set up to run consistently through a whole stint,” Polen said. “But I got a big leg cramp nine laps before the end of my stint and I was trying to work it out. I wanted to make sure we got through the stint so we could stay on our three-stop strategy, but we lost about two seconds a lap there.”
The No. 75 Touring Sport Ducati team did make up ground in the battle for the SST Teams points championship, however, as the No. 1 Aprilia USA/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Aprilia Tuono 1000R of Ty Howard (Weatherford, Texas) and Mike Himmelsbach (Quakertown, Penn.) could only manage a fourth place finish following a pair of crashes by Howard.
Howard had claimed the Destination Daytona Pole Award and led the first 12 laps of the race before suffering his first fall. The team lost five laps making repairs in the pits before Howard went down again at the one and a half hour mark of the race. Once again the team was able to keep the bike in the race.
The No. 1 Aprilia team now has 162 points to the 159 of the No. 75 Ducati team with two races remaining in the SunTrust MOTO-ST Series. The No. 8 Buell squad moved into third in the standings with 142 points.
The No. 25 Aprilia team enjoyed a consistent run to claim its first podium finish of the season.
”It’s a good feeling,â€ said Carlson. “We’ve been working, working, working and finally we managed to finish up here. I’ve got to thank Steve DeCamp and the whole team for all their hard work.”
In a dramatic finish the No. 77 Touring Sport Ducati PS1000LE of Frank Shockley (Greenville, S.C.) and Brad Phillips (Greer, S.C.) claimed its second straight win in the BMW GrandSport Twins (GST) class.
Shockley took the lead from Justin Filice on the No. 69 RightsforBikers.com Ducati PS1000LE just nine laps from the finish as Filice battled with a badly worn front tire. The No. 69 Ducati crew was hampered by a lack of crew and was forced to run with the same front all race.
”I had heard they didn’t have much crew and we made a point of changing tires on our second stop,” Shockley said. ”I could see him [Filice] sliding around and I knew I would be able to get around him.”
Filice suffered a fall in the closing stages but was able to bring the No. 69 Ducati, which he shared with Rodolfo Ramirez (Sunrise, Fla.) home in second spot.
Walt Sipp (Kansas City, Mo.), Paul James (Waukesha, Wis.) and Jeff Johnson (Minneapolis, Minn.) completed the GST podium on their No. 70 James Gang Racing / Hoban Brothers Buell XB12R.
The win for the No. 77 Ducati team moved it into first place in the very tight GST Team standings with 156 points to the 152 for the No. 70 Buell team and 149 for the No. 69 Ducati squad.
Fourth place overall in the race and first in the Sport Twins class went to the No. 67 M4 Avteq Racing Suzuki SV650 ridden by Dustin Dominguez (Newalla, Okla.) and Ryan O’Donnell (Lewisville, Texas).
The pair spent the first half of the race running in company with teammates Dane Westby (Tulsa, Okla.) and Kyle Martin (Dallas, Texas) on the No. 66 Suzuki before Martin suffered a fall in the last turn while leading the class. Martin was able to rejoin in the lead but needed to pit for repairs and the bike was then slowed by tire troubles near the end.
“They [the No. 66 team] gapped us a bit in the second stint,” Dominguez said. “But then they went off the track and we were able to bring it home. The bike was awesome the whole time. At the end the tires were sketchy but we had fun.”
Despite its second place finish the No. 66 M4 Avteq Racing team moved into a tie for first place in the Sport Twins Teams standings with the No. 9 Pair-A-Nines Kawasaki EX650 squad on 157 points each. Jimmy Filice (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and Jay Springsteen (Lapeer, Mich.) brought the Kawasaki home third in ST after battling a clutch problem for most of the race.
The No. 8 Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Racing Buell team claimed the Performance Under Gear Performer of the Race Award as Barnes turned the fastest lap of the race, a 1:41.429 on lap three.
The PIAA Award for the team that gained the most positions in its class during the race went to the No. 77 Touring Sport Ducati squad, which moved from fourth on the starting grid to first place by the finish.
The Czaia & Gallagher Lucky 13 Award for the 13th place overall finisher was claimed by the No. 26 Mid-Illini Motorsports/Repsol Suzuki SV650 team of Matt Huber (Summerville, S.C.), Mitch Stein (Pekin, Illl.) and Kevin Rodriguez (Moncks Corner, S.C.).
The Roaring Toyz Award for the Best Looking Team was claimed by the No. 50 Eagle Racing Suzuki ridden by Eric Konigsberg (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Guy Bartz (Lake Mills, Wis.) and Kevin Lehman (Grand Haven, Mich.).
The SunTrust MOTO-ST Series continues at Thunderbolt Raceway New Jersey Motorsports Park on Aug. 29-30.
TEAM (SST): 1. No. 1 Aprilia USA/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports - 162; 2. No. 75 Touring Sport Ducati - 159; 3. No. 8 Bruce Rossmeyerâ€s Daytona Racing - 142; 4. No. 25 Team Hooters Aprilia – 137; 5. No. 6 Apriliaa USA/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports – 109
MANUFACTURER (SST): 11. Aprilia 164, 2. Ducati 159, 3. Buell 142, 4. Suzuki 102, 5. BMW 51
TEAM (GST): 1. No. 77 Touring Sport Ducati - 156; 2. No. 70 James Gang Racing / Hoban Brothers - 152; 3. No. 69 RightsforBikers.com - 149; 4. No. 7 Richie Morris Racing - 142; 5. No. 20 Wagner Motorsports Racing – 110
MANUFACTURER (GST): 1. Ducati - 172; 2. Buell - 157; 3. Bimota – 80
TEAM (ST): T1. No. 9 Pair-A-Nines - 157; No. 66 M4 AVTEQ Racing - 157; 3. No. 67 M4 Avteq Racing - 133; 4. No. 42 Grease Monkey Racing - 122; 5. No. 17 Mid-Illini Motosports / Repsol – 120
MANUFFACTURER (ST): 1. Suzuki - 167; 2. Kawasaki – 162; 3. Ducati 88
The SunTrust MOTO-ST Series is organized and sanctioned by Professional Motorsports Productions (PMP) of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the Grand American Road Racing Association, based in Daytona Beach, Fla., provides the series with administrative and commercial support. Learn more about MOTO-ST at www.moto-st.com.