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Supermoto: Waterford Hills preview

WARD AND HENRY BRING AMA SUPERMOTO RIVALRY TO DETROIT AREA PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 29, 2006) -- Jeff Ward and Doug Henry are two American motocross legends who never faced each other as equals on the dirt since Ward was winding down his ...

WARD AND HENRY BRING AMA SUPERMOTO RIVALRY TO DETROIT AREA

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 29, 2006) -- Jeff Ward and Doug Henry are two American motocross legends who never faced each other as equals on the dirt since Ward was winding down his motocross career just when Henry was launching his.

Fortunately for racing fans the AMA Supermoto Championship presented by Parts Unlimited has provided an opportunity to bring Ward and Henry together as contemporary rivals. Ward and Henry will continue their battle as the series moves to the Waterford Hills road course in the Detroit suburb of Clarkston, on Saturday, July 8.

Ward, the Troy Lee Designs Honda rider from Newport Beach, Calif., leads the championship with three victories in the eight rounds leading up to Waterford Hills. Henry, of Torrington, Conn., trails by just seven points. Henry also has three wins to his credit this season aboard his Graves Motorsports Yamaha.

"I'm looking forward to racing in Michigan," said Ward, the 2004 AMA Supermoto champ, who last won an AMA National in the state in 1990, when he took the AMA Motocross win at Red Bud MX in Buchanan. "That part of the country is a hotbed for motorcycle racing and the new track sounds like it's going to be a challenge. I'm pretty happy with where we are at this point in the season. I've let a few opportunities get away, but I still have the points lead so I can't be too upset. "

Henry is returning to peak racing condition after suffering season-ending injuries last August. Like Ward, Henry is anxious to get a look at the Waterford Hills layout.

"It's always fun to come to a new track," Henry said. "I feel like I've been pretty good about learning tracks quickly. Right now it's a tight battle for the championship and my guess is that's it's going to be like that all year long."

The Waterford Hills venue is new to the series. It marks the first motorcycle racing event for the venerable circuit. The track looks to be wide-open in terms of what AMA Supermoto competitors are accustomed to. It will also feature the return of the popular UrbanCross section. UrbanCross is an obstacle unique to AMA Supermoto racing. It features metal/wood ramps erected on the paved section of the track. One of the jumps is a 60 foot tabletop.

"We are excited to have the UrbanCross section back for this event," said Joel Grover, AMA Supermoto Director. "UrbanCross brings a valuable element of challenge and fun to AMA Supermoto. It's exciting for the fans and a unique test for the riders. We have addressed safety and logistical issues and our team has created a well balanced solution that enabled us to return UrbanCross to the championship. Special thanks go to our event promoter, Tom Zielinski as well as All Access, the company that built the UrbanCross elements."

Grover added that fans can expect to see UrbanCross at a number of the remaining events on the championship schedule.

While much of the focus is on the Ward/Henry rivalry, there will be several other riders hoping to steal the show. Henry's teammate Mark Burkhart, of Pickerington, Ohio, moved up from the Supermoto Lites class championship last year and has shown the ability to win on the 450cc bikes. Burkhart leads a clump of three riders battling for third in the championship including Red Bull KTM's Kurt Nicoll and young Chris Fillmore, of the Troy Lee Honda squad.

Fillmore should be the crowd favorite at Waterford Hills. The 19-year-old Supermoto phenom was born in Pontiac and is a resident just up the road in Oxford, Mich.

"It's going to be great to race so close to home," said Fillmore, who has scored three podium finishes this season. "I'm planning on going down to Waterford Hills and getting a look at the track. Winning at a home race would be a dream come true. I've been riding well, but realistically I probably need a little luck to get a win."

Former AMA Motocross Champion and X-Games Gold Medalist Travis Pastrana is slated to race in the Detroit Supermoto as he prepares for the upcoming X-Games Supermoto event. Pastrana rode well in the most recent round in Utah, but had issues with his Cernic's Suzuki overheating.

"We'll get the problems with the bike figured out," Pastrana said. "I was happy with how things went in my return to Supermoto. I felt like I could hang with guys like Wardy and Henry for the first time. Riding these bikes is a blast. Sometimes I scare myself silly, but I'm getting better every time out."

Cassidy Anderson, of Provo, Utah, will try to keep his perfect record in the AMA Hot Wheels Supermoto Lites class intact at Waterford Hills. The Troy Lee Honda rider has won every round so far this season.

Team Red Bull KTM HMC riders Ben Carlson and John Lewis along with Frenchman David Baffeleuf, of the GP Husqvarna team, are in a three-way tussle over the series lead in the AMA 70/30 Racing Supermoto Unlimited class. Carlson, of West Bend, Wis., leads Lewis by a single point, but Baffeleuf is coming on strong after winning a few weeks ago in Utah, and is only three points out of the series lead.

The AMA Supermoto at Waterford Hills is round five of the AMA Supermoto Championship presented by Parts Unlimited. It will provide a festive atmosphere to fans. In addition to the great racing action, Observed Trials riding great Geoff Aaron will present his Dunlop X-Show. The event will also feature freestyle motocross with the innovative Trevor Vines. There will also be a special mini-supermoto race that you can sign up to race. Go to www.detroitsupermoto.com for more details.

-ama-

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Series AMA
Drivers Jeff Ward , Travis Pastrana , David Baffeleuf , John Lewis , Doug Henry