Himmelsbach Previews Portland

Elliot Strong
by Elliot Strong
From an Aprlia news release:

Thursday, August 29, 2002 -- Fresh from his first FUSA Unlimited Superbike win at Pocono International raceway, Mike Himmeslbach is looking forward to the Portland race. "I feel really psyched about the Portland round. We were running as high as fourth last year when I fell, and with our Mille now making as much power as the other bikes in the class I'm really confident about my riding and what we can do." Reflecting on the Pocono win, Himmelsbach said "I felt really inspired at that race. The kids I coach for wrestling were there cheering me on - they were the reason I dyed my hair blond - I kinda lost that bet - but I was real happy to win the race in front of them and my friends!"

Despite significant injuries suffered at the VIR AMA 250 GP race two weeks earlier, Bill Himmelsbach, Mike's father and tuner, helped his son take the top step on the podium. "Dad worked on the heads of the bike from his bed. I knew that no matter what he would help me. He did great because the Aprilia horsepower and top speed were a real advantage at Pocono. The bike was phenomenal. My mechanic, Mark Corkoran was a huge help too. With Dad hurt, Mark had to do a lot of the work on the bike and did a great job."

Despite his modesty, Himmelsbachs' confidence was obvious. After losing an engine in the first race holding a strong second place with two laps to go, and the resulting grid position on the second to last row for race two, it looked as if the Pennsylvania native was out of contention for race two. "I got a great start and was up to like 15th place after turn one. I was in about 12th place after the first lap and just put my head down," Himmelsbach says "In my mind we have the potential to win all of the remaining FUSA rounds and I feel really good about the rest of the year - we're a real contender now."

In the process of taking the Blackmans' racing sponsored machine to the top spot, Himmelsbach earned Aprilia their first win in Formula USA's premier Unlimited Superbike class. Himmelsbach had already earned the championship title in the FUSA Unlimited GP support class in 2001.

"Mike has always done a great job for his team and for Aprilia," says Aprilia USA Marketing Manager, Michael Orr. "He has always been a good rider to work with, and I know that Mike and his team have worked hard to get the results they know they can."

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Michael Himmelsbach is sponsored by Blackmans' Cycles, Aprilia USA, Pirelli, Lockhart Phillips/Akrapovic, Silkolene Lubricants, EBC Brakes, and Team Pro-Motion ARC.

www.apriliausa.com

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