Team M4 EMGO Suzuki riders Geoff May and Michael Barnes closed out a tremendous weekend of racing by claiming two of the three podium positions in Sunday’s AMA Supersport race at Virginia International Raceway.
May and Barnes were factors at the front throughout the 17-lap contest, with each man leading a lap and running in contention for the win right up to the checkered flag. A quick-starting Barnes led the race’s opening lap while May took over first place on lap 10 as they were engaged in a tight three-man dogfight for victory.
An unfortunate late run of lappers may have ended Team M4 EMGO Suzuki’s bid for the win, yet May and Barnes still impressed by guiding their Pirelli-shod GSX-R600s to second and third place, respectively.
After taking his third Supersport podium of the year, runner-up May said, “I’m happy with the progress we’ve made this year. The guys keep digging and Pirelli keeps pushing hard and bringing us new tires. The development is moving forward and they’ve got me comfortable on the bike. We haven’t touched hardly a clicker on the bike since Miller. I really hope we can get a win before the year is out.”
The third-place result was Barnes’ fourth podium finish in the class in ’06. The Floridian commented, “Geoff and I both gave our all in this race but we just came up a little bit short for the win. But we’re coming up less short every race. We’re winding down on the season but this GSX-R600 is really coming along in its development. It’s showing some good speed and it’s coming off the corner better and our Pirelli tires are developing nicely as well. I can’t thank my team enough for all the hard work they do at the track and back at the shop.”
Unfortunately, the team’s developmental rider, Shea Fouchek, was unable to capitalize on his strong qualifying performance and what was a breakthrough weekend for the team’s development rider. The Texan was involved in a multi-rider first corner crash that brought out an early red flag and forced a complete restart. He managed to make the restart but was unable to complete the race.
May picked up seventh in the day’s Superstock final aboard his GSX-R1000, surviving an early near-highside to collect a solid points haul and maintain fourth the in championship race.
With just two races remaining on the schedule this year, May and Barnes each have a strong chance of being named the Supersport championship runner-up. May is currently third, just three points out of second, while Barnes is sixth, a further ten points back.
The next AMA racing weekend will take place at Road Atlanta on September 1-3.