FORMULA XTREME AND SUPERSTOCK TITLES ON THE LINE AT ROAD ATLANTA PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 29, 2007) -- Both the Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme presented by HMR and the AMA Superstock presented by Dynojet titles are on the line at Road ...
FORMULA XTREME AND SUPERSTOCK TITLES ON THE LINE AT ROAD ATLANTA
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 29, 2007) -- Both the Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme presented by HMR and the AMA Superstock presented by Dynojet titles are on the line at Road Atlanta this weekend at the Rockstar Suzuki Superbike Showdown on Aug. 31 - Sept. 2.
Erion Honda's Josh Hayes needs only to finish 18th or better at Road Atlanta to clinch his second straight Formula Xtreme championship. At the same time Ben Spies, of Yoshimura Suzuki, needs a sixth or better to wrap up the Superstock title.
Hayes won last year's Formula Xtreme title, keeping the championship in the Honda camp after a major bid by Yamaha's Eric Bostrom and Jason DiSalvo to win away the title. Before this year began, many thought Hayes would have an easier route to the championship and while he does look to be a shoo-in to clinch the title early this year it hasn't exactly been the easiest path for the rider from Gulfport, Miss.
At the season opening Daytona 200, Hayes's bike suffered a fuel starvation problem that ended the day for several leading Honda riders. Fortunately Hayes's crew recognized the problem in time and, although he had to make extra pit stops, he was able to finish the race in sixth. Meanwhile Attack Kawasaki's Steve Rapp won the race and emerged as a serious championship contender.
Hayes charged back and won four straight races; taking back the series lead after the third round. Coming into Road Atlanta Hayes has won six of the eight Formula Xtreme races to pull clear of Rapp in the title chase.
"Honda's built such a great bike this year and I'm riding the best I've ever ridden in my life. I'm having a lot of fun," Hayes said. "These guys are still making me race for it. It seems to be just the second half of the race -- I seem to be a little more comfortable when the tires get beat up."
Asked if he'll take it easy and just cruise to the title at Road Atlanta, Hayes said, "Absolutely not. Having that one race gap kind of gives me the comfort of I can still go out there and go for it. Road Atlanta's a really good racetrack for me. It's like home. I think I'll have a lot of family and friends there. My crew spends too much time away from their family and their friends working on the motorcycle for me to go out there and ride around. So we're going to go there, we're going to try to get every point, try to win that thing. And there are still two races left."
Hayes is the defending Road Atlanta Formula Xtreme winner.
In the AMA Superstock series, Spies doesn't have it quite as easy as Hayes. He still faces a bit more of a threat from Graves Yamaha's Ben Bostrom and local hero Aaron Yates of Jordan Suzuki. Still it's hard to imagine Spies, who has won six of the seven Superstock races this year, having trouble finishing sixth or better.
Spies claims he has sufficient motivation to continue pushing for race wins. "Well I just bought a car, so I need to win, I guess to pay that off," he explained with a sly grin after winning in Virginia two weeks ago.
Yates certainly has motivation to win at his home track. The rider from Milledgeville, Ga., has brought the Jordan Suzuki team new life in both the Superbike and Superstock classes. Yates already won a round of Superstock in Birmingham, Ala., earlier this season. It marked the first AMA national victory for the Jordan Suzuki squad.
Yates would not only love to win at Road Atlanta, he also has a good shot at the race to catch Bostrom for second in the championship.
Another local, Geoff May, of nearby Gainesville, Ga., will also be a leading contender in Superstock aboard the M4 EMGO Suzuki.
The Road Atlanta Formula Xtreme and Superstock races will air on SPEED on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at noon Eastern.
Saturday's Formula Xtreme and Sunday's Superstock events are part of Road Atlanta's Rockstar Suzuki Superbike Showdown. Tickets may be purchased from the Road Atlanta web site, ticket office at 770.967.6143, or 1.800.849.RACE, weekdays between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. "Super" tickets include paddock access. Tickets may be purchased at the gate on race weekends. Visit www.roadatlanta.com for additional information.