PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 22, 2003) - The AMA Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series has been a back-and-forth battle all season with three different riders trading the lead in the standings. Texan Ben Spies, 19, has worked his way back atop...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 22, 2003) - The AMA Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series has been a back-and-forth battle all season with three different riders trading the lead in the standings. Texan Ben Spies, 19, has worked his way back atop the championship as the series comes to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, July 12 for round eight of the 10. Spies hopes to get another winning streak underway during the Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop, the finale of Mid-Ohio's Cycle-Fest, which also features the AMA Road Race Grand Championships and AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days.
Spies and his Yoshimura Suzuki looked to be the combo to beat early in the season. The first-year factory rider easily won the first two rounds and opened up a solid lead in the series. But no one seems to want to keep hold of the Formula Xtreme lead. A crash on a wet Road Atlanta circuit cost Spies the series lead. From that point Erion Honda's Jake Zemke took over the series lead. Zemke, who actually tied last year's champ Jason Pridmore in the championship and lost in a tiebreaker, appeared to have control of the series until he uncharacteristically crashed at Road America. It was then Graves Yamaha's Damon Buckmaster, a perennial contender for the Formula Xtreme title and last year's Mid-Ohio winner, who took over the point in the series. But even the Aussie racing veteran Buckmaster found the Formula Xtreme lead a slippery proposition to hold on to. Buckmaster jumped the start of the last round in Monterey, Calif., and was forced to take a stop-and-go penalty. He minimized his losses by coming back to finish eighth in that race, yet he too lost the series lead, which was recaptured by Laguna Seca winner Spies.
Spies returns to Mid-Ohio, the track where he raced his first race as a professional when he turned 16 back in 2000. Just days before his pro debut he was named AMA Horizon Award winner at Mid-Ohio that year, signifying him as the nation's leading amateur rider.
With just three rounds remaining, the Formula Xtreme Series should be heating up. The top five riders in the series are very much in the thick of the championship. Spies leads Buckmaster by just seven points and following closely behind are Attack Suzuki's Josh Hayes, Erion Honda's Zemke and Corona Extra Suzuki's Adam Fergusson.
GENUINE SUZUKI ACCESSORIES SUPERSTOCK SERIES
The competition is even hotter in the Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Series. Two points separate series leader Josh Hayes from third place Vincent Haskovec with former Mid-Ohio Superstock winner Tommy Hayden in between in second. Hayes has gotten stronger as the season's progressed and took over the lead after winning the last round at Laguna Seca on his Attack Suzuki. It marked his first Superstock victory in four years. Tommy Hayden is trying to become the first rider on a machine smaller than 750ccs to win the Superstock championship. So far Hayden has three victories under his belt on the nimble-handling factory Kawasaki ZX636. Hayden could be the pre-race favorite. He won the Mid-Ohio Superstock race in 1999 on a 600cc machine. Valvoline Suzuki's Chris Ulrich is the defending winner of the race. Ulrich comes into Mid-Ohio ranked 12th in the series and is nursing a sore shoulder.
MBNA 250 GRAND PRIX SERIES
Pressure is mounting for Rich Oliver in the MBNA 250 Grand Prix Series. It's not the championship that he's concerned with, he almost has that clinched, it's the fact that Oliver is just three races away from completing a perfect season that might be causing the veteran some sleepless nights as of late. Oliver is the defending and six-time Mid-Ohio 250GP winner. He is working toward his fifth title in the class. This could be the final chance for Mid-Ohio fans to get to see Oliver race. He has suggested he may be hanging up his racing leathers after this season.
For additional information call 1-800-MID-OHIO or visit www.mid-ohio.com. The Formula Xtreme race will be shown at 5 p.m. EST, Tuesday, Aug. 5 on Speed Channel.
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.