Alton, Va. (July 28) -- The most coveted title in all of American motorcycle road racing, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship, will go down to the wire at VIRginia International Raceway between series superstars Nicky Hayden and Eric...
Alton, Va. (July 28) -- The most coveted title in all of American motorcycle road racing, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship, will go down to the wire at VIRginia International Raceway between series superstars Nicky Hayden and Eric Bostrom in the VIR Lightning Nationals, the double-header season finale for the Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing over the weekend of Aug. 9-11.
The series ran a double-header event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this past weekend and Hayden and Bostrom each scored a victory, narrowing Hayden's points lead by a single point from 36 to 35 (450-415). Each race is worth a maximum of 37 points, so it could go either way when the season concludes at VIR, but Bostrom will have to have a near-perfect weekend on his factory Kawasaki while Hayden and his American Honda team will have to suffer some misfortune.
Both riders participated in a multi-team test at VIR in June, and Bostrom, a 25-year-old Northern California native, is full of confidence that he will be able to get the job done.
"Our pre-test setup was good going into the test and proved to be a winner, so we didn't really have much to test," he said. "Of course, we still went through some suspension pieces and tried a number of things with the front end. The bike still seems a little too harsh on the bumps, but I'm pretty happy with how things went. In fact, I went over a second faster during the test on race tires (running consistent mid-1:25s) than I did last year on a Qualifier. So it's all positive."
As for the championship leader, a native of Owensboro, Ky., who celebrates his 21st birthday on July 30 and won at VIR in the series' inaugural visit last year, he relishes nothing more than a good fight and he's looking forward to the run to the finish.
"It's going to be good," he said. "I'm ready to go. I think it's going to be really fun. I've got a little bit of a lead right now, but not a lot. We're just going to try to keep doing what we're doing."
One championship that won't be decided at VIR is the Pro Honda Oils U.S. SuperSport Championship, which was locked up by Team Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki's Aaron Yates at Mid-Ohio. Yates won Sunday's race in dominating style, putting the championship out of reach of his nearest pursuer, Kawasaki's Tommy Hayden, the older brother of Nicky. The title is Yates' first in the series and the first for Suzuki since 1998.
Even though he has the SuperSport title in his pocket, the Georgia native is looking forward to VIR, where he will compete in both the SuperSport and Superbike races, if he is able after suffering a gash in his left arm in a crash in the Mid-Ohio Superbike race. Yates currently lies fourth in the Superbike standings with 316 points, 30 behind Nicky Hayden's teammate, Miguel Duhamel.
"VIR is a fun track," he said. "It's kind of tough when you get behind some guys; it's hard to pass. It's real one-line in a few spots, and if you get held up behind somebody it really kills that lap time. But all the elevation changes are a lot of fun, and I like it a lot."
In addition to the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship and the Pro Honda Oils U.S. SuperSport Championship, the VIR Lightning Nationals will also include the season finales for the Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series, the Genuine Suzuki Accessories SuperStock Series and the MBNA 250 Grand Prix Series.
Three-day advance Super Tickets priced at $50 and single-day advance tickets for Saturday ($30) and Sunday ($35) will be available through various ticket outlets. Check VIR's website, www.virclub.com, for ticket outlets. At the gate, three-day Super Tickets will be priced at $55 and one-day tickets for Friday ($10), Saturday ($35) and Sunday ($40) will also be available. VIR is a family-friendly facility, where children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Spectator camping is available.
VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River 12 miles east of Danville, Va., and just north of historic Milton, N.C. In addition to its 3.27-mile natural-terrain road racing circuit (which is also designed to be operated as two autonomous, full-service courses), VIR is the cornerstone of VIR Club, America's first motorsports country club, and the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park.
VIR made history from 1957 to 1974 and is doing so again. The renovated original circuit has 17 challenging turns and 130 feet of elevation change. In addition to spectator events, the track is also available to rent for testing, driving schools and club days. Future plans for VIR include resort lodging and the VIR Euro Rally School and Corporate Motorsport Experience, which will feature three rally stages plus a kart track, motocross track, ATV and SUV training grounds and an advanced safari course.
For more information, contact VIR at 888-RACE099 or visit the track's website at www.virclub.com.