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AMA: Yates Looks to Break Into the Win Column at Mid-Ohio

12 July 2000

     PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship racer

Aaron Yates has been nipping at the heels of his teammate Mat Mladin and Honda's

Nicky Hayden all season long. Earning podium finishes in four of seven races so

far this year has made Yates the third-ranked rider in the series, but he hasn't

yet stood atop the podium. That could change this weekend (July 14-16) in the

Chevy Trucks Superbike doubleheader at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington,


     Coming into this weekend's pair of Superbike races, the season has been

dominated by just two riders, Mladin and Hayden. Mladin, the defending champion

and current series leader, has never had a great deal of luck at Mid-Ohio. He

did finish as runner-up to Doug Chandler at last year's event, but prior to that

he had finished 21st, fourth and seventh in previous races. This weekend, the

Australian will be looking for his first win on the scenic 2.4-mile circuit.

     This weekend's double-header will be Hayden's second and third Superbike

races at Mid-Ohio. As a Superbike rookie last year, he battled for second place

before crashing out of the race. The young rider from Kentucky will not be able

to afford a mistake like that this year if he is to catch the red-hot Mladin in

the championship chase. After winning last Saturday in Monterey, Calif., Hayden

is just 9 points out of first.

     Mid-Ohio presents a perfect opportunity for Yates not only to close on

Mladin and Hayden in the points chase, but also to prove that he can beat the

top two riders. Yates, of Milledgeville, Ga., likes Mid-Ohio. The twisty circuit

plays into the Georgian's aggressive riding style. He won the Superbike race at

Mid-Ohio in 1998 and would love to join Fred Merkel, Miguel Duhamel and Doug

Chandler as the only riders to win Mid-Ohio's Superbike race more than once.

     Chandler and Duhamel are having off seasons by their standards. Chandler, a

three-time Mid-Ohio winner from Salinas, Calif., has only earned one podium

finish so far this season when he was third at the opener in Daytona Beach, Fla.

     For Duhamel it's been even worse. The 1995 AMA Superbike champ has

struggled on the new Honda RC51. While he has managed to finish fourth two

times, he has also finished outside the top-10 twice, something very rare for

the veteran racer from Montreal.

     In addition to Saturday and Sunday's Chevy Trucks Superbike finals, fans

will get a full slate of support races this weekend.

     The Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport Series has been one of the most hotly

contested class in AMA road racing. There have been five different winners in

five races coming into Mid-Ohio, with Kawasaki's Eric Bostrom holding a slim

2-point lead over Kurtis Roberts of Erion Racing Honda.

     In the Lockhart Phillips USA 750 SuperSport Series, it is young

Valvoline/Emgo Suzuki rider John Hopkins leading the way by 3 points over series

veteran Jimmy Moore of Ricci Motorsports.

     In the MBNA 250 Grand Prix Series, last year's Mid-Ohio winner Chuck

Sorensen is leading the series coming into this weekend, but he is rapidly being

caught by legendary AMA 250 GP rider Rich Oliver. After his bike quit at

Daytona, Oliver has been on a tear winning three races and moving into second in

the standings.

     In the Formula Xtreme Series, Kurtis Roberts is undefeated

so far this year. His Erion Racing Honda teammate, Josh Hayes, is hoping to make

his return from injuries early in the season by getting his first win of the


     In the Buell Pro Thunder Series, consistent finishes have helped Jeffrey

Nash to take the points lead, but he is still looking for his first win in the

series coming into this weekend.

     For tickets to the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship races at

the Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tires, call (800) MID-OHIO.

Saturday and Sunday's Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike races will be broadcast live

on Speedvision, at 2pm local time. Check local listings, as broadcast times may