Can 47-year-old Josh Hayes break the record for many years of AMA road racing?

At some point in the second half of the MotoAmerica supersport race at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday, AMA Superbike champion Josh Hayes led four times, and three young and up-and-coming riders famous for supersport, Tyler Scott, I was chased by Samrokov and Rocco. Lander. At the age of 47, Hayes is only six years younger than the other three combined.

Still, Hayes won and recorded his 84th victory in all AMA Pro Road Race Championships. This is the first victory since 2017. As a result, Miguel Duhamel has recorded 86 victories in Superbike, Supersport and other classes. ..

Will a 47-year-old kid be one-third older than a veteran and a kid and win two more wins in the ever-competitive supersport class?

“It’s not easy. It’s a perishable skill,” Hayes said.

Josh Hayes leads Tyler Scott (70) and Josh Hayes in a supersports race on Saturday. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

But the biggest obstacle between haze and record may simply be an opportunity. The squid hunter team he’s riding this year wasn’t meant to be a full-time effort. I still don’t know exactly how many rounds the team will fight.

Since retiring from a full-time race, Hayes has made some part-time efforts, with good results, but not what he expected himself. “I participated in several other races, but I wasn’t really close,” Hayes said.

Meanwhile, Hayes has been working in the paddock as a rider coach, saying that several riders have benefited from his experience. One of them was Landers, who said Haze’s coaching was a big help to him and he was enthusiastic about Haze’s victory.

“I’m honored to be on the podium with Mr. Hayes,” Landers said, combining the usual exaggeration with genuine honesty.

But the coach said he also benefited from the students.

“Rocco’s coaching required me to spend quite a few laps running at a pace between Daytona and Atlanta, which helped keep me sharp,” Hayes said. He also added that he is now in better shape than he was in a one-off race last year.

In the race on Sunday, Hayes finished second. This was just a moment short of getting closer to Duamel’s record. But that’s another story of its own.

Super sports field race
In the race at VIR on Sunday, old rivals Josh Herin (2) and Josh Herin (4) gradually left the field, and Herin won by 0.032 seconds. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

Resumption of Josh’s War

If Saturday was Josh Hayes Day, on Sunday Hayes and current Supersports class point leader Josh Herin exchanged leads 18 times, and in the 2013 AMA Superbike Battle, where Herin first reached the line in 0.032 seconds. It looked like a replay. Most of the paddock was happy with Hayes’ victory on Saturday, but it was a tense fight as Herin wasn’t in it. The two have a long history, but it seems that old hostility has been buried lately, as it was Herin who benefited from Hayes coaching last year. But the competition has ended it.

When Hayes overtook Herin to take the lead in the Saturday race, Herin went off track and finished fourth. Later, when interviewed for a television broadcast, he called Haze’s Pass “super dirty” and had some bitter words to say about other Josh.

“I’m happy he won, but it’s not,” Herin said.

No one else saw Herin’s way. Hayes seems embarrassed when he is asked about Herin’s comments at a post-race press conference.

“I didn’t feel any contact,” Hayes said. “I did what I felt was a normal line, so I felt like I didn’t do anything.”

Upon hearing Herin’s comment, Landers shook his head in disagreement. Second-place finisher Tyler Scott pointed out that Herin had passed Rokov aggressively early in the race and jumped in without asking for opposition.

“In my opinion, Josh (Herrin) was the most aggressive,” Scott said. “He hit Sam on turn four. He had a very aggressive dive bomb move and was blowing the corners. I was actually tightening my line a bit so he was me We didn’t take both out. With him it was my main concern. He was doing a really aggressive pass and it didn’t work so I tried not to hit . “

Herin took another tone the day after being “bombed on social media” to contrast Lokov’s pass with his comments on Hayes’ pass.

“I said a few things at the moment I shouldn’t have said,” Herin said. “He hasn’t done anything malicious to me in the last 10 years because he hasn’t done that.”

It seemed to put an end to the problem. “I really enjoyed the race. I’m glad it was a clean race,” Hayes said of the race on Sunday.

Supersport podium with haze up
Saturday was the 84th time Josh Hayes took the top step on the AMA Pro Racing Podium. Only one man did it more. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

So, as that little drama was played, now the focus is on winning two races where Hayes needs to match Duamel’s record. However, there are some obstacles between him and his milestone. How many chances will he get this year? Can he catch up with the fresh young talent he trained himself? An old rival of high-speed bikes — Herin rides a Ducati Panigale V2 under the new supersport rules, but Hayes rides an old and small Yamaha YZF-R6 — still have a grudge to solve?

I often ask 47-year-old racers to beat hungry kids, but Hayes did it this weekend. Now if he can do it only two more times …

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