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Jun 25, 2002

AMA Pro Racing Previews The Brainerd Superbike Race

From an AMA Pro Racing press release:<BR><BR>Duhamel Hopes to Become First Four-time AMA Superbike Winner at Brainerd<BR><BR>Pickerington, Ohio - At 35, Miguel Duhamel shows no signs of slowing down whatsoever. The 1995 AMA Superbike Champion and all-time wins leader in the history of the series, comes to the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited event that runs June 28-30 at The Colonel's Brainerd International Raceway as a man on a mission. Two years ago, Duhamel tied Motorcycle Hall of Famer Wayne Rainey's record of three wins on the high-speed three-mile BIR circuit and this year the Honda veteran comes into Brainerd on a two-race winning streak, something he hasn't been able to put together on the Superbike tour since 1998. Duhamel's quest to become the first four-time winner at Brainerd won't be easy. He'll have a host of other top Superbike riders to contend with including past Brainerd Superbike winners Nicky Hayden and Eric Bostrom. <BR><BR>"Brainerd has always been a strong track for me," said Duhamel, a 12-year veteran of the series. "To get a fourth win there and become the all-time Superbike win leader at the track would be pretty special. The fans have always been behind me there and I hope I can give them a good show this year."<BR><BR>Hayden comes into Brainerd the defending race winner and the series points leader. He edged out fellow Honda rider Kurtis Roberts last year in one of the closest finishes in AMA Superbike history. The 20-year-old Honda rider from Owensboro, Ky., already has six wins to his credit this year -- the most AMA Superbike wins in a single season since Duhamel won six in 1995. If Hayden manages to win Sunday, it would mark the second highest number of Superbike wins in a season in the history of the series. Three-time champ Fred Merkel holds the single-season AMA Superbike win record of 10 victories in 1984.<BR><BR>Bostrom returns to Brainerd, the site of his very first AMA Superbike win in 1998. The Kawasaki ace from Las Vegas has been working overtime this season running in both the AMA series and a number of World Superbike Championship races. Bostrom stands second to Hayden in the series standings and would love to chip away at Hayden's 40-point lead with a victory this weekend. If Bostrom could come out on top it would mark the first win for Kawasaki at Brainerd since 1983 when Rainey took victory on a green machine.<BR><BR>Suzuki's top gun this year has been Aaron Yates. The veteran racer from Milledgeville, Ga., has scored three podium finishes in the seven rounds leading up to Brainerd. Yates is looking for his first Superbike win of the season and his first at Brainerd, where he has raced since 1996. He's never managed better than a seventh-place finish in the race.<BR><BR>Perhaps the biggest surprise of the season has been the off year that defending and three-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin is going through. The 30-year-old Australian has managed only one podium finish this season (a third at Fontana, Calif., in April) and comes into this Sunday's race ranked sixth in the standings. It's a far cry from the series domination that Mladin had enjoyed in the last three years. However, Mladin has shown signs of coming back to his old form in recent testing sessions. Even though his chances for a fourth title are slim, Mladin would still love to get back in the win column this year, and there would be no better place than at Brainerd to make that comeback -- one of the few racetracks on the circuit where Mladin has not won. In fact, Suzuki riders have never won an AMA Superbike race at BIR.<BR><BR>Local fans will be behind home-state hero Greg Fryer. Fryer, who won an AMA Formula Xtreme race in 1997, is expected to race in the Superbike race on Sunday. Fryer scored his AMA Superbike career best 14th-place finish at Brainerd last year on a Yamaha.<BR><BR>Tune into Speed Channel's tape-delay coverage of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship at 5 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, June 30.
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