AMA: MBNA Superbikes Sunday from Sears Point
4 May 1998
MBNA Superbikes Sunday from Sears Point
MBNA SUPERBIKE FROM SEARS POINT -- SUNDAY NOTES
DUHAMEL TIES MBNA SUPERBIKE RECORD WITH SEARS VICTORY
Honda rider Miguel Duhamel won his third straight MBNA Superbike Tour race Sunday at Sears Point Raceway. The win ties Duhamel with Fred Merkel for the lead on the all-time MBNA Superbike win list with 20 each.
Defending tour champion Doug Chandler finished second after leading the first half of the race. Chandler's performance moved him into a tie with third-place finisher, Mat Mladin, for the series lead after five of 14 rounds.
Chandler put his Kawasaki into the lead early in the 25-lap final. Duhamel followed closely in second and was being hounded by Australians Anthony Gobert and Mladin. Gobert was soon out of the running when his Ducati's engine started misfiring.
In the middle stages of the race it was a three-way battle between Chandler, Duhamel and Mladin. On lap 13 Duhamel made a daring pass around the outside of Chandler at the high-speed turn six.
"I knew that was a risky place to make my move," said Duhamel, a Montreal native. "I wanted to try to get the extra point for leading the most laps, but I couldn't get through quickly enough."
Once into the lead Duhamel turned in his fastest laps of the race on his Honda RC45 to pull away from Chandler and Mladin. At the finish it was Duhamel winning by 1.802 seconds over Chandler. Mladin finished third. Duhamel moved to third in the series standings, 16 points behind Chandler and Mladin.
The next two rounds of the tour take place at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., on May 30 and 31.
MERKEL SPEAKS ON RECORD BEING TIED
Talking from his business in New Zealand, Fred Merkel congratulated Miguel Duhamel for tying his record of 20 MBNA Superbike wins.
"It sounds like those guys are really having a great battle over there," said Merkel, who retired at the end of 1995. "I guess it's a clich, but records are made to be broken. At least it took someone 12 years to tie mine."
Merkel hastened to add that he earned his 20 wins in the span of just four seasons (1983 to 1986).
Merkel won the MBNA Superbike Championship three straight years, 1984-1986, before moving on to win the World Superbike title in 1988 and 1989. Merkel still holds the MBNA Superbike record for the most wins in a single season, with an incredible 10 victories in 1984.
"I'm just glad Fred's retired," said a smiling Duhamel. "He is a good friend and one of the greatest motorcycle racers ever. It's an honor to have my name alongside his in the record books."
DUHAMEL BACK ON TOP OF 600 SUPERSPORT
It's hard to believe, but five-time champion Miguel Duhamel finally won his first Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport race of the season Sunday at Sears Point. A hectic last lap battle between Duhamel and young Nick Hayden resulted in Hayden crashing and Duhamel surviving to win his 35th-career victory in the series. The win puts Duhamel and his factory Honda into the series lead after five of 14 races.
Suzuki's Steve Crevier took second, 1.41 seconds behind Duhamel, while Eric Bostrom took a close third on his Erion Racing Honda. Former series leader Doug Chandler finished last after his Kawasaki blew a motor on lap 11 while he was running third. The DNF drops Chandler to third in the standings behind Duhamel and Crevier.
PARRIOTT DISQUALIFIED FROM 750 AND 600 SUPERSPORT RACES
Brian Parriott was disqualified from both the 750 and 600 SuperSport races after it was revealed that his Honda CBR600 had illegal engine modifications. Before the DQ, Parriott originally had finished third in Saturday's 750 SuperSport race and fifth in the 600 SuperSport race on Sunday.
ADAMS AND HIGBEE TURN IN A GREAT SHOW IN PRO THUNDER
Curtis Adams and Shawn Higbee had a race-long two-rider duel in the Progressive Insurance Pro Thunder final. Adams made some spectacular moves in traffic on the final lap to pull out just enough of a margin on Higbee to win his fourth straight race. With the victory Adams moved into the lead of the series standings.
SORENSEN WINS HIS SECOND ELF GRAND PRIX
After scoring a victory in the season opener in Phoenix, Chuck Sorensen came through with his second win of the season Sunday at Sears Point. Starting from the pole, Sorensen overcame a tough battle with long-time rival Al Salaverria to take his first AMA victory at Sears Point. Kurtis Roberts took third, his second podium finish this year.