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Formula Xtreme Brainerd preview

Buckmaster could earn a share of all-time wins leader in the class PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 24, 2003) -- The second half of the 2003 AMA Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series begins Saturday, June 28 at Brainerd International Raceway....

Buckmaster could earn a share of all-time wins leader in the class

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 24, 2003) -- The second half of the 2003 AMA Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series begins Saturday, June 28 at Brainerd International Raceway. If the next five rounds are as exciting as the first five, then race fans are in for a real treat. Australian veteran Damon Buckmaster of Team Yamaha holds a narrow two-point lead over young Ben Spies from the Yoshimura Suzuki squad. Not far behind are five other leading riders vying to earn the series championship; any one of whom could conceivably leave Brainerd with the series lead.

The series has been very competitive so far this season. In the first half of the year there have been three winners in five rounds and the points chase has witnessed three different riders atop the standings. Buckmaster, the 30-year-old former Australian Supersport champion, finds himself leading the series after winning two straight rounds on his factory Yamaha R1. Buckmaster comes to Minnesota looking for his first victory at Brainerd. If he manages to win Saturday, Buckmaster would tie Kurtis Roberts and Eric Bostrom as the all-times wins leader in Formula Xtreme. Roberts and Bostrom have nine wins apiece to lead the category. Buckmaster earned his eighth-career win with his victory in Elkhart Lake, Wis., earlier this month.

"This is developing into a great championship race," said Buckmaster, whose best finish in the Brainerd Formula Xtreme race was fourth last year. "It's a bit more of a challenge for me since I'm in the middle of this and the Supersport title chase. I would love to win two AMA titles in one year. It would help make up for being so close so many times in the past."

Spies is looking to get back on top of the series at Brainerd. The 18-year-old Texan dominated the first two rounds on his factory Suzuki before running into some bad luck that knocked him out of the series lead. A win at Brainerd would put young Spies back atop the championship.

Josh Hayes earned his first podium finish of the year in Elkhart Lake. That result moved him up to third in the Formula Xtreme championship. Insiders say that the oft-injured Hayes is completely healthy and gaining more confidence in his racing ability each week. Hayes could easily break through to win his first AMA National in four years this weekend.

Erion Honda's Jake Zemke held the Formula Xtreme Series lead before crashing at the last round in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Zemke has been successful at Brainerd over the last few seasons. He won the Formula Xtreme race there in 2001 and the Pro Honda Oils Supersport event last year. Look for Zemke to be a major factor at BIR.

Marty Craggill is the defending Brainerd Formula Xtreme winner. Craggill switched teams and now rides for the Bruce Transportation Group Honda squad. Craggill won last year's race with a broken foot so you can rest assured that the Aussie rider is eager to take to the track 100 percent fit in Minnesota.

Another factor to consider at Brainerd are local riders. Over the years locals who club race regularly at BIR have broken through a few times to surprise the AMA series regulars. Few will forget Minnesotan Greg Fryer's surprising Formula Xtreme victory on a soggy Brainerd circuit in 1997.

GENUINE SUZUKI ACCESSORIES SUPERSTOCK SERIES

Corona Extra Suzuki's Jimmy Moore hopes to become the first rider to win three Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock races at Brainerd. Moore is running a two-year Brainerd winning streak coming into this weekend's race. Czech immigrant Vincent Haskovec leads the Superstock series. The likable Haskovec is attempting to give the Hooters Suzuki teams its first AMA Championship. Meanwhile Kawasaki's Tommy Hayden could tie Fred Merkel for fourth on the all-time AMA Superstock wins list should he take victory at BIR. Moore's Corona Extra Suzuki teammate Adam Fergusson is a close third in the series behind Haskovec and Hayden. Fergusson is looking to earn his first Superstock win of the year. Also, look for Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's Steve Rapp to post a strong showing coming off his Superstock victory at Road America.

MBNA 250 GRAND PRIX SERIES

As every week goes by Rich Oliver solidifies his claim to being the best MBNA 250 Grand Prix rider of all time. Oliver and his Team Oliver Yamaha remain undefeated this season coming into Brainerd having won six straight so far this year. Defending 250GP champ Chuck Sorensen, of Stargel Aprilia, hopes to stop Oliver's streak this weekend. Brainerd was the site of Sorensen's very first AMA National win back in 1994. Since that year it's been either him or Oliver that have won every Brainerd round. When Sorensen won his first race in 1994 he was riding for Team Oliver Yamaha.

The Brainerd Formula Xtreme round along with highlights of Superstock and 250 Grand Prix action will be taped and shown on Speed Channel's Two-Wheel Tuesday lineup on July 8 at 10 p.m. EST.

For additional information on the race contact BIR at (218) 824-7220 or visit www.brainerdraceway.com.

For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.USSuperbike.com, the official website of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship.

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Series AMA
Drivers Kurtis Roberts , Steve Rapp , Joshua Hayes , Adam Fergusson , Eric Bostrom , Damon Buckmaster , Jake Zemke , Ben Spies , Vincent Haskovec , Marty Craggill , Fred Merkel