Yoshimura Suzuki’s Toni Elias earned an impressive clean-sweep at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend, scoring a double victory on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship finale.
Sunday’s win marked the ninth of the season for Elias, earning him the distinction of scoring the most MotoAmerica Superbike wins in 2018.
Elias’ teammate Roger Hayden experienced an emotion-filled weekend with hundreds of fans, fellow racers and race team members offering him well wishes as he competed in his final pro race.
Elias had riveting battles for the win in both races, moving up quickly from his seventh-place start on the grid; Saturday he pulled away decisively late in the race to win by over seven seconds. In Sunday’s race it was a no-holds-barred battle up-front between Elias, Cameron Beaubier, and Josh Herrin. At the chequered flag Elias won by three tenths of a second. Hayden finished fourth and eighth.
Elias said, "It was an incredible way to end the year. It was a real fair fight on Sunday since we were no longer thinking about points. It was a challenge and my team gave me a great bike. To have the most wins this year was a nice accomplishment for the team. I will also miss Roger next season. He was a great competitor and team-mate."
For Hayden, Sunday marked the end of a brilliant racing career. Hayden announced his intention to retire from racing back in July. He raced professionally for 20 seasons. In 2006 he was named AMA Superbike Rookie of the Year and then in 2007 he won the AMA Supersport Championship.
Hayden commented, "It was a tough weekend to focus, being pulled in every direction. I was right there battling for a podium finish on Saturday and that felt good. Then I ran off the track in Sunday’s race, but made a good charge back through the field. It was great to have so many family and friends from home here to be a part of this weekend.
"I’ve had a great career and I especially enjoyed racing for Yoshimura Suzuki. It hasn’t hit me yet that I’m done, but it probably will on Tuesday when everyone is doing the tyre test and I’m home."