Superbikes: Duhamel wins first 600 Supersport race in over a year
12 June 2000
Five-time Pro Honda Oils 600cc SuperSport Champion Miguel Duhamel made a triumphant comeback by winning his first 600 SuperSport race since the Daytona International Speedway event in March of 1999. The Montreal native spent most of the 1999 season sidelined with leg injuries. His win this weekend marks the 37th-career victory in the class. Duhamel is the all-time win leader in the history of 600 SuperSport racing. Duhamel earned the victory in the race with a dramatic drafting pass on Tommy Hayden and Kurtis Roberts charging up the front straight to the checkered flag. Duhamel put his factory Honda F4 just inches ahead of Roberts' Erion Honda and Jamie Hacking's Yamaha at the finish line. Brother Tommy and Nicky Hayden rounded out the top five. Roberts retained his series lead by a single point over Duhamel, thanks to winning the point for leading the most laps during the hard-fought race, which saw dozens of lead changes. The race was red flagged twice due to two accidents involving a total of five riders. Three of the riders involved in the accidents were treated and released at the track medical facility. OLIVER WINS INJURED Not even a sore body and broken finger could keep Rich Oliver from winning the MBNA 250 Grand Prix race at Road America. Oliver broke away from early challenger Roland Sands and pulled away to a 14.96-second margin of victory over Sands. Series leader Chuck Sorensen was third, four and half seconds back from Sands. Oliver's victory, his 44th-career win in the class, moved him from eight in the standings to second, 15 points behind Sorensen. HAYDEN DOUBLES AT ROAD AMERICA AMA SUPERBIKE NATIONAL Owensboro, Kentucky's Nicky Hayden, riding a Honda RC51, won the second leg of the Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship at Road America Sunday, completing a perfect weekend after also winning Saturday's American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Superbike National. Hayden, 18, nipped series leader Australian Mat Mladin by 0.457 seconds at the finish and averaged 109.542 miles per hour, a record for the race. Mladin's Suzuki teammate Aaron Yates, of Milledgeville, Ga., finished a close third. Hayden's victory moved him to within a single point of Mladin in the championship race after five of 12 rounds. Hayden took the lead at the drop of the green flag, but former World Superbike champion John Kocinski put his Vance & Hines Ducati into first under heavy braking into turn five of the four-mile, 14-turn road course. Mladin moved up and took over the lead on the second lap. In the middle stages of the 16-lap race Mladin, Hayden and Yates established a breakaway with Canadian Miguel Duhamel and Kocinski running about two seconds behind the leading trio. With two laps remaining, Hayden took the lead, while teammates Mladin and Yates traded second. The final lap was intense with both Mladin and Yates working hard to pass young Hayden, but Hayden held off the challenges to earn his second-career AMA Superbike victory in as many days. "My bike was a little faster than the others today," said Hayden modestly. "The way the bike was set up made it a little slow mid-turn, but I was able to make it up with late braking into the turns and good top speed. "It feels really good getting my first two Superbike wins in one weekend. I know it's not going to get any easier. There are a lot of talented and hungry riders in this series." The Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championships move to New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H., next Sunday, June 18. SMITH WINS HIS SECOND BUELL PRO THUNDER FINAL Former AMA Superbike star Mike Smith is throwing the Buell Pro Thunder Series on it's ear. The rider from Canton, Ga., joined the class last week at Road Atlanta and won in his first outing. He came back to win his second-straight race Sunday at Elkhart Lake. Defending champ Shawn Conrad was second and Jeff Nash was third, good enough to retain his points lead. Smith battled for the lead early with another former factory Superbike rider Shawn Higbee. Higbee's machine began smoking and he was force to retire on lap seven of the 10-lap final. With Higbee gone, Smith was able to cruise home to a nine-second margin of victory. Nash now leads the series with 90 points. Tom Montano, who just arrived back from racing at the Isle of Man TT, finished fourth Sunday and is second in the series standings with 80. At 74 points, Smith moved into series contention with his win and now stands fourth in the series, just five points behind Conrad. THE BATTLE FOR A CHEVY SILVERADO HEATS UP A $32,000 Chevrolet Silverado is the prize that Nicky Hayden and Mat Mladin are eyeing heading into the final round of the Chevy Trucks Like a Rock Challenge at the Mid-Ohio doubleheader July 14-16. After this weekend, Hayden leads Mladin by six points in the Like a Rock Challenge point standings. At this point only Mladin and Hayden are eligible for the truck, since a rider has to win a race at one of the three doubleheaders, although that could change if other riders should win at the final rounds of the challenge at Mid-Ohio.