AMA Superbike Results From VIR

Elliot Strong
by Elliot Strong
OK, I apologize for the lateness of this report up front; we've been hard at work testing bikes at the track today. But without further adieu-
From a Honda press release:

AMA/Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship: Round 15
Virginia International Raceway,Alton, Virginia
August 10, 11 2002
Weather: Sunny, 33 degrees
Crowd: 30,000

American Honda's Nicky Hayden survived a race of attrition to become theyoungest every AMA Superbike Champion, winning the penultimate round of theAMA/Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship on a hot and sunny day atVirginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia.

"I'm just so happy to win this title," Hayden, the Kentuckian who turned 21just 10 days before the race, said. "People don't realize the kind of workthat goes into winning this championship. I knew I didn't necessarily haveto win today, but all the others had their problems. I'll take it that'sfor sure. It's a good way to win the title."

The win marked Honda's sixth victory in the 16 year history of the AMASuperbike Championship, the most by any manufacturer.

It was also Hayden's ninth win of the year, and 17th for his career,breaking a tie with three-time 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey and movinghim into sole possession of third place. The only two riders ahead of himare teammate Miguel DuHamel, third today, with 25, and fellow Honda riderFred Merkel with 20.

Heading into Sunday's final round of the championship, Hayden held aninsurmountable 74 point lead, 488 to 414 over Kawasaki's Eric Bostrom.Bostrom suffered an engine failure while leading the race on the ninth of28 laps.

By finishing third, DuHamel is guaranteed third in the championship.

Erion Honda's Kurtis Roberts finished fourth, giving Honda three of the topfour spots, Roberts was slowed by rear tire vibration problems for the lasthalf of the race.

Hayden won the race 8.029 seconds over Ducati rider Doug Chandler, withDuHamel third.

Sunday was less successful for the Honda team. Hayden crashed out of thesecond place on the seventh of 28 laps, his RC-51 being destroyed by fire.Slow response by the corner workers caused Hayden to grab the fireextinguisher himself and put out the blaze.

Roberts suffered much the same fate, his spill coming when he crashed onthe 13th lap while in third. Roberts tried to pick up the Erion HondaRC-51, but it was already on fire. The response was slightly quicker andthe machine wasn't as heavily damaged.

The only Honda rider to finish was Miguel DuHamel, and he had his own setof problems. After the first red flag the team replaced the clutch.Unfortunately, the clutch piston didn't seat quickly enough and he wasclutchless for the second of three re-starts, forced to start from the pitlane. A small oil leak from the clutch caused race officials to black flaghim, even though he'd radioed his pits that it was under control. Startingfrom the back of the grid, he put on a show on his way to 24th.

The race was thrilling, a photo finish with Kawasaki's Bostrom beatingSuzuki's Mat Mladin by a wheel length, officially .001 seconds. Suzuki'sAaron Yates was third.

The final point standings, after Sunday's race, show Hayden at the top with488 points, Bostrom second with 450, and DuHamel third with 382.

Bruce Transportation Group's Jake Zemke took himself out of contention forthe Formula Xtreme title in the first corner of the race. Zemke sped intothe turn, piling into Erion Honda's Roger Lee Hayden and knocking him offthe track. Hayden crashed, Zemke continued, but was well down. He made itall the way up to third place, one spot below where he needed to be.

When the final points were tallied, he was tied with Suzuki rider JasonPridmore at 273. But because Pridmore had more race wins, two to Zemke'sone, Pridmore won the title.

Zemke was in contention in the Pro Honda Oils Supersport race when heretired, preferring to save his energy for the Formula Xtreme race. Therace was won by Kawasaki's Tommy Hayden, Nicky's older brother, from theSuzukis of Josh Hayes and Jason Pridmore.

