DISALVO AND HAYES BATTLE IN AMA LOCKHART-PHILLIPS USA FORMULA Hacking, Yates and DiSalvo lead the way in Repsol Lubricants Superstock PICKERINGTON, Ohio (April 27, 2006) -- The typical pattern in the Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series...
DISALVO AND HAYES BATTLE IN AMA LOCKHART-PHILLIPS USA FORMULA
Hacking, Yates and DiSalvo lead the way in Repsol Lubricants Superstock
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (April 27, 2006) -- The typical pattern in the Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series is for two riders to separate from the pack and have a great battle for the title. The last few seasons it was Miguel Duhamel and Jake Zemke taking the championship to the wire. Before them it was Jason Pridmore versus Zemke, or John Hopkins vs. Damon Buckmaster and so on. While it's certainly early in the year, the 2006 series seems to be taking on a familiar tone as Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo and Josh Hayes, of Erion Honda, emerge as the title contenders. The series moves to California Speedway on Saturday, April 29, for round three.
DiSalvo took over the lead in Formula Xtreme after winning last Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Hayes is a scant three points behind DiSalvo by virtue of a pair of runner-up results. The leading duo has already put distance on the rest of the Formula Xtreme class. Aaron Gobert, teammate to Hayes, heads up the best-of-the-rest category. The Aussie is 15 points behind DiSalvo.
DiSalvo seems to enjoy the strategy it takes to beat his crafty rival.
"It was tough to get by Josh last week at Barber," DiSalvo said. "He was getting great drives out of the corners so I had to come up with a creative plan to pass him. We've got some ideas on what we can improve on the bike for Fontana, but I know it's going to be a good battle."
Hayes says he's beginning to see what it's going to take to be successful in AMA Formula Xtreme this year.
"We're essentially riding the same motorcycle as last year," Hayes explained. "The pace has definitely increased. We have some new players in the game this year. Everyone's going faster. We have a bike that's pretty well developed. I think for us to find more speed, we're going to have to be really creative, and come up with some new ideas on how to do that. We're just going to have to work really hard."
Joining the fray for the first time this season in Alabama was Kurtis Roberts. Roberts joined Team M4 EMGO Suzuki as a replacement rider for an injured Michael Barnes. Barnes came back earlier than expected, but the team kept Roberts on board and he rewarded them with a strong third-place finish in his team debut. Roberts is a two-time Formula Xtreme Champion and shows signs of moving up to challenge DiSalvo and Hayes' dominance of the class.
It's a three-way fight for the lead in the AMA Repsol Lubricants Superstock Series. Graves Yamaha's Jamie Hacking leads the chase, but only six points total separate Hacking from third place teammate Jason DiSalvo. Sandwiched between the two Yamaha riders in the points is none other than defending champ, Yoshimura Suzuki's Aaron Yates.
Hacking is playing the consistency game in the beginning of the series.
"It's early in the season so it's nice to be still leading the points, but it's still too early to be thinking about points right now," Hacking explained. "Right now is just finishing consistent and top three. We'll take this decent finish, and go to Fontana and see if we can't rack up some more."
Yates made a late race charge to win last week in Alabama. The Georgian racing veteran is taking a very matter-of-fact approach to trying to defend his title.
"Just like before the season started," Yates said. "Same outlook. We're going out there to go hard and keep the bike on two wheels, and try and come out with some wins and win the championship."
DiSalvo is the defending Fontana Superstock winner so he could be primed to move up from third in the standings.
The Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme and Repsol Lubricants Superstock races are part of California Speedway's Suzuki Superbike Challenge that runs April 28-30. For ticket info call 1-800-944-RACE or visit www.californiaspeedway.com
The Fontana Superstock final will be televised nationally on SPEED at 5 p.m. EST Tuesday, May 2.