AMA

Birmingham: Duhamel/Mladin battle continues

Duhamel hoping to earn back all-time AMA Superbike wins leader title at Barber Mladin and Duhamel battle for top spot in record books and championship PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 7, 2004) -- Miguel Duhamel took pride in being the all-time wins ...

Duhamel hoping to earn back all-time AMA Superbike wins leader title at Barber
Mladin and Duhamel battle for top spot in record books and championship

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 7, 2004) -- Miguel Duhamel took pride in being the all-time wins leader in AMA Superbike racing. He wasn't at all happy when defending champ Mat Mladin took that title from him last month at California Speedway. After winning with a thrilling last-turn pass in round five of the 2004 AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship in Sonoma, Calif., Duhamel finds himself in a position to win back the all-time wins leader honors as the series heads to Birmingham, Alabama's Barber Motorsports Park on May 14-16, for the AMA Honda Superbike Classic -- rounds six and seven of the 18-race series.

Mladin, the defending and four-time AMA Superbike champion, leads the championship coming into the Barber doubleheader. The Suzuki star opened the 2004 campaign with four-straight wins to build a strong series lead. And while many expected one of the Bostrom brothers, Ben and Eric, or Mladin's teammate Aaron Yates to challenge Mladin for the title this season, so far it's the 36-year-old veteran Duhamel who is keeping the speedy Aussie in sight. Duhamel credits his team and the new Honda CBR1000RR for his competitiveness.

"My Honda is so good that it's making it easy for me to run a winning pace," said Duhamel, who has 27-career AMA Superbike victories to Mladin's record 28. "The team found a great set-up in testing at Barber that we actually used to win at Sears Point (Infineon Raceway). I was very much in the hunt at the track last year and think I had a good chance to win, so I'm confident that we can be competitive right off the truck next weekend."

Duhamel says the battle with Mladin for the top spot in the AMA record books is good for the fans.

"I think Mat and I both have a lot of racing to do," said the 1995 AMA Superbike champ. "So the final story of who will ultimately be the all-time wins leader won't be settled for a long time. The good thing is that people have a rare opportunity to watch the top two riders, in term of wins, in the history of the series racing in the same era. That's something that's pretty rare in sports.

"For myself I would like to win back the all-time wins title, but even more importantly I'd like to win another championship. I think with all I've accomplished in the sport it would be a shame if I ended up with only one AMA Superbike Championship. This year things seem to be coming into place and hopefully by the end of the season I'll have the opportunity to win a second title."

Mladin finished fourth and third in the debut AMA Superbike doubleheader last year at Barber, but he was protecting his championship lead at that point. The 32-year-old Yoshimura Suzuki rider won't have those constraints at the new circuit this year. He comes into the race with a 24-point lead over Duhamel.

"Our attention will now focus on the next round at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama," Mladin said after the race in Sonoma, Calif. "We tested there not long ago and felt good with the package, so we'll be heading there with the same determination and game plan as we did for this weekend."

Mladin is the track record holder at Barber with a time of 1:23.176.

Mladin's teammate Aaron Yates should be one of the favorites at Barber. The Georgian actually helped Barber officials design the track in its early stages of development and he's comfortable on the scenic 2.3-mile course. Yates won the inaugural AMA Superbike event at Barber last year.

Erion Honda's Jake Zemke is hoping to break through to win his first AMA Superbike race at Barber. Zemke had the second leg of Infineon Raceway doubleheader in the bag until Duhamel made an unbelievable last-lap charge and made up a two-second gap to steal the win.

"All I can say is I learned a valuable lesson," said a disappointed Zemke after the race. "I won't ever let up on the last lap again no matter how big of a lead I have."

Zemke is in third, only three points behind Duhamel in the standings.

The Bostroms have been unexpectedly quiet so far this year. This will be Eric Bostrom's first race at Barber. He missed last year's race due to injury. His older brother Ben left Barber a bit embarrassed last season after crashing and taking out Honda teammate Duhamel in the process. Both riders are looking to Barber to make a major turnaround to their season.

Privateers are turning in solid performances in this year's series. Atlanta's Geoff May leads the way for the non-factory riders on his Team Prieto Racing Suzuki. May, last year's AMA Superbike Rookie of the Year, is ranked a solid fourth in the championship coming into Barber. Empire Racing Suzuki's Lee Acree is a close fifth.

AMA Honda Superbike Classic doubleheader races will be televised live on SPEED Channel. Saturday's race will be shown at 4 pm Eastern and Sunday's race at 4:30. For additional information contact (800) 240-2300 or visit www.barbermotorsports.com.

<pre> SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Friday, May 14 8:30-9:05 Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Practice 9:10-9:40 AMA Repsol Superstock Practice 9:45-10:15 Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei Helmets Practice 10:20-11:10 Chevrolet Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited Practice 11:10-12:10 Lunch Break 12:10-12:45 Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Practice 12:50-1:20 AMA Repsol Superstock Practice 1:25-1:55 Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei Helmets Practice 2:00-2:50 Chevrolet Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited Practice 3:00-3:30 Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Qualifying Group 1 3:40-4:10 Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Qualifying Group 2 4:20-4:50 Chevrolet Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited Qualifying Group 1 5:00-5:30 Chevrolet Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited Qualifying Group 2

Saturday, May 15 8:00-8:30 Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Practice 8:35-9:05 AMA Repsol Superstock Practice 9:10-9:40 Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei Helmets Practice 9:45-10:25 Chevrolet Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited Qualifying Group 1 10:35-11:15 Chevrolet Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited Qualifying Group 2 11:15-12:15 Lunch Break 12:15-12:45 AMA Repsol Superstock Qualifying Group 1 12:55-1:25 AMA Repsol Superstock Qualifying Group 2 1:35-2:05 Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei Helmets Qualifying Group 1 2:15-2:45 Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei Helmets Qualifying Group 2 FINAL EVENTS: 3:00 Chevrolet Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited Race 1 (100K-28 laps) 4:30 Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme (60k-17 laps)

Sunday, May 16 9:00-9:30 AMA Repsol Superstock Practice 9:40-10:10 Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei Helmets Practice 10:20-10:50 Chevrolet Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited Practice 11:00-12:30 Lunch Break 11:30 Nondenominational Chapel Service FINAL EVENTS: 12:30 AMA Repsol Superstock Race (60k-17 laps) 2:00 Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei Helmets (60k-17 laps) 3:30 Chevrolet Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited Race 2 (100k-28 laps)

-ama-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Miguel Duhamel , Geoff May , Lee Acree , Aaron Yates , Eric Bostrom , Jake Zemke