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Sears Point: Supersport preview

HACKING IN EARLY CONTROL OF AMA SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 15, 2006) -- Yamaha's Jamie Hacking has had his share of injuries over the last few years, the worst coming from a bicycling accident that ended his 2005 season....

HACKING IN EARLY CONTROL OF AMA SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 15, 2006) -- Yamaha's Jamie Hacking has had his share of injuries over the last few years, the worst coming from a bicycling accident that ended his 2005 season. At the beginning of this season Hacking said his primary goal was to stay healthy so he would at least have a fighting chance of winning back the Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei. As the series comes to Infineon Raceway on May 21, round four of the 11-race championship, Hacking has not only met his goal so far of staying injury free, he's also likely surpassed the goals he set for himself in Supersport.

Hacking, of Denver, N.C., holds a commanding 24-point lead over Danny Eslick after winning the most recent round in Fontana, Calif., on April 30. While happy with where he is in the championship, Hacking sounds a bit cautious when talking about earning back the Supersport title he won in 2003.

"There's still a lot of racing ahead of us," Hacking explained. "It's a long season and I've had luck on my side so far. I'm not looking too far ahead. I just concentrate on each race as they come. Infineon was a track I had a lot of problems with early in my career, but after winning there a couple of times I feel pretty good going there."

Hacking is a past Infineon AMA Supersport and AMA Superstock race winner.

Hacking's chief rival in the series is Kawasaki's Roger Lee Hayden. Hayden won the first two rounds of the championship but a crash in Alabama last month on his Superbike left him with a broken leg. He missed the Fontana round and dropped from first to fifth in the standings. Hayden has had surgery on his injured leg and would love to return to action at Infineon.

"I'm hoping to ride at Infineon to try to keep within a race of the leader in points," Hayden said. "I had a little bit of an infection set in after my surgery, but that's cleared up now and I seem to be healing up pretty fast. I go to the doctor on Tuesday (May 16) to find out how I'm doing. If I ride it will only be in the Supersport race. I came back pretty good in last year's series, so I don't feel like I'm totally out of it yet."

Ben Spies, the 2004 Infineon Supersport winner, is another rider expected to challenge Hacking, but he crashed early in the Fontana race and is all the way back in 19th in the standings. With his success in Superbike, where he is leading the series, it is hard to imagine Spies putting much on the line in Supersport where he has little hope of getting back in the title chase.

That leaves Danny Eslick, on the Matsushima Performance Suzuki and M4 EMGO Suzuki's Geoff May, who are second and third respectively in the series, attempting to keep Hacking from completely running away with the series.

Eslick broke through to earn his very first AMA Supersport podium finish at Fontana. The flat tracker turned road racer is getting stronger with every race, but he still has some learning in front of him in order to run with veteran Hacking.

May is having his best season do date, but his performances in Supersport have been mixed. At times he seems to be able to race for a podium finish and others he struggles to find speed during the finals. The Georgian will have plenty of incentive to turn in a good ride at Infineon, especially considering his teammate Michael Barnes took second at Fontana. It marked Barnes' first podium result in the class since 1990. That's the longest time span between Supersport podiums in AMA history - just short of 16 years.

Attack Kawasaki's Ben Attard is eager to earn his first podium of the season. The Australian has just missed the box the last two races, taking fourth in both.

A rider to watch at Infineon this weekend is young Michael Beck. Beck, of Simi Valley, Calif., earned a solid sixth-place finish at Fontana on his AIP Yamaha. It marked his first top-10 result of the year.

Tickets for the event can be purchased by calling 1.800.870.RACE or visiting the website www.infineonraceway.com. Camping is available and children under 12 are free.

-ama

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Series AMA
Drivers Jamie Hacking , Geoff May , Roger Lee Hayden , Ben Spies , Michael Barnes , Ben Attard , Michael Beck , Danny Eslick