HACKING HOPES TO BECOME FIRST FOUR-TIME LAGUNA SUPERSPORT WINNER PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 18, 2006) -- Yamaha's Jamie Hacking is on the verge of becoming the first rider in the history of the Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by...
HACKING HOPES TO BECOME FIRST FOUR-TIME LAGUNA SUPERSPORT WINNER
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 18, 2006) -- Yamaha's Jamie Hacking is on the verge of becoming the first rider in the history of the Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei to win the race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca four times.
Going into the race, which runs on Sunday, July 23 at 11:30 a.m., Hacking is tied with Supersport legends Miguel Duhamel and Mike Smith as three-time Laguna Supersport winners. If he wins this weekend Hacking will not only set a new standard at the track, he'll also extend his impressive points lead in the 2006 championship chase.
"I'm riding really well right now, playing it smart," said Hacking, who holds a 48-point lead over Kawasaki rider Roger Lee Hayden. "The Yamaha crew is doing a great job with the R6. It's feels good going into Laguna with three wins under our belt."
Hacking first won the race in 2000. He followed that up with wins in 2002 and 2003. Hacking likes his chances in this weekend's race, but knows the competition is only going to get stronger.
"I've won a lot of Supersport races at Laguna, but I know Rog [Roger Lee Hayden] is going to come back strong. I know he's going to be tough, but I just feel really good going into the race."
Hayden should be a lot closer to 100 percent healthy after having a tough time recovering from a broken leg and the surgery that went with it. After winning the first two rounds of the series Hayden missed the race at California Speedway in April. His comeback began with a solid fourth-place result at Road America in early June and continued with his runner-up finish to Hacking in Utah last month. That finish moved him from fourth to second in the standings.
"It feels good to get back racing a little bit," Hayden said after his podium result in Utah. "We're trying to keep Jamie in sight. With the month break hopefully I can come back even stronger at Laguna."
Hayden won the Laguna Supersport race in 2004.
Up-and-coming rider Danny Eslick is third in the standings on his Matsushima Performance Suzuki. Eslick has scored in the top-10 at every race so far this year and hopes to make his way back to the podium soon. The Oklahoman scored his first AMA Supersport podium finish at California Speedway in April, where he finished a career-best third.
Another rider who is proving to be a quick study in AMA Supersport is Graves Yamaha's Josh Herrin. The 16-year-old Georgian scored third in Utah in only his second race. That made him one of the youngest riders to earn a podium finish in the series. It will be interesting to see if Herrin's progress continues at Laguna Seca. One rider who jokingly said he hopes Herrin doesn't maintain his rapid ascent is Hayden.
"I just hope he doesn't improve as much in the next race or we're all going to be in trouble," Hayden said with a smile.
The race will receive same-day coverage on SPEED at 4:00 p.m. eastern.
The Pro Honda Oils Supersport presented by Shoei race is part of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix weekend that runs July 21-23. Call 1-800-327-SECA or (831) 242-8200 to purchase tickets for the combined Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix/AMA Superbike Championship weekend. You can also buy tickets online at www.laguna-seca.com.