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Supersport Brainerd preview

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 23, 2003) -- Yamaha's leading Supersport squad headed by South Carolinian Jamie Hacking is heading to Minnesota for round seven of the 2003 Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Championship presented by Shoei on Sunday, June 29,...

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 23, 2003) -- Yamaha's leading Supersport squad headed by South Carolinian Jamie Hacking is heading to Minnesota for round seven of the 2003 Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Championship presented by Shoei on Sunday, June 29, at Brainerd International Raceway. Hacking narrowly leads the series over Aussie teammate Damon Buckmaster. Just eight points separate the teammates. Yet another Yamaha rider Aaron Gobert is third in the series standings, but will miss Brainerd with a broken wrist. For Yamaha to have the top three riders midway through the season in the ultra-competitive Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship is a rare feat indeed. The last time a single manufacturer held the top three spots in the series at the halfway point was eight years ago.

Four riders have won Supersport races in the six rounds leading up to Brainerd, but Hacking, with three wins, is the only multiple winner so far. Hacking, in his seventh year of AMA professional racing, is attempting to earn his first AMA championship. The same can be said of teammate Buckmaster. The hunger of both riders is evident and the fierce competition for the championship has left the teammates at odds several times this year. After the Pikes Peak round, Buckmaster criticized Hacking for what he thought was rough riding tactics. Hacking retorted by saying that Supersport racing has always been a contact sport and claims innocence. Both teammates claimed to have settled their differences and are looking forward to getting on with the remainder of the season.

Hacking comes into Brainerd a past winner of the race. The British-born rider came out on top of a furious last-lap battle with Kurtis Roberts in the 1999 race to emerge victorious. Hacking became the only Yamaha rider to win the Brainerd Supersport race.

"Brainerd always seems to produce close racing in Supersport," said Hacking, who finished fifth at the race last year. "The last lap there is usually a mad scramble. I'm hoping I can put some distance on the rest of the field this year so it doesn't come down to that, but I have enough experience with last-lap tactics to hopefully be where I need to be at the finish."

Hacking will face defending Brainerd winner Jake Zemke who is still seeking a Supersport victory this year on his Erion Honda. Zemke favors high-speed circuits like Brainerd. Miguel Duhamel should be fully recovered from a broken collarbone suffered in early May and should be a factor at BIR. The Honda racing veteran has won four AMA Supersport races at Brainerd.

Kawasaki's duo of Tommy Hayden and Tony Meiring both feel they are overdue for a Brainerd Supersport victory. Meiring opened a large lead in last year's race before crashing out on lap five. Teammate Hayden then led the closing stages of the race before being nipped by Zemke at the line. Suzuki's young ace Ben Spies is hoping to give Suzuki its first Brainerd Supersport win in five years.

Over the years Brainerd has produced some of the most tightly contested Supersport races of the season. This race will receive same-day coverage on Speed Channel. The race will be tape-delayed and shown in primetime Sunday evening at 8 p.m. EST. For additional information on the race contact BIR at (218) 824-7220 or visit www.brainerdraceway.com.

For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.USSuperbike.com, the official website of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship.

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Series AMA
Drivers Kurtis Roberts , Miguel Duhamel , Tommy Hayden , Tony Meiring , Jamie Hacking , Damon Buckmaster , Jake Zemke , Ben Spies