Looking Back At Mid-Ohio 1996

Looking Back At Mid-Ohio 1996

© 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

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By David Swarts

One of the coolest things about working at Roadracing World is having access to the archive of back issues, reviewing past seasons, and reflecting on how far people have come. As we look ahead to the July 20-22 AMA Double Header Superbike Weekend at Mid-Ohio, we decided to take a look back at the Mid-Ohio AMA weekend from 1996, five years ago.

It rained on Sunday at Mid-Ohio in 1996 causing some strange results. The Superbike race, along with most of the other races, was red-flagged twice for crashes in the last turn, which sent bikes into the wall on the outside of the turn and bouncing back out onto the track (The wall has since been moved back.) The second red flag stopped the Superbike race short of its full distance, leaving then dominant Honda rider Miguel Duhamel in fourth behind privateer Brett Metzger on his GSX-R750 Supersport bike, Thomas Wilson on the then-two-year-old Harley-Davidson VR1000, and Pascal Picotte on the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R750.

Notable crashers included Mike Smith on a Muzzy Kawasaki ZX-7R, Larry Pegram on a Fast By Ferracci Ducati 955, current Ducati North America Road Race Manager David Roy on a Suzuki GSX-R750, Jamie James on a Vance & Hines Yamaha YZF750R, and Mat Mladin on a Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R750.

Doug Chandler’s seventh-place finish allowed him to leave Mid-Ohio with the Superbike point lead over Duhamel, Picotte, Kipp, and Mladin.

In 250cc Grand Prix, Team Oliver Yamaha’s Rich Oliver took the third of four consecutive wins at Mid-Ohio en route to his third of four consecutive 250cc Grand Prix Championships. Cliff Tolley was second ahead of Perry Melneciuc. The finish was Melneciuc’s first AMA National podium. (Melneciuc just earned his second podium position during the wet 250cc Grand Prix race at Road America last month.)

Kurtis Roberts, then 18, crashed his PJ1 Yamaha in a 250cc heat race and broke his ankle.

The wet, red-flag interrupted 600cc Supersport race was far from normal. After hours were spent cleaning up an oil spill on the wet track, the re-started race was won by Erion Racing’s Doug Toland followed by Moto Liberty’s Gerald Rothman and Erion’s Andrew Stroud. All three were sponsored by Bridgestone but ran Dunlop DOT-labeled rain tires for the wet race.

Fourth place went to Todd Harrington with class points leader Miguel Duhamel fifth ahead of Marcus Hubbard, Matt Wait, injured-in-practice Thomas Stevens on the Kinko’s Kawasaki ZX-6R, Ken Melville, and Ben Bostrom. Owen Weichel finished 14th, one spot better than 18-year-old Tommy Hayden on a Muzzy Kawasaki ZX-6R. Brian Parriott crashed and finished 21st, still better than Mike Smith’s 28th after a first-lap crash. Nearly everyone crashed at some point in the race.

The wet Harley-Davidson SuperTwins race saw Ben Bostrom pass Matt Wait for the win, three corners from the finish, with Eric Bostrom third. Both Bostroms ran Metzeler Lazer front tires with ME99 rears. Wait used a Dunlop dirt track front tire and a D364 rear. All three rode with high, dirt-track-style bars and put their feet down in corners.

Other notable finishers in the H-D 883 race included Nate “Gator” Wait in fourth, Brian Gibbs in fifth, David Estok in 10th, Richie Morris in 12th, and current 750cc Supersport racer Daigoro Suzuki in 13th.

In Saturday’s dry SuperTeams race Moto Liberty Honda’s Gerald Rothman and Al Salaverria took the win on Bridgestones ahead of Fritz Kling and Ray Yoder on the Dutchman’s FZR1000-engined YZF750 “Yama-Monster.” Doug Polen and Dale Quarterley finished third on the Carry-Andrew-tuned EBSCO Suzuki GSX-R1100, giving the EBSCO the class point lead. (That same GSX-R1100 is still used occasionally by Vincent Haskovec to win WSMC Formula One races at Willow Springs.)

In 750cc Supersport, Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Aaron Yates and Pascal Picotte continued their domination of the class. Yates won over Picotte followed by Michael Barnes, Mark Miller, and Mark McDaniel, all on GSX-R750s.

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