WHAT: Sears Point Raceway will host the most exciting motorcycle road-racers in the country in the Progressive Motorcycle Insurance American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Superbike Challenge, May 5-7. This is the second event in the 10-race Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship series.
WHERE: Sears Point Raceway, Highways 37 & 121, Sonoma.
WHEN: Friday, May 5; Saturday, May 6; Sunday, May 7. Gates open at 7 a.m. all three days.
WHO: Miguel Duhamel (Honda) has dominated the Superbike class at Sears Point Raceway, winning three of the last five events on the twisting 12-turn road course. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) returns as the defending champion of the Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship. His lone victory last season came at Sears Point. The native of Australia is off to a great start, having won the prestigious Daytona 200 last March. Doug Chandler (Kawasaki) is a three-time AMA Superbike champion, but he has still yet to win a Superbike race at Sears Point since he entered the series in 1987. Chandler, a native of Salinas (Calif.), is bidding to become the first four-time Superbike champion . Local rider Steve Rapp (Vance & Hines Ducati) of Lafayette (Calif.) might be a darkhorse on his home track. Rapp was eighth in the Superbike race at Sears Point in 1998. He was the fastest during a test session in April.
COURSE: Racers will complete 25 laps over the 2.32-mile road course.
TICKETS: ADVANCE - A three-day weekend event ticket is $35. Daily tickets are as follows: Friday ($5); Saturday ($15); and Sunday ($30). Tickets are available by calling the Sears Point ticket office at (800) 870-RACE (7223) or visiting www.gospeedway.com and linking to Sears Point. Special rates are available for groups.
WHAT'S NEW: Riders will navigate a modified road course that features changes at Turns 5 and 11, which are designed to increase rider safety. Turn 11 was shortened by two-tenths of a mile, giving riders nearly 300 feet of run-off room, as compared to less than 20 feet prior. The re-configured Turn 11 will also eliminate the chicane at Turn 12. The second safety enhancement came at Turn 5, where there is now more than 100 feet of run-off room, as compared to 20 feet a year ago. Both upgrades were made under the guidance of Doug Chandler.
ON TV: Live coverage of the Progressive Motorcycle Insurance Superbike Challenge will be on Speedvision on Sunday, May 7, at 2 p.m. (PDT).
PAST CHAMPS: Mat Mladin (1999); Miguel DuHamel (1993, '95, '97, '98); Aaron Yates (1996); Colin Edwards (1994); Doug Polen (1988). Note: The Superbikes did not run at Sears Point from 1989-1992.