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May 18, 2012

A Look Back At The First Nine Years Of AMA Pro Road Racing At Barber Motorsports Park

Photo by Brian J. Nelson, courtesy of AMA Pro Racing

Birmingham, AL --The Triumph Superbike Classic at Barber Motorsports Park June 22-24 will mark the tenth time the AMA Pro Road Racing series has raced at Barber Motorsport Park. The combination of America's national motorcycle road racing championship and the scenic and challenging course have made for some memorable races for the fans and competitors.

A lot of action has been packed into the history of the event since it began in 2003 a record worthy of a track at the site of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. Barber Motorsports Park entered the series as one of the premier races and has been the site of one of the best-attended events on the schedule since its debut.

The list of Superbike winners at Barber Motorsports Park reflects the top riders in the class over the last decade. The fans have been treated to some first-class battles at a challenging circuit. There have been notable close races and there have been memorable championship ramifications from the events in Alabama.

Georgian Aaron Yates won the first-ever Superbike race at Barber Motorsports Park in 2003 for Suzuki when he beat Honda-mounted Kurtis Roberts in front of a huge crowd. The next day, Roberts managed to come out on top when his Honda teammates Ben Bostrom and Miguel DuHamel crashed while fighting with Roberts for the win.

In 2004, Mat Mladin won his first race at Barber Motorsports Park. The seven-time AMA Champion, who would go on to win more AMA Pro races at Barber Motorsports Park than any other rider, beat Jake Zemke with a thrilling last-lap pass. 1995 AMA Pro Superbike champion Miguel DuHamel won race two in similar fashion, passing Zemke with two laps to go.

Mladin swept the races in 2005 as he added to his tally of victories in Birmingham. All told, the Australian won nine times before he retired at the end of the 2009 season. Mladin swept the races in 2007, 2008, and 2009 as well. For Mladin fans, getting to see Mat's form on the 2.38-mile Barber Motorsports Park circuit was a highlight.

Current MotoGP star Ben Spies added his name to the list of Barber Motorsports Park winners in 2006. Spies' victory over Mladin in the Saturday race was his second Superbike win and the first time he beat Mladin in a contest in which Mladin didn't encounter a machine problem.

In 2010, Tommy Hayden and Blake Young won for Yoshimura Suzuki, joining the team's previous winners Yates, Mladin, and Spies. All told, Yoshimura Suzuki team's riders have won races 15 of 18 times.

In 2011, Martin Cardenas and Young split the wins. Cardenas, on board an M4 Suzuki, won a tough wet-dry race over Ben Bostrom in what was Cardenas' only Superbike win thus far. Bostrom shadowed the Colombian in the closing laps, but could not pass.

On Sunday, Young bested Josh Hayes after the two traded the lead in the Alabama sun. The Barber Motorsports Park races saw Young claw back into the exciting '11 championship fight, one that went down to the final lap of the season.

As for Hayes, the 20-time Superbike race winner has never tasted Superbike victory at Barber Motorsports Park. Could this be the year the Gulfport, MS native and two-time Superbike champion does it?

Chances are this year's race will be another one for the history books, too.

In addition to the two marquee National Guard Superbike Series races, the Triumph Superbike Classic weekend will feature two races in the GoPro Daytona SportBike class, SuperSport class and one race in the Vance & Hines XR1200 Series.

Tickets for the Triumph Superbike Classic start at just $15 and can be purchased at Kids 15 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult. The Motorcycle Super Saver package is available until June 21st with access to three motorcycle events at Barber Motorsports Park in 2012, along with complimentary motorcycle parade laps during the Triumph Superbike Classic.

While at Barber Motorsports Park, fans are encouraged to visit the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, a 144,000 square foot home to the largest private collection of motorcycles, representing 20 countries and over 200 manufacturers. Tickets to the Museum are available for an additional fee and can be purchased at the door.