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Road Atlanta: Supersport preview

OPEN SEASON IN ROAD ATLANTA'S AMA SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 30, 2006) -- This Sunday's Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei at Road Atlanta promises to be one of the most entertaining races...

OPEN SEASON IN ROAD ATLANTA'S AMA SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 30, 2006) -- This Sunday's Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei at Road Atlanta promises to be one of the most entertaining races of the year. With the title already clinched by Yamaha's Jamie Hacking and the event free of championship implications, riders can go out and simply do what they do best and that's race.

Hacking has won six straight AMA Supersport races. That's the longest single season winning streak in the class since Miguel Duhamel won eight in a row in 1995. Hacking has the opportunity to match Duhamel should he win at the final two rounds at Road Atlanta and Mid-Ohio. For now he's thrilled with winning his second Supersport title.

"It's just been a really good class for me," said Hacking, who won the Road Atlanta Supersport race in 2002. "Those guys (his team) always prepare me with an excellent motorcycle. To win this championship again, has definitely been a goal set in my mind since we had it back in '03 and we lost it. It feels so unbelievable to get it back. And to get it back with two races left to go is just incredible."

Another record on the line at Road Atlanta is the most consecutive Road Atlanta Supersport wins. Mike Smith and Eric Bostrom each won two straight AMA Supersport races at Road Atlanta, but Roger Lee Hayden could become the first to win three in a row. He won in 2004 and last year. Hayden, who spent much of the summer recovering from an early season injury, would love to close out the season on a high note and set the tone for 2007. He suffered a crash in the last round at VIR and will be anxious to get back on track on Sunday.

A great battle for second in the series is going on with former flat track racer Danny Eslick, of Matsushima Performance, holding second over Geoff May, of Gainesville, Ga., by just three points. Attack Kawasaki's Ben Attard, from Australia, last year's winner Roger Lee Hayden and Floridian veteran racer Michael Barnes are all close enough that any one of them could end up number two in the final standings by the end of the year.

May, who rides for M4 EMGO Suzuki, lives in Gainesville, Ga., just down Highway 53 from Road Atlanta. May worked his way up to his ride with the championship-winning M4 EMGO Suzuki squad the hard way. He came up through the ranks working on his own bikes and scraping by. Along the way one of the teams he rode for ran out of money in the middle of the season. In spite of all this May persevered and earned the AMA Superbike Rookie of the Year in 2003. In 2005 he joined his current team and now has become a contender in the Supersport series. May has earned three podium finishes so far this year and is hoping to get his first victory in the class this weekend.

Several other Georgia riders could be a factor in this weekend's Road Atlanta race. Chris Caylor, of Marietta, is battling to get in the top-10 on his Safety First Suzuki. Josh Herrin, of Dublin, became the youngest Supersport podium finisher earlier this year riding a Graves Motorsports Yamaha. Others like Ryan Elleby, of Powder Springs, and Keith Marshall, of Alpharetta, will have a lot of support from local fans at Road Atlanta.

Georgia riders have a long history of doing well at their home track in Supersport competition. Paul Bray, then of Union City, won the race in 1988. Mike Smith, of Canton, burst onto the scene by beating the national stars earlier that same year, as did Woodstock's Cam Roos in 1989.

The Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei at Road Atlanta is part of the Suzuki Superbike Showdown presented by Makita. It will mark the 35th anniversary of the very first AMA road race national held at the scenic facility in Braselton, Georgia.

The Road Atlanta Supersport race will be televised on SPEED on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. For additional information call 800-849-RACE or visit the website www.roadatlanta.com.

-credit: ama pro racing

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Series AMA
Drivers Miguel Duhamel , Jamie Hacking , Geoff May , Eric Bostrom , Roger Lee Hayden , Michael Barnes , Ben Attard , Chris Caylor , Josh Herrin , Ryan Elleby , Keith Marshall , Danny Eslick , Mike Smit