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Daytona: First legs for unlimited class 2002-03-03

Higbee, Barnes Split Lockhart-Phillips Unlimited SuperBike Legs DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (March 3, 2002)& ...

Higbee, Barnes Split Lockhart-Phillips Unlimited SuperBike Legs

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (March 3, 2002)– Shawn Higbee said he was concerned about the building rain after he won the first leg of the Formula USA Lockhart-Phillips Unlimited SuperBike opener at Daytona International Speedway.

After dominating the first race on his KWS Millennium Technologies Suzuki, Higbee rode a smart race in the second leg to finish third. That was good enough for the defending series champ to come away from Daytona with the early series points lead.

Higbee, of Waterford, N.Y., traded wins with Michael Barnes, the Boca Raton, Fla. rider on the Hooters Suzuki. Barnes finished seventh in the first leg after being forced in for a stop-and-go penalty for jumping the start.

In the first race Higbee was in the middle of a six-rider breakaway in the early laps. Just before the halfway flags Higbee made his move to the front.

"That really wasn't my game plan, said Higbee, a longtime racing veteran. "I know how the draft works here and I didn't know if I could do it or not. When I saw Barney (Michael Barnes) pull in there, everybody sort of lost their drive and I put my head down and turned in a couple of good laps and was able to break the draft. I didn't feel we had really peaked yet and we are still finding the potential of the bike."

Higbee pulled away to win the first leg by 11.3-second over North Carolinian Lee Acree on the Arclight Suzuki and New Englander Eric Wood, who rode the 14K the Movie-sponsored Suzuki.

Barnes took out the frustration of the first-flag penalty to win the damp second leg, which was red-flagged after four laps due to rain and restarted. The Floridian pulled out to as high as a 15-second lead before backing down to win by 11 seconds over Wood.

Higbee caught a little bit of a break in the second leg. He tangled with Acree in the chicane. Acree went down and Higbee's bike was damaged. The red flag allowed both riders to get their bikes repaired for the restart. Late in the second leg, Higbee made a charge from sixth to third, but had to settle for that position just a few bikes behind second-place rider Wood.

Following the Lockhart-Phillips Unlimited Superbike, Barnes pulled off another victory in the Buell Lightning Series and finished second in the NRRS Sportbike. Said Barnes of his Buell Lightning Series victory: "I had a really stiff set-up (suspension) and we didn't soften it up for the rain and we really should have. I'm really glad I pulled that out by the skin of my teeth. It came right down to the line and I barely made it."

Tickets remain for all motorcycle events at Daytona International Speedway and can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.

Lockhart-Phillips Unlimited Superbike Leg No. 1
1. Shawn Higbee, Waterford, Wis., Suzuki 750; 2. Lee Acree, Jamestown, N.C., Suzuki 750; 3. Eric Wood, Mansfield, Mass., Suzuki 750; 4. Larry Pegram, Baltimore, Ohio, Suzuki 750; 5. Matt Wait, Lodi, Calif., Honda 929.

Lockhart-Phillips Unlimited Superbike Leg No. 2
1. Michael Barnes, Boca Raton, Fla., Suzuki 750; 2. Eric Wood, Mansfield, Mass., Suzuki 750; 3. Shawn Higbee, Waterford, Wis., Suzuki 750; 4. Scott Greenwood, Dunbarton, N.H., Suzuki 750; 5. Michael Himmelsbach, Quakertown, Penn., Aprilia 100.

-dis-

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Series AMA
Drivers Eric Wood , Lee Acree , Michael Barnes , Shawn Higbee