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AMA: Sorensen successfully defends his MBNA 250 Grand Prix title

4 October 2000


     PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Veteran AMA MBNA 250 Grand Prix rider Chuck Sorensen

continued a remarkable string of top finishes this year with a second-place

finish at Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, Calif., Sunday to earn his second

straight MBNA 250 Grand Prix championship.

      "I have to give the credit to my team," said an appreciative Sorensen. "To

go an entire season without a mechanical failure and to provide me with a bike

that was as fast and competitive as the one I rode is something that not many

riders get an chance to experience."

     Sorensen, 26, finished on the podium in all nine series races and was able

to hold off his former mentor, Rich Oliver, by 5 points to take the title.

Sorensen follows in the footsteps of riders such as Eddie Lawson, Donnie Greene,

John Kocinski and Oliver, all of whom have won back-to-back championships in the

250 GP series, which dates back to 1977.

     This year's title was even more impressive than his '99 championship due

mainly to one person -- Rich Oliver. Sorensen, who for two years was a member of

Oliver's 250GP team, had to race against the all-time winningest rider in the

history of the series. Oliver won most of the battles, tallying seven wins, but

it was the rock-solid consistency of Sorensen and his World Sports Yamaha team

that overcame the brilliance of Oliver to win the series.

     Even in defeat, Oliver seemed genuinely happy for his former protégé's

victory.

     "If someone besides myself was going to have to win the championship, I'm

glad that at least it was Chuck," Oliver said. "He's a great competitor. I've

always known that. That's why I hired him to race for my team when he was coming

up through the ranks."

     Sorensen is a nine-year veteran of AMA Pro Racing. He scored his first

points-paying finish in 1992 and climbed steadily since then. He took his first

National win in the 250 GP final at Brainerd, Minn., in 1994 while riding for

Team Oliver Yamaha, and he ended the year as the second-ranked rider in the

series. In '95 he was ranked third at season's end.

     In rising to the top of the 250 ranks, Sorensen also had to overcome

adversity after injuries slowed him in 1996. That year he was slated to ride for

Erion Racing, but was injured at Daytona and did not return to the team.

Instead, he went to England and competed in the British Super Cup Series. In

1997 Sorensen returned to the U.S. and raced a limited schedule in the 250 Grand

Prix and 750 SuperSport series.

     The 1998 season marked a triumphant return for Sorensen. Riding for World

Sports, he won three AMA 250 GP races and ended the year third in the series.

His comeback hit a high mark in 1999 when he earned six 250 GP wins and handily

won the title and continues today with his second championship.