Kel Edge, Andy Rixon
Find it Fast! Bikes Babes
New Fast Dates Calendar Kittens for Brands Hatch World Superbike 2007
Postcards from London and our Hrands Hatch England trip
The front of the Hilton Metropole Hotel where we stayed in downtown London after the race weekend.
The Themes River in the middle of London with Parliment on the left and the London Eye, the world's tallest ferris wheel on the right. The wheel takes a full 1-hour to revole, never stopping, with visitos walking itno the huge gondola cars as they pass by at ground level.
Towe bridge on the themes with the battle cruiser HMS Belfast, now open to visitors.
View of London Tower prison from the Themes River, where Henry the 8th beheaded his wife Ann Bolynn and anyone else he gre tired of.
A touch of trivia. The origional Queen Mary river cruise boat, buit 4 years before the much bigger Queen Mary ocean liner, now retired in Long Beach, CA, where we now hold our big LA Calendar Motorccyle Show Weekend.
The horse guard at Buckingham Pallace.
The British National Gallery Art Museum at Trafalgar Square. The city hires full-time professional "pigeon shooers" to chase the hundreds of pesky pigeons away from the Square without harmng them. The pigeos flock onto the Museum lawn instead, just 50 feet away.
Downtown London is a stark contrast of Modern and Midevil.
Starting from fourth on the grid Hopkins got a great start and was up into second position within the first few turns, a position that he never gave up for the whole race as he and eventual race-winner Casey Stoner pulled away from the rest of the field . Hopkins did challenge Stoner for first place, but was riding at the absolute limit and decided to bring the bike home safely in second rather than risk all on a battle with the Ducati rider.
Chris Vermeulen finished with a fantastic fifth place to give Rizla Suzuki MotoGP its best pair of results this season. Vermeulen got a bit boxed in at the start and was ninth at the end of lap one. He quickly made up ground as Colin Edwards fell in front of him and then he set about battling it out with three other riders. The aggressive Australian passed Randy de Puniet on lap nine and Loris Capirossi two laps later. He then sized up Valentino Rossi, before overtaking the seven-time World Champion on lap 13. Vermeulen tried to chase down the riders in front of him, but the gap was too great and he had to settle for fifth.
Vermeulen and Hopkins are now tied on 124 points in the riders’ World Championship table, with the former just leading the way due to his victory in France. With both riders on the same amount of points they have jointly become Suzuki’s highest point scorers on a four-stroke MotoGP machine, both surpassing Hopkins’s total of 116 last year.
Today’s race was watched by a record breaking Czech crowd of over 141,000, that witnessed Stoner win on the Bridgestone-shod Ducati and stretch his lead in the championship to 60 points.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will now stay in Brno for a two day test and are next in race-action in two weeks time when the MotoGP circus moves to Misano in Italy on Sunday 2nd September.
John Hopkins: “I can say that I am really, really happy with today’s result and the whole weekend in general. I got off the line well and then passed Dani and Nicky in quick succession to get up to second. My goal had been to be in second by turn three because I knew Casey would be in first and I didn’t want him to get away. I tried to stay with him, but he had an unbelievable pace and I was pushing the front and the rear to the limit – which with the Bridgestones is pretty high! I tried hard to catch him but after a while I decided to pull it in a bit and make sure I got that second place. The bike and the tyres worked great today and a big thanks to my team for a fantastic job and to Bridgestone for such awesome tyres. Congratulations to Chris on a great ride today, we’re tied on points now, so that added competition is good for the whole team for the rest of the season. I am sure everyone at Rizla Suzuki is happy with this result and I’m more happy for them as they all deserve it and it’s good for me to give these podiums back to Suzuki after all they have done for me.
“I’d like to finally wish Taro Sekiguchi all the best after his horrendous crash in the 250 race earlier today. I and all the team hope he is ok and makes a quick recovery and return to racing.”
Chris Vermeulen: “I had a good enough start, but got a bit closed in on the first turn and went back a place. Everyone was going so quick that it was hard to get anywhere early on. Colin got in front of me and then he crashed and very nearly took me with him, so I lost a bit of time from that. I then got up to de Puniet and got past him. Loris was very difficult to get by, because that Ducati is so fast on the straights, but I did. I then just kept my head down and also managed to get up to and pass Valentino a couple of laps later. It’s good points for the championship and I’m still in fourth and we’ll look for another podium next time out. Well done to John on his second place today, he has deserved that for all the hard work he has put in recently and after what happened to him in America!”
Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 3rd. "Well I'm pretty happy with the podium and I feel like we've done a decent job this weekend. Yesterday afternoon we made quite a big change with the front forks and I liked the results a lot. When I got into third position on lap two of the race I was thinking 'now you've got to get on his back wheel' and for about three corners it was looking pretty good. But then I got onto the straight, looked up and realised that really I was just dreaming. So I just kept my rhythm and I really feel like I got the best out of the bike, myself and the tyres today - I don't feel like I left much on the table. So thanks to my team because those guys did a good job. Hopefully we can keep this form going and get a little bit stronger from now on. I'd also like to dedicate this podium to Cedric Laprael, the parts guy in the Repsol Honda Team, who isn't here this weekend because he had a parachuting accident during the summer break. Get well Cedric. The team's going to stay for a couple of days testing with some new parts from Honda and a lot of Michelin tyres so we can to try and bridge the gap to these front guys."
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th. "Fourth position is the maximum we could achieve today and at least I've closed the gap a little to second in the championship which is somewhat positive. Still, I'm frustrated after the race today because I didn't feel like we could use all the potential of our package. For the first few laps I couldn't get enough heat into the rear tyre which meant I wasn't able to maintain my position and I was passed by a few riders. Then after four or five laps I could feel more heat in the tyre but by this time the leaders had gone, and Nicky too. I pushed as hard as I could for the whole race but the lap times just weren't there and my pace was slowing steadily. I'm frustrated because we haven't made the improvements in the package I was hoping for. We must work hard during the test over the next two days. Obviously, to fight for the title is very difficult, but I'm not going to give up this season. We have to try to keep the third place in the championship and at the same time try to go forward into second."
A Dismal Weekend for Team Yamaha with tire Problems as Rossi Takes a 7thand Edwards Slides Out
Starting from sixth, Rossi slipped one place at the start but regained his starting position by the end of lap one, behind Loris Capirossi. The Italian then spent several laps on his fellow countryman's tail before he was able to pass him on lap eight of 22, but by then Rossi was suffering from grip problems and was unable to push on and clear a gap from the chasing pack. A few laps later he was passed by Chris Vermeulen and then by Capirossi, before Randy de Puniet began to threaten him in the closing stages and he was forced to use all his skills to keep the Frenchman behind him to the line. Edwards meanwhile failed to finish a race for only the third time in his Yamaha career, making a rare mistake on lap two and losing the front. He rejoined the race briefly but was unable to continue, coming into the pits on the next lap.
The race was won by Casey Stoner, who extends his championship lead over Rossi to 60 points. Edwards remains seventh with 93 points. The MotoGP paddock now has one weekend off before the San Marino Grand Prix, when Grand Prix motorcycle racing returns to Misano for the first time in 14 years.
Valentino Rossi, Position: 7th Time: +22.485: "We expected a difficult race today because we knew our potential here wasn't very high after the last two days. However it was even worse than we expected! I tried to keep my rhythm going but, after only seven or eight laps, the tyre started to slide a lot on the right side and from then on I wasn't able to open the throttle.
"Throughout the weekend we have done everything to try to find more traction. We have changed the setting a lot to try to find a way to make the tyre work, but unfortunately during the race we had no grip. Also, with the setting we had to use, we had to sacrifice some of our corner speed and this also slowed us down. It was very difficult today. I was able to do 1.59s to start with but after a few laps the tyre made a big step down and then I just had to wait for the end of the race.
"I had a hard time with Capirossi at the start; in some parts I was faster than him but I couldn't overtake him because he was pulling away from me on the straights. Eventually I got past him but he stayed with me and I couldn't pull clear. I pushed as hard as I could; at that time I wasn't too fast but not too slow either, but after that my tyre was finished and then Vermeulen came, then Loris again...I am sad because I wasn't even able to try to fight with them today. Towards the end I had to push at the limit to stay in front of de Puniet and luckily I managed, but we were a very long way from a good performance. I tried to change my style, to ride in a different way to help the situation, but it was no good.
"We have a test now but in reality our situation is quite bad and we have a few different problems to deal with. We will try to make the best of the next two days of work and to try to find something different for t! he next few races. We have to wait and see what we find, but for sure it's going to be very difficult. This is a very hard moment that we're in. We have six races to go and we just have to work as hard as we can to try to find a way to make some good results."
Colin Edwards, Position: DNF Time: Lap 3: "Even though my start wasn't so bad on paper - I made up one place - it didn't feel too good. We were trying a new starting system that's been working really well but, in the hustle and bustle on the grid, I released the clutch a bit early, dropped RPM and then had to re-group. Anyway, I was pushing pretty hard from then on and I had a couple of passing areas that I knew I was good at so I was working my way up to de Puniet to see what I could do. I came out of turn three, went into four and was watching him and before I knew it, I lost the front and was on the ground. It's been a long time since I've lost the front that fast, usually it just kind of gives way but I guess it wasn't completely up to temperature, it was only the second lap and it just went. I made a mistake and I'm really disappointed, now we've got some serious work to do during the test so we have a better weekend in Misano."
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Stoner led from start to finish in the Czech Republic, his second consecutive victory from pole position. Eventually winning the race by nearly eight seconds, Stoner still had to keep his wits about him in the early going as Suzuki’s John Hopkins matched him for pace. The Anglo-American lost touch with the current series leader at the midway point, but still maintained his focus for a second place finish, his best ever in MotoGP and his second podium of the 2007 season.
Casey Stoner UnStopable at Bruno with 3rd Consecutive Pole
The Australian looked to be in for a tough time when he experienced a problem on his out lap that kept him in the garage for an extended period. However when the metal door rolled up for a second time Stoner set about his business to take his fourth pole of the season and his third consecutive start from the head of the grid.The last rider to take three consecutive pole positions was Stoner’s team-mate Loris Capirossi at the tail end of the 2005 season, with all signs boding well for Ducati tomorrow.
Making a great return to action after the summer break, Nicky Hayden will start from the front row for the first time this season after he made a late charge to try and match Stoner’s time. The reigning MotoGP World Champion was unable to break the 1’57 barrier, but starts from second on the grid regardless as he is joined in the first three by Dani Pedrosa. The two Honda factory riders have tried a mixture of new parts in practice, and look to have made a stride forward in conjunction with tyre manufacturer Michelin.
John Hopkins suffered a late low side when trying to further improve on his fourth place, although he escaped uninjured but annoyed to lead off row two. He is accompanied by strong Kawasaki qualifier Randy de Puniet and five-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi, who had been languishing in eleventh place until the final minutes of the session.
The remainder of the top three rows consists of last year’s race winner Loris Capirossi, Laguna Seca podium finisher Chris Vermeulen and factory Yamaha man Colin Edwards, whilst yesterday’s fastest rider Sylvain Guintoli rounds off the top ten.
An exposed hernia between two discs in Marco Melandri’s neck has ruled the Italian out of tomorrow’s race. The Gresini Honda rider was unable to ride in all but half of yesterday’s first free practice session, and elected to play things safe because of the obvious pain and lack of control that such an injury entails.
Fellow factory Aprilia rider and yesterday’s provisional poleman, Alex Debon also had a great qualifying session that puts him in a good position on the grid for his wild card outing. The Spaniard was just under seven tenths slower than Lorenzo, but ahead of title challengers Andrea Dovizioso and Alex de Angelis in a front row jam-packed with quarter litre talent.
A seventh victory of the 2007 season means that Casey Stoner leaves Brno with an advantage of over two races from his title rivals. Sixty points separate the Australian from second placed rider Valentino Rossi in the MotoGP World Championship after another runaway win from the Ducati young gun, with Dani Pedrosa a further 18 points behind.
Loris (65) Capirossi fights with Rossi (46), DePuniet (14) and Chris Vermueulen (7) for 5th, with Vermeulen eventually passing them all to put both Rizla Suzuki bikes - with John Hopkins taking 2nd - in the top five. Quite a turn-a-round for the Suzuki team which has struggled the last 6 years. For 2008 John Hopkins moves to team Kawasaki and Capirossi will take his place at Suzuki after 4 years with the Ducati MotoGP team.
Race Day - Stoner puts rivals on the ropes with seventh victory
It was another perfect weekend for the awesome Australian who dominated both days of practice, secured pole position and then led from start to finish, leaving his rivals floundering in his wake and stretching his lead in the second half of the 22 laps to beat runner-up John Hopkins by almost eight seconds. It was Stoner's seventh victory of the year and his second consecutive success following a similarly dominant performance at last month's US GP. Stoner's teammate Loris Capirossi spent much of the race battling back and forth with Chris Vermeulen and Valentino Rossi, eventually crossing line between the Australian and the Italian.
Both Hopkins and reigning World Champion Nicky Hayden were looking to make a comeback after disappointment at their home circuit at the previous round, and the stateside duo made amends with podium appearances. Hayden confirmed that he is back in business in the premier class after two previous podiums before his Laguna Seca misfortune, putting the Honda RC212V on the rostrum for a third time in his title defending year. ‘The Kentucky Kid’ had to pass his Honda factory team-mate Dani Pedrosa to earn his third spot, but pulled away to finish as the best classified rider from the Japanese factory.
Chris Vermeulen once again worked his way up from a less-than-ideal position on the grid for fifth place, having put in some aggressive overtaking manoeuvres on some of the more experienced MotoGP riders such as Loris Capirossi who was sixth.
Valentino Rossi’s first Brno finish off the podium in MotoGP did little to help his title chances, and he now has to chase a gap even larger than that which he closed last year if he is to regain his crown. The Italian returned to the garage with his tyres ripped to shreds after giving his all on the Yamaha M1, but could do nothing to keep touch with the riders in front. Randy de Puniet, Alex Barros and Carlos Checa were the other three riders to finish in the top ten.
We knew we had a better package than everybody else today, so I just had to push through. That's the way I look at it - if you concentrate on it race by race it makes things a little easier. We've got a few things and a lot of tyres to test here tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the tests because although we've got a really good package it'll be great if we can improve it. Also these tests will help the machine for next year when hopefully we can come out a bit stronger."
The MotoGP World Championship continues in two weeks time at Misano.
Pole Position: Casey STONER 1'56.884 166.411 Km/h
World Championship Positions:
250cc GP to Jorge Lorenzo
Dovizioso had tried to stick with his nemesis over the early stages, but a slight mistake when pushing too hard enabled Lorenzo to extend the gap to over 7.5 seconds and give the Italian a lonely but comfortable ride to the line. Mika Kallio followed up his Sachsenring podium with third place in the Czech Republic, coming off a flying start onboard the KTM. Hector Barbera, Alvaro Bautista and Hiroshi Aoyama all finished close together to round off the top six, with the latter only really catching up with those ahead of him with a pair of laps left in the race.
Thomas Luthi headed the battling Honda factory pairing of Julian Simon and Shuhei Aoyama, with Roberto Locatelli completing the top ten. Alex de Angelis failed to finish in the top four for the first time this season after colliding with Kallio on lap 17, but picked up his bike to run it home in eleventh. Now 40 points behind Lorenzo in the classification, the atmosphere is heating up yet further for De Angelis’ home race in two week’s time.
250cc rider Taro Sekiguchi is spending the night in hospital after a nasty crash in the quarter litre warm up session. Thrown high into the air when he made impact with Marco Simoncelli’s prone bike, which he was unable to see due to the dust raised just moments before, the Japanese rider came down to earth with a huge impact that fractured his pelvis and two ribs but thankfully leaves him in a non-critical condition.
Our British lasses and official SBK Fast Dates Superbike Calendar Kittens at Brands Hatch, (left to right) Gemma and Rhian Sugden.We shot this photo in the Ducati Paddock on Friday afternoon when Ducati personel again reconfirmed to me that Gemma would be the official Team Ducati Corse Girl on Sunday.
126,000 Enthusiast British fans jam pack Brands Hatch
Brands Hatch, Kent,United Kingdon August 3-5th, 2007 - With still no SBK World Superbike round taking place in America for 2007, I was still excited to return to the incredible Brands Hatch, British round of the Championship this year. If you remember from our last reports, the historical Brands Hatch Raceway set in the beautiful rolling green farmland in the county of Kent, just south of London, dates back to the 1920s and has host every form of major motorsports events from FIA Formula One and World Championship Sports car rounds, to the world's premier motorcycle races. It is amazing that historic racing venues in Europe, like this one at Brands hatch, just get better with age, while in America, race tracks won't comply to the latest race car and safety standards, and end up being run down club tracks.
The World Superbike starting grid on Sunday at Brands Hatch in front of 126,000 hard core sportbike fans. The track, the facility and British sportbike fans are awesome. This one race in a small country the size of California and with 20% of our national population count, pulls more spectators than the entire 11-round AMA National Roadracing Championship held across America. Next year America will possibly get 2 World Superbike rounds and a chance to redeem itself.
Particularly when they found out Gemma lived in Manchester, a major British city about 3 1/2 hours north of London, since both Carl and Neil being from Manchester as well. Gemma was planning to ride home by train to Manchester on Sunday night after the races, but now she was to be driven home in style by the World Champion Fogarty and his team manager Neil.
Fast Dates Calendar Kitten and Miss Manchester, Gemma (right) shares starting grid duties at Brands on Sunday for Alstare Corona European Superstock 1000 rider Xavier Simeon who placed 2nd that race, and is currently 2nd overall in the Championship behind Matteo Baiocco (Yamaha). The grid girl on the left is another well known Fast Dates Calendar Kitten and Miss Great Britain, Nicki Lane.
It also turned out that model Rhian was from Manchester too. But she and Gemma had never met until I brought them together at the hotel on Thursday night, before our big calendar shoot out at the track on Friday after final Superbike practice. They became good friends while working together, and plan to get back in touch back home. Both girls own their own cars in Manchester, but traffic is terrible on the highway down to London, and petrol is extremely expensive at close to $8 per gallon now. An advance booked round-trip train fare from Manchester to London and back - about 250 miles - cost around $220, but it was still quicker and cheaper than driving down by car. Gemma was able to get her boyfriend drive her to our hotel on Thursday night when we first met up and checked into the rooms I had booked before dinner.
But Rhian had to take a taxi the remaining 25 miles down from London to our hotel in Dartford near the track, and that cost her dearly as well. Since Rhian was only available to work for me on Friday, after the shoot that evening we drove her to the local village train station to catch a return train to London, then a train change back to Manchester. Her traveling expenses for the Calendar shoot nearly cancelled out what she made for the day. Here in America where gas is still fairly inexpensive at $3.50 gallon and everyone continues to drive by car, and public transportation is not practical in most major urban areas, we are in for a reality check very soon.
Gemma fluffs her hair as we get ready to shoot Max Biaggi's Alstare Corona Suzuki GSXR1000 World Superbike in front of the Pit Garages at Brands Hatch. Photo by Kel Edge.
As usual, the SBK Fast Dates Calendar shoot weekend wasn't normal without a few dramas to make it even more exciting. Before even flying over to England from Los Angeles, I had been having difficulties for months trying to get the organization staff at FGSport confirm the media credentials me and the models needed to get access to the bikes and work on the starting grid for the race. I finally gave up with just 2 days left, and with a direct E-mail to FGSport president and good friend Paolo Flammini, I got an Email back from his new right hand man and another friend, new FGSport Special Projects Manager Paolo Ciabatti, the former marketing Director at Ducati Corse. All the necessary full Media and Photo Credentials with grid passes, including VIP staff paddock parking would be waiting for us at Will Call.
A winning combination at the Brands Hatch World Superbike weekend, Rhian with James Toselands double race winning Ten Kate SBK Fast Dates Calendar Hannspree Honda CBR1000RR! Click for a Screensaver.
Then on Friday evening after Practice on Pit Lane for our calendar shoot we had the usually deluge of team mechanics lining up their bikes in front of their pit garages for us to come over and shoot. Ducati Corse Press Manager Julian Thomas come over and told me that Troy Bayliss factory 999F07 would be ready to shoot in about 10 minutes. But with my concentration continually being diverted by shooting, directing the models and getting them to change swimsuits and come back to the bikes, other teams lining up and asking me to shoot heir bike next, I could do little more than look over to the ducati garage to see if Bayliss' bike had been pushed out of the garage for me to come over and shoot (as always), but it wasn't. About an hour goes buy and then a storming mad Ducati Press Manager comes stomping over to me an nearly takes my head off, shouting why i wasn't over to their garage an hour ago to get their bike. That I was "...keeping all (9) of the team's crew fromgoing to dinner!" waiting on me (As if all of couldn't have gone to dinner in the Paddock 200 yards away, with just one person lagged behind to help me with the bike and close up their garage when finished). So I went over to get Bayliss' bike next. The entire Ducati race team come out onto Pit Lane while I set it up to shoot, to seats behnd me on the Pit Wall to spectate as the girls did their thing, and begged me to take a team picture of all the Ducati mechanics with Troy's bike and the Calendar Kittens. Then finally, they could all go to dinner in the Ducati Hospitality Tent where the girls and I weren't invited!
Troy Bayliss' Team must not have beenlook too hungry to get to dinner, as they all waited to watch the Fast Dates Calendar shoot with Gemma and Rhian....
So Friday morning when we first arrived at the track, I took Gemma by the Ducati Hospitality Area and media room to introduce her to Julian Thomas and Claudia, the woman who manages the Hospitality area and the grid girls to introduce her to them, and again confirm she was working the grid for them on Sunday. And they both confirmed it again.
Gemma on the Brands Hatch starting line for the Superbike race without a bike of her own!
On Sunday afternoon before the last race ended, I got Gemma Louise packed up in the car with Carl Fogarty and Neil Bramwell to head back home to Manchester. Then headed off myself back to the hotel before 126,000 sportbike fans clogged up the only 2 roads out of the track . The race would still be waiting for me to watch on TiVo back in Los Angels when i got home.
Why mingle with the tourists on foot in front of Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guards, when you are this close from the top of the London tour bus!
We took a tour boat ride down the Themes River through Tower Bridge and past the battle cruiser HMS Belfast.
LA Calendar Bike Show Hostess and Playboy Playmate Tamara Witmer featured
Featured are all the top factory Superbikes from Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Ducati including double World Champion Troy Bayliss' 2006 title winning Xerox Ducati 999F06 and Troy Corser's Suzuki GSXR1000, as well as Noriyuki Haga's Yamaha R1 and James Toseland's Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR. You can read about all the drama and excitement that went into photographing this year's Calendar at Brands Hatch World Superbike in Fast Dates Calendar News July-August 2006.
Also featured are Biker Build Off TV Show challengers Roland Sands' "No Regrets" American V-twin powered sportbike, together with his contender on the show, 3-time LA Calendar Motorcycle Show winner Jesse Rooke's KTM V-twin retro board track racer. Plus, there's Roland Sand's incredible Kenny Roberts commissioned KR 990cc 5-cylinder 230hp MotoGP engine powered retro board track streetbike. Both bikes are feratured with FastDates.com Calendar Kitten and Playboy Playmate Tamara Witmer, currently featured on the MTV reality dating show Rock of Love.
This is a 16 month clanedar starting September 2007 so don't delay and order now. Last year's 2006 calendar sold out well before Christmas! ORDER HERE
AMA 2007 National Superbike Championship, Round 9 of 11
Yoshimura Suzuki team mate and defending AMA Superbike Champion Ben Spies followed Mladin home in second place and this impressive result leaves him in command of the AMA Superbike championship points chase. Saturday's 28-lap race is the first of two AMA Superbike races in this weekend's double-header event.
Mat Mladin: "It was a good race for us today. We tried to put the pressure on right up front and then tried to eke out a tenth of a second per lap. There was definitely some slippery going out there today but the lap times weren't too badâ€¦ Hopefully we can come out and do it again tomorrow. It was only three years ago or so that I had about 30 wins and we've had a lot of wins in the last few years on the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R and boosted that number up. No way do I think that 60 is going to be my lat win. I'm certainly working as hard as I can to extend my career and continue to be a force in Superbike racing."
Ben Spies: "We did make a really big change to the bike before the race today. But even so, we were keeping Mat in sight; but then I made a mistake and ran off the track. At that point, I knew I was going for second so I just put my head down and tried to put in some good laps to get my guys some data that we can use for tomorrow. Hopefully we can come back strong, though when you're riding at the limit it's hard to find much more. Maybe we can make the bike better and the rider better, and improve for tomorrow."
Mladin (66) out front again ahead of teammate Ben Spies (1) and Aaron Yates (20) on the team Jordan bike for a Suzuki Sweep on Sunday. Mladins double win this weekend leaves him just 6 points shy of catching Spies in the Championship with just two rounds, 3 races remaining.
This marks the third podium sweep for Suzuki this year. Mladin's and Spies' Yoshimura Suzuki team mate Tommy Hayden carded a strong fifth-place finish.
For six-time AMA Superbike Champion Mladin, this is his 10th win of the year and his sixth-straight at Virginia. Overall, it's his 61st career AMA Superbike victory. Defending AMA Superbike Champion Spies remains in command of the championship points chase, but this victory puts Mladin just six points behind his team mate.
Mat Mladin: "The Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 - what can you say? All three spots on the podium and so many wins in a row, it's unheard of in AMA Superbike racing. I'd like to thank my guys for working hard this weekend and giving me a good motorbike to raceâ€¦ I'm enjoying this season more than any I've had so far, because it's such a good challenge for the race and to get the measure of Ben and, to be honest, I hope we can win the next couple in Atlanta because I really want to be able to go to Laguna Seca and winner take all, because that would just be the ultimate. Laguna's never been one of my strongest tracks, but to me it's a challenge that I'd really enjoy -- to be able to have to go there and put it on the line at Laguna Seca and win one."
Ben Spies: "I didn't get a great start and I definitely didn't get it done today, though the start didn't help matters. Obviously, second place isn't getting it done. I'm not upset because I rode 100 per cent; I rode as hard as I could. At the start, I ended up having to work my way up from sixth or seventh place and when I got into second, I tried to be as consistent as possible. But I had a few tire problems and just tried to bring home second."
Aaron Yates: "The Jordan Suzuki did a hell of a job out there today. We made some changes to the bike last night that helped the GSX-R1000 get through the turns a little easier and flick a little better. It felt good to keep Ben in sight for the whole race -- that was the first time this year I've been able to do that. It just shows you how
American Honda's Jake Zemke kept his hold on third place in the AMA Superbike Championship despite a difficult race weekend in the broiling heat of Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. The track features predominantly right-hand corners, which proved abusive to even the latest Dunlop evolution tires the teams were using. Many riders suffered, including Zemke, who was slowed by a deteriorating rear tire in Saturday's 28-lap Superbike race. He finished eighth.
The American Honda team worked overnight to solve the tire grip issues and approached Sunday with renewed enthusiasm. They also switched motorcycles in an effort to lighten the strain on the rear tire. But early on it was clear the day wouldn't be without problems. An engine misfire cropped up almost immediately and Zemke had to deal with that, while in the middle of a battle with Tommy and Roger Lee Hayden, the brothers of Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden.
As the race wore on attrition took its toll and Zemke's persistence was rewarded with a sixth place finish. It kept him third in the point standings with three races remaining.
Zemke was on his own this weekend in the absence of teammate Miguel Duhamel. Duhamel suffered serious injuries, including a lacerated liver, punctured lung, collapsed lung, and broken right ankle, in a testing accident at Road Atlanta more than a week ago. He was ruled out of this weekend's race and will almost certainly miss the penultimate round at Road Atlanta on Sept. 2.
Taylor Swift Goes Platinum with 1,000,000 Albums Sold!
Taylor has surpassed the 20 million mark for music streams on MySpace, where she is currently ranked at #15 for the most MySpace visits for all genres of music. MySpace’s current top-ranking Country artist, and the first bona-fide country star of the MySpace generation, seventeen year-old Taylor is country music’s 3rd best-selling artist this year, behind only Carrie Underwood and Tim McGraw.
Taylor Swift debuted on the Billboard sales chart at #3 in October of last year, and has been one of Country’s Top 10 sellers for 30 weeks. The CD was RIAA certified Gold in just 13 weeks, and is now Platinum (sales of over 1,000,000 units).
Just last month Taylor secured her place in country music history as the only female solo artist in Country music history to write or co-write every song on a Platinum selling debut.
In May she was awarded the fan-voted CMT: Country Music Television “CMT Music Award” for Breakthrough Video, and was nominated for Best New Female Vocalist by the Academy of Country Music. Taylor was named one of AOL’s Best New Artists of the Year, was chosen by the Los Angeles Times as “One to Watch in 2007,” and was honored as a breakthrough artist by Music Row magazine with their prestigious Critic’s Pick award.
Last week Taylor wrapped a series of dates as a featured guest on Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s Soul2Soul 2007 tour, and she is currently on tour with Brad Paisley. She has also shared the stage with Rascal Flatts, George Strait and Kenny Chesney. And on July 31st we got to see her in an incredible show with leeann Rimes at the Pacific Amphitheatre.
For more information and photos of beautiful Taylor Swift check out her feature profile in our FastDates.com Chicks that Kick Ass!