NEW ORLEANS (Oct. 7) — Martin Cardenas capped his second championship season Sunday with a thrilling victory over hard-charging Cameron Beaubier at NOLA Motorsports Park to push his 2012 total to eight wins and the all-time class record to 24.
In a repeat of Saturday’s slugfest between the two, Cardenas got the early lead and help it for 14 laps until Beaubier finally caught up and made a pass for the lead. The two swapped the No. 1 spot back and forth a few times down the stretch and were pushing each other and their motorcycles to the absolute limit. Slipping and sliding their way through the final lap, the two appeared to get together in the final turn with Cardenas coming out on top and crossing the finish line first.
“I wanted this win very much,” Cardenas said. “Cameron has been so good and won a lot of races lately but today I pushed with everything I had to get this win. It is a great way to end this incredible season. I know I have the best team in the sport and having GEICO on board has been wonderful. The big bosses are here today so it’s nice to give them a big show.
“I don’t know if we touched or not. It was very close. I had passed him in the same spot he passed me earlier and I knew he would try something at the end. He wanted to win as much as we did. It’s really been a remarkable year racing with Cameron and the others. It made the championship so much better knowing we beat such great riders to get it.”
Cardenas captured the 2010 title in the GoPro Daytona SportBike category on the strength of nine wins. He then switched to Superbike in 2011 before returning to Daytona SportBike this season.
Although he was asked about a possible return to Superbike in 2013, Cardenas said that’s something he’ll worry about later.
“Right now, I want to enjoy this time with my teammates and friends,” Cardenas said. “Lots of things have been discussed and I’m sure we’ll figure something out soon. I can tell you the competition is just as tough here as in Superbike. The skill level of the top riders in this class is exceptional, as we all saw today.”
The GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing awards banquet competes the year Monday night at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans.