Monday, July 4, 2011

AMA Road Racing:'s Chris Martin Compares AMA Superbike Rookie Wins Over the Years

Mike Hale on the #23 Amer. Honda Motor Co./Smokin' Joe's Racing/Dunlop/DID-sponsored Honda RC-45 navigates the track during the St. Louis Superbike Challenge main event at Gateway International Raceway in August of '95.  Hale, the '90 AMA Pro Flat Track/Camel Pro Rookie of the Year, came into the AMA Superbike Championship Series after having a very successful career in the AMA Flat Track Series and 883 Flat Track Series in the early '90s.  Paired with Canadian Miguel Duhamel on the Smokin' Joe's Honda RC-45s, Hale came in second on the year in the Superbike Series (and the HP4 600 Supersport Series) behind Duhamel, who scored the '95 AMA Superbike Championship and the 600 Supersport Championship.  Hale won two Superbike main events in '95 including his break out win at Pomona early in the season as a rookie in the 'fire breather' class, and he also doubled-up with a win in the 600 Series over the weekend.

Moving to the World Superbike Championship Series in '96-'97, Hale struggled while running the European series, in spite of having podiumed at the Laguna Seca WSBK round the previous year and never found his true footing for someone with his obvious abilities on a premier-class machine.  The personable Texan went on to run a season on Kenny Roberts' Proton 500CC GP team before returning to the States to ride for the Fast By Ferracci Ducati team, Rockwall and Erion Honda teams in the Superbike, Formula Xtreme and 600 Supersport Series, but never regained that top-form that saw him atop the box in AMA Road Racing.  For someone that was such a great representative of the sport and easily approachable, it was a sad loss for the series, sponsors and fans when Mike Hale hung up his leathers.

With Martin Cardenas winning his first AMA Superbike Championship Series win at the Barber Motorsports Park round back in June, the M4 Suzuki pilot added his name to a short list of talent over the years to win an AMA Superbike Championship Series race in their rookie season.  The names of Aaron Yates, Ben Spies and Neil Hodgson (among several others) are but a few who actually have won races during their 'rookie' seasons in the premier class of AMA Road Racing since the series was created in the mid '70s.

Chris Martin, who does a super job of keeping the fans up to date on the racing action in AMA Pro Road Racing at, penned the following story that compares the men who have tried to win in their first-full seasons in the AMA Superbike Championship Series, and those that have failed along the way. 

Read on:

Have a great and safe Independence Day Holiday today.  Drive (and ride) safe and sober and remember those who made these great United States over the years, decades and centuries the great nation that it is. 

God Bless America!

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