Honda Wins Formula Xtreme Championship

For the third year in a row, a Honda CBR600RR took the top spot in the AMA Formula Xtreme Championship.

Following two years of domination by American Honda's Miguel Duhamel, Erion Honda's Josh Hayes stepped up and took the 2006 crown in a nail-biting finale at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The 11-race championship came down to a winner-take-all final, with Hayes up to the challenge. The Mississippian quickly moved to the front of the 16-lap final and controlled the pace, leading all 16 lap en route to the race win and his second AMA championship.

"It's awesome," two-time Formula Xtreme champion Miguel Duhamel said. "Obviously, Kevin Erion's crew did a great job and Josh [Hayes] did a terrific job. They learned a lot and came out and won the championship and proved that CBR600RR is the class of the field in Formula Xtreme. That bike is a wonderful machine and I was proud of Josh going out there and the Erion guys did a wonderful job."

Duhamel had less luck than his fellow Honda rider in the red flag-interrupted AMA Superbike Shootout. The American Honda team was racing their Honda CBR1000RR's with traction control for the first time after a successful test in California. Tire problems in both the first and second parts of the race slowed Duhamel, but couldn't deny him third in the AMA Superbike Championship.

Teammate Jake Zemke also had traction problems after getting shuffled to the back of the pack by the actions of another rider.

Neither of their problems were the result of the tires themselves, but a lack of set-up and practice time caused by inclement weather. The teams had only a brief practice session prior to the race to find a race set-up and pick a race tire.

Miguel Duhamel, 16th Place

For me this weekend it would have been almost too much to ask with everything we had on the agenda and the shortened amount of time we had here, to go out and win. It was a really good test. We learned a lot, obviously. We need to look at all the data and look at what actually transpired and how come we had a tire issue. It's just a big learning curve and I'm happy and proud of the guys that they had the fortitude and knowledge to bring it out so quick. We'll have to do a lot of laps in winter testing and it's going to be a different crew and a different objective for next year, I can tell you that.

Jake Zemke, 8th Place

We made an educated guess [on the tire] and the other problem is that with our little practice session we wanted to run the tire we thought we were going to race on and we did that. We had that tire on three rims and we only had four rims on the width we needed - because we're running a little bit narrower than what we normally would run and it didn't work out so well. We got caught out. We knew the other tire wasn't going to be any better and we couldn't run on the same tire and what we tried wasn't the right thing. That's part of it.

1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
2. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)
3. Neil Hodgson (Ducati)
4. Ben Bostrom (Ducati)
5. Jason Pridmore (Suzuki)
6. Tommy Hayden (Kawasaki)
7. Ben Spies (Suzuki)
8. Jake Zemke (Honda)
9. Marty Craggill (Suzuki)
10. Ben Thompson (Suzuki)

Championship Standings:
1. Ben Spies (649)
2. Mat Mladin (641)
3. Miguel Duhamel (511)
4. Aaron Yates (484)
5. Neil Hodgson (469)
6. Tommy Hayden (455)
7. Jake Zemke (447)
8. Jason Pridmore (400)
9. Ben Bostrom (391)
10. Larry Pegram (351)

Source: Honda Motor Company, Ltd

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