AMA: MBNA Superbike Tour Arrives at Road America Super Cycle Classic
10 June 1998WESTERVILLE, Ohio -- The American Motorcyclist Association's MBNA Superbike Tour returns to Elkhart Lake, Wis., June 12 - 14, for the Super Cycle Classic at Road America. The tight racing action, combined with an easy trip from several metropolitan areas and temperate seasonal climate makes Road America one of the best-attended events on the MBNA Superbike Tour.
The Road America round will feature all six race series which travel as part of the MBNA Superbike Tour. The MBNA Superbike Tour is organized and sanctioned by American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Pro Racing.
Headlining the MBNA Superbike Tour is the MBNA Superbike series. The wide-open possibilities of the four-mile, 180mph-plus Road America course make it a season favorite among MBNA Superbike racers. The on-track competition will be heated but precise as the elite, international field battles for championship points, prize money, manufacturer pride and personal glory.
Three-time MBNA Superbike Champion Doug Chandler and his No. 1 Kawasaki still hold the series lead in MBNA Superbike, but a one-point margin is all that separates the California-born Chandler from his Canadian rival, No. 17 Miguel Duhamel. Honda's Duhamel -- who is enjoying the benefits of a recent four-win streak -- has been trying to wrest the MBNA Superbike title from Chandler since the 1996 season, when Duhamel himself was reigning champ. A Road America win will guarantee Duhamel the series lead and put the title back within his reach.
The Teamline 750 SuperSport and Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport series provide manufacturers with an opportunity to showcase their streetbike-based muscle. The SuperSport series features production motorcycles with limited modifications, keeping the bikes as true to factory specs as is possible. In the hands of a professional rider, SuperSport bikes can approach the lap times of the Superbikes.
Suzuki riders currently lead both SuperSport series. Californian Steve Rapp and the San Gabriel Springs No. 15 Suzuki have collected a win and a series of podium finishes which have put them at the top of the 1998 Teamline 750 SuperSport series. Californian James Randolph -- riding the No. 6 Suzuki for Ricci Motorsports -- follows in series second-place. New York resident Rich Alexander, aboard the No. 5 Barnett Suzuki, has fallen to series third-place after leading earlier in the season.
Canadian Steve Crevier leads the Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport series aboard the No. 4 Yoshimura Suzuki, thanks to consistent top-three finishes. His trips to the podium have given him a 3-point lead over No. 1 Honda rider Miguel Duhamel. Duhamel -- a five-time Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport series champion -- has only one win this year to his credit. Duhamel's talented Honda teammate, No. 11 Ben Bostrom, follows in series third-place.
The Elf Race Fuels & Lubricants Grand Prix series features specialized, race-built 250cc machines. The lightwieght Elf Grand Prix machines require racing with the throttle wide-open and cornering at high-speeds. Roland Sands and his No. 10 Performance Machine Yamaha are leading the Elf Race Fuels & Lubricants Grand Prix series, and he may have a championship season in the works. California resident Sands has three wins and a 26-point lead over the series second-place rider Takahito Mori and the No. 42 Moto Liberty Honda. Californian Kurtis Roberts and his No. 80 Erion Racing Honda follow in third.
Georgia native Tripp Nobles is ranked at the top of the Pirelli Formula Xtreme series. Nobles, on the No. 87 Erion Honda, and teammate Eric Bostrom aboard the No. 17 Erion machine, have held the top two spots throughout the course of the season. Canadian Michael Taylor has taken his No. 15 Canada Kawasaki to series third-place.
The new Progressive Insurance Pro Thunder class is open to a variety of motorcycles that were previously not eligible for competition in AMA road racing series. The relaxed technical rules for the series have created an eclectic field of Pro Thunder-class racers. Single, twin and three-cylinder engines are permitted, and modifications to frame, suspension and exhaust are unlimited.
Finishing in the top-three at all but one Pro Thunder race this season has earned Californian Paul Harrell the series lead. Harrell and the No. 47 Orange County Triumph recently edged Curtis Adams and his No. 145 Orange County Triumph out of series first-place.
Wisconsin's own Shawn Higbee has brought Buell motorcycles some road-racing clout this year. Higbee rode his No. 3 Tilley's Buell to the marques' first AMA national victory at the inaugural Progressive Insurance Pro Thunder race in Phoenix. Having won the last Progressive Insurance Pro Thunder round at Road Atlanta, Higbee is now just five points out from series first-place.
For tickets and information about the MBNA Superbike Tour races at the Road America Super Cycle Classic call (800) 365-7223.
PAST ROAD AMERICA MBNA SUPERBIKE WINNERS
Year Winner, Hometown Mach. 1980 Freddie Spencer, Shreveport, LA Honda 1981 Eddie Lawson, Santa Ana, CA Kawasaki 1982 Eddie Lawson, Upland, CA Kawasaki 1983 Mike Baldwin, Stamford, CT Honda 1984 Fred Merkel, Stockton, CA Honda 1985 Fred Merkel, Carson, CA Honda 1986 Wayne Rainey, Norwalk, CA Honda 1987 Kevin Schwantz, Houston, TX Suzuki 1988 Doug Polen, Denton, TX Suzuki 1989 Rich Arnaiz, Stockton, CA Yamaha 1990 Doug Chandler, Salinas, CA Kawasaki 1991 Jamie James, Prairieville, LA Yamaha 1992 Jamie James, Baton Rouge, LA Yamaha 1993 Doug Polen, Denton, TX Ducati 1994 Pascal Picotte, Granby, PQ, CAN Ducati 1995 Miguel Duhamel, Repentigny, PQ,CAN Honda 1996 Miguel Duhamel, Lasalle, PQ, CAN Honda 1997 Mat Mladin, Australia Ducati