Duhamel and Gobert hoping for boost at Road America AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 3, 2003) -- The 2003 AMA Superbike season dawned with great expectations for both Miguel...
Duhamel and Gobert hoping for boost at Road America
AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 3, 2003) -- The 2003 AMA Superbike season dawned with great expectations for both Miguel Duhamel and Anthony Gobert. While things haven't quite worked out as hoped for either rider, on June 6-8 both are hoping to find a mid-season boost at the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader, rounds nine and 10 of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship, at the picturesque four-mile Road America course in the resort town of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Road America is counted among the favorite racing circuits by many of the AMA Chevy Trucks Superbike stars, but it's Duhamel and Gobert who are most familiar with victory there; the two are tied with the most AMA Superbike wins at the circuit with three apiece.
For Duhamel, the all-time wins leader in AMA Superbike, the season started with great promise after winning the all-important Daytona 200 in March. Duhamel was squarely in contention for his second AMA Superbike Championship until a crash in the Pro Honda Oils Supersport race at Infineon Raceway on May 4 broke Duhamel's collarbone and caused him to miss a round of the series. The gritty and determined Canadian came back and raced just two weeks later in Braselton, Ga., despite having surgery on the collarbone. Now, only a month after his surgery, Duhamel is coming back to form and could be a serious factor at Road America, where he swept the doubleheader last year. While Duhamel, who is ranked sixth in the series, is considered a long shot at winning this year's championship, he knows that two wins aboard his factory Honda this weekend could put him right back in the thick of the title chase.
Gobert comes to Road America looking to earn his first Superbike win in over a year. The 28-year-old Australian has been let down this year with numerous mechanical problems with his Ducati Austin 998R Superbike. Gobert's luck might be changing however. He's earned top-five finishes in two of the last three rounds and led the race early last week in Colorado. Gobert hopes to build on his recent momentum with good results in this weekend's doubleheader.
"Road America is a classic road racing circuit," said Gobert, who won at the track in 1998, 1999 and 2001. "It reminds me a lot of the circuits in Europe where I raced World Superbike and GPs. I won two Superbike races at Road America on Ducatis and I think the track suits my style as well as the Ducati's. For me the championship is no longer a possibility, but I still have a goal of winning some races this season."
Gobert hopes to give Ducati its first AMA Superbike race victory in nearly four years.
While Duhamel and Gobert are looking to Road America to salvage their season, the race for the 2003 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship coming into this event is the most intense in years. Four riders have won in eight races and a mere 23 points separate the top five riders in the series. Yoshimura Suzuki's Aaron Yates leads the series by five points over Kawasaki's Eric Bostrom. Mat Mladin finds himself third in the standings after being forced to pit for a tire in last week's race, which dropped him to a ninth-place finish. The Honda pair of Ben Bostrom and Kurtis Roberts are tied for fourth in the standings. Any of these five riders could easily leave Road America's doubleheader with the series lead.
If history is any indication look for Ben Bostrom and Kurtis Roberts to move up in the rankings this week. Honda riders have won 10 of the 26 AMA Superbike races held at Road America; nearly double the winning rate of any other brand of motorcycle. Conversely, Eric Bostrom, hot off his win last weekend at Pikes Peak International Raceway, could have his work cut out for him. A Kawasaki-mounted rider has not won at Road America in 13 years.
Mladin joins Duhamel and Gobert as a former winner at Elkhart Lake. The Suzuki ace dominated much of the first half of the season, but tire problems in two of the last three races have put at least a temporary detour in Mladin's quest of becoming the first four-time AMA Superbike champ. He will be eager to get his season back on track at Road America.
Wisconsin racing fans will have a local hero to cheer for at Road America. Shawn Higbee, of Big Bend, Wis., is having an outstanding season in his return to the series. The veteran racer is a solid eighth in the point standings and is the top-ranked privateer in the championship.
Both Superbike races at Road America will be shown live on Speed Channel, race one at 3 p.m. EST on Saturday, June 7, and race two at 3 p.m. EST, Sunday, June 8.
For ticket information call (800) 365-RACE, or visit www.roadamerica.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 Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship.