Image by Brian J. NelsonElkhart Lake, WI
June 7, 2009

Superbike racing came to America’s heartland, picturesque Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

The fans here are always extremely enthusiastic, seeing the Superbike race weekend as the beginning of the summer riding season. So it’s a great excuse to bring out both old and new bikes from winter storage and cheer on their heroes!

The Corona Team of Neil Hodgson and Jake Holden were certainly well supported at the event. The traditional Corona promotion at Seibkins in Elkhart Lake, one of US motorcycling’s best known “places to be” saw a large crowd meet Jake, Neil and the lovely Corona girls. The highlight was a “target” Frisbee throwing competition for special autographed team shirts - the Corona girls were the targets so you can imagine the interest!

The weekend looked to be a good one with practice starting under clear blue skies and near perfect riding conditions. Both riders worked to improve their bikes throughout qualifying and after the basic round both riders were qualified for the Super Pole with Neil sitting in the 9th spot and Jake in 10th. During Super Pole the track conditions deteriorated with colder conditions and not as much grip as during qualifying. Both riders were slower for the one flying lap format but managed to improve their grid position by one place, Neil being in eighth with Jake right behind in ninth.

Race day dawned gray and cold and the prospect of rain later in the day. The prospect became a reality and by the time the green flag dropped it was a wet race! The race got off without mishap and Neil was soon in fourth challenging for third but in what turned out to be a ludicrous situation he was given a stop-go penalty. He was deemed to have “jumped” the start.

On coming through the pit lane Neil was clearly confused as to why he had been penalized. Later review confirmed that he had not jumped the start but his bike was deemed to have “moved” by officials when he put it into gear! Review of the rules clearly stated that “Anticipation” i.e. “jumping” of the start required “Forward” movement which did not occur.

In any case, Neil’s race was effectively over. He rode as hard as possible and finished sixteenth. A frustrated Hodgson said, “I did not know what was going on with the flag. I knew I did not jump the start so thought maybe the bike was leaking oil. I came into the pits and the AMA waved me through then so did my crew. After that I could not get in the groove and just did as best as I could!.”

Jake had a steady race, clearly not comfortable in the slippery conditions. He rode conservatively and finished twelfth. Afterwards he said, “I didn’t want to make any mistakes, last year I fell off twice, so just rode my own race. It was very slippery out there!”  The second day opened even colder but at least not raining. Morning practice was more a procession with riders taking it very carefully. With great fanfare the sun came out for the Superbike race!

After getting less than great starts both riders rode solid races. Hodgson, continuing to recover from an early season injury, rode as hard as he could for the entire race but some electronic issues hampered his progress. He was able to bring his CBR1000RR Superbike home a well-earned 6th place finish. Neil said, “I had problems after the first couple of laps with the engine control system. The setting kept upsetting the chassis so I rode as carefully as possible. I’m happy to be getting nearer to the front!”

Holden had early race problems with his gearshift but continued to ride hard and settled for a lonely 9th after losing touch with the lead group but opening nearly half a minute gap ahead of tenth. (Oh, and Larry Pegram scored a decisive victory in race two over Mladin which was even better than a hot, steaming brat! - ed.)

In its “Race to the Lime” Corona Extra Honda Racing is proud to be partnering with:  Parts Unlimited, Cycle Gear, Pro Honda Oils, AGV, FMF, Autolite, Hotbodies Racing, K&N, Motion Pro, Vortex, Dainese, GPR, Ogio, CR&A, RK, Dunlop, Powerstands, Bellco, Adran, K&L, HRC, Acme Garage, Vicci, Fluid Designs, EBSCO Media, MTS.
















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