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Road Atlanta: Supersport preview

BROTHER VS. BROTHER AT ROAD ATLANTA FOR AMA SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 30, 2005) -- The 2005 Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei has come down to the final race. Tommy Hayden and his youngest brother...

BROTHER VS. BROTHER AT ROAD ATLANTA FOR AMA SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 30, 2005) -- The 2005 Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei has come down to the final race. Tommy Hayden and his youngest brother Roger Lee Hayden will do battle at Road Atlanta for the number one plate during the Suzuki Superbike Showdown presented by Makita, which runs Sept. 2-4 at the challenging Braselton, Ga., circuit.

When Tommy's series archrival Jamie Hacking dropped out of the series after suffering a bicycling training accident in May it appeared that Tommy had a clear path to his second straight AMA Supersport title. Then younger brother and Kawasaki teammate Roger Lee caught fire, winning three of the last five rounds and rapidly moved up through the series standings all the way to second after suffering a mechanical failure in the opening round at Daytona Beach in March.

With his win last week at Virginia International Raceway Roger Lee kept his title hopes alive.

"I definitely want him to lose a little bit more sleep," ribbed Roger Lee after his victory last week in Virginia. "I didn't want to give it to him that easy. Fun and games I guess." The youngest of the famous trio of racing Haydens from Owensboro, Ky., Roger Lee is the defending Road Atlanta Supersport winner.

Tommy is clearly in a good position and the math is simple -- he needs to score a 23rd or better finish at Road Atlanta to win his second straight AMA Supersport Championship. If he wraps up the championship this weekend Tommy will become only the third rider in the history of the championship to win back-to-back titles, following in the footsteps of Doug Polen and Miguel Duhamel. Tommy is the second all-time wins leader in AMA Supersport racing.

"I really wanted to get the championship wrapped up in Virginia and have a stress-free week at Road Atlanta," said Hayden, who is seeking his first Road Atlanta Supersport victory. "Things didn't quite work and we'll try to finish up with a win this weekend."

Kawasaki is in an enviable position with its ZX-6RR Supersport bike poised to grab first and second in the championship. It will mark the fourth title in the prestigious and highly-competitive class for Team Green.

Ben Spies is the only past winner of the race besides Roger Lee Hayden expected in the field on Sunday. Spies is ranked fifth in the series coming into Road Atlanta, primarily due to his focus being on the AMA Superbike Championship this year where he is a title contender in his first full year in that series.

With nothing to lose it's a sure bet that third-ranked Jason DiSalvo will go for broke at Road Atlanta and try to give Yamaha a victory to celebrate during the long off-season. DiSalvo already took a victory in the series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in July. At 21, he is considered one of the young rising stars in AMA road racing.

A number of privateers are making a good showing in this year's championship. Chief among them is young Canadian Chris Peris who is ranked eighth on his Topline Printing / Bikecards.com / Yamaha Canada Yamaha R6. Peris has scored seven top-10 finishes in the series so far with a high of sixth at Pikes Peak, and will be hoping for a good showing at Road Atlanta to give the factory scouts something to ponder over the winter.

Road Atlanta's Supersport finale will be televised on SPEED Channel, Sunday, Sept. 11 beginning at 11 a.m.

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Series AMA
Drivers Miguel Duhamel , Jamie Hacking , Roger Lee Hayden , Ben Spies , Chris Peris