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World Superbike Championship 2004 World Superbike Championship Round 4

Regis Laconi Doubles Monza World Superbike at Warp Speed
Monza, Italy 14-16 May 2004 - With ultimate velocities of well over 300kmph and average lap speeds of over 190kmph Monza holds the crown as the fastest track on the SBK calendar. And the fastest rider this weekend was Regis Laconi (Ducati Fila 999F04) who added to his 2004 race wins score in perfect fashion at Monza, taking two front running wins on his Ducati Fila machine. Regis was untouchable and in each race he won by a margin that underlined why he is the only rider to have secured more than one win so far this year. His total now stands at four and he leads the World Championship by three points from Ducati Fila team mate Toseland, with a total of 120. Monza also proved tragic for incoming points leader and local hero Frankie Chili who's PGS-1 Ducati blew 2 engines (!) in Race 1, and then saw Frankie return in Race 2 to crashing out and loose the Championship points lead to the factory Ducati squad.

Three Superpoles To Rule Them All: Regis Laconi (Ducati Fila 999F04) continued his superb run of qualifying form to secure his third Superpole win of the 2004 season, setting the best lap of the meeting with 1:48.258 in the process. His latest dose of pre-race domination came in front of anenthusiastic crowd of Ducatisti at one of the Italian factory’s home circuits, the magnificently appointed Monza. Second in Superpole, growing in stature with every competitive outing, Ten Kate Honda rider Chris Vermeulen was almost at the level of Laconi, despite making a small misjudgement under braking at the entrance to the first chicane on his flying lap. However, the Australian took a new top speed record for SBK at Monza of 313 kmh, beating Frankie Chili’s previous record top speed of 311.2 kmh, which has stood since 1998.

Pierfrancesco Chili (PSG-1 Ducati 998) sent his local fans wild when he temporarily headed the Superpole qualifying times, but after being deposed by first Vermeulen and ultimately Laconi, the veteran rider had to be content with a front row start in third position. Noriyuki Haga finished off the front row qualifying order - and by being fourth made the post Superpole front row a carbon copy of the front row order of regular qualifying.

Laconi Lords It Early On: The fastest rider on show in regular qualifying (which determines the top 16 to qualify for Superpole, and the grid order for those outside the top 16) was once more Regis Laconi. The second place for Chris Vermeulen in the pre-Superpole sessions was an outstanding result for the Ten Kate Honda team, which is new to Superbike this season. Leon Top Five: Renegade Ducati rider Leon Haslam ended Superpole on the coat tails of his team leader Noriyuki Haga, finishing with fifth fastest time at
the head of the second row. Ducati Fila factory pilot James Toseland could only go sixth, but feels confident that he can run in a podium position on raceday. Gianluca Nannelli continued his first day ferocity to scoop seventh place on his Ducati 998, the second row being finished off by the DFX Ducati 999 of Marco Borciani.

Petronas Power Down: Losing out in the horsepower stakes to the bigger 1000cc twins and fours, the 900cc Petronas of Chris Walker was not the ideal weapon to attack the Monza citadel with. Walker made up for his missing grunt by simply attacking every corner and chicane on the 5.973km circuit, posting a ninth fastest time and now hoping to get away with the riders from rows one and two during the 18-lap races on Sunday. His team-mate Troy Corser was 12th. His fellow Aussies Garry McCoy (Xerox Nortel Ducati 999) and Steve Martin (Ducati DFX 999) went tenth and 11th respectively. All 25 entrants qualified with the permitted time limit.

Supersport: Karl Muggeridge (Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) continued his domination of the Supersport class at Monza with pole position to add to his provisional pole from Friday. The Aussie’s best lap of 1:51.624 was fully a second faster than closest chaser Sebastien Charpentier (Klaffi Honda), with Yamaha rider Fabien Foret (Team Italia) third quickest. The front row for Sunday’s 16-lap race will be completed by Foret’s team-mate, championship leader Jurgen van den Goorbergh. Katsuaki Fujiwara gave the Alstare Suzuki team a top five finish, with Ten Kate Honda rider Broc Parkes in sixth. Aussie Kevin Curtain rode his Yamaha Germany machine to seventh and the top local rider is Italia Megabike Honda rider Alessio Corradi, last man on the second row. On home soil, Italian manufacturer Ducati placed rider Lorenzo Lanzi ninth, not an ideal start for the 16-lap Supersport event.

RACE DAY: Laconi & Ducati Double Down - Tragedy for Points Leader Chili
First Among Equals: Regis Laconi (Ducati Fila 999F04) added to his 2004 race wins score in perfect fashion at Monza, taking two front running wins on his Ducati Fila machine. He was untouchable and in each race he won by a margin that underlined why he is the only rider to have secured more than one win so far this year. His total now stands at four and he leads the World Championship by three points from Toseland, with a total of 120. In a day of much regulatory discussion, Chris Vermeulen (Ten Kate Honda) was excluded from second place after his engine cut-out switch, devised to kill the engine in the event of a fall, did not function when tested.

Race 1: With Pierfrancesco Chili (PSG-1 Ducati 998) experiencing an engine failure from his first choice machine, pulling out on the warm-up lap and swapping to his 999 machine in pitlane, the way was open for Chris Vermeulen to take an early advantage. He could not make his early speed stick for the entire race, as he dropped back to finish fourth. Regis Laconi ran away to a clear win, by 9.8 seconds over the hard charging James Toseland, his own team-mate. The Fila Ducati 1-2 was followed on by a third place for Aussie privateer Garry McCoy, on the first Xerox Scuderia Caracchi 999RS. Aussie Chris Vermeulen was fourth, in a race that was to deliver his only points scoring finish of the day.

Race 2: After Vermeulen was excluded from race two, having had a clear race in the vacuum of the disappearing Laconi (some 12 seconds ahead), James Toseland was promoted to second and Garry McCoy bagged himself a pair of third places – making each podium finish a carbon copy of the other. In fourth, Leon Haslam belatedly had his best ever SBK result, earning 13 additional points.

Chili Calamity: The beaten but unbowed figure of Pierfrancesco Chili left Monza with no race finishes to his name, the championship leader before Monza having two mechanical failures in race one and a crash in race two. A Monza crowd up 14,000 from last year - to a total of 86,000 - was behind Chili’s attack from the start, on a day when Superbike racing offered a feel good factor off the scale at the revamped Monza.

Petronas Perseverance: Despite a lack of power in comparison to the big twins and fours in SBK, the recently re-engineered Petronas machines of Chris Walker and Troy Corser battled around what will maybe be their worst circuit if the year. Each scored strong top ten finishes; Corser was ninth and fifth, with Walker eighth and seventh. Walker was especially combative, running all over the back tyre of Marco Borciani’s DFX Ducati in race one, with Borciani seventh and eighth.

Supersport Race
Karl Muggeridge (Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) once more bulldozed the Supersport competition, winning from Fabien Foret (Yamaha Italia) – another rider who was later excluded for a technical infringement – again a non-functioning engine cut-out switch. Muggeridge’s team-mate Broc Parkes was thus promoted to second and championship leader Jurgen van den Goorbergh to third. Sebastien Charpentier (Klaffi Honda) took fourth despite a time penalty for a jump-start. In the championship van den Goorbergh leads with 73, Muggeridge is second with 62. Retiree Kevin Curtain (Yamaha) is third, some way back with 47.

MotoGP World Championship, Round 3 French Grand Prix at Le Mans

Gibernau Joins the Title Hunt with Resounding LeMans Victory
LeMans, France, Sunday May 16, 2004: The day belonged to Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) who, despite a raging fever, rampaged to a dominant win over a resurgent Carlos Checa (Yamaha) with Max Biaggi (Camel Honda RC211V) third in front of a packed Le Mans crowd of 75,000 sun-drenched race fans.

Carlos Checa took a well-earned second in the French Grand Prix today after a close-fought race in Le Mans, France. While his Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi was unable to overcome the set-up problems which he battled with all weekend, but still the young Italian finished a strong fourth after a hard fought battle with third placed Max Biaggi (Honda). Checa made the holeshot and slung his machine into the Dunlop chicane at the end of the main straight inches in front of Sete Gibernau, with Max in close pursuit. Valentino Rossi was right up with them and as the pack gradually stretched itself out there was still incident to come on the opening lap.

Ducati rider Neil Hodgson lost the back end of his machine with Norick Abe (Yamaha) and John Hopkins (Suzuki) close by – too close to take any avoiding action and prevent the three of them sliding into the gravel trap. Hopkins broke a thumb, Hodgson two ribs, while Abe was unhurt.

While the unlucky trio left the track for treatment, Checa set about installing himself as race leader and Gibernau was happy to keep him in sight as the 28-lap contest settled into a rhythm. As Max Biaggi had predicted, that rhythm was nowhere near as quick as the qualifying laps might have suggested. Indeed it was Biaggi who eventually recorded the fastest lap at 1m 33.425s on his penultimate lap.

The heateed race long battle between the bitter rivals, egotistical Max (3) Biaggi (aka Camel) and Valentino (46).

Rossi dived inside Max to take third at the final turn on lap one and within another two laps it was clear that Checa, Gibernau, Rossi and Biaggi would be the riders involved in the scrap for podium places. But Gibernau was not prepared to wait until the end to make his move and the Spaniard edged past his countryman Checa at the right hand Garage Vert turn on lap 11 when the Yamaha man ran wide.

Meantime Max was unprepared to let the leading duo run clear and he made his way past Rossi two laps later to mount a challenge to the top two. Rossi knew if he could hang onto Max he could get a tow towards the front with him. But a mistake on lap 16 looked to have made his task too hard. He would eventually finish three and half seconds adrift of Max in fourth – but not without a final effort to get on terms.

The last three laps were frantic as backmarkers entered the equation but Gibernau’s comfortable 2.2 second cushion over Checa was never threatened. Rossi however would bite back at Max on lap 26, but it was just the spur Max needed to set that fastest lap and take the sting out of Rossi’s frantic final attack.

Sete wheelied away with the win and the Championship points lead at LeMans.

“I have to thank Honda for their efforts,” said Gibernau. “They helped us understand some of the problems we’d been having at the first two Grands Prix which has got us going in the right direction. I had a fever and it was a very hard race. Carlos rode well but I passed him at half-distance and was able to open up a gap.”

Max was philosophical about his third place. “That was tough,” he said. “I had many duels with Rossi and I ran a soft tyre which turned out to be the best way to handle the whole race. I had a good duel with Checa too – but the win was beyond me today.”

Colin Edwards (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) endured front-end problems but still managed a fifth-placed finish. “The problem is temperature,” he said. “When it gets hotter the front end is not so good. We’re going to Michelin’s test facility to try and work out a solution. Apart from that everything feels good.”

Alex Barros (Repsol Honda RC211V) finished seventh. “The lights seemed to be on for a long time and when they eventually turned off, my clutch was going and I lost a few places. Then I nearly got caught in the crash on the first lap and had to concentrate and work my way up the field. I’m obviously not pleased with the result but I’m happy to have climbed from 13th to seventh.”

Makoto Tamada (Camel Honda RC211V) riding on Bridgestone tyres was eighth. “I’ve got to improve my starts and get right on the pace in the first few laps. Today the temperature was higher and we lost a bit of grip compared to yesterday. I just couldn’t run at the pace required to catch the others.”

An 11th place finish was not what Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) wanted. “I’m real disappointed. The weekend started out so good then we found it really difficult to go forward. Everything we tried with the bike and myself didn’t seem to work. We stayed pretty much the same all weekend and everyone else got faster. I guess we’ve got to look forward and learn from here.”

Gibernau heads the points table as the next race at Mugello looms in three weeks time. He has 66 points to Biaggi’s 56 with Rossi on 51.

Results MotoGP : (28 laps = 117.04 km) Pos/ Rider / Nat / Team / Motorcycle / Time/ KM/H
1 / Sete GIBERNAU / SPA / Telefonica Movistar Honda / HONDA / 44'22.750 / 158.236
2 / Carlos CHECA / SPA / Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha / YAMAHA / 44'24.421 / 158.137
3 / Max BIAGGI / ITA / Camel Honda / HONDA / 44'24.658 / 158.123
4 / Valentino ROSSI / ITA / Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha / YAMAHA / 44'27.022 / 157.982
5 / Colin EDWARDS / USA / Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot / HONDA / 44'38.505 / 157.305
6 / Marco MELANDRI / ITA / Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 / YAMAHA / 44'40.975 / 157.160
7 / Alex BARROS / BRA / Repsol Honda Team / HONDA / 44'50.406 / 156.609
8 / Troy BAYLISS / AUS / Ducati Marlboro Team / DUCATI / 44'54.280 / 156.384
9 / Makoto TAMADA / JPN / Camel Honda / HONDA / 44'55.914 / 156.289
10 / Loris CAPIROSSI / ITA / Ducati Marlboro Team / DUCATI / 45'02.262 / 155.922
11 / Nicky HAYDEN / USA / Repsol Honda Team / HONDA / 45'10.375 / 155.455
12 / Kenny ROBERTS / USA / Team Suzuki MotoGP / SUZUKI / 45'34.890 / 154.062
13 / Jeremy McWILLIAMS / GBR / MS Aprilia Racing / APRILIA / 45'46.141 / 153.431
14 / Ruben XAUS / SPA / D'Antin MotoGP / DUCATI / 44'23.773 / 152.526
15 / Kurtis ROBERTS / USA / Proton Team KR / PROTON / 44'24.402 / 152.490
Fastest Lap: Max BIAGGI 1'34.088 159.935 Km/h Lap 27
World Championship Positions:
1 GIBERNAU 66, 2 BIAGGI 56, 3 ROSSI 51, 4 BARROS 38, 5 CHECA 36, 6 EDWARDS 29,
7 HAYDEN 27, 8 CAPIROSSI 20, 9 MELANDRI 15, 10 TAMADA 15, 11 ROBERTS 12,
12 ABE 12, 13 NAKANO 11, 14 BAYLISS 10, 15 FABRIZIO 6.

250cc Race : (26 laps = 108.68 km) Pos / Rider / Nat / Team / Motorcycle / Time / KM / H
1 / Daniel PEDROSA / SPA / Telefonica Movistar Honda 250 / HONDA / 43'03.338 / 151.450
2 / Randy DE PUNIET / FRA / Safilo Carrera - LCR / APRILIA / 43'11.049 / 150.999
3 / Toni ELIAS / SPA / Fortuna Honda / HONDA / 43'22.571 / 150.331
4 / Hiroshi AOYAMA / JPN / Telefonica Movistar Honda 250 / HONDA / 43'23.765 / 150.262
5 / Alex DE ANGELIS / RSM / Aprilia Racing / APRILIA / 43'24.513 / 150.219
6 / Anthony WEST / AUS / Freesoul Abruzzo Racing Team / APRILIA / 43'27.607 / 150.041
7 / Fonsi NIETO / SPA / Repsol - Aspar Team 250cc / APRILIA / 43'41.875 / 149.224
8 / Franco BATTAINI / ITA / Campetella Racing / APRILIA / 43'43.165 / 149.151
9 / Alex DEBON / SPA / Wurth Honda BQR / HONDA / 43'45.927 / 148.994
10 / Joan OLIVE / SPA / Campetella Racing / APRILIA / 43'50.879 / 148.713
11 / Jakub SMRZ / CZE / Molenaar Racing / HONDA / 43'51.212 / 148.694
12 / Chaz DAVIES / GBR / Aprilia Racing / APRILIA / 43'54.961 / 148.483
13 / Hector FAUBEL / SPA / Grefusa - Aspar Team 250cc / APRILIA / 43'55.151 / 148.472
14 / Naoki MATSUDO / JPN / Team UGT Kurz / YAMAHA / 44'02.218 / 148.075
15 / Alex BALDOLINI / ITA / Matteoni Racing / APRILIA / 44'06.599 / 147.830
Fastest Lap: Daniel PEDROSA 1'38.202 153.235 Km/h Lap 5
Championship Positions:
1 DE PUNIET 60, 2 PEDROSA 50, 3 NIETO 34, 4 ROLFO 32, 5 DE ANGELIS 32, 6 ELIAS 28,
7 DEBON 28, 8 PORTO 25, 9 WEST 23, 10 AOYAMA 18, 11 BATTAINI 14, 12 POGGIALI 13,
13 VINCENT 11, 14 MATSUDO 8, 15 LEFORT 7.

