Chandler and Ducati add Italian spice to Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 1, 2004) -- Three-time AMA Superbike Champion and future Hall of Famer Doug Chandler made his return to AMA road racing a little over a...
Chandler and Ducati add Italian spice to Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 1, 2004) -- Three-time AMA Superbike Champion and future Hall of Famer Doug Chandler made his return to AMA road racing a little over a week ago in the Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series race at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Chandler rode his Ducati Austin 749R to a very respectable third-place finish. Not bad for debuting a new bike that was described by crew chief Gary Medley as basically stock, with a rider who hasn't been a regular on the tour in two years. Chandler looks to challenge longtime rival Miguel Duhamel and fellow former dirt track racer Jake Zemke as the Formula Xtreme Series comes to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin's Road America on June 4-6, for the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader Weekend.
Chandler's return in Formula Xtreme helps renew a rivalry with his adversary Duhamel that dates back almost a decade when the two had a couple of epic seasons battling for the AMA Superbike title.
Duhamel is thrilled to have Chandler back in the series. "Personally, I think the guy should have stayed retired," Duhamel joked. "Seriously, I don't think he should have ever left. He's an incredible asset to our series and obviously his abilities are still intact. The fans were going nuts when he got on the podium at Pikes Peak. It's great to have Doug back, that is up to the point when he starts beating me of course."
Duhamel is leading the championship, but his Honda teammate Jake Zemke has closed the gap by scoring two wins in a row. He now sits only five points behind Duhamel.
Duhamel acknowledged the great riding of Zemke and said it's time for him to step up to the next level. "I started out the season great, but have sort of been treading water lately," Duhamel added. "With Jake coming on strong and Chandler now in the series it's really time to make my move. I love Road America. I think my CBR600RR will eat up the course. The fans there are really knowledgeable and have been big supporters of mine for years. It's definitely one of my favorite stops of the season."
Hacking now clear-cut favorite in Repsol Superstock
It took seven long years for Jamie Hacking to win his first AMA championship. The Graves Yamaha rider doesn't appear to want to wait another seven to win his next. The 32-year-old rider from North Carolina has emerged as the rider to beat in Repsol Superstock after winning three consecutive rounds. "Hacker" has opened a 23-point lead over teammate Aaron Gobert in the series and is looking forward to the upcoming event in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Hacking said his plan for the season is starting to fall into place. "That's what everyone is here to do," he explained. "Get the points lead and extend it as much as possible. Going into these next events like Road America, I think I'll be strong and in position to really capitalize."
With a win at Road America Hacking could establish the longest single-season winning streak in the series since Tom Kipp won five in a row in 1999, when the class was known as 750 Supersport.
Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's Steve Rapp is the defending winner of the Road America Superstock race. The Northern California native has struggled somewhat in the revamped class so far this year. His best result was a sixth-place run in Birmingham, Ala., in mid-May. The team has experimented with both the GSX-R1000 and 750cc model in trying to find the perfect combination of horsepower and handling. Rapp will likely opt for the sheer power of the big Gixxer at Road America -- the longest track in the series. He could easily move up from his current ranking of seventh with a repeat of last year's performance.
SPEED Channel will televise both the Formula Xtreme and Superstock races from Road America on June 15 as part of the network's Two Wheel Tuesday lineup.
For additional information on the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader weekend call (800) 365-RACE or visit the track's website at www.roadamerica.com.
For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.USSuperbike.com, the official website of the AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship.