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Pike’s Peak Preview; AMA Superbike Championship Comes Down to Final Race

Mat Mladin (Yoshimura Suzuki) and Ben Bostrom (Vance & Hines Ducati) square off Sunday at Pike’s Peak International Raceway for the AMA Superbike Championship. In the final round of a series that has been, in many ways, dominated by Bostrom’s teammate Anthony Gobert, the consistency of Mladin and Bostrom have them at the top of the points list going into the final round.

With eight points separating them (Mladin is in front), Mladin can finish second in the race and win the championship regardless of what Bostrom does on Sunday. Mladin, therefore controls his own fate, while Bostrom must not only ride as hard as he can, but secretly hope that Mladin has an off weekend.

Gobert, who won more races that any other rider, and who was seemingly unstoppable during the middle of the season, has had some poor results lately and should not be a factor in the championship except as a “spoiler”. You can bet that Terry Vance has instructed Gobert to let Bostrom win if they are running 1/2 in the race, and, if possible, to place himself between Bostrom and Mladin on the track to push Mladin as far back as possible.

Bostrom is the defending AMA Superbike champion, who won almost by default following the drug suspension of Gobert and season-ending injuries to Miguel Duhamel during the 1998 season. He did not win a single race last year.

This year Bostrom has proven himself a worthy champion by winning one leg of the World Superbike championship round held at Laguna Seca, and the subsequent AMA Superbike round at Brainerd. He was also a consistent second place finisher to Anthony Gobert during Gobert’s streak of victories earlier this year.

Mladin, when necessary, has rode the wheels off his underdog Suzuki in an effort to keep pace with the dominant Ducati’s. After establishing a sizeable points lead earlier this year, Mladin could afford to be conservative, but Sunday’s race will be different. Bostrom has slowly chipped away at Mladin’s points lead, and, if Bostrom goes to the front on Sunday (as expected – given the way he has ridden lately), Mladin will have no choice but to hang it out. It could be the most exciting race of the year.

MD will update you with qualifying results and, of course, race results on Sunday.