2004 American AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship Rounds 6 & 7
Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Mladin Reigns in AMA Superbike with 1-2 Finshes at Barber
Birmingham, Alabama, USA, May 16-17th – Defending American Superbike champion Mat Mladin has maintained his position at the top of the 2004 American AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship after his opening race victory on Saturday in Race 1, was followed by a third place finish on Sunday in Race 2 at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

The weekends result leaves the four times American Superbike champion with a 25-point advantage over Miguel DuHamel (243 - 218) who took the win in today’s second Superbike national from fellow Honda rider Jake Zemke who lies third on the points table, two points further adrift.

Hondas led 24 of the 28 laps in Saturday’s race, again with Ben Bostrom out front early followed by Zemke. Bostrom’s front tire washed out on the fourth lap, putting him out of the race and handing the lead to Zemke for the next seven laps. Mladin led laps 11 through 13, then it was Zemke again to the final lap, losing out when Mladin sped by on the run to the flag. The margin of victory was 0.011 seconds. Duhamel came third.

Saturday’s opening race win was Mladin’s 29th career AMA Superbike victory and fifth for the season, while the pole position he earned during qualifying was the 36th in his AMA career and third for the season.

After Saturday’s opening race win, Mladin and his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 were again the combination to beat in Sunday’s 28-lap race, which was red flagged on the fourth lap and a complete restart ordered by officials. Starting from pole position, Mladin made a steady start, but was caught in the frantic action of the opening laps and was made to work hard in his efforts to rejoin the lead group of riders. Along with DuHamel, the pair worked their way forward, with Mladin moving into second place for the first time on lap 16. The pair continued their tussle right through to the flag, before DuHamel made his way past Zemke to take the race lead and eventual win with two laps to run, with Mladin maintaining third and the final place on the podium.

“It was a tough race out there for us today and I think it was one that got away from us,” said Mladin. “From the restart we had a problem with the bike and that made it difficult to maintain the speed I wanted to out there. I had a good battle with Miguel (DuHamel), but when it came time to move forward in the closing laps, the problem with the bike began to get worse and I had to ensure that I brought it home and score as many points as possible. We’ve extended our points lead very slightly here and not by as much as I would have liked. It’s still close and we still have a lot of work to do.”

Hondas took the top two podium on Sunday for Race 2 with American Honda’s Miguel Duhamel winning over Erion Honda’s Jake Zemke on Sunday, while Zemke got his turn with a hard-fought win in Saturday’s Formula Xtreme race. Hondas led every lap of Sunday’s Superbike race, American Honda’s Ben Bostrom for the first three laps, then Zemke from laps four to 26. Zemke’s lead gradually dwindled as he encountered lapped traffic, allowing Duhamel to make one of his patented late race moves. Two laps from the end, Duhamel slipped past Zemke in the penultimate corner of the tortuous track, then sped to victory by 0.377 seconds. Yoshimura Suzuki’s Mat Mladin, winner of Saturday’s Superbike race, was third. Bostrom slipped to fifth after losing concentration and making a mental error on the white flag lap.

“I’m just ecstatic,” a sweat-drenched Duhamel said. “It’s definitely one of the wins that I put in my book as one of the good ones.”

Prior to the Barber weekend, Zemke had finished second to his senior teammate three races in a row. That all changed in the Formula Xtreme race when he pipped Duhamel at the line by 0.011 seconds, his win ending Duhamel’s perfect season. Erion Honda’s Alex Gobert made it an all-Honda podium.

“You can’t always win them all,” a subdued Duhamel said after the race. “I’m real happy. My guys gave me a great bike.”

Colorado’s Pikes Peak Raceway is the destination for the eighth round of the 2004 AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship with the two-day event scheduled for this coming weekend, May22 & 23.

