Road America: Round six doubleheader preview

AMA Superbike Championship: Road America Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader No Time to Rest! Just one weekend following the four-day combined AMA/World Superbike round at Miller Motorsports Park (MMP), the AMA Superbike Championship heads to Road ...

AMA Superbike Championship: Road America Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader

No Time to Rest! Just one weekend following the four-day combined AMA/World Superbike round at Miller Motorsports Park (MMP), the AMA Superbike Championship heads to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., June 6-8, 2008.

The scenic four-mile circuit is a mainstay on the AMA Superbike calendar, boasting the tour's second longest uninterrupted tenure, trailing only Daytona International Speedway. The venue has hosted the series every season since its inaugural visit in 1980.

Road America is always a favorite stop for the teams and fans alike. The woodsy setting, high-speed action, big crowds, and savory "brats" lend the round a unique atmosphere.


Championship Race Turned Upside Down
Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies entered MMP trailing teammate Mat Mladin by nine points and left with a commanding 39-point advantage thanks to his perfect weekend, along with a forgettable one for Mladin, the six-time AMA champ.

Spies upped his all-time AMA Superbike stats to 19 career poles--putting him ahead of legend Doug Polen and all alone in second behind Mladin's 54--and 24 career race wins.

With ten races yet to run this season, it's theoretically possible for Spies to overtake Miguel DuHamel (32 wins) for second in all-time victories in just his fourth AMA Superbike season.

But Can He Get #7?
Spies brings a six-race win streak into Road America. Only three times in AMA Superbike history has a rider won that many races in a row--Mladin last season, Spies in 2006, and DuHamel back in '95--but none have made it to seven.

The Challenge
The last time Spies won six in a row, his streak was snapped at Road America by Mladin. Undoubtably, the Australian hopes to do the same this weekend. His seven wins here only helps to fuel his confidence.

Mladin first tasted victory at Elkhart Lake aboard a Ferracci-tuned Ducati back in '97. Since then, he's added six more wins on GSX-Rs, including four of the last five (and the last four in the dry).

Green and Red
Monster Energy Kawasaki and Honda Racing both enjoyed their best outings of the season at Miller Motorsports Park.

Jamie Hacking backed up his double-podium performance at Sonoma's Infineon Raceway with a pair of runner-up results at Miller on his ZX-10R, while Neil Hodgson gave the all-new '08 CBR1000RR its first podiums with two third-place finishes.

Both bikes are extremely formidable on the straights, which should bode well for them at Road America.


Two Streaks Snapped
Graves Motorsports Yamaha saw its perfect season of pole and win streaks come to an inglorious end last weekend. Series leader Ben Bostrom crashed out of a potential pole run in qualifying and then saw his race ruined when his primary R6 failed on the warm-up lap. Riding his backup bike, Bostrom suffered a late-race crash and ended up 21st. His teammate Josh Herrin, who had also contributed to both streaks, encountered problems with his shifter during the race and finished 19th.

The Chase is on
While Yamaha struggled, Erion Honda stepped up with Jake Zemke and Josh Hayes finishing 1-2. As he did at Infineon, Zemke got the better of his teammate by just fractions of a second at the flag.

Zemke is now tied with Bostrom for first in the class title race with 155 points apiece.

The Hurt/The Joy
Team M4 EMGO Suzuki's Blake Young impressed by challenging the more experienced Zemke and Hayes throughout the contest but he was ultimately knocked out of contention for the win when his machine slowed just two corners from the flag.

While Young had to endure an excruciating coast to the stripe, his teammate, Cory West, sailed by to claim the first AMA podium finish of his career.


Zemke is also leading the Formula Xtreme title hunt after securing his fourth consecutive class victory. The Californian now has 16 wins in the class, surpassing Eric Bostrom for the all-time lead.

Daytona Winner Hurting
Attack Kawasaki's Chaz Davies broke bones in his left hand in a high-side crash suffered early in last weekend's FX contest. Adding insult to injury, the Welsh-born rider also binned his Supersport machine the following day.

Davies will tough it out at Road America where plenty of pressure is placed on the riders' hands as they brake from top gear all the way down to first or second gear multiple times per lap.


How About Getting #2?
Following years of sitting on the verge of victory, Jordan Suzuki's Geoff May took his first-ever AMA win with a convincing ride in Saturday's Superstock final in Utah.

The Georgian has long been one of the tour's fastest riders on high-speed circuits and no one would be surprised if he added a second victory this weekend at Road America.

More Heartbreak
Blake Young's Supersport race wasn't his only heartbreaking moment on the weekend. He was also penalized for jumping the start in the Superstock final and was shown the "meatball" flag (black with an orange disk in its center), indicating that he had to come in for a stop-and-go penalty, after leading the race's first lap.

Luckily for Young he won't have to stew for long. This weekend's trip to the Wisconsin native's home circuit couldn't come soon enough.

Consistency Pays Off
May's teammate, Aaron Yates, continues to lead the Superstock title fight with 170 points thanks to his two wins and three runner-up finishes in five outings. Corona Honda's Jake Holden is second at 156 after claiming his third pole and fourth podium finish of the season at MMP, while latest-race-winner May is ranked third at 141.


Benny Solis looks to make it three in a row at Road America
After winning the first two races of the Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup season, North Hollywood, Calif.'s Benny Solis has his sights set on a hat trick this weekend. The 13-year-old has a commanding lead in the series championship, with a perfect 50 points. Austin DeHaven, also from the Los Angeles area, is second with 26. Rounding out the top-10 is Tomas Puerta (Colombia), Leandro Mercado (Argentina), brothers Hayden Gillim and Frankie Lee Gillim (Ky.), Austin Medrano (Okla.), Bryce Prince (Calif.), Toriano Wilson (Bermuda) and Jake Gagne (Calif.).

Faster the Favre
14-year-old Jacob Cunningham hails from Kimberly, Wis., outside of Green Bay, and will have the home cooking advantage this weekend at Road America.

2009 Riders Wanted
Applications are now being accepted at for the 2009 Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup season. Riders must be between 13 and 17 years old during the 2009 racing season. A select number of applicants will be invited to participate in the on-track Selection Event in the Fall at Barber Motorsports Park.

The Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup series, in its inaugural year, was created by and is managed by Red Bull as a platform for showcasing young roadracing talent on identical KTM RC 125s.


This weekend's AMA Superbike races will air on Sunday, June 8 on SPEED. Saturday's Superbike final will air at 4 p.m. Eastern, followed immediately by same day-delayed coverage of Sunday's race at 5 p.m. Eastern. The AMA Formula Xtreme and Superstock races will air on Tuesday, June 10 at 2 p.m. Eastern. The Pro Honda Oils Supersport race will air the next day, Wednesday, June 11, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.


Tickets for the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader Weekend can be obtained online at or by calling 800-365-7223.

-credit: ama

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Series AMA
Drivers Jamie Hacking , Aaron Yates , Eric Bostrom , Neil Hodgson , Jake Zemke , Ben Spies , Chaz Davies , Blake Young , Cory West , Jake Holden , Leandro Mercado , Bryce Prince , Ben Bostrom , Benny Solis , Jake Gagne , Hayden Gillim , Tomas Puerta