Preview: Irwindale AMA Supermoto

Sean Alexander
by Sean Alexander
-It looks like Ben Bostrom and a couple of Euro hotshots will be participating in this weekend's AMA/Red Bull Supermoto races at Irwindale Speedway, CA. Though he is a newcomer to the series, Bostrom has a good deal of Supermoto experience, first riding a supermoto (borrowed from Don Canet) here in the states, before going over to Europe and doing quite well, racing a KTM Supermoto in Italy, as a member of the Factory Ducati (don't ask) team. Keep your eye on him this weekend.-Sean


*AMA Press Release*

Irwindale Supermoto last chance to qualify for Las Vegas AMA Red Bull Supermoto Finale Ben Bostrom, Ryan Hughes scheduled to make debut.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Oct. 27, 2003) -- The final round of the regular season AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship takes place this Saturday, Nov. 1, at Irwindale Speedway in California. The Honda Supermoto West race marks the final chance riders have to qualify for the AMA Red Bull Supermoto A-Go-Go Championship finale at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on Friday, Nov. 21.

Troy Lee Designs Honda rider Jeff Ward leads the way into Irwindale with three wins in the preceding four rounds. The former multi-time AMA Motocross and Supercross champion from San Juan Capistrano, Calif., will be shooting for his fourth victory of the season.

However, the big news coming into Irwindale is the expected AMA Supermoto debut of 1998 AMA Superbike Champion Ben Bostrom and AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross star Ryan Hughes. Bostrom will be riding for Honda, while Hughes will be part of the Red Bull KTM squad. "I've only practiced on a supermoto bike one time," acknowledged Hughes, who is just coming off an appearance for Team USA in the Motocross des Nations. "I have no idea how I'll do. When I practiced at this little track in Perris I was a second or two off what Jeremy (McGrath) was doing, but I was out there by myself, plus it was pavement only. It should be fun. I want to qualify for Las Vegas."

Honda's Racing Manager Chuck Miller confirmed that Bostrom is planning on being in Irwindale. "We built a bike for Ben and in his first test he was very quick," said Miller. "We're very excited about Ben competing this weekend and are looking forward to seeing him qualify for the championship finale."

The Irwindale round brings AMA Red Bull Supermoto to the heart of the motorcycling industry. Southern California is also the home for many of the stars of the new series, which combines elements of motocross, road racing and flat track racing. Ward, 42, has emerged as somewhat of a surprise frontrunner in AMA Supermoto. It turns out his combination of motocross and Indy Car racing experience has provided him the perfect background for the diverse challenges of supermoto. Ward has won all three rounds of the series he's participated in this year.

Mark Avard and Ben Carlson each have at least a mathematical shot of overtaking Ward at Irwindale for the Las Vegas qualifying points lead. Avard and Carlson are two of the riders who are making names for themselves through AMA Supermoto racing. Mark Avard is an accomplished Australian off-road specialist, but he's best known to American racing fans as one of the first new stars of AMA Supermoto. Avard, who is riding for Pacifico Saunders Suzuki, has scored top-10 finishes in all four rounds leading up to Irwindale, including a podium finish in South Boston, Va. Ben Carlson is a young rider from the AMA Grand National ranks who seems to have found his calling in AMA Supermoto. The 18-year-old from West Bend, Wis., rides for the powerful Red Bull HMC KTM Supermoto Racing Team, which leads the team championship.

A latecomer to the series is former AMA Motocross champ Doug Henry. Since debuting in Columbus Ohio, last month, Henry has served notice that he will be a contender for the win at Irwindale on his Team Motodynamics Tuluie Yamaha. Henry has two third-place finishes to his credit in his first two races in the series and was a huge crowd favorite at both events.

Freestyle motocross rider Mike Metzger and Superbike racer Larry Pegram are hoping to turn in good performances at Irwindale. Much was expected of both riders this year. Metzger has just cracked the top 10 twice, while Pegram's best result so far this season was an eighth at his home race in Columbus.

The series regulars could get some serious competition in the form of leading Supermoto World Championship riders Jurgen Kunzel and Gerald Delepine. Kunzel, of Germany, is a factory KTM rider who is battling Boris Chambon atop the FIM World Supermoto Championship standings. Belgium's Delepine is another top-10 ranked world rider who rides for the Vertemati squad.

Even though supermoto originated in America, it is the Europeans who embraced the format early on and have about a decade's worth of experience on the U.S. riders. Also on tap at Irwindale is the Supermoto Unlimited class. KTM's Ben Carlson leads that series, with three podium finishes including a win in Columbus. His teammates, 16-year-old Chris Fillmore and Larry Pegram are second and third in the standings coming into Saturday's race. Only 13 points separate these three riders.

The Irwindale round will be taped for showing on the Outdoor Life Network at 6 pm (EST) on Saturday, Nov. 15, with re-airs set for Thursday, Nov. 20 at 10 p.m. (EST) and Friday, Nov. 21 from 1-2 a.m.

For additional information on the coming race, contact Irwindale Speedway at (661) 816-7647 or visit For tickets call (626) 358-1100.

About the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship: In its first year, the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship (AMA Pro Racing's newest championship series) is a unique form of motorcycle racing that features a course made up of both dirt and pavement. Many top competitors from the world of motorcycle racing are contesting the series including multi-time AMA Supercross champion Jeremy McGrath, freestyle motocross legend and multi-time X-Game medallist Mike Metzger, former AMA Supercross/AMA Motocross champ and Indy Car driver, Jeff Ward, former World 500cc Grand Prix Champion Kevin Schwantz, and former World Superbike and current AMA Superbike rider Ben Bostrom, among others. For more series information, visit

About AMA Pro Racing: AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship, the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship and the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship. Nearly 2 million race fans attended AMA Pro Racing events during the 2002 season.

For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit
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Sean Alexander
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