AMA

VIR Superbike preview

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Championships in the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Series will be decided next weekend, Sept. 28-30, at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in Alton, Va. The inaugural VIR event marks the final event of the 2001 season ...

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Championships in the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Series will be decided next weekend, Sept. 28-30, at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in Alton, Va. The inaugural VIR event marks the final event of the 2001 season except in the Buell Pro Thunder Series, which concludes at the WERA Grand National Final in October. Four championships will be decided including the premier AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike category. At 150 kilometers, it will be the second longest race in the series and will require a pit stop for Superbike teams, which will run on the facility's 2.25-mile, 17-turn road-course configuration. Australian Mat Mladin is closing in on his third-straight AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Superbike Championship. Mladin, who rides for Yoshimura Suzuki, is attempting to become the first rider to win three-consecutive AMA Superbike championships since Motorcycle Hall of Famer Fred Merkel did it in 1986. Mladin, who has won four races this year, has a 16-point lead over Kawasaki's Eric Bostrom and needs only a ninth-place finish to take the title. Bostrom's hopes of gaining on Mladin in the championship took a blow when the race scheduled for Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, Calif., on Sept. 16 was cancelled after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

The hottest rider in the series coming into the season finale is 20-year-old Nicky Hayden; the factory Honda rider from Owensboro, Ky. Hayden is riding a three-race winning streak and hopes to become the first rider to win four consecutive races since Anthony Gobert in 1999. An additional bonus for Superbike racing fans is the possible return of former AMA and World Superbike champ Scott Russell. Russell suffered serious injuries in a horrific crash in the Daytona 200 in March. In the midst of a miraculous recovery, the popular Georgian hopes to prove to himself and the rest of the racing community that he is still capable of racing a Superbike. Russell tested at VIR last month and the results were promising.

The best race in the championships is the Lockhart Phillips Formula Xtreme Series. This series features the big and extremely fast 1000cc street-based sport bikes. Graves Motorsports Yamaha rider Damon Buckmaster and Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's John Hopkins are tied in points, so the championship comes down to a single race. Oddly enough, Hopkins won last year's AMA 750 SuperSport championship by just three points over none other than Buckmaster. Should Buckmaster and Hopkins make a major mistake at VIR a total of five riders still have at least a mathematical shot at the title.

While Eric Bostrom is hoping for some bad luck on the part of Mladin in Superbike, he is equally hopeful for a smooth race in Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport Series. In that series, Bostrom has a commanding 31-point lead over series veteran Miguel Duhamel and is shooting to win the title he barely lost to rival Kurtis Roberts last year. Bostrom needs only a 23rd-place finish to secure his first 600 SuperSport championship after five years in the series.

Californians Jimmy Filice and Rich Oliver have been rivals on and off for 15 years. Filice returned to racing full-time this season in the MBNA 250 Grand Prix Series after a long hiatus from racing and finds himself on the verge of winning his first AMA championship since 1993. Oliver has won more races this season, but it's Filice winning the points race by virtue of more consistency. Filice is looking for a sixth-place or better finish to win his third AMA 250 Grand Prix title.

Two championships will not be decided in Virginia. Jimmy Moore has already secured next season's No.1 plate in the Genuine Suzuki Accessories 750 SuperSport Series– his first AMA national title. The Buell Pro Thunder race at VIR should go a long way toward determining the 2001 series champ, but the final decision will come in October in Road Atlanta. Northern California rider Thomas Montano leads the series over defending champ Jeff Nash, both on Ducatis. But Buell riders such as Dave Estok and Mike Ciccotto are still very much in the hunt since only the top nine races are counted in the final point standings. <pre> The races will be televised on Speedvison and Fox Sports Net: Air Date Time (EST) Event Network 09/30/2001 02:00 PM (Live) Superbike Speedvision 10/07/2001 01:00 PM Superbike Fox Sports Net 10/02/2001 09:00 PM 600 SuperSport Speedvision 09/30/2001 01:00 PM 600 SuperSport Fox Sports Net 10/02/2001 10:00 PM Formula Xtreme Speedvision

Advance tickets can be purchased by calling 1-888-RACE099.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Thursday, Sept. 27

Registration: Riders, Crew, Sponsors & Guests 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM Tech Inspection: 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Friday, Sept. 28

Registration: Riders, Crew, Sponsors & Guests 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM Entries close for Formula Xtreme 10:00 AM Tech Inspection: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Practice (in the following order): 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM 1. Buell Pro Thunder 2. Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport 3. MBNA 250 Grand Prix 4. Genuine Suzuki Accessories 750 SuperSport 5. Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Chevy Trucks Superbike Practice 11:10 AM - 12:10 PM Lunch Break 12:10 PM - 1:10 PM Mandatory Rider Briefing for All Classes 12:30 PM Practice (same order as morning session) 1:10 PM - 3:10 PM Chevy Trucks Superbike Qualifying 3:20 PM - 4:20 PM Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Qualifying 4:30 PM - 5:10 PM

Saturday, Sept. 29

Registration: Riders, Crew, Sponsors & Guests 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM Entries close for all classes 9:00 AM Tech Inspection: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM Practice (in the following order): 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM 1. Buell Pro Thunder 2. Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSPort 3. MBNA 250 Grand Prix 4. Genuine Suzuki Accessories 750 SuperSport 5. Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Chevy Trucks Superbike Practice 10:10 AM - 11:00 AM Buell Pro Thunder Heat Race #1 (5 laps) 11:10 AM Buell Pro Thunder Heat Race #2 (5 laps) 11:25 AM Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport Qualifying, Odd #s 11:40 AM - 12:00 PM Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport Qualifying, Even #s 12:10 PM - 12:30 PM Lunch Break 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Genuine Suzuki Accessories 750 SuperSport Qualifying, Odd #s 1:30 PM - 1:50 PM Genuine Suzuki Accessories 750 SuperSport Qualifying, Even #s 2:00 PM - 2:20 PM Chevy Trucks Superbike Qualifying 2:30 PM - 3:20 PM

FINAL EVENTS & Heat Races (in the following order) 3:30 PM Genuine Suzuki Accessories 750 SuperSport (60k - 17 laps) MBNA 250 Grand Prix Heat Race #1 (5 laps) MBNA 250 Grand Prix Heat Race #2 (5 laps) Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme (60k - 17 laps)

Sunday, Sept. 30

Registration: Crew, Sponsors & Guests 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM Tech Inspection Opens: 9:00 AM Practice (in the following order): 9:00 AM - 10:50 AM 1. Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport 2. MBNA 250 Grand Prix 3. Chevy Trucks Superbike 4. Buell Pro Thunder Lunch Break: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Nondenominational Chapel Service 11:30 AM Invocation and National Anthem 11:50 AM FINAL EVENTS (in the following order) 12:00 PM Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport Final (60k - 17 laps) MBNA 250 Grand Prix (60k - 17 laps) Chevy Trucks Superbike (150k - 42 laps) 2:00 PM Buell Pro Thunder (60k - 17 laps)

-AMA Pro Racing

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Anthony Gobert , Kurtis Roberts , Nicky Hayden , Miguel Duhamel , Scott Russell , John Hopkins , Eric Bostrom , Thomas Montano , Fred Merkel