Mladin Leads Double Suzuki Superbike Sweep in Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals at VIR Alton, Va. (August 28) -- Five-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin led a double Suzuki 1-2-3 sweep in the two feature races for the AMA Superbike Championship ...
Mladin Leads Double Suzuki Superbike Sweep in Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals at VIR
Alton, Va. (August 28) -- Five-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin led a double Suzuki 1-2-3 sweep in the two feature races for the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited in the Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals at VIRginia International Raceway this weekend.
On Saturday, Mladin started from pole with a track-record qualifying time but had to rebound from 15th place after falling back in the field following a red-flag restart to claim his 41st career win, with Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Aaron Yates and Ben Spies filling the podium spots. On Sunday, Mladin fell to fifth at the start but roared back to totally dominate the second race, pulling out as much as a 15sec lead. Again, Yates and Spies finished second and third, respectively.
In Saturday's Lockhart Phillips Formula Xtreme series race, defending series champ Miguel Duhamel held off a strong challenge from Honda teammate Jake Zemke to win, with Yamaha-mounted privateer Robert Jensen finishing third.
Sunday's Pro Honda Oils Supersport series race featured a thrilling finish between two Kawasaki-mounted brothers, as Roger Lee Hayden edged his elder sibling Tommy by a razor-thin 0.022sec margin, with third place going to Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo.
Yates backed up his two runner-up Superbike finishes with a win in Sunday's Repsol Superstock series race, holding off a race-long chase by Roger Lee Hayden, with DiSalvo taking another third place. The race was red-flagged after 14 of 17 scheduled laps when Jake Holder crashed heavily on the front straight after tangling with Jason Pridmore. Holder was transported to the hospital, but was reportedly awake and alert and responding to the medical staff.
DiSalvo's performances were notable considering that he injured his knee in practice on Friday, a mishap that necessitated a trip to the hospital for treatment. Despite the pain in his knee, he put went on to take pole position for both the Superstock and Supersport races, and claimed the two third-place finishes.
The Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals event was a huge success, with an estimated 40,000 spectators attending over the three days, and new event promoters Race Promotion Management (RPM) were pleased with the outcome.
"We are ecstatic with the way everything went for our first Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals at VIR," said RPM vice president Cameron Gray. "From Thursday's celebrity kart race to the fan party on Friday, the live music and stunt shows on Saturday and Sunday and some of the best motorcycle racing in the world on top of it all, it couldn't have been better.
"The fans at VIR were great, and everybody seemed to have a good time. We appreciate their support, as well as that from Suzuki, Red Bull and Speed Channel, and we look forward to making this event bigger and better next year."
The VIR staff will now gear up for next weekend's Stock Car Spectacular, and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' VIR 400 scheduled for Oct. 7-9. For ticket information, visit www.virclub.com.
VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River between Danville and South Boston, Va., and just north of historic Milton, N.C. In addition to its 3.27-mile natural-terrain road racing circuit (designed to be operated as two autonomous, full-service courses), VIR is the cornerstone of VIR Club, America's first motorsports country club; the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park; the VIR Gallery, which is a sales showroom for high-end collector and racing cars; the VIR Safety and Security Institute, which provides specialized training for U.S. Government and military groups; The Lodge at VIR, a 27-room hotel overlooking the track; and the Oak Tree Tavern, a full-service restaurant located within the circa-1840 Plantation Clubhouse.
VIR made history from 1957 to 1974 and is doing so again. The 2.25-mile VIR North Course circuit on which the Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals will take place 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.
For more information on VIRginia International Raceway, visit the track's website at www.virclub.com or contact VIR at 434-822-7700. For more information on Race Promotion Management, visit their website at www.rpmcolorado.com or contact them via telephone at 303-377-3278. For more information on the AMA Superbike Championship Presented by Parts Unlimited, visit their website at www.amasuperbike.com.