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Road Atlanta Superbike race report

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Thomas Montano secured the final AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship Title Saturday, Oct. 27, at the WERA Grand National Finals at Road Atlanta by finishing third in the Buell Pro Thunder Series finale. It marks the...

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Thomas Montano secured the final AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship Title Saturday, Oct. 27, at the WERA Grand National Finals at Road Atlanta by finishing third in the Buell Pro Thunder Series finale. It marks the first AMA National Championship for Montano, a 39-year-old racing veteran from Berkeley, Calif. Montano gives Ducati its third-straight championship in the series after Shawn Conrad and Jeffrey Nash won Pro Thunder titles on Ducatis in 1999 and 2000 respectively.

The championship came down to the final race. After winning the previous round in Alton, Va., Montano held a 61-point lead over Ciccotto and defending champ Nash. But since only the top eight races counted toward the championship. Montano (who scored in all 10 rounds) would drop points from two races. Ciccotto, who only had seven races coming into Road Atlanta, would have his eighth points-paying race in Atlanta. Four riders, Montano, Ciccotto, Nash and Dave Estok, had at least a mathematical chance of winning the championship coming into the final race. Nash missed the finale, still ailing from his crash in Virginia last month.

Montano needed to finish second or better to secure the championship. After earning a point for qualifying on the pole that margin became third or better. The pole point turned out to be crucial for Montano. In the race, Ciccotto took the lead early and pulled away to a convincing four-second margin of victory. Montano fought over second with Buell rider Michael Barnes. The two traded the position several times, and it was Barnes getting the runner-up spot in the end. For Montano winning the championship was more important than outdoing Barnes.

"I did what I had to do," said Montano, who rides for Munroe Motors in San Francisco. "I was in second for a long time. I had a bit of a chatter in the front. We were soft on the front suspension. So I didn't know if I was going to crash, so I though I'd just bring it on home. I knew Barnes was back there. I didn't know when he was going to come. He finally did at the end. We could have had a braking battle into turn 10, but I thought, I don't need to do that, I just need to finish. God knows I've crashed out of the lead before. That's what we were talking about before, I just need to finish well and finish on the podium."

-AMA-

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Series AMA
Drivers Shawn Conrad , Thomas Montano , Michael Barnes