STRANK SWEEPS 2006 AMA HILLCLIMB CHAMPIONSHIPS PICKERINGTON, Ohio (October 12, 2006) -- Walter "Tiger" Strank, of Johnstown, Pa., once again swept the 2006 AMA Hillclimb Championship presented by Pace American in both the 800 and 540 classes.
STRANK SWEEPS 2006 AMA HILLCLIMB CHAMPIONSHIPS
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (October 12, 2006) -- Walter "Tiger" Strank, of Johnstown, Pa., once again swept the 2006 AMA Hillclimb Championship presented by Pace American in both the 800 and 540 classes. Strank, riding a pair of Bob Shreiner-built Yamahas, followed up winning both titles in 2005 by duplicating the feat this year. Strank now owns six-career AMA Hillclimb Championships.
In the final round in Oregonia, Ohio, on Oct. 8, Strank rode his Yamaha R6-based hillclimber to victory on a choppy, rock strewn and partly muddy Devil's Staircase in the 540 class.
"The times turned out to be respectable in spite of the conditions," Strank said. "There was a pretty bad kicker on the hill and I ran to the far right of hill to avoid that and it worked out well for me."
Strank said his goal was to finish in the top three at every 540 class event and he accomplished his objective, taking four wins, a runner-up finish and two third-place finishes.
Strank had mixed emotions about competing in the 800 class final. There rival David Watson held the championship lead, but a serious injury suffered at the round in Jefferson, Pa., last month meant Watson's season was over.
"I wasn't sure I wanted to ride the 800 class," Strank said. "But a lot of people told me that David wouldn't have wanted the championship handed to him like that so I went ahead and ran it."
Strank's second-place finish to James Large at Oregonia was enough to earn him the 800 title.
Strank went on to say that he hopes that Watson makes a full recovery and is able to return to competition next year.
"The championship is really missing something with David not being there," Strank explained.
Strank's five consecutive championships combining both the 540 and 800 classes is the most ever in the modern era of AMA Hillclimbing that began after World War II. Strank also won the 800 class in 2001. He is planning on returning to defend both titles in 2007.
Strank's 2006 effort was backed by Yamaha, B&B Yamaha, Bob Shreiner, Dr. Bob Racing, Scott Goggles, Donnie Lingle and Brady Smith. Strank also wanted to give a special thanks to Yamaha's Keith McCarty who helped his team a great deal this year.