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HC: Midseason summary 2006-08-10

WATSON AND STRANK BOTH TRYING TO BE KING OF THE HILL PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 10, 2006) -- Don't look now Jack and Jill, but David Watson and Tiger Strank are about to beat you to that pail of water. The two top AMA Hillclimb riders continue...

WATSON AND STRANK BOTH TRYING TO BE KING OF THE HILL

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 10, 2006) -- Don't look now Jack and Jill, but David Watson and Tiger Strank are about to beat you to that pail of water. The two top AMA Hillclimb riders continue their battle in the 2006 AMA Hillclimb Championship presented by Pace American at midseason.

Between Watson and Strank they own 10 of the last 12 AMA Hillclimb national titles. In the 800cc class this season Watson has scored two straight victories on his Honda to stretch out an eight point lead over Yamaha mounted Strank. Jeff Thomas is a close third.

"I've had a couple of good runs in the last two races on the big," said Watson, a seven-time national champ who lives in Greenwood, Ind. "I've been getting some clean runs and that's given me a little bit of a points lead. It's a short season, only seven races, so consistency is really important."

Watson claims some of the hills favor his smaller rival Strank.

"I'm giving away 50 pounds to him, so at some of the hills he's just able to fly up," Watson said. "I'll have to go on a diet or something. I like Steel City, so I should go well there. Jefferson is one those hills where I beat Tiger, I don't know how. If I can win, or at least stay second or third I should have a pretty good chance going into Oregonia, which is a good hill for everybody."

Hoosier Jeff Thomas is still in the hunt in the 800cc class, just three points behind Strank. In the 540cc class it's Strank and his Yamaha R6-based machine over fellow Pennsylvanian Phil Libhart on the old-school Triumph. Watson runs third on his Honda. Only five points separate the top three in smaller class.

"I'm definitely going to have to start winning some races in the 540 class if I'm going to catch Tiger," Watson admits. "It's hard to beat a little guy on a fast bike, but you never know how things will turn out. Phil's the same way. His bike may be old, but it's fast and he really knows how to ride it."

Next up for the series is the Bushkill Valley Hill in Steel City, Pa., on Sept. 10. Then the climbers move to Jefferson, Pa., and the White Rose Motorcycle Club on Sept. 24. The season concludes Oct. 8, in Oregonia, Ohio, site of famous Devil's Staircase Hillclimb. The Oregonia climb is annually this best attended race of the season and the championship is usually decided there.

Tiger Strank is the defending champ in both the 800cc and 540cc classes. Strank has won four national titles in his career .

-credit: ama

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