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Laguna Seca preview

Bostrom aiming to become first rider to win three straight at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 1, 2003) - Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has a rich, 30-plus year history of AMA National racing. It was at Laguna Seca ...

Bostrom aiming to become first rider to win three straight at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 1, 2003) - Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has a rich, 30-plus year history of AMA National racing. It was at Laguna Seca where Harley-Davidson won its final AMA Road Racing National with Cal Rayborn in 1972; legendary Hall of Famer Kenny Roberts won his final AMA National at the track in 1984; a little over a decade later Freddie Spencer won his last AMA National when he dominated the rain-soaked Superbike race in 1995; and more recently Ben Bostrom shocked the established World Superbike riders by winning a leg of that championship at Laguna Seca in 1999.

Ben's younger brother Eric Bostrom has the opportunity to add his name to Laguna Seca racing lore on Saturday, July 12, at round 12 of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited. Bostrom will attempt to become the first rider to win the Laguna Seca AMA Superbike race three years in a row. Bostrom comes into the Laguna round not only leading the championship, but he's also sporting a two-race winning streak at the famous Monterey, Calif., circuit.

The Honda Superbike Classic at Mazda Laguna Seca on July 11-13 is the biggest single weekend of racing in America. It combines a full schedule of AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship races as well as the U.S. rounds of the FIM Superbike World Championship. There's even more of a buzz being generated this year's event with the advent of the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship, which will kick off at Laguna Seca.

The race for the 2003 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike title is one of the best in the history of the series. The top four riders in the championship are bunched within 20 points in the series standings. Kawasaki's Eric Bostrom holds a scant three-point lead over three-time AMA Superbike champ Mat Mladin. Mladin's Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Aaron Yates is solidly back in the title hunt after winning the last round of the series in Brainerd, Minn., on June 29. Erion Honda's Kurtis Roberts has strung together a slew of consistent results in the championship this year and as a result is a close fourth in the current rankings.

Bostrom started his winning streak at Laguna Seca with a close victory over Duhamel in 2001. Then last year he totally dominated the race winning by nearly 10 seconds over eventual AMA Superbike champ Nicky Hayden.

"Laguna is one of my favorite circuits for sure," Bostrom said. "It's a real racer's track. I think it plays into my strengths as a rider and it suits the handling qualities of my Kawasaki. The atmosphere there is great with all the fans and of course the World Superbike Series riders. A victory at Laguna obviously would help my championship hopes as we turn the corner towards the latter part of the season."

While Bostrom is seeking his third-straight Laguna win, series rival Mladin is hoping to win his first at the challenging track. Mladin's 2003 season has been a roller coaster ride. The Australian racing veteran has won six rounds this year, but has at times ridden the wheels off his Suzuki -- literally. The combination of Mladin's aggressive riding style and the power of his factory GSX-R1000 Superbike has proven harsh to his tires. Mladin has led several races this year only to be thwarted by shredding rubber. Despite these issues Mladin still appears to have a good shot at becoming the first four-time AMA Superbike champion.

Mladin's teammate Yates found a way to preserve his tires to win his second race of the season at Brainerd International Raceway late last month. That victory has put him squarely into the series title chase. Yates has had mixed results at Laguna. His best result in recent years was a third in 2000, but few will forget his incredible turn-10 high-side crash in 2001. Mladin and Yates are hoping to give Suzuki its first Laguna Seca Superbike victory since 1978 when Wes Cooley rode a Pops Yoshimura-built Suzuki GS1000 Superbike to victory.

Kurtis Roberts has turned six podium finishes into a strong fourth in the series. The native of Modesto, Calif., would love nothing better than to win at Laguna Seca, the site of so many of his famous father's triumphs. Ben Bostrom won his first ever World Superbike race at Laguna Seca. He's hoping a return to familiar ground will spark his 2003 campaign, which has been less than he'd hoped for so far. Miguel Duhamel joins Eric Bostrom as the only other former Laguna AMA Superbike winner in the field. It's been five years since Duhamel last tasted victory in a Superbike event at Laguna, but he's finished runner-up at two of the last three rounds showing he may be on the verge of his 27th AMA Superbike victory.

Mounted on potent Suzuki GSX-R1000s privateers have made a serious impact in the series this year. Shawn Higbee is experiencing a Superbike resurgence with the KWS Suzuki squad, while second-generation Superbike racer Jason Pridmore regularly challenges the factory teams on his Attack Racing Suzuki. Pridmore's father won the very first AMA Superbike Championship race held at Laguna Seca in 1976.

<pre> Schedule of Events AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship Presented by Parts Unlimited Honda Superbike Classic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca - July 10-13, 2003

Thursday, July 10 8:30 -- 11:50 Practice: 1. Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport 2. Chevy Trucks Superbike 3. Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock 4. Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme 12:50 -- 1:50 Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Qualifying 2:00 -- 3:00 Chevy Trucks Superbike Qualifying 3:10 -- 4:00 Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Practice 4:10 -- 5:10 Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Qualifying

Friday, July 11

8:30 -- 10:00 Practice: 1. Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport 2. MBNA 250 Grand Prix 3. Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock 10:30 -- 11:30 WSBK Practice 12:30 -- 1:20 Chevy Trucks Superbike Practice 1:30 -- 2:00 MBNA 250 Grand Prix Practice 2:15 -- 3:15 WSBK Qualifying 3:30 -- 4:30 Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Qualifying 4:40 Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Race (60k - 17 laps)

Saturday, July 12 8:30 -- 9:00 MBNA 250 Grand Prix Practice 9:10 -- 9:50 Chevy Trucks Superbike Practice 10:00 -- 10:30 Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Practice 11:00 -- 12:00 WSBK Qualifying 12:30 Chevy Trucks Superbike Race (100k - 28 laps) 1:30 Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Race (60k - 17 laps) 2:45 -- 3:45 WSBK Practice 4:00 WSBK Superpole 5:00 -- 5:30 MBNA 250 Grand Prix Qualifying

Sunday, July 13 8:30 -- 8:50 MBNA 250 Grand Prix Practice 9:20 -- 9:40 WSBK Warm-up 9:50 -- 10:20 Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Practice 12:00 WSBK Race #1 (100.856k - 28 laps) 1:30 Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Race (60k - 17 laps) 2:20 MBNA 250 Grand Prix Race (60k - 17 laps) 3:30 WSBK Race #2 (100.856k - 28 laps)

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Series AMA
Drivers Kurtis Roberts , Kenny Roberts Jr. , Aaron Yates , Eric Bostrom , Jason Pridmore , Shawn Higbee , Freddie Spencer , Ben Bostrom