AMA

Mladin earns crown, Hayden, Duhamel, Yates win titles

MLADIN WINS SIXTH AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP Hayden, Duhamel and Yates score titles in support classes PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 8, 2005) -- The AMA Superbike event at Road Atlanta, Sept. 3-4, was a weekend of champions. All four AMA road ...

MLADIN WINS SIXTH AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP

Hayden, Duhamel and Yates score titles in support classes

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 8, 2005) -- The AMA Superbike event at Road Atlanta, Sept. 3-4, was a weekend of champions. All four AMA road racing titles came down to the final event and in one case to the final lap. Australian Mat Mladin highlighted the season finale by nailing down his sixth AMA Superbike Championship. Joining Mladin in collecting the prestigious No. 1 plate were Tommy Hayden in Pro Honda Oils Supersport presented by Shoei, Miguel Duhamel in Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme and Aaron Yates in Repsol Lubricants Superstock.

AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited It was another record-breaking season for Yoshimura Suzuki veteran Mat Mladin. The 33-year-old Australian not only won his sixth AMA Superbike Championship at Road Atlanta, he also broke Motorcycle Hall of Famer's Fred Merkel's long standing single-season win record of 10 wins set in 1984, by winning 11 AMA Superbike races in 2005.

Mladin also extended his lead in the all-time AMA Superbike wins list to 43-career victories and pushed his record of AMA Superbike pole positions to 47.

"The year was a good year for sure," said Mladin. "Suzuki delivered us a motorcycle this year that certainly made life quite a bit easier than last year. But in no way was it easy. We had a couple of problems that certainly kept the championship interesting until the last race."

Mladin looked to be cruising to an easy championship win until he was caught up in a crash at the Mid-Ohio round, which closed the points race between him and Yoshimura teammate Ben Spies. In the end it was Mladin winning the title by 22-points over his rookie teammate. Eric Bostrom was third in the championship with Ducati Austin.

A total of five riders, Mladin, Spies, Bostrom, Neil Hodgson and Aaron Yates, won AMA Superbike races in 2005.

Mladin gave Suzuki its ninth AMA Superbike Championship, matching the nine titles owned by Kawasaki. Honda owns eight, Ducati two and Yamaha and BMW one each.

This year was Mladin's 10th year in AMA Superbike. He shows no sign of slowing down as he approaches his mid-30s. Mladin recently signed for three more seasons with Suzuki and said he would be disappointed if he doesn't win three more titles.

Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei Tommy Hayden became only the third rider in series history to win back-to-back Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championships. The Kawasaki ace from Owensboro, Ky., won the championship in spite of suffering a broken hand in the middle of the season.

Hayden, the oldest of the three racing Hayden brothers, sprinted off to a lead in the series by winning three of the first six rounds. He then suffered the broken wrist in a Repsol Superstock race at Laguna Seca in July. Despite racing with the injured wrist Hayden was able to finish sixth at Laguna Seca to hold on to his series lead. At the close of the year Kawasaki teammate and younger brother Roger Lee put on a serious charge, but in the end Tommy was able to finish strong enough to win the championship over Roger Lee by 19 points. Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo was third.

I had the best bike, for sure, by far," said Tommy. "That made things a lot easier. My hat's off to those guys, my team. Mike Preston, he really does what it takes to win. He took me to Japan in the middle of last summer. I had a ton of input in that bike. They helped to really kind of build it around me. That meant a lot to me. I think it showed at Daytona at the beginning of the year. I was just really comfortable and really, really quick right out of the gate. It gave me a real good advantage straight out to start the season. And then about halfway it was just about finishing up and staying ahead."

Hayden joins Miguel Duhamel and Doug Polen as the only riders to win the highly-competitive championship in back-to-back years. It marked the fourth AMA Supersport title for Kawasaki.

Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series Honda's Miguel Duhamel made a dramatic late-season charge to defend his title in the Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series. The Canadian racing veteran won three of the final four races and came out on top in a head-to-head battle with teammate Jake Zemke in the final race to win the series.

Duhamel trailed Zemke by five points going into the finale at Road Atlanta. He needed a perfect weekend of winning the pole, leading the most laps and winning the race to wrest away the series lead and thus the championship from Zemke. At Road Atlanta fans witnessed perhaps the best Formula Xtreme race in the history of the series. The epic race saw 18 lead changes. With the last lap beginning, both riders had led seven laps each. The title was literally up for grabs until Zemke crashed on the last lap.

"From the beginning, the first half of the season, Jake was on fire," said Duhamel, who earned his eighth AMA road racing championship "So we didn't have a choice. My back was against the wall. This championship was the hardest - this is TV, I couldn't believe it, I had the countdown on my board, laps led, and man, I was kind of hoping he would get it, just to get that. It was a battle. He's sliding down the hill here, and sideways in the chicane, and tankslappers, front end flying off, and pumping brakes and almost running into each other, stuff that you just - it was incredible, and it was a beautiful race, and it would've been beautiful, for sure, if Jake would've just went wide and came back and got second and at least got the podium. It was a valiant effort. Unfortunately, he worked a little too hard there."

Duhamel took four wins on the year and moved into the lead on the all-time Formula Xtreme wins list with 12. Zemke finished second in the championship, and flat tracker, turned road racer Danny Eslick had a break through season taking third in the series.

Repsol Lubricants Superstock Series It was a fantastic homecoming for Georgina Aaron Yates. The veteran Yoshimura Suzuki rider came into Road Atlanta with a 21-point lead over Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo and needed only a conservative finish to secure the title. And that's just what Yates did, cruising to ninth and winning the Repsol Superstock Series after a nine years absence from the class.

Yates won five of the 10 races en route to winning his second AMA road racing title. He outscored DiSalvo by nine points. Michael Jordan Suzuki's Steve Rapp finished third in the series.

For Yates it marked a triumphant return to the Superstock class. He won the class in 1996 in his first year as a factory Suzuki rider when the series was called AMA 750 Supersport. While Yates was gone the class became Repsol Superstock and the bikes were bumped up to 1000cc displacement.

Yates moved from eighth to fifth on the all-time AMA Superstock wins list this season. He gave Suzuki its 13th title in the 18-year-old series.

About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the THQ AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Motocross Championship, the AMA Superbike Championship, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.

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Series AMA
Drivers Steve Rapp , Miguel Duhamel , Tommy Hayden , Aaron Yates , Eric Bostrom , Neil Hodgson , Jake Zemke , Ben Spies , Fred Merkel , Danny Eslick