PICKERINGTON, Ohio-- Monterey, California's Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will host the annual Honda International Superbike Classic on July 12 - 14. The esteemed event features both the SBK World Superbike Championship and America's most important road racing series, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship, in what has become the largest motorcycle-racing event in America-- last year over 90,000 fans attended the four-day festival of racing. This marks the eighth year that Laguna Seca has hosted the U.S. round of the World Superbike Championship. Past winners include many of the top riders in the history of World Superbike including Troy Corser, Anthony Gobert, John Kocinski, Nori Haga and Ben Bostrom.
Australian Troy Bayliss has dominated the World Superbike Championship coming into this weekend's races, winning 13 of the 16 rounds so far on his factory Infostrada Ducati 998R. While Bayliss has turned in a record-setting performance, Americans Colin Edwards and Ben Bostrom are acquitting themselves quit well in World Superbike this season.
Edwards, the Castrol Honda rider from Conroe, Texas, has finished on the podium in all but one round of the series and has earned victories in Japan and Great Britain. Edwards is ranked second in the world championship standings coming into Laguna Seca.
Ben Bostrom, the defending winner at Laguna Seca, is ranked fifth in the championship coming into this Sunday's races. Bostrom, who rides for L&M Ducati, is looking for his first victory on the circuit this year and coming home to California may just be the boost to help him get back on track.
Bostrom's younger brother Eric is focusing on the AMA Superbike title, but has turned in a few solid performances in his limited appearances this year in World Superbike. Eric raced in Japan, Italy and Great Britain, with his best result being a seventh in the second race at Italy on May 12. The Kawasaki ace is ranked 19th in the series despite only competing in six of the 16 rounds this year. He is expected to be a top contender at Laguna Seca.
Bringing added excitement to this year's U.S. round is the fact that seven of America's top domestic Superbike riders will be racing against the best in the world on Sunday. Doug Chandler, Miguel Duhamel, Anthony Gobert, Nicky Hayden, Mat Mladin and Aaron Yates as well as Eric Bostrom are expected to compete in the World Superbike rounds. In addition Mark Miller, a former top AMA Formula Xtreme rider, is slated to ride as a replacement rider for a Swiss team.
While both Chandler and Gobert are both former winners in the World Superbike Championship, undoubtedly Nicky Hayden's debut in the series is one of the most highly anticipated unveilings in motorcycle racing this year. Hayden is clearly the fastest rider in AMA Superbike this season and many think he has a strong chance of winning in his first World Superbike appearance.
"I'm just looking forward to getting out there and racing with the World Superbike guys," said Hayden, 20-year-old from Owensboro, Ky. "I'd like to think that our AMA riders are among the best there is, so I think we're all ready to go out and see how we stack up. It's going to be an awesome race that's for sure."
This will also be a great opportunity for three-time and defending AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin to earn a solid highlight in what has otherwise been a sub-par season for the 30-year-old Aussie. Mladin seriously injured his left elbow during practice for the Daytona 200 in March and never seemed to fully recover. After dominating the AMA series for three years, Mladin has yet to earn a victory on the circuit this season.
For additional ticket information contact Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at (800) 327-SECA or visit www.laguna-seca.com.
For immediate post-race results, points, and live transponder scoring from each race in the championship, log on to amaproracing.com's Superbike Mediacenter, the official home of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship.