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Mar 1, 2001

First Person/Opinion: AMA Season Preview, Part Six

Part Six<BR>MBNA 250cc Grand Prix<BR><BR>The AMA 250cc Grand Prix season could be one to remember with many big names returning to the two-stroke wars. Seeking 250cc GP career win number 50, Rich Oliver will return on a Yamaha, Dunlop tires, and with his soon-to-be-wife Jocelin tuning for him. Oliver, 39, will have a familiar foe on the grid in the form of Jimmy Filice. Two-time former 250cc Champion Filice will be riding on James Siddal's World Sports Yamaha team with none other than Ed Toomey doing the wrenching. The World Sports effort has received backing from seat maker Corbin.<BR><BR>Two-time defending Champion Chuck Sorensen, 28, has left the World Sports team to ride for Geoff Maloney's GP Tech Yamaha program. Sorensen's teammate will be 2000 Irish Stock Sport Series Champion Simon Turner. Turner, 31, also finished sixth in the 1998 British 250cc series. Chris Ulrich, who teamed with Sorensen on the World Sports Yamaha squad in 2000, has left the series after finished third in 1999 and fifth in 2000, seeking his fame riding four-strokes.<BR><BR>Michael Barnes finished the 2000 season fourth in points on a GP Tech Yamaha, but has left the team and is scheduled to campaign the prototype Tul-aris 780 in WERA and CCS action.<BR><BR>New to AMA 250cc action will be young gun Cory West riding a 2000 TZ250 for Harder Racing Development. West, 16, finished the 2000 season with a podium finish in the Daytona Aprilia Cup Challenge race. Already a dirt track Champion many times over, West comes from a racing family including a former AMA Superbike racing dad, Marvin West.<BR><BR>The 250cc class will also see at least two guest riders during the season. 1998 250cc Champion Roland Sands, 26, will race at Daytona on his Performance Machine Yamaha TZ250. In between stints as a four-letter-word-wielding magazine test rider, Sands will likely ride at other 250cc rounds in 2001.<BR><BR>Also planning on appearing at Daytona is Cruise America Grand Prix Racing's Jason DiSalvo, the 1999 WERA 125cc National Champion. DiSalvo, 17, will ride his A-kitted 2001 Honda RS250 before heading back to Europe to chase the European and British 250cc Championships.<BR><BR><BR>Looks like a great year to be an AMA road racing fan. As always in racing, anything can happen to upset even the most thoughtful predications. Riders crash, riders get injured, riders get "distracted", bikes fall apart, tires come apart, teams fall apart, and the only thing not subject to change is that things are subject to change. But no matter what, you can count on getting the details of everything that's going on, around, or behind the scenes at the racetrack here in Roadracing World.<BR>