Nov 10, 2001
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From a press release issued by Norm Viano, Eric Bostrom's manager: <BR> <BR><BR>BOSS HOG RETURNS FROM JAPAN <BR><BR>While most racers were content to take a breather in November and watch the leaves change color after a hectic 2001 racing season, 'Boss Hog', Eric Bostrom, was busy preparing for his 2002 AMA Superbike title challenge. With a Japanese Superbike race at Sugo last weekend, Kawasaki thought it would be a good start to the off-season to have Eric attend the race weekend and learn the track, which will likely be one of the WSBK wild-card rounds that Eric will enter in 2002.<BR><BR>The casual fan will look at his 11th place result in Sunday's race (behind Kawasaki's Izutsu and Walker) and wonder what happened, but the truth is that the weekend was a big success for Bostrom. "It was real cold out during qualifying - it even snowed up in the mountains - it was super cold and we were there for testing only. I didn't care about the race. We would have liked to have had a good result if we had gotten the bike completely set-up in time, but it didn't happen. In qualifying we had a bad deal - I went in too fast in the beginning and almost high-sided, which took me into the gravel trap and the bike got worked a little bit. So by the time we got the bike back out on the track after fixing a few things, there wasn't much time left to qualify. And in the race, we got off to a slow start and after I got used to the bike, I caught up to Chris (Walker) and another Japanese rider and we had our own little race. The track was a little wet here and there, but it was fun. For awhile, I couldn't get the bike to turn in how I want, but finally we made some advancements with the bike on Monday and Tuesday (after the race), and we put down some decent lap times. And if we can get just a little bit more handling out of the bike, I think we'll be in the hunt when we come back for the World Superbike race in April." <BR><BR>This trip also allowed him to ride with his two new (world) teammates, Walker and Izutsu. "Izutsu's a good dude, he's pretty funny. He's a full-on high roller, with his big-bodied Benz and his Rolex - it's funny. But he rides real hard. It bites him sometimes because he falls off a bit, but obviously it's a different game in Japan, and he does great there. Then in Europe he got thrown to the wolves and had some pretty tough results this season - next year he'll have some ups and downs. But he's good, I like him. And Chris (Walker) is a good guy too. He's funny to be around and seems to try real hard when he gets on the track. All the fans like him, especially the Brits. He'll be fun to ride with next year." <BR><BR>What's next on the agenda for Eric? "Red Bull is flying me and (brother) Ben to Puerto Rico for 5 days next week. I'm looking forward to it - there's going to be a variety of Red Bull athletes there. I met some cool snowboarders already. And we're going to a place on earth where I've never been, it should be a lot of fun. How many companies fly all their athletes to a tropical place for no other reason than to just surf, play, party, and have a good time? They're a great sponsor." <BR><BR>Eric also came back to the States in time to hear that he had been nominated for the AMA Pro Athlete of the Year award. "It's pretty cool to be nominated, really. I think that if we had won both championships this year (Superbike and 600 Supersport) we would have really deserved it, but (Supercross Champion Ricky) Carmichael will be the man to beat, and he had a shining year. I think that he deserves it."