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Aug 23, 2001

Looking Back At Past Pikes Peak AMA Nationals

Copyright 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>As we wait for the start of the AMA Superbike Nationals at Pikes Peak International Raceway August 24-26, let's look back at past AMA races in Colorado.<BR><BR>In 2000, Mat Mladin took the pole position with a 0:54.222, but the lap time did not break Mladin's existing lap record of 0:54.009, set in 1999. In the race, Nicky Hayden got out in front early and built a lead, but burned up his rear tire in the process. Eric Bostrom came through to take the lead, hold that lead for 30 of the 49 laps, and take the win. Mladin finished second after his Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Aaron Yates slowed and allowed Mladin to pass. Yates was third in front of Jamie Hacking on a Yamaha, Nicky Hayden, Steve Rapp on a Vance & Hines Ducati, Larry Pegram on a Competition Accessories Ducati, Doug Chandler on a Kawasaki, Tommy Hayden on a Yamaha, Pascal Picotte on a Harley-Davidson VR1000, and Damon Buckmaster on his Supersport Suzuki GSX-R750.<BR><BR>The Pro Honda Oils 600cc Supersport race really shook the series up. Eric Bostrom and Kurtis Roberts came into the series tied in point. Roberts looked strong as he took the pole position with a record time of 0:56.117 on his Erion Honda CBR600F4, but Roberts' chances looked much worse when he crashed early in the race. Roberts remounted and began working his way through the field. Meanwhile, Jamie Hacking won the race going away on his Yamaha YZF-R6 ahead of Bostrom, Tommy Hayden, Aaron Yates, Jason Pridmore on a Yoshimura GSX-R600, and Buckmaster in sixth on a Chaparral Suzuki GSX-R600. Roberts recovered (after all the other Honda, Erion, and Bruce Transportation Group riders slowed to let Roberts pass) for seventh. Roberts left Colorado headed to the final round of the series trailing Eric Bostrom by seven points.<BR><BR>In Formula Xtreme, Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's Grant Lopez rode a perfect race on his Rob Roston-tuned GSX-R840 to become the only rider during the 2000 season to beat Kurtis Roberts. Roberts took the pole with a new lap record of 0:54.730 but may have elected to secure his second consecutive Formula Xtreme Championship rather than risk falling in a heated battle with Lopez. Roberts took second place and the Championship on his Erion Honda CBR929RR. Third place went to Jake Zemke on a Bruce Transportation Group Honda CBR929RR, fourth went to Attack Yamaha's Mark Miller, fifth went to Erion Honda's Josh Hayes, sixth went to Australian Steve Martin on a Graves Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R1, and Shawn Higbee was seventh on a second Attack Yamaha.<BR><BR>Buckmaster took pole position and the track record in 750cc Supersport qualifying with a lap at 0:56.145, but Buckmaster's teammate Roger Lee Hayden looked ready to take his first AMA National win. After a red flag, Hayden led the complete re-start until lap 18, when he lowsided. Hayden was able to pick his bike back up quickly and re-join the race in third place, but another red flag gave Hayden a new lease on life. On the re-start, Buckmaster pulled away to a three-second win over Hayden with Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's John Hopkins third and only needing to finish seventh or better in the final round to claim the 2001 class Championship. Jimmy Moore finished fifth in front of Ben Spies.