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Laguna Seca: Supersport preview

Hacking shooting for Laguna Seca Supersport record Veteran could become first four-time winner of the race PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 6, 2004) -- Jamie Hacking has an enviable record at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. The ...

Hacking shooting for Laguna Seca Supersport record
Veteran could become first four-time winner of the race

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 6, 2004) -- Jamie Hacking has an enviable record at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. The 33-year-old British-born racer stands alongside AMA Supersport racing legends Miguel Duhamel and Mike Smith as the only three-time winners of the Laguna Supersport race. On Sunday, July 11, at round 8 of the 11-race Pro Honda Oils Supersport presented by Shoei, Hacking could make history by becoming the first four-time victor in the class at Laguna Seca.

Hacking may have been the pre-race favorite coming into this weekend's race, but a crash last week during testing left him with a broken collarbone. Immediately after the crash Hacking flew to California, to have his collarbone pinned. He plans on competing at Laguna Seca, but he's sure to be in some discomfort trying to throw his factory Yamaha R6 around the challenging 2.238-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit. If Hacking can overcome his injury to win at Laguna Seca it would be one of the biggest stories of the 2004 season.

Kawasaki teammates and brothers Tommy and Roger Lee Hayden are first and second in the AMA Supersport point standings. Tommy is on a three-race wining streak coming into this Sunday's race. The competition in AMA Supersport racing is so intense that winning streaks of more than a few races are rare. In fact, if Hayden wins at Laguna he will be the first Supersport rider in nine years to string together four-consecutive race victories in a single season. Additionally, he would tie Aaron Yates for third on the all-time AMA Supersport wins list. Hayden is attempting to earn his first AMA championship after years of coming agonizingly close.

Roger Lee Hayden broke through to earn his first AMA national win in the Supersport race in Birmingham, Ala., in May. Since then the youngest of the racing Hayden's, from Owensboro, Ky., has been a constant threat in the class. At Brainerd two weeks ago he nearly took the win, but was nipped by his oldest brother at the line. The Hayden battles harkens back to a few years ago when it was Nicky (now racing MotoGP for Honda) and Tommy going head to head for the championship.

The Yamaha team is stacked with the likes of Hacking, Aaron Gobert and Jason DiSalvo, all in the top five of the point standings. There's slated to be one more contender on a blue bike this weekend when Aussie veteran Damon Buckmaster makes his return from injury. If Buckmaster is healthy expect him to be a leading contender. "Bucky" has scored inside the top five at the Laguna Seca Supersport race three times in the last five years.

Suzuki riders have struggled at times in the series this year. Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies won the Infineon Raceway round in Sonoma, Calif., but since then has not finished better than sixth. Look for the Texan to try to make a strong showing this weekend. Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's Steve Rapp, ranked seventh, has also had an up and down 2004 campaign. The native of Northern California hopes to have a good race in front of friends and family at Laguna Seca. And finally there's Yoshimura Suzuki's Aaron Yates. The third ranked AMA Supersport racer of all-time and former series champ has had a sub-par showing in the series this year. He would love to win this race at Laguna Seca again as he did back in 1997.

Others to watch for at Laguna include veteran privateer Michael Barnes on the Prieto Racing Yamaha and Aussie Ben Attard on the Corona Extra Suzuki.

The Laguna Supersport final will be featured on SPEED Channel on Tuesday, July 13 at 12 p.m. EST, as part of the network's popular Two Wheel Tuesday motorcycle programming lineup.

For ticket information contact Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at (800) 327-SECA or visit www.laguna-seca.com.

For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.USSuperbike.com, the official website of the AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship.

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Series AMA
Drivers Steve Rapp , Jamie Hacking , Aaron Yates , Damon Buckmaster , Roger Lee Hayden , Ben Spies , Aaron Gobert , Michael Barnes , Ben Attard , Mike Smit