HODGSON VICTORIOUS AT ROAD AMERICA AS PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI AUSTIN WINS SECOND RACE IN A ROW Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (June 4) - Neil Hodgson of the Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin team won his first-ever AMA Superbike race in Elkhart ...
HODGSON VICTORIOUS AT ROAD AMERICA AS PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI AUSTIN WINS SECOND RACE IN A ROW
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (June 4) - Neil Hodgson of the Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin team won his first-ever AMA Superbike race in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on Saturday. Despite treacherous conditions, the Isle of Man resident put in a passionate ride and won a shortened race by 27 seconds on his Ducati 999. The former British and World Superbike champion raced at an incredible pace in the rain but still managed to keep his machine upright as other riders fell into the Road America gravel traps.
"I'm really pleased to win this one because Road America is a difficult race. This was a hard one with the conditions as they were. During the final laps, the conditions were some of the worst I've ever had to race in. I took a lot of risks early on and all the way to the finish. I was aquaplaning up the front straight right up until the end, and it was very tough. The team did a great job changing tires, the bike, and everything right before the race when it started to rain."
Hodgson and his Ducati 999 were sliding around the course in a spectacular fashion as the rains fell and the track became slicker as the race progressed, the British rider keeping the Italian Desmo L-twin under control as his lead continued to expand. "When the adrenaline is in your blood, you actually enjoy riding like that," said Neil of his wild ride. "Maybe not so much after you get off the bike after the race. The sliding around was a combination of more rain and the tires wearing. I saw 'plus 18' on my board about lap five. I thought to myself, 'I really need to slow down and not do anything stupid'. I thought I did take it a little easier, but the next time around, I saw a 'plus 27' or something." Hodgson continued to pull away when the red flag flew as Neil began lap 10 and the race was declared finished.
"Neil got the job done in a very impressive way," said team owner Terry Gregoricka. "He was unbelievable today. He's ridden hard all season and it was great to see him out in front and leading. As happy as we were, it was terrible for us emotionally in the pits watching him sliding around the track on TV as the laps counted down, mainly because the conditions were so bad and he had a big lead. Congratulations to Neil for getting his first win in the States. For the team, winning two races in a row is a great accomplishment and we are very pleased."
Teammate Eric Bostrom had a disappointing day. Bostrom was quickest in the pre-race warm-up and was in third place and charging towards the front on the first lap. Unfortunately, another rider collected Eric in a crash in Canada Corner. Eric rode his Ducati 999 back to the pits but could not continue. "There's really not much to say. We were very quick," said Bostrom, who won a similar race at Elkhart Lake in the rain in 2003. "It was game-on. I was ready to go. Obviously, I'm really happy that Ducati and Neil could win for the team and I'd like to congratulate them. As for us, we were feeling really good about things after the wet session and were charging hard in the race. I thought I had squared up Miguel (Duhamel) to make the pass for second place, because I needed to get by him. But he slowed up more than I thought and he ended up crashing."
"Eric was doing a great job before that incident," said Gregoricka. "We're really disappointed for him because he was riding really well and charging toward the front."
Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin will go for three wins in a row tomorrow at 4:00 local time.