RESULTS Barber 2004 AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship, Top 10

Round 6 (Saturday) / 28 laps
1. Mat Mladin (Yoshimura Suzuki) 40:51.46 mins
2. Jake Zemke (Erion Honda) +0.011 secs
3. Miguel DuHamel (American Honda) +35.150 secs
4. Eric Bostrom (Ducati Austin) +41.463 secs
5. Josh Hayes (Attack Kawasaki) +1:00.285 mins
6. John Haner (Suzuki) +1:12.679 mins
7. Geoff May (Suzuki) +1:14.345 mins
8. Jeremy Toye (Yamaha) +1:25.959 mins
9. Eric Wood (Hooters Suzuki) +1:26.832 mins
10. Shawn Higbee (KWS Suzuki) -1 lap
Round 7 (Sunday) / 28 laps
1. Miguel DuHamel (American Honda) 40:41.42 mins
2. Jake Zemke (Erion Honda) +0.377 secs
3. Mat Mladin (Yoshimura Suzuki) +9.094 secs
4. Aaron Yates (Yoshimura Suzuki) +18.980 secs
5. Beb Bostrom (American Honda) +23.975 secs
6. Josh Hayes (Attack Kawasaki) +31.659 secs
7. Eric Bostrom (Ducati Austin) +36.646 secs
8. John Haner (Suzuki) +1:15.247 mins
9. Geoff May (Suzuki) +1:17.528 mins
10. Jeremy Toye (Yamaha) +1:17.771 mins

2004 AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship (Points after 7 of 18 rounds)
1. Mat Mladin (243, 5 wins); 2. Miguel DuHamel (218, 2 wins), 3. Jake Zemke (216), 4. Geoff May (154); 5. Eric Bostrom (147), 6. Lee Acree (136), 7. John Haner (132), 8. Larry Pegram (117), 9. J Hayes (112), 10. Cory West (109)

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PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 20, 2004) -- AMA Pro Racing today announced the SPEED TV broadcast schedule for the balance of the 2004 AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship season.
As part of SPEED TV’s effort to increase viewership, the network has created a more consistent programming block which will result in an improved overall road racing programming schedule. SPEED TV will broadcast races on the Sunday afternoons of each event weekend and as part of its popular “Two-Wheel Tuesday” program.

The 2004 television package features all remaining AMA road racing events in the Chevrolet Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei and Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme classes. AMA Repsol Superstock racing highlights will also be shown as part of SPEED TV’s Formula Xtreme programming.

“The television package SPEED TV has put together gives us a great degree of overall coverage for 2004,” AMA Pro Racing Vice President, Commercial Development John Farris said. “The new TV package allows for regularly scheduled broadcasts in programming blocks and helps build consistency among our growing fan base.”

The remaining 2004 Superbike broadcast schedule includes live coverage from both rounds at Barber Motorsports Park and Pikes Peak International Raceway. Live coverage continues at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Sunday rounds of double-header weekends at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Road Atlanta, and the season finale at Virginia International Raceway. Races not shown live will be tape-delayed as part of SPEED TV’s Sunday afternoon broadcast schedule.

“Seven live Superbike broadcasts, in addition to the live Daytona 200 coverage we received, give millions of SPEED TV viewers a great chance to experience to excitement of AMA Pro Racing’s top class as it happens,” Farris said. Currently, SPEED is available in nearly 65 million U.S. and Canadian households.

Additionally, SPEED will feature live coverage of Supersport Championship races from Infineon Raceway, Pikes Peak International Raceway and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Races from Road America, Brainerd and Virginia International Raceway will be same-day tape broadcasts with all remaining rounds shown as part of SPEED TV’s “Two-Wheel Tuesday.”

Formula Xtreme races will be coupled with Superstock highlights during the “Two-Wheel Tuesday” lineup or as part of Sunday’s race programming.
For a complete list of the 2004 Speed TV broadcast schedule, visit

AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship fans can also follow each race live at

Vermeulen disqualified from second Monza race
Chris Vermeulen's disqualification from the second race at Monza left Foggy PETRONAS Racing riders Troy Corser in fifth place and Chris Walker seventh. The Ten Kate Honda rider was stripped of his second place when a random post-race FIM inspection of tilt-switches, a safety measure designed to cut the engine when the bike is on its side, found that Vermeulen's switch was not working.

Almost Sold Out!
The 2004 Calendars
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Covergirls Janelle, Chandi and Joanna Krupa get down to work
in the 2004 Garage Girls calendar available right here. Products
are also available at:

Drag Racer Escapes Death
BILL FURR, well known for his drag racing successes on nitro Harleys, survived a horrific crash at the Lone Star Nationals at the Texas Motorplex on April 19th.
Until that point, the meeting had been a success for Furr, who had attended with his tuner Rex Harris and son Aaron as part of his crew.

