MOTO-ST: Birmingham round four preview

The SunTrust MOTO-ST Series Teams Are Ready to Battle Their Way to Glory at Barber Motorsports Park DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 1, 2008) -- Ready to do battle for both points and glory, teams are geared up for another outstanding action-packed...

The SunTrust MOTO-ST Series Teams Are Ready to Battle Their Way to Glory at Barber Motorsports Park

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 1, 2008) -- Ready to do battle for both points and glory, teams are geared up for another outstanding action-packed race when Round Four of the SunTrust MOTO-ST Series makes it debut at Barber Motorsports Park July 19-20.

Featuring three class; The Buell Motorcycle Company SuperSport class (SST) which includes motorcycles producing between 90-120 horsepower, the BMW GrandSport Twins class (GST) covering motorcycles producing 75-90 horsepower and Sport Twins (ST) for machines under 75 horsepower, the skill of the riders coupled with the durability of their machines and the team's ability in the pits will all come into play during this spectacular event.

With three rounds out of seven complete, the defending champions Aprilia USA/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports currently lead with a total of 102 points. Showcasing the riding skill of Ty Howard from Weatherford, Texas and Mike Himmelsbach of Quakertown, Pa., this team has so far scored two wins (Daytona and Virginia International Raceway) and a second at Road America.

"I have raced at Barber before," says Himmelsbach. "And I am really glad the series is going there. It is an extremely motorcycle friendly track. It is also very technical and a good handling bike will be all important. I know it will be a fun race and with a little luck I think we can do well."

However, the team holding down second, Touring Sport Ducati, has a different scenario planned. "We have taken second in the first two events and fourth in the third," says team owner Frank Shockley. "We are sitting ten points out of the lead and are really looking to close the gap this time out."

Sitting in third just 19 points out of first is the No. 6 Aprilia USA/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports team. "Naturally given our choice, we would like a 1-2 finish at Barber," said team owners David and Michael Lloyd. "But as we all know, there is no way to predict the outcome in racing. What we know is that everyone on our team will be ready to give it their all when the Green Flag waves."

Also looking for the win is Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Racing. This team took their first victory at Road America and jumped from eighth to fifth in the point standings. Pilots Shawn Higbee and Mike Smith will definitely be on a mission at Barber to put their Buell 1125R back in Victory Lane.

"We struggled a bit in the first two rounds," explains team manager Richie Morris. "But l think we have everything dialed in now. Both Shawn and Mike are familiar with Barber and are looking forward to racing there so we should be good to go."

The GST points battle is even closer. Holding down the lead by a mere four points is James Gang Racing who has taken a second and two third places finishes. Right behind is Richie Morris Racing who has earned a third, first and eighth. Six points back is Touring Sport Ducati and tied for fourth, just seven points back is and Wagner Motorsports Racing. The race at Barber is definitely going to be an all important round for these five teams.

Leading the fight in the ST Class is Pair-A-Nines piloted by well-known AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Jim Filice and Jay Springsteen. Last year's ST champions, Filice and "Springer" don't plan to give an inch. They want to keep their title and don't intend to let anyone steal their thunder.

A win in this type of team competition is actually much tougher than a win in automobile racing. Unprotected by roll bars, yet swapping paint and banging handlebars, these incredible two-wheeled athletes exhibit a unique blend of determination, consistency, smoothness and courage as they battle their way to glory in one of the most competitive motorsports series in the world.

Not only is the racing action unparalleled, but so are the pit stops. Just like in NASCAR, pit stops are all-important and can easily make the difference between winning and losing. Pitting approximately every 40 minutes, each stop is critical. The SunTrust MOTO-ST Series rules allow a total of 8 people over the wall; 2 riders, 5 mechanics and 1 fire bottle (only). Riders can only assist each other with radios or adjust the dash; otherwise they will be considered one of the 5 mechanics. A good pit stop requires everyone working in total unison with no mistakes and that is what each team will be striving for throughout this 500 K event.

With just three out of seven races completed (Daytona, VIR and Road America), the points are incredibly close and every team is determined to grab a stronger foothold in the standings. The battle is definitely on and July 20 will be an action-packed event.

-credit: motost

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Series Other bike
Drivers Shawn Higbee , Mike Smit