HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 23) — The first rain race of the 2012 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Road Racing ended with Martin Cardenas under a shower of confetti as he officially clinched the GoPro Daytona SportBike championship with a safe fourth-place result Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
This is the second class championship for Cardenas in the last three years. He won the 2010 Daytona SportBike title before switching to Superbike last season. The 29-year-old Colombian returned to Daytona SportBike this year with the GEICO Suzuki team and leads the class with seven race wins and 12 overall podium finishes.
“It feels great to get this done with a little extra room to spare,” Cardenas said. “We built up a pretty good points lead earlier in the season and it has been stressful at time maintaining the gap. You always want to race to win each weekend but when you have a big lead in the points you also feel as though you don’t want to make a big mistake.
“Every race and every lap since maybe the middle of the summer has been a test. You stay very focused on limiting your mistakes and just riding to the best of your abilities. We have been able to do that this year and I’m very pleased.”
Cardenas was quick to thank his many sponsors, including GEICO Motorcycle, Suzuki, Lucas Oil, Team Hammer, M4, Arai, STG, Vortex, Hot Bodies, Alpine Stars, Speedcell and Galfer.
“How can you ever thank your sponsors enough?” Cardenas said. “Their support of this team gives us the ability to race at a championship level. I am very grateful for all of them.
“This race team is the best. Frank Aragaki (crew chief), Aaron Henry, Nathan Raptis, Rick Kress, Tim Anderson, Scott Crawford, James Siddall, and Chris and John Ulrich — all of them were instrumental to winning this championship.”
With one race left on the schedule, the Big Kahuna New Orleans, Oct. 5-7, at the NOLA facility in Louisiana, Cardenas remains focused on finishing strong, not what he’ll be doing next year.
“Now we can ride with no worries and try to get a couple more trophies at NOLA,” Cardenas said. “Of course, there are rumors about my return to Superbike but nothing has been decided. Maybe that will change before NOLA. I don’t know. We’ll have to see what happens. For now, we will race the GEICO Suzuki and try to win again.”