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Birmingham: Round two doubleheader preview

AMA Superbike Championship Round 2: Barber Motorsports Park PICKERINGTON, Ohio - The AMA Superbike Championship picks back up on April 18-20 at Barber Motorsports Park, located just outside of Birmingham, Ala., for the second stop on the 2008 ...

AMA Superbike Championship Round 2: Barber Motorsports Park

PICKERINGTON, Ohio - The AMA Superbike Championship picks back up on April 18-20 at Barber Motorsports Park, located just outside of Birmingham, Ala., for the second stop on the 2008 calendar.

Second Season Opener

After the high banks of Daytona, Barber Motorsports Park marks the first traditional road course on the schedule and the first of eight Superbike doubleheader weekends. In addition, the top teams take advantage of a six-week layoff following the Daytona opener for extensive testing and development at Barber. As a result, this week's races at Barber Motorsports Park are viewed by many as something of a second season opener.

Motorsports Enthusiast Paradise

Barber Motorsports Park is a favorite among competitors and fans alike. The undulating 2.38-mile course wraps back upon itself multiple times, creating both spectacular sightlines and tight racing.

The meticulously maintained circuit opened in the fall of 2003 and represents a dream project come to life for George W. Barber Jr., a former sports car racer and founder of a local dairy business that bears his name.

In addition to the racing facilities, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is also located on the site. The museum boasts one of the largest and most renowned collections in the world, totaling more than 900 vintage and modern motorcycles.

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BMP History

Aaron Yates won the first-ever AMA Superbike race at Barber Motorsports Park, winning on the last Saturday of the 2003 season. In the second race of this doubleheader, Kurtis Roberts was victorious in the season finale the following day.

Mat Mladin and Miguel DuHamel split the honors in 2004 while Mladin ('05 and '07) and his Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki teammate, Ben Spies ('06) have traded double wins ever since.

Suzuki Streaking

In addition to claiming the last six races in Alabama, the factory Suzuki team carries a 28-race AMA Superbike win streak into the BMP weekend. In fact, the current generation GSX-R1000, introduced prior to the start of the 2007 season, is still undefeated in AMA competition, sweeping all of last year's races, and claiming the '08 openers, in Superbike and Superstock.

History in the Making

Six-time AMA Superbike champion Mladin increased his all-time records, taking both poles and wins at the Daytona season opener, upping his career mark in qualifying to 53 and victories to 64.

The Australian swept both races the last time the series traveled to Barber Motorsports Park, but he had to overcome an intense challenge from Spies both times out, crossing the stripe less than a second ahead of the reigning Superbike champion in each 28-lap, 100k final.

DiSalvo on the Box

Despite coming up short of his goal of attaining a Superbike podium in his rookie campaign, Yamaha USA's Jason DiSalvo didn't take long to do the trick in his sophomore season, finishing third at Daytona.

The New Yorker will be eager to repeat the feat as quickly as possible but can't expect it to be too easy in Alabama with a number of other gifted pilots fighting to get in the top three as well, led by former Barber winner and '07 BMP double-podium finisher Miguel DuHamel.

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Youth and Experience

Graves Motorsports Yamaha's combination of youth and experience came together to produce a remarkable 1-2 finish in the Supersport season opener.

Former AMA Superbike champ Ben Bostrom kicked off his first full-time Supersport title push in a decade by winning at Daytona International Speedway. The former World Superbike ace narrowly defeated his teenaged teammate, Josh Herrin, to do so, edging the up-and-coming 17-year-old by a scant 0.012 seconds at the checkered flag.

Both riders have proven to be quick in Alabama, with Bostrom finishing third in last year's Superstock final and Herrin taking the runner-up spot in the Supersport race.

Gutsy Performance

Monster Energy Kawasaki's Roger Hayden opened his class title defense with a heroic ride at Daytona, bouncing back from a Superbike qualifying crash that left him with torn ligaments and chipped bones in his left wrist to fight for the lead and ultimately claim third at Daytona.

Hayden won the Supersport final at Barber Motorsports Park in 2006.

Don't Forget Last Year's Winner

Erion Honda star Josh Hayes swept the 600cc classes at BMP in '07, winning both the Supersport and Formula Xtreme finals in convincing fashion.

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Back for the Attack

Attack Kawasaki teammates Chaz Davies and Steve Rapp gave the team its second consecutive Daytona 200 1-2 finish last month. Like Rapp the year before, UK resident Davies, won the prestigious race in his debut outing for the California-based squad.

Last season Rapp backed up his Daytona triumph with a podium result at Barber. Davies, meanwhile, failed to finish in his first trip to Alabama.

Out for Redemption (Again)

Last season double FX king Josh Hayes made up for his Daytona disappointment by dominating the BMP weekend, claiming the pole position and winning the Formula Xtreme race going away.

Hayes finds himself in a similar position this season after the Mississippian saw his picture-perfect ride at Daytona to an apparent victory erased due to a disqualification following the post-race tech inspection.

Zemke Back in the Hunt

Hayes' teammate, Jake Zemke, is once again a FX contender after a two-year stint spent focused almost exclusively on the Superbike class. The Californian won his most recent two races in the class at Barber Motorsports Park, claiming victory in both 2004 and 2005.

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Yates Remains the Favorite

Jordan Suzuki's Aaron Yates is a standout performer at Barber Motorsports Park, having claimed the track's first-ever Superbike win and taken the last two Superstock victories at the circuit.

The Georgian comes into the event already on an early-season roll after opening the year with a pole and win in the Superstock class at Daytona.

Young Gun

Blake Young made an impressive debut for Team M4 EMGO Suzuki in the '08 season opener, finishing a close second to Yates, taking the checkered flag just 0.112 seconds behind his vastly more experienced rival. The runner-up result was the first AMA podium of the young Wisconsin native's career.

Young also took a top-five result in the Supersport season opener, adding to his head-turning first weekend with the highly-successful outfit.

Coverage on SPEED TV

Both rounds of the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited from Birmingham will be telecast nationally on SPEED. The races will be shown back to back on Sunday, April 20 starting with Saturday's race at 3:00 pm Eastern followed by Sunday's race broadcast at 5:00 pm.

The AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei will be airing at 4:00 pm on Sunday April 20. Coverage of AMA Formula Xtreme and AMA Superstock presented by Dynojet begins at 12 p.m. Tuesday, April 22.

Tickets

Tickets for the April 18-20, 2008, Honda Superbike Classic are available online at www.barbermotorsports.com or by calling (800) 240-2300.

-credit: ama

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Kurtis Roberts , Steve Rapp , Aaron Yates , Jake Zemke , Roger Lee Hayden , Ben Spies , Chaz Davies , Blake Young , Josh Herrin , Ben Bostrom , Josh Hayes