Eric has been known to get his elbow down
Here is a short history of the brothers Bostrom. A few years ago, Ben cut his superbike teeth on a factory Honda RC45, and, without winning a race that season, won the AMA Superbike championship. During that same season, younger brother Eric, toiling in the 600 Supersport class, was elevated to ride the injured Miguel Duhamel’s RC45 — quickly winning two AMA Superbike races on the difficult-to-ride machine. The word in the pits that year: “Ben is fast, but Eric is smoother and faster.” Eric was re-hired by Honda following that season, while Ben was let go.
The following year, Eric broke his ankle before the opening round at Daytona, and lost his confidence — confidence he never regained that season. Meanwhile, older brother Ben battled Suzuki’s Mat Mladin to the bitter end for the AMA Superbike championship on a Ducati, only to lose that championship by a narrow margin. Ben nearly won the prestigious AMA series two years in a row.
Ben’s career has gelled
This year, as a reward for his often brilliant riding of the Ducati in the AMA series, Ben joined the Ducati Corse WSB team, but struggled and only regained his form after being “demoted” to a privateer Ducati team mid-season. Meanwhile, Eric (whose skills had literally been forgotten by several fans and journalists) slowly learned to ride his factory Kawasaki in the AMA Superbike series (yes, Honda let Eric go last year). With the help of tuner Al Ludington (another Honda refugee), Eric steadily improved and put his aging Kawasaki on the podium several times in the second half of the season. Eric also nearly won the 600 Supersport title for Kawasaki this year.
From time-to-time, Kawasaki nurtures a lengthy relationship with a special rider. Jeff Ward and Ricky Carmichael come to mind (in the motocross arena). Kawasaki is very impressed with Eric, as it should be, and is apparently nurturing just such a relationship with him. Eric’s ride in Japan this weekend at the final round of the Japanese Superbike series is evidence of this.
Kawasaki is going the extra mile to hone Eric’s skills for next season and beyond. For those who understand, what Eric Bostrom and Al Ludington did this year at Kawasaki is nothing short of phenomenal. It is a testament to the skills of both men — and a hint at just how good Eric Bostrom can be. Remember, Kawasaki will have a GP team soon, with four-stroke, works machinery beneath them. My guess is that Eric Bostrom is being groomed to ride one of those bikes.