Hayden Brothers Take AMA Supersport Title to the Line in Suzuki Lightning Nationals Alton, Va. (Sept. 29) -- Of the three national titles to be decided at the Suzuki Lightning Nationals at VIRginia International Raceway over the weekend of Oct.
Hayden Brothers Take AMA Supersport Title to the Line in Suzuki Lightning Nationals
Alton, Va. (Sept. 29) -- Of the three national titles to be decided at the Suzuki Lightning Nationals at VIRginia International Raceway over the weekend of Oct. 11-12, perhaps none is as highly anticipated as the Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship, which pits brothers Roger Lee and Tommy Hayden against each other.
The Haydens, of Owensboro, Ky., are currently first and second in the points chase, with 26-year-old Tommy leading 21-year-old Roger Lee by 11 points. However, Roger Lee has won the past three races and is rapidly closing the gap. To make matters even more interesting, the brothers are teammates, riding for the factory Kawasaki team.
The Suzuki Lightning Nationals is the season finale, and that sets up a battle for the ages between the two siblings.
"I've won the last three races," Roger Lee said, "so I've got some momentum going. The team's working good, the bike's running great, I feel good. It's kind of a long shot, but it's definitely not over yet."
He admitted that it's particularly hard to beat one's brother when both are riding the same equipment.
"Everybody's so equal out there," he said, "especially in the 600 class, that if one guy gets out front and gets the lead and checks out for awhile, it make the other guy have more trouble catching up. The start is real important. You don't want to get stuck in fourth or fifth place and have to make your way up at the beginning of the race. If one of the top four or five guys gets a holeshot, it can be hard to catch him by the end of the race."
The middle Hayden brother, Nicky, clinched his Superbike title at VIR two years ago before heading off to Europe to race in the Moto GP series. Roger Lee says that it's nice to have Nicky to use as a sounding board as his own career progresses.
"He seems to help out quite a bit," he said. "He's just a little bit older than me, and he already made some mistakes that I got to miss by learning from him. Whenever I have a few problems here and there, he's always someone that I can go to and ask questions. He's a big influence, and seeing that he's doing all right over in Europe, it makes me think that I can do it, too."
Both Nicky (Superbike, 2002) and Tommy (Superstock, 2003) have won races at VIR in the past, but Roger has yet to achieve that goal. It's something that he hopes to correct during this year's Suzuki Lightning Nationals.
"I haven't won at VIR yet, but I've always been right up there in the middle of it," he said. "The way things have gone this year, I don't see why I can't win at VIR. I've won four races this year, so if things keep working they way they have been, I think maybe we can win here. None of the guys in Supersport are slouches, so nothing's going to be easy."
Tickets will be available from ticket outlets and at the gate. A list of ticket outlets is available online at www.virclub.com, and purchases from ticket outlets will be at the advance-ticket discount of $45 for a three-day Super Ticket (with program), $25 for a single-day Saturday ticket and $30 for a single-day Sunday ticket. At the gate, three-day Super Tickets (with program) are priced at $55, with single-day tickets priced at $10 (Friday), $35 (Saturday) and $40 (Sunday). VIR is a family-friendly facility, where children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Spectator camping is available.
VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River between Danville and South Boston, Va., and just north of historic Milton, N.C. In addition to its 3.27-mile natural-terrain road racing circuit (designed to be operated as two autonomous, full-service courses), VIR is the cornerstone of VIR Club, America's first motorsports country club; the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park; the VIR Gallery, which is a showroom for high-end collector and racing cars; the VIR Safety and Security Institute, which provides specialized training for U.S. Government and military groups; and the VIR Euro Rally and Corporate Motorsport Experience, which features four rally stages plus a kart track as well as an ATV and SUV trials course and trails. Future plans include The Lodge at VIR, a 27-room hotel overlooking the track, and the Oak Tree Tavern, a full-service restaurant located within the circa-1840 Plantation Clubhouse.
VIR made history from 1957 to 1974 and is doing so again. The renovated original circuit has 17 challenging turns and 130 feet of elevation change. In addition to spectator events, the track is also available to rent for testing, driving schools and club days.
For more information, visit the track's website at www.virclub.com or contact VIR toll-free at 888-RACE099. For more information on the VIR Euro Rally and Corporate Motorsport Experience, call toll-free 877-RALLY66 or visit their website at www.vireurorally.com. For more information on the AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship, visit their website at www.ussuperbike.com.