American Honda's Miguel Duhamel won his second consecutive Formula Xtreme
Championship with a thrilling victory after a race long duel with teammate
Jake Zemke in the season finale at Road Atlanta. The victory, his fourth of
the season, came barely an hour after he'd ascended the podium in
Saturday's Superbike race.
In order for Duhamel to win the Formula Xtreme title, he had to score every
available point-the point for the pole, the point for the most laps led,
and the 36 points for winning-in the final two races aboard his Honda
CBR600RR. The cagey 37-year-old set the stage by sweeping the points table
the previous weekend at Virginia International Raceway.
Duhamel put in a repeat performance at Road Atlanta. The French-Canadian,
who calls Las Vegas home, began by setting a new lap record in qualifying.
The laps led point came down to the final lap with each of the Honda riders
leading seven laps after Duhamel came back from a 6-3 deficit. The
six-month, nine-race season would be decided on the final lap of the final
race and Duhamel wasn't giving his teammate an inch.
Chasing Zemke into turn one, he watched as his teammate ran wide and off
the track, falling uninjured. Duhamel sped home to win both the race and
championship by a comfortable margin.
Duhamel's fourth win, along with Zemke's five, gave Honda a series sweep
for the second year in a row. No other brand has won a Formula Xtreme race
since the Honda CBR600RR was eligible.
"You close your shield and do 100% and that's what I tried to do today,"
Duhamel said after his record eighth AMA pro road racing title and the
record 78th AMA win of his distinguished career.
Duhamel's ride in Saturday's Superbike race was equally impressive.
Eleventh on the first lap, the Honda CBR1000RR-mounted speedster made his
way through the field and was in sixth when the race was red-flagged on lap
18. The Superbike race became an eight-lap sprint.
Off the re-start, Duhamel was away with the leaders, quickly into fourth
and up to third when Suzuki's Aaron Yates fell on the penultimate lap.
Teammate Zemke began the race in third and was running in the top five when
a front end problem forced him to retire before the red flag.
Zemke's luck turned around on Sunday. Second by the seventh lap, he battled
for position to the very end, finishing fifth. Duhamel was running in the
top five when a slight problem developed that sapped his engine of power.
Still, he soldiered on to finish ninth.
Suzuki's Mat Mladin won Saturday's race over teammate Ben Spies and
Duhamel. Suzuki's Aaron Yates came first on Sunday, with Spies second and
Ducati's Neil Hodgson third. Mladin finished fourth and earned the 2005 AMA
Miguel Duhamel 1st Formula Xtreme
Like the pitcher at a baseball game or chess, whatever, you want to always
change your strategy a little bit. On the championship race with the points
led, you're being pushed in position. If we didn't have the points led
thing, then the championship would be on whoever won the race, then it
would have been a different race for sure. But I didn't have a choice; I
had to fight like every lap counted and it did. That was the only thing I
was trying to do. I was trying to figure out what he might be thinking I
might do and do the opposite. So move around a little bit and make it hard
for him to draft. Even doing that he was still able to outbrake me a few
times and the few times he went a little too deep and I got him back and of
course he was strategizing to try to block me coming over the bridge. I was
hoping to outdrag him on the outside. By the time I did he'd be so
surprised. I had to lead that lap. I had to lead every lap. And that's what
you saw. Every lap was a totally new script and it was wonderful to the end
Jake Zemke 17th Formula Xtreme
It was a barn burner. It was, I'm sure, for everybody watching it, it was
the show they were expecting to see. But you know in the end I got in to
turn one, I'm not sure I'm waiting to look at the data to see, but seemed
like I got in there and when I let the clutch out it just didn't seem like
the thing slowed down, like I didn't have engine braking or something. Not
really sure, but all in all it was a good year. You know, the guys have
done a wonderful job on that bike. Two main guys working on that thing just
worked their tails off all year long on that program. I'm proud for those
guys. I'm proud that we were able to get five wins on the season. A little
disappointed we didn't win the championship. That's the way it goes sometimes.
Miguel Duhamel 3rd Saturday Superbike
For a while I was thinking, 'I think I can win this thing,' because I
caught up. But then after that they got in the same tempo. You're always
shooting for first. I mean Mat (Mladin) was just there, he wasn't leaving
us, which was a terrific thing for the team and for me too. I saw Aaron
(Yates) go in there and just when he tucked it down he lost the front. I
went a little wide in that corner and by then Ben (Spies) had a bit of a
gap and everything. I looked behind me and I just tried to bring it home.
Jake Zemke DNF Saturday Superbike
The bike was running, but was I having a little problem with the front on
the thing. Shoot, even from the second lap right form the get-go, I was
losing the front, losing the front. And I just kept slowing down like half
a second a lap and I kept losing the front. So finally I came in. we were
like well, it's not going to do us much good to go back out now, so we just
sat that one out.
Miguel Duhamel 9th Sunday Superbike
Got better starts and I had a really good bike. I was really disappointed
to see that the bike started slowing down. Either a fuel injection problem
or a pump or something like that. I was looking at the temperature gauge
and it wasn't high, so I knew it wasn't an engine, so that's why I stayed
out there. You never know if somebody stops or something happens to their
bike. Get enough points to get up to fourth in the championship, which
would've been pretty fun for us. Anyway, bike was really good and I was
really confident I was going to get on the podium.
Jake Zemke 5th Sunday Superbike
We were third for a while, we were second for a while. We got by (Ben)
Spies. Things were going pretty good. I was able to make time on the brakes
and of course I cooked the brakes doing that. The first probably ten laps,
eight laps, whatever it was. I ended up glazing the brakes over doing what
I was doing. Then I had that bit of a moment up there and Spies got by. And
kind of we were starting to lose traction at that point in the race
anyways. We just ended up going backwards from there and couldn't get going
1. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)
2. Ben Spies (Suzuki)
3. Neil Hodgson (Ducati)
4. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
5. Jake Zemke (Honda)
6. Josh Hayes (Kawasaki)
7. Jason Pridmore (Suzuki)
8. Eric Bostrom (Ducati)
9. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
10. Steve Rapp (Suzuki)
1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
2. Ben Spies (Suzuki)
3. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
4. Neil Hodgson (Ducati)
5. Eric Bostrom (Ducati)
6. Josh Hayes (Kawasaki)
7. Jason Pridmore (Suzuki)
8. Kurtis Roberts (Honda)
9. Marty Craggill (Suzuki)
10. Lee Acree (Suzuki)
1. Mat Mladin 536
2. Ben Spies 514
3. Eric Bostrom 431
4. Aaron Yates 414
5. Miguel Duhamel 392
6. Neil Hodgson 384
7. Marty Craggill 331
8. Steve Rapp 305
9. Josh Hayes 302
10. Lee Acree 301
1. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
2. Ben Attard (Kawasaki)
3. Michael Barnes (Suzuki)
4. Danny Eslick (Suzuki)
5. Robert Jensen (Yamaha)
6. Chris Peris (Yamaha)
7. Opie Caylor (Suzuki)
8. Ryan Andrews (Ducati)
9. Alex Gobert (Honda)
10. Mike Hale (Honda)
Source: Honda Motor Company, Ltd - Motor Sports Division