AMA SUPERMOTO CHAMPIONSHIP SET TO FIRE UP AGAIN IN SHAWANO Riders from across the globe to converge on Wisconsin's USA International Raceway PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 25, 2005) -- After an early summer break, the AMA Supermoto Championship is...
AMA SUPERMOTO CHAMPIONSHIP SET TO FIRE UP AGAIN IN SHAWANO
Riders from across the globe to converge on Wisconsin's USA International Raceway
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 25, 2005) -- After an early summer break, the AMA Supermoto Championship is set to get back underway at USA International Raceway in Shawano, Wis., on Saturday, July 30. Round two of the six-event championship will see top American and international Supermoto riders coming to Shawano for the first time. Shawano marks the second national event hosted in Wisconsin. The series will also visit Colorado and Tennessee, before moving to the annual Red Bull Supermoto A-Go-Go in Reno, on Oct. 1.
World Supermoto Champion Thierry van den Bosch and American star Doug Henry split wins in the opening round at the Briggs & Stratton Motorplex in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Van den Bosch, crashed and broke his leg in a World Championship round in Austria last month and is not expected to race this weekend, so it is German ace Jurgen Kunzel, of Red Bull KTM, who emerges from round one with the series lead among riders who will participate in Shawano, after taking a pair of third-place finishes.
Kunzel has been one of the fastest riders in the championship since AMA Supermoto launched in 2003, but he's yet to score a victory in the premier class.
"For sure my goal is to win races and most importantly the championship," said Kunzel. "We had a good beginning in Elkhart Lake and now I need to keep my momentum going in the Shawano race. I've had the opportunity to win many times, but things haven't gone my way. I've trained very hard to be ready for this season and I am expecting to do well."
Kunzel's primary competition at Shawano is sure to be Elkhart Lake race two winner Doug Henry and defending AMA Supermoto Champion Jeff Ward.
Henry was teammates with Ward last year with Honda, but has moved to the newly formed factory Graves Yamaha team. Henry won the second race in Elkhart Lake with a dramatic last lap, last turn pass on van den Bosch. He expects more of the same close racing action at Shawano.
"The track will be new to most of the riders," said Henry, a former AMA Motocross Champion. "Fortunately we'll have a couple of days to practice, so we should be good to go by race day. I've heard a lot of good things about the track in Shawano. We often race on parking lot or street courses, so it will be good to race on a track that was specially built with supermoto racing in mind."
Henry comes into Saturday's race three points behind Kunzel and he's happy about this year's new two-race format.
"With two races per round it's going to give you the chance to make up ground," he said. "I think it's exciting for the fans also to be able to watch two shorter races. It's definitely intense for the riders."
Wisconsin's own Ben Carlson, of Team HMC/Generations of Sonoma is tied with Henry for third in the standings. Carlson has a lot of race experience on USA International Raceway and that could give him the edge he needs to get his first Supermoto victory. He's keyed up about racing on the new racing circuit.
"It's a world class supermoto track," said Carlson, who is concentrating solely on the premier Supermoto class this year. "It has everything from first gear turns to fourth gear sweepers. It flows really well and it's wide so there should be plenty of passing going on. I'm really excited about having a national round there."
The mile-long, 24-turn USA International Raceway was constructed last summer and state-of-the-art asphalt was used with special polymers that give the racing surface not only durability, but also makes it tremendously smooth.
Defending champ Jeff Ward has been busy this summer doing everything from racing in the Indianapolis 500, to trying to keep the No. 1 plate on his Troy Lee Designs Honda. Even at 44, the veteran Ward is expected to be among the favorites to win the championship this year.
Shawano fans will be treated to the appearance of a couple of non-series regulars, but big stars nevertheless. AMA Superbike contender Eric Bostrom is slated to race this weekend, as is X-Games star Travis Pastrana and 1999 World Motocross champ Andrea Bartolini from Italy.
Bostrom is on somewhat of a roll coming off a pair of wins in AMA Superbike. In front of an enormous crowd at the combined MotoGP/AMA Superbike weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca two weeks ago, "E-Boz" took a dramatic victory then followed that up with a flag to flag win this past weekend in Superbike race two at Mid-Ohio.
"I think it's great to have these guys coming into the series," said Doug Henry of Bostrom, Pastrana and Bartolini. "Anytime you have riders of that caliber coming to race it only adds to the visibility of the series. Plus, Bostrom, Pastrana and Bartolini are great riders, so it really gives the series regulars a major challenge. I think it's going to make this race one of the best of the year."
In addition to the main Supermoto class, Wisconsin fans will also see the Unlimited and new Lites Supermoto classes at Shawano. Ohioan Mark Burkhart leads the newly formed Lites class after his win at Elkhart Lake last month. Frenchman David Baffeleuf leads the Unlimited class.
The Shawano races will be nationally televised on OLN. It will air on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. EST.
Advance tickets for Saturday's race can be purchased online at www.ticketstaronline.com. For additional information call USA International Raceway at 414-234-8230 or visit www.usainternationalraceway.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.