<BR><BR>The MBNA 250cc Grand Prix was all Rich Oliver, as usual. After having his marriage proposal accepted by girlfriend-and-tuner Jocelin, Oliver ran away to his sixth win of the 2000 season--his 48th career AMA 250cc victory. The win pulled Oliver to within 10 points of Championship leader Chuck Sorensen. World Sports Imports' Sorensen finished second at Pike's Peak ahead of GP Tech's Michael Barnes. Barnes actually set a new five-lap heat record (4:48.538) for 250s when Oliver broke and Sorensen fell in their perspective heat races. Kids: Don't Smoke! Racing/World Sports' Chris Ulrich finished fourth ahead of Derek MacKelvie King, Nick Ienatsch, Perry Melneciuc, Ty Piz and Tyler Wadsworth.<BR><BR>Duc Shop Ducati's Mike Smith took his fourth win of the season in Pro Thunder at Pike's Peak in 2000, on a Mark Sutton-tuned Ducati 748. Smith set a new record time in his five-lap heat race (4:49.105), started from pole, and was never headed in the race. Advanced Motor Sport's Jeffrey Nash clinched the Pro Thunder Championship without winning a single race but by finishing on the podium in every race. Coyle Brothers Racing's Mark Ledesma finished third after an inspired ride on a Suzuki SV650. Shawn Higbee, Craig Connell, Richie Morris and Bill St. John all DNF with mechanical problems in the attrition-filled race.<BR><BR>Other Pikes Peak History: <BR><BR>Mat Mladin was fined one Championship point at Pike's Peak in 1999 when AMA officials determined that the Australian had attempted to block Championship rival Ben Bostrom during Bostrom's last qualifying lap, to prevent Bostrom from earning the Championship bonus point for pole position.<BR><BR>Bostrom was without the help of his Vance & Hines Ducati teammate Anthony Gobert at Pike's Peak. Gobert did not come to Colorado, saying that he had suffered a shoulder injury that prevented him from riding. <BR><BR>In the 1999 Superbike race, Doug Chandler gave the Muzzy Kawasaki team its last AMA Superbike win. Pascal Picotte recorded the Harley-Davidson VR1000's best-ever finish with second, and Nicky Hayden collected his first AMA Superbike podium finish with third. Fourth place was good enough to give Mladin his first AMA Superbike Championship. Defending Champion Ben Bostrom finished fifth ahead of Steve Crevier on a Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R750, Larry Pegram on a Michelin-shod Fast By Ferracci Ducati, Mike Smith on Gobert's Vance & Hines Ducati, Pegram's teammate Matt Wait, Scott Russell on the H-D VR1000, Jamie Hacking on a Yamaha, Eric Bostrom and Steve Rapp in 13th.<BR><BR>Other 1999 Pike's Peak winners included Nicky Hayden in Formula Xtreme on his Erion Honda CBR900RR, Chaparral Suzuki's Tom Kipp in 750cc Supersport, Aaron Yates in 600cc Supersport on his Muzzy Kawasaki ZX-6R, Performance Machine's Roland Sands in 250cc Grand Prix, and Penguin Racing Schools' Eric Wood on a Ducati 748 in Pro Thunder.<BR><BR>In 1998, Eric Bostrom took his second AMA Superbike win at Pike's Peak in only his third AMA Superbike race. Mat Mladin was third ahead of Jason Pridmore on Anthony Gobert's Vance & Hines Ducati, Ben Bostrom in fourth with mechanical problems, Chandler sixth, and Rich Oliver seventh on a Yamaha YZF-R7. <BR><BR>Yoshimura Suzuki's Larry Pegram won his first AMA National in 600cc Supersport at Pikes Peak in 1998, beating Eric Bostrom, Tommy Hayden, Doug Chandler and Nicky Hayden. Nicky collected his fourth official 750cc Supersport win on a Hypercycle Suzuki GSX-R750, beating Steve Rapp, Richie Alexander and Jake Zemke. Mark Miller won the Formula Xtreme race on a Michelin-equipped Graves Yamaha YZF-R1 over local rider Josh Graham and class Champion Eric Bostrom. In Pro Thunder, Paul Harrell won on a Pirelli-shod Triumph, beating Tilley Buell's Shawn Higbee and Harrell's teammate Curtis Adams. In the 250cc Grand Prix class, Kurtis Roberts won on the infamous Brian Turfrey-tuned "007" Honda RS250. Chuck Sorensen finished second ahead of Roland Sands and Randy Renfrow.<BR>