The AMA Supermoto Championship double header was held at Infinion Raceway in Sears Point, CA. We were lucky to have had spectacular weather both days while at this outstanding venue. This was a very critical event for the team, as Darryl had a 5 point lead in the unlimited championship, and Benny closely trailing the top 3 positions in the 450 class.
Saturday – Round 5
Unlimited Heat Race 1
Unlimited Heat Race 2
450 Heat Race
The final got off to an awesome start with Darryl comfortably leading the first 10 and a half laps of the 13 lap final with Benny following in 2nd. An incredible misfortune occurred when Darryl landed off a metal ramp. The bead on his rear tire popped, immediately flattening the tire. Darryl managed to controllably pull over, finish the remaining portion of the lap, and guide the bike into pit lane. Benny saw Darryl’s tire mishap, slowed down to avoid any incidents, and carefully made a pass. This allowed 3rd place rider, and championship contender Steve Drew to go underneath both Darryl and Benny who were tied up in the aforementioned incident. The Factory Aprilia Rip it mechanics were ready with a spare wheel to make an amazing wheel change.
Meanwhile, Carlson made a charge back at Drew in hopes to win the race. On the final straight (which had been the strong point of the track for the Aprilia’s), Carlson set Drew up to make a calculated passing maneuver. Benny got an amazing drive out of the final corner along the final straight to the checkered flag. Drew deliberately made attempts to connect and block Benny as they crossed the finish line. Atkins managed to join back into the race for the final lap to finish 9th.
We were in communication with the AMA officials in regards to the dangerous riding displayed by Steve Drew, and the outcome was to later be decided by the AMA.
“It was extremely disappointing to be dealt such a misfortune when I had control of the race. I had done everything 100% correct in my calculations to increase my points lead going into the final day. It’s a real heart breaker, and I’m lost for words. My crew did a fantastic job switching out the wheels in pit lane so I could still salvage the 9th place.” Commented Atkins with great disappointment, and appreciation for his crews quick thinking and performance.
Carlson added: “We were looking great to have an Aprilia Rip It 1 - 2 finish, and when Darryl got the flat tire, it really caught me by surprise. I didn’t know which way to go around him since he could have easily lost control and taken both of us out. I had to make a charge back at Drew, and had him set up perfectly to make the calculated pass on the final straight. Drew made dangerous attempts in blocking me and cutting me off, causing me to lose control, and forcing me to close the throttle allowing him to win the race by 0.068 of a second. I was disgusted with these actions. It was not sportsman like by any means, and kept me from legitimately winning the race. Their decision to put Drew on probation was not a fair penalty for this deliberate dangerous maneuver.”
Post race controversy (brought up by both riders and spectators) swarmed with indication that Drew had spun out of a corner and missed out a portion of the track. This was clearly witnessed by officials, flag marshals, spectators and riders, and gave him an ample advantage to take the win over Benny. Drew got away with 2 violations, however, the current outcome surprisingly did not effect the final race result.
Sunday - Round 6
Sunday morning we found out that the AMA wasn’t taking any action regarding the incidents which occurred on Saturday, so we went from a 5 point advantage, to an 8 point disadvantage in the unlimited championship. This meant all we could do was win, and hope for enough riders to separate Atkins and Drew to capture the championship.
Unlimited Time Pratice
450 Time practice
Unlimited Heat Race 1
450 Heat Race
Overall Championship 450 Benny 5th
Overall Championship Unlimited Darryl 2nd
With the bad luck from Saturdays flat tire incident, Atkins needed to take the win, and have Steve Drew come across in 5th to secure the championship. Another bout with bad luck occurred when Husqvarna rider Micky Dymond had an engine malfunction, and was unable to start the race.
Darryl led the entire 13 lap race, but unfortunately another rider had a mechanical malfunction, which again shortened the gap between Steve Drew (in 5th) and Atkins. Drew won the championship over Atkins by 1 point, with looming controversy over Saturdays change in point standings. Drew 125 points, Atkins 124.
I believe I proved today I had what was needed to win this championship, all we can do is look forward from here. Its been my life long goal to win a championship such as this, and to miss it on a technical issue its hard. I know we did the best job in the most professional manner possible, so I have to be proud of that, and am extremely thankful to my crew and sponsors. None of our success would have been possible without these key elements. " Commented Atkins after the podium.
As he walked to the line for the 450 final, Carlson added: "We did the best job we could and I am happy to have been part of the team this year. Our sponsors and crew have done an excellent job, and I really look forward to the possibilities of working with them again in the very near future." Carlson put in yet another fine performance in the 450 class finishing 4th in the final, and rounding out the season in 5th place.
A special Thank you to our team Amauri Nunes, Chuck McCarty, John Weiss, Steve Mora, Ed Cook, Heather Atkins and the teams sponsors: