kenny Noyes rode 19 picture-perfect laps on Sunday at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain, to claim the 2014 FIM CEV International Superbike title. The 35-year-old American arrived in Valencia, the final round of the 10-race series, trailing former class champion Ivan Silva by four points. Noyes had to either win or finish second ahead of Silva to take the title.
Starting fourth, Noyes got the holeshot and, with his Kawasaki Palmeto PL teammate, Robertino Pietri, in his slipstream, opened a small gap on the 37-rider field. Carmelo Morales and Silva passed the Venezuelan on lap 3 and set after Noyes. At the beginning of lap 6, Silva swept past Noyes, who immediately recaptured the lead in turn 4. One lap later, entering turn 1, Morales grabbed the top spot for good.
“My strategy was to push as hard as I could on the opening laps and get some distance between Silva and me,” Noyes said. “When Morales came by, I thought that would be okay because it is good to have a wheel to follow at Valencia, but when Silva slipped under me, I realized I had to pass him back immediately and push again.”
When his lead on Silva had grown to a just over a second, Noyes slowed a bit but then lost some time passing a lapped rider. Suddenly, Silva was less than half a second behind. With five laps remaining, Noyes upped his pace again, pulling clear of the BMW rider and closing on Morales. “I made a second hard push,” Noyes said, “and in three laps, I was back with Morales and had put Silva over a second back.”
At the start of lap 17, Silva crashed at the entrance to turn 4, handing the title to Noyes. “I was starting to think about making a move on Morales,” Noyes said, “but with two laps to go, my board said Silva was out. I had to take a long look back to believe it, and I saw a beautiful empty track.” Pietri finished third. Margin of victory was 6.115 seconds.
“I didn’t think I could do a whole race in the 1:35s,” Noyes said, “but that’s what it took today. Silva went down pushing hard, the only time all year he’s failed to score. I’m so grateful to the team, Kawasaki and Michelin for all their work, and it was great to be on the podium with Robertino. That made it ever more special for Palmeto PL.”
Noyes, the 2003 Spanish Superstock and ’06 Endurance champion, will now focus his attention on December's Superprestigio Dirt Track at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona. In January, Noyes finished third overall behind fellow American Brad Baker and Moto2 World Champion Tito Rabat.