Six former winners to go head-to-head at Road America

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Rounds five and six of the 2001 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championships come to scenic Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., this weekend, June 8-10. The Superbike doubleheader weekend will bring together the country's...

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Rounds five and six of the 2001 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championships come to scenic Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., this weekend, June 8-10. The Superbike doubleheader weekend will bring together the country's leading motorcycle racers, including six former winners of Road America's Superbike race, to challenge one another on the renown four-mile road racing circuit. Nicky Hayden, Anthony Gobert, Mat Mladin, Miguel Duhamel, Doug Chandler and Pascal Picotte have all tasted victory in Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike competition at Road America.

Like last year, Mladin leads the all-star cast in the championship standings coming into this weekend. The two-time AMA U.S. Superbike champ from Australia is shooting for his third straight title and so far he's right on target. Mladin's won two of the four previous rounds on his Yoshimura Suzuki building a solid 26-point lead over Kawasaki's Eric Bostrom. AMA Superbike rookie Kurtis Roberts is third in the series on a Honda RC51, 14 points behind Bostrom. Mladin also has a chance to make history at Road America. If he wins the pole in qualifying he will become the all-time leading pole winner in AMA Superbike history. He tied the legendary Doug Polen with his 18th-career pole three weeks ago at Road Atlanta. Mladin owns the motorcycle track record at Road America having clocked an amazing two-minute, 9.425-second lap at an average speed of 111.425 mph in qualifying last year.

Nicky Hayden is the defending double winner at Road America. The 19-year-old Honda rider from Owensboro, Ky., crashed out of the race in Braselton, Ga., on May 20 and finds himself ranked nineth in the series. Hayden hopes that he can turn in another double win at Road America to get back in the hunt for the championship.

Anthony Gobert is back in the U.S. after a year absence from the series. The 26-year-old Australian has revitalized Yamaha's Superbike effort, giving the team its first victory in over three years in Sonoma, Calif., on May 6. Mechanical problems though have kept Gobert from being one of the series leaders. Like many of the racers on the circuit, Gobert calls Road America one of his favorites.

"Of all the tracks in the U.S., Road America is the one that really reminds me of some of the great European circuits," said Gobert, a former World Superbike and Grand Prix rider. "I've had some good luck there in the past and am pretty confident that I can do well there again this year."

Former Road America winners Pascal Picotte and Miguel Duhamel have also had problems this season that have put them lower in the series standings than they are used to. Both of these Canadians would dearly love to win one, if not both of the races at Elkhart Lake this weekend. Picotte and his teammate Mike Smith will be sentimental favorites at Road America since both ride for Harley-Davidson, which is headquartered down the road in Milwaukee. Duhamel too is a long-time favorite at Road America. The Montreal native first raced at Road America back in 1989 and has gone on to become the all-time winner in AMA Superbike history. Duhamel will be looking to add to his tally of 23 Superbike wins this weekend. Of the factory riders Kawasaki veteran Doug Chandler has the longest history at Road America. The rider from Salinas, Calif., first raced in Elkhart Lake 16 years ago. Then a 19-year-old dirt tracker just learning the ropes of racing on pavement, Chandler went on to become a top Grand Prix star and a three-time AMA Superbike champion. Chandler's sole Superbike victory at Road America came back in 1990 and yet he is still a top contender today, coming into this weekend ranked fourth in the standings. Other top riders will be looking for their first Superbike victory at Road America this year.

Eric Bostrom (Kawasaki) has been consistent so far this season and finds himself second to Mladin in the standings. Kurtis Roberts (Honda) got his first taste of riding a Superbike at Road America last year (he was the leading qualifier after the Friday session in 2000), but this will be his first Superbike race on the classic circuit. Steve Rapp (Ducati) survived one of the most spectacular crashes in AMA Superbike history last year at this event. Photos of that crash made Sports Illustrated, but Rapp is hoping to be remembered for more than just crashing at Road America. After nearly four years of trying Jamie Hacking (Suzuki) finally earned his first Superbike win in Georgia a few weeks ago. The South Carolinian hopes it won't take another four to win his second. Tommy Hayden (Yamaha) could be confident after earning his first AMA Progressive Insurance Grand National flat track victory two weeks ago in Springfield, Ill. Four other races will support the Superbike main events this weekend.

Eric Bostrom leads Anthony Gobert by a single point in the Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport Series. Miguel Duhamel is third and has won a record five 600 SuperSport races at Road America.The four-year supremacy of Erion Honda in Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme is being challenged this year. The new Suzuki GSXR1000 has won both races so far (with Jason Pridmore and John Hopkins), but it's Graves Yamaha rider Damon Buckmaster leading the series coming into round three.

Jimmy Moore and young Ben Spies are knotted up with 86 points each atop the Genuine Suzuki Accessories 750 SuperSport point standings. There will be a first-time Road America 750 SuperSport winner in the class since there are no former winners in the field. And finally, longtime MBNA 250 Grand Prix competitor Jimmy Filice finds himself atop the series standings. Filice has won 23 races in 250 Grand Prix over his 20-year professional racing career, but has yet to win at Road America.

-AMA Pro Racing

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Series AMA
Drivers Anthony Gobert , Kurtis Roberts , Nicky Hayden , Miguel Duhamel , Tommy Hayden , Doug Chandler , Eric Bostrom , Damon Buckmaster , Ben Spies , Pascal Picotte , Jason Pridmore , Mike Smit