AMA FORMULA XTREME AND AMA SUPERSTOCK CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES DECIDED AT ROAD ATLANTA PICKERINGTON, Ohio (September 5, 2007) -- Erion Honda's Josh Hayes defended his Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Championship, clinching the title with a ...
AMA FORMULA XTREME AND AMA SUPERSTOCK CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES DECIDED AT ROAD ATLANTA
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (September 5, 2007) -- Erion Honda's Josh Hayes defended his Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Championship, clinching the title with a victory at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Sept. 1. Hayes took home the title with one race remaining in the series.
Josh Hayes: 2007 Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Champion
Hayes needed only an 18th or better finish coming into Road Atlanta, but the 11-year racing veteran from Gulfport, Miss., would not settle for anything less than a victory. Starting from the pole on the Erion Honda CBR600RR, he led every lap of the final and took the checkered flag 0.412-seconds ahead of Attack Kawasaki's Ben Attard to earn his seventh win in nine rounds.
Clinching the AMA Formula Xtreme Championship before the final round has only been done twice before (1998 Eric Bostrom & 2004 Miguel Duhamel).
Asked if he ever thought about just cruising to the crown, Hayes said, "Never once. I think after getting pole I only had to finish 20th, if I'm correct. You know, I had nothing to lose. Steve (Rapp) had to win it to even stay in the points. I figure if he didn't finish on the box, I didn't have to finish the race. So I had plenty of a gap. I've said all along, I want to win races. I want to rack up my tally of race wins and I've been very fortunate to be able to do that this year."
Hayes said he will carry on that mindset to the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., on Sept. 15-16, where he will to try to win his eighth Formula Xtreme race of the season.
The year started off rough for Hayes. His machine had fuel starvation problems in the season opening Daytona 200. His crew figured out the problem and Hayes was able to nurse the bike home to sixth-place with extra pit stops. From there Hayes went on a four-race winning streak, taking back the championship lead from Rapp at round three in Fontana, Calif., and never looking back.
"It's a testament to the motorcycle," Hayes added. "My team has made my job extremely hard because they've given me such a good motorcycle that if we don't win it's 100 percent my fault. I felt the pressure and I wanted to make sure I did it right and I rode with all my heart in every race."
For Hayes the championship marks his second in Formula Xtreme, and his third overall. He also won the crown in the 2003 AMA Superstock Series. Hayes moved from tenth to fourth on the all-time Formula Xtreme wins list. The Road Atlanta victory was the tenth of his career. For Honda it marks the fourth straight Formula Xtreme Championship. The manufacturer has won eight Formula Xtreme titles since the class was launched in 1997.
Ben Spies : 2007 AMA Superstock Champion
Ben Spies wrapped up the 2007 AMA Superstock Series presented by Dynojet Championship early by winning Sunday at Road Atlanta. The Road Atlanta win was the seventh of the year for Spies.
Spies, 23, of Longview, Texas, dominated the AMA Superstock class this season earning seven wins in eight rounds. While Spies could go for an eighth win in the Superstock finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca he'll likely choose to focus his efforts on retaining his AMA Superbike crown. Spies and Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Mat Mladin are locked in a spirited battle for the AMA's premier road racing title.
This year's Superstock Championship marks his third AMA road racing title. Spies won Formula Xtreme in 2003 and AMA Superbike last year.
Spies came into Road Atlanta needing only a sixth-place finish to wrap up the championship. Graves Yamaha's Ben Bostrom and Jordan Suzuki's Aaron Yates kept Spies honest most of the race.
"I wanted the title for sure, but I wanted to win pretty bad too," Spies said of his strategy at Road Atlanta. "It's great to win the Superstock championship for Suzuki. The Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 is an amazing bike and has worked great at every track we've raced at this year. I want to thank Suzuki and my crew for working so hard for me all season long.
"For me to win this without putting as much emphasis on it made it pretty tough. Now the team has to focus on Superbike."
The championship was the 14th AMA Superstock title for Suzuki. The class began as 750 Supersport in 1988.
Spies moved from 19th to seventh on the all-time AMA Superstock wins list. The Road Atlanta victory was the 10th of his career.