Nicky Hayden, Race One, First Place
"It's funny, people think you've got 35 points and that's a lot of points,but I mean I guess when you're behind 35 it's a lot, but when you're ahead35 it doesn't seem like you have that big of an advantage. In the race afew guys in front of me made mistakes, but I was just there trying to besmooth and comfortable and stay with them and feel it out. At the end Ifigured maybe I'd go for it. I played it cool and it open up for me and Iwas just trying to stay focused."

"I got the lead and the next time I looked up at my pit board I had apretty good lead. I was being pretty cautious with some lappers. Thebiggest thing was just staying focused. I was trying to relax and hit mymarks. The last few laps seemed to take forever."

Nicky Hayden, Race Two, DNF
"I just lost the front kind of late in the turn. It was weird. I got inthere and felt fine, picked up the throttle and the thing just pushedunder./It was pushing the front pretty bad most of the race, but I thoughtit was alright. So I just kept kind of pushing, trying pretty hard. Ididn't feel real comfortable."Miguel DuHamel, Race One, Third Place
"I'm just really happy with the way things turned out. Doug (Chandler) and Ihad a really good fight. It didn't look like it but on the pit board oneminute I was climbing back on him when he hit lapped riders, then I wouldhit the same riders and depending on who got through better the gap wouldreally vary. I thought I had a good chance of catching him, but Doug did agreat job not making any mistakes and we got third."Miguel DuHamel, Race Two, 24th Place
"There was some smoke came out of the thing. That's the great thing aboutthe radio, I told them there's no oil on the foot pegs, or nothing,everything's fine. The bike was hooking up good. We were just trying toget back up to the front. Unfortunately, they were pretty quick on theblack flag, and it cost us a lap. If not we'd be still back in the race. Itwould have been a long shot anyway. We went back out there and finished theseason third in the championship."Kurtis Roberts, Race One, Fourth Place
"I got behind Doug (Chandler) and the tire just started to go off, likethat. The thing was vibrating down the front straight. I'm like, 'That'sgreat, this thing's out of round.' It stayed like that, then it got worseand the front started to get bad. On the brakes the thing was folding over.Then Miguel (DuHamel) got around me. Like every lap it got a lot worse. Iwas trying not to crash the last five laps and not even riding. Everythingfell off so fast for some reason. We haven't had a lot of set-up timebecause we were trying to get it where we needed it. I thought we couldstay with Doug. I felt as good as I felt here this weekend."

Kurtis Roberts, Race Two, DNF
"I was pushing the front a lot and it just finally fell over. Like it wasfalling over a lot, but it finally fell over where I couldn't get to it. Iwas getting on the throttle earlier in the corner to try to get off therear. And I just went in there and I was a little off line, by a couple ofinches. I had to keep it leaned over that long. It fell and I sort ofpicked it up and it fell."

Race One:

1. Nicky Hayden (Honda)2. Doug Chandler (Ducati)3. Miguel DuHamel (Honda)4. Kurtis Roberts (Honda)5. Pascal Picotte (Ducati)6. Brian Livengood (Suzuki)7. Vincent Haskovec (Suzuki)8. Geoff May (Suzuki)9. Andrew Deatherage (Suzuki)10. Brian Parriott (Suzuki)

Race Two:

1. Eric Bostrom (Kawasaki)2. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)3. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)4. Doug Chandler (Ducati)5. Jason Disalvo (Suzuki)6. Robert Jensen (Suzuki)7. Brian Parriott (Suzuki)8. Brian Livengood (Suzuki)9. Eric Wood (Suzuki)10. Andrew Deatherage (Suzuki)

AMA Superbike Point Standings (After 16 of 16 rounds):

1. Nicky Hayden (488/9 wins)2. Eric Bostrom (451/4 wins)3. Miguel DuHamel (381/2 wins)4. Pascal Picotte (350)5. Aaron Yates (345)6. Brian Parriott (308)7. Mat Mladin (300)8. (TIE) Doug Chandler/Brian Livengood (294)10. Jamie Hacking (260)
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