Aug 15, 2002
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From a press release:<BR><BR>Eric Bostrom wins epic season finale at VIR<BR><BR>August 14, 2002 – Alton, VA. The last AMA Superbike race of the season proved to be one of the most exciting of the year. With the first two championship positions already decided in Saturday's race, Sunday's season finale looked to<BR>become a ‘may the best rider win' scenario. Without the pressures of winning a championship, fans were anticipating an exciting battle and true showdown between Nicky Hayden and Eric Bostrom.<BR><BR>The race began with Eric Bostrom once again charging to the front and setting the early pace. The pace turned out to be too fast for Mat Mladin, as he ran off the track in turn one early in the race. This left Nicky Hayden in second<BR>place, a few seconds behind Eric. But the pace turned out to be too hot for Nicky Hayden as well, and he crashed out a few laps later, trying to keep up with Eric. The crash caused a red flag situation, which gave Mladin a restart and a second chance. And after two more restarts due to red flags and with 20 laps completed, the race winner was decided in an 8 lap sprint to the finish between Mladin and Bostrom. Bostrom nailed down the last top podium spot of the year by taking the battle at the finish line by .004 of a second! After the race, Eric said, "this was obviously a good way to come back after such a<BR>disappointment on Saturday. By the 8th lap Saturday, I felt like the race was in the bag. So to have the motor blow up as it did was a real heartbreaker. But there's nothing better than to come back and win on Sunday. Especially because it was the last Superbike race of the season. I<BR>really had my goals set on a double victory, though. I really wanted to see that through, but unfortunately it didn't happen."<BR><BR>Sunday's race win was true vindication for Eric, as he won at one of the most challenging race tracks on the AMA circuit, in difficult conditions. Winning despite Saturday's heartbreaker and Sunday's restarts showed Eric's true heart and determination. The win was the 4th for Eric and the 11th Superbike podium of the season. "It was a hell of a race on Sunday. In the beginning, Mat seemed to be the biggest threat but he ran off the track. So we were off and running and things were looking really good for us until Nick crashed, bringing out the red flag. The following red flag restarts meant more battles with Mladin, and on new tires he was really tough to beat. The guy's just a great<BR>competitor and you could tell that he was riding at the top of his game. It really was a seesaw battle; we both had strong and weak sections on the track. On the final start, we had gone to school enough on each other to eliminate our<BR>weak sections and the lap times really dropped. The final 8 laps were very intense and went by like they were two. Before I knew it, the white flag was out. We had already gone into turn one side by side several times, basically nudging each other doing 160+ (mph) and hard on the<BR>brakes. It was really tight. On the last lap, coming down the hill I tried to set him up, and managed a little better drive out of the corner than he did. I knew I had won. I had one eye on our handlebars and the other eye on the start/finish stripe. At the stripe, I was convinced I had beaten him, even if only by a half a wheel."<BR><BR>After the VIR race, Eric immediately flew to Italy to join his brother for a brief vacation, as well as to train and prepare for the upcoming Oschersleben World Superbike race (September 1st). Eric will be campaigning his Kawasaki<BR>Superbike at the German WSB round. "Germany's going to be good. It looks like the track has a ton of corners. The more turns the better, for us. Ben thinks that I'll be really good there. I hope that Dunlop will have some new tires for<BR>us and that we can actually race with the leaders there. I've got the attitude now that I can race with them, so I'm excited to see if I can actually do that on a track outside the U.S."<BR>