AMA SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY PICKERINGTON, Ohio (March 2, 2007) -- It was 20 years ago that the AMA Supersport Championship kicked off at Daytona International Speedway. Doug Polen won the inaugural race and went on to...
AMA SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (March 2, 2007) -- It was 20 years ago that the AMA Supersport Championship kicked off at Daytona International Speedway. Doug Polen won the inaugural race and went on to win the title. Now called the Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei, it's fitting that reigning champion Jamie Hacking opens his title defense this coming Thursday, March 8. Hacking, matched Polen last year as the only other rider in history to win both the AMA Supersport and AMA Superstock titles in the same year.
Hacking brings his Supersport title to Kawasaki after winning the championship last year with Yamaha. His ZX-6R will be feature his traditional No. 2.
"I'm wearing my No. 2 plate in Supersport out of respect for the Yamaha guys," Hacking said. "I had a great season last year with them and now I've taken on a new challenge trying to help Kawasaki to reach its highest potential."
Hacking will team with Roger Lee Hayden making the Monster Energy Kawasaki Supersport team perhaps the strongest in the paddock.
"Definitely I see Roger as my biggest competition," Hacking said. "Roger has been right there the last couple of years and he's hungry to win. I think we also have the best bike this year. We're going to have a great team, but I also see the M4 EMGO Suzuki guys as really tough this year with the support they're getting from their tire company. Also Erion Honda is coming back to the class and Josh [Hayes] and Aaron [Gobert] are going to make a big push. It's going to be an intense series."
Roger Lee Hayden is the defending Daytona Supersport winner and he will be seeking to be only the second rider in the history of the series to win the race two consecutive years. Another former winner in the field is Hayden's older brother Tommy, who will ride a Yoshimura Suzuki in the race.
As Hacking noted the M4 EMGO Suzuki squad will be a force with Michael Barnes, Geoff May and Michael Beck. Barnes is also a former Supersport winner at Daytona. Barnes won the October race at Daytona 18 years ago. Pascal Picotte with Suzuki Canada is the other former winner in this year's field.
Adding to the depth of Kawasaki's effort at Daytona is the Attack Performance Kawasaki team with Ben Attard and Steve Rapp. No one would be surprised to see these two riders up there with the Kawasaki factory riders on race day.
Yamaha will be represented by young Josh Herrin with Graves Motorsports Yamaha. Last year Herrin became one of the youngest riders, at just 16, to earn a podium finish in an AMA national road race.
A slew of support team riders could make a breakthrough in the Daytona Supersport race. The last privateer to win the race was Jeff Farmer, who won the race in 1990. Danny Eslick, the flat tracker turned road racer, is considered by many to have the best shot to duplicate Farmer's feat of 17 years ago. Eslick will ride for Matsushima Suzuki. So respected is Eslick he was given a ride last year on the factory Yoshimura Suzuki squad.
Another interesting note is the effort of Jessica Zalusky of Team Green Kawasaki. She will be the only female rider to attempt to qualify for the race.