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Supermoto: Reno finale preview

WARD READY FOR RENO SUPERMOTO FINAL PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 28, 2005) -- Defending AMA Supermoto Champion Jeff Ward comes to the season ending Red Bull Supermoto A-Go-Go on the streets of Reno, on Saturday, Oct. 1, ready to do what he has to...

WARD READY FOR RENO SUPERMOTO FINAL

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 28, 2005) -- Defending AMA Supermoto Champion Jeff Ward comes to the season ending Red Bull Supermoto A-Go-Go on the streets of Reno, on Saturday, Oct. 1, ready to do what he has to do to win the championship for a second straight time. Ward, who rides for Troy Lee Designs Honda, holds a solid 31-point lead over Red Bull KTM's Jurgen Kunzel coming into Reno, but with 76-points up for grabs in the finale anything can happen.

Ward won seven AMA Motocross and Supercross Championships during the 1980s, so he knows a little bit about the pressure of hanging on to a points lead coming into a season finale.

"I've been in this position several times in my career," Ward said. "You really can't afford to approach the last race any differently. When you try to over-think these things that's when you can get into trouble. I'm coming into Reno with the same attitude I do at every race. I want to win and that's what I'm going to try to do. We have two rounds at Reno and the second round is worth double points. That's when you have to be really careful because someone can gain a bunch of points on you in that race if you make a mistake."

Ward's return to motorcycle racing after a successful Indy Car racing career was perhaps one of the most unexpected stories in the first three years of the AMA Supermoto Championship. At 44, Ward is twice the age of many of his competitors, but he still has the aggressive riding style that he had as a young motocross champion 20 years before. He's won five of the 10 rounds coming into Reno, but he realizes luck still plays a big part in winning or losing.

"The reason I'm in the position I'm in right now is because of bad luck on the part of Doug Henry," Ward readily admits. "Before his crash there's no question that Henry was the rider to beat. When he went out for the season it turned the whole series upside down. I had a really good weekend at Copper Mountain and came out of there with a solid lead. Now I've just got to keep plugging away in these last two races and hope everything goes OK. If I'm in a position to win the last race I think I'll go for it just like I did last year in Las Vegas."

Henry, who won Reno last year, was injured in the Copper Mountain, Colo., race in August and was forced to sit out the rest of the season. He is recovering well and is said he plans to return to the series next season.

Jurgen Kunzel kept his hopes alive with a breakthrough victory last week in Nashville. "It was incredible to finally get a win," Kunzel said of his Nashville victory. "Now I go to Reno with some hope, but Ward will probably have to have some troubles if I'm to have any chance at the championship."

Ward's teammate Chris Fillmore is the only other rider with a mathematical shot at the championship.

It's a different story in the AMA Supermoto Unlimited class where just eight points separate the top three riders. New Zealand native Darryl Atkins leads the big-bore class by a single point over former AMA Motocross champ Micky Dymond. Young up-and-coming Australian Troy Herfoss is a close third. The Reno race could be a winner-take-all race for that title.

A new AMA Supermoto Lites race winner will be crowned at Reno. Mark Burkhart, who won all five previous rounds of the Lites series on his Graves Yamaha and clinched the championship last week, will ride the main Supermoto class Saturday, leaving an opening for one of the other series riders to step up and take their first win of the season. Brandon Curry, of the Team Currie Troy Lee Kawasaki squad, seems the most likely rider to step into the top spot. Currie is second in Supermoto Lites and was runner-up to Burkhart last week in Nashville.

The Honda Red Riders Jr. Supermoto Challenge presented by HRCA will also run at Reno. This race is the championship round of the series and is by invitation only bringing together the best juniors riders from across the country. The winner of the Junior Supermoto final will win a 2005 Honda CRF150.

The event will be televised nationally on OLN on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. EST and re-aired on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.olntv.com.

Reno--Tahoe is America's Adventure Place. To attend the 2005 AMA Red Bull Supermoto A-Go-Go, special hotel package information is available at www.visitrenotahoe.com/supermoto.

To keep up-to-date with the latest on the AMA Red Bull Supermoto A-Go-Go set these websites to your favorites list -- www.amasupermoto.com and www.redbullsupermotoagogo.com.

About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the THQ AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Motocross Championship, the AMA Superbike Championship, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.

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Series AMA
Drivers Jeff Ward , Chris Fillmore , Brandon Curry , Jurgen Kunzel , Micky Dymond , Doug Henry