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STRANK OPENS AMA HILLCLIMB TITLE DEFENSE IN YORK, PA PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 31, 2006) -- Tiger Strank will open his title defense of both classes of the AMA Hillclimb Championship presented by Pace American this Sunday, June 4, at the White...

STRANK OPENS AMA HILLCLIMB TITLE DEFENSE IN YORK, PA

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 31, 2006) -- Tiger Strank will open his title defense of both classes of the AMA Hillclimb Championship presented by Pace American this Sunday, June 4, at the White Rose Motorcycle Club hill in York, Pa.

Strank, of Johnstown, Pa., earned last year's hillclimb championships in both the 800cc and 540cc classes riding a pair of Bob Shreiner-built Yamahas. Those titles marked the third and fourth AMA Hillclimb Championships for Strank, who won the 800cc class in 2001 and the 540cc in 2004.

Strank's been training by riding motocross during the off-season and he even entered a hare scrambles race for fun and ended up winning.

"That was a lot of fun, but a lot tougher than I thought it would be," Strank said. "I give a lot of credit to the guys who do that all the time."

Strank and his crew have tested his pair of Yamahas - a sleeved down R1 for the 800 class and an R6 for the 540 class that both run 98 percent nitro methane and produce roughly 250 and 200 horsepower respectively.

"They seemed to be running strong and we should be ready for this weekend," he continued.

Strank sees Phil Libhart, James Large and his own teammate Chris Kabo as some of his toughest competition in the 800 class this year.

"I've been training with Chris and whipping him into shape pretty good," Strank says with a laugh. "All those guys, and probably a few more, have a chance of winning the title this year, but hopefully we'll come through again."

In the 540 class Strank says Libhart will be tough and he's watching with interest James Wolfe who will be contesting the series on a KTM 525-based machine.

Strank is sorry that the series lost a couple of hills this year, but is glad that there is a solid core of hills to compete on this year. White Rose is a hill he is familiar with.

"I grew up racing on a hill like that," he said. "It's sort of rough on the bottom and smoother up top. The bottom is where you win or lose that hillclimb. You've got to time that first jump perfectly. You can have the fastest bike in the world, but if you can't get the jump right it'll do you no good at all."

-ama

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