Bill was pleased to qualify #1 on a 6.448/217 mph pass right out of the trailer. That gave him a two-tenths cushion and he used his other qualifying runs for scrubbing-in new tires.
First round on Sunday was a bye but was used to put in another 200 mph lap.
For the second round, he was drawn against Steve Stordeur and beat him before crossing the finish line at 215 mph.
About 300 ft after the line, witnesses thought that the tire on Furr's bike began to disintegrate and cause him to crash.

Steve Stordeur was the first person to get to Furr, who was unconscious at first and then started to move a little before he was transferred to hospital.
At the ICU unit, a collapsed lung was diagnosed along with several broken ribs, a broken finger and various abrasions and contusions, but thankfully with no evidence of internal injuries.
After initial concerns there have been dramatic improvements in his condition over the last few days as he recovers.

Just over a week later, Bill Furr was on his way back home to Orangeburg, South Carolina. He is not expected back in his shop for a while but intends to remain close by.
Those who know him are welcome to send messages to:

Orangeburg Cycle Racing
1389 Five Chop Road
Orangeburg S.C. 29115


Aprilia's Bankruptcy -
Back from the Brink?
Aprilia USA Press Release: Woodstock, GA (May 6, 2004) -Aprilia SpA, the Noale, Italy based manufacturer of award-winning motorcycles and scooters, today announced new credit lines for $30 million Euros as well as renewal of existing lines, for a total global line of credit of $180 million Euros. The financing agreement was reached with the assistance of a consortium of financial institutions, including Interbanca and Caretti & Associati. This new round of funding allows Aprilia to resume full production and satisfy high market demand as the main riding season gets underway in most parts of the world. Demand has been especially strong in Aprilia's growing U.S. market.

Despite being a relative newcomer in the market--the company established its U.S. subsidiary in 1999--American consumers have embraced the Italian manufacturer's award-winning line of scooters and motorcycles.

Aprilia, which offers more scooter choices than any other manufacturer in the U.S. market, just posted its best April sales month ever, increasing 30.6% over April, 2003. In addition to strong scooter sales, Aprilia's line of high-performance super sport bikes and adventure touring bikes continue to win awards for their thrilling combination of ride characteristics, technology and style.

This new round of funding allows Aprilia to concentrate on the industrial plan and continue its growth by exploiting its extraordinary know-how and brand popularity. The industrial plan will include reorganization initiatives designed to gain cost savings and operational efficiencies. In addition, Aprilia will continue to proactively discuss business investment opportunities with financial and/or industrial investors to assure the necessary resources are in place for continued growth of the company's prestigious Aprilia, Moto Guzzi and Laverda brands.

During the WDW2004 (World Ducati Weekend), Ducati and Arai will introduce a brand new helmet, the RX-7 Ducati. This new helmet is the result of a co-branding project developed by two market leaders.

Bologna, May 2004: Ducati and Arai, high-ranking companies in the motorcycle field, have joined their experience in a co-branding project, aimed at offering all Ducati riders a unique helmet in terms of style, quality and
attention for detail. This teamwork has given birth to the new RX-7 Ducati helmet by Arai, which combines the best of the two companies, both leaders in technology and style.

The RX-7 Ducati helmet, manufactured using the most innovative materials, perfectly synthesizes their focus on quality and craftsmanship, which make this product incomparable and unique. The project is based on the revolutionary SNC shell of the RX-7 Corsair helmet, which stands at the top of the range of Arai’s product line.

Italy’s top designer Aldo Drudi has specially designed the smart and glamorous graphics for Ducati. Drudi, besides designing and supervising the Ducati Apparel Collection, has also designed many successful models for Arai.

The two Companies, proud of sharing all their successes with their customers, have planned the launch of the new helmet during the most important annual meeting for Ducati riders: the WDW. During this World
Ducati Week, which will take place from the 17th to the 23rd of May at the Misano racetrack (Rimini, Italy), motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the
world will have the chance to try the RX-7 Ducati helmet in all sizes. The new RX-7 Ducati helmet will be available beginning next fall, exclusively through the Ducati distribution network.