AMA

Riders ready for Sears Point

Fans double their pleasure at AMA Superbike doubleheader at Sears Point. SONOMA, Calif. - Race fans will double their pleasure at this year's AMA Supercuts Superbike Challenge, presented by Honda of Milpitas, as Sears Point Raceway will host its...

Fans double their pleasure at AMA Superbike doubleheader at Sears Point.

SONOMA, Calif. - Race fans will double their pleasure at this year's AMA Supercuts Superbike Challenge, presented by Honda of Milpitas, as Sears Point Raceway will host its first-ever doubleheader in the U.S. Chevy Trucks Superbike Championship series.

It will be twice the fun and twice the excitement as top stars like three-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin and defending Sears Point Raceway champion Anthony Gobert battle on the twisting road course in two 26-lap main events when the series visits the scenic Sonoma Valley, May 3-5. One main event will be held on Saturday, and the second feature will be contested on Sunday.

"We're pleased to bring a doubleheader round of racing to Sonoma, which we believe is a real hotbed for the AMA," said Scott Hollingsworth, CEO of AMA Pro Racing. "The motorcycle fans of Northern California are in for a great weekend of racing when we come out there."

Fans will enjoy Sears Point Raceway's first-ever doubleheader in a completely refurbished facility, complete with scenic hillside terrace seats above Turns 2-4 and 7-9, a state-of-the-art grandstand at start/finish, underground pedestrian tunnels and a new system of roadways and shuttle buses to help ease congestion around the raceway.

It's hard to predict who will come out on top at Sears Point Raceway, but Mladin has to be considered one of the heavy favorites. The native of Australia won his third consecutive AMA Superbike championship in 2001, becoming just the second rider in AMA history to win three straight titles, joining Fred Merkel (1984-86).

Mladin will make history if he can win his fourth championship in 2002, and the road to the title comes through Sears Point Raceway, a circuit Mladin is quite familiar with. He won the AMA Superbike event here in 1999 and qualified on the pole before finishing fourth a year ago aboard his Suzuki. Overall, Mladin has 14 career Superbike victories, tying him for fifth all-time with Scott Russell and Eddie Lawson.

"I really have to thank Suzuki for helping me with my success in the Superbike series," Mladin said. "It's a team effort and I happen to have the best team behind me."

If Mladin reaches the podium at Sears Point, he will have to go through fellow Australian Gobert. Gobert shocked the industry last year with his electrifying victory at Sears Point Raceway, out-dueling Honda's Nicky Hayden on the final lap before a record crowd. It was Yamaha's first Superbike win since 1998, and it's first at Sears Point Raceway since 1985. Gobert also won the 600 Supersport race for a clean sweep of the weekend.

Hayden is likely to be another top contender when the series visits Sears Point Raceway. The Kentucky native was on fire at the close of the 2001 season, winning four of the last five Superbike races. He has started the season with wins at Daytona (Fla.) and Fontana (Calif.) and leads the standings after the first two stops. He has also finished second and third in points the last two years and is gunning for the AMA Superbike crown in 2002. Honda teammate Miguel Duhamel will also be a factor as many consider him the "King of Sears Point Raceway" with a record four victories.

In addition to Superbike, the weekend will also feature AMA action in 600 Supersport, 750 Supersport, 250 Grand Prix and Formula Xtreme. Action gets under way on Friday of race weekend with qualifying.

-spr-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Anthony Gobert , Miguel Duhamel , Scott Russell , Eddie Lawson , Fred Merkel