St. Clair News Aegis (Pell City, AL)

Sports

June 22, 2012

A memorable decade for Barber Motorsports Park

Leeds — This weekend’s Triumph Sueprbike Classic at Barber Motorsports Park will mark the 10th time the AMA Pro Road Racing series has raced at Barber.

A lot of action has been packed into the history of the event since it began in 2003 – a record worthy of a track at the site of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.  Barber entered the series as one of the premier races and has been the site of one of the best-attended events on the schedule since its debut.

The list of Superbike winners at Barber reflects the top riders in the class over the past decade.  The fans have been treated to some first-class battles at a challenging circuit.  There have been notable close races, and there have been memorable championship ramifications from the events in Alabama.

Georgian Aaron Yates won the first-ever Superbike race at Barber for Suzuki when he beat Honda-mounted Kurtis Roberts in front of a huge crowd.  The next day, Robert managed to come out on top when his Honda teammates Ben Bostrom and Miguel DuHamel crashed while fighting with Roberts for the win.

In 2004, Mat Mladin won his first race at Barber.  The seven-time AMA Champion, who would go on to win more AMA Pro races at Barber than any other rider, beat Jake Zemke with a thrilling last-lap pass.  

Mladin swept the races in 2005 as he added to his tally of victories in Leeds.  All told, the Austrialian won nine times before he retired at the end of the 2009 season.  For Mladin fans, getting to see his form on the 2.38-mile Barber circuit was a highlight.

Current MotoGP star Ben Spies added his name to the list of Barber winners in 2006.  Spies’ victory over Mladin in the Saturday race was his second Superbike win and the first time he beat Mladin in a contest in which Mladin didn’t encounter a machine problem.

In 2011, Martin Cardenas and Young split the wins.  Cardenas, on board an M4 Suzuki, won a tough wet-dry race over Bostrom in what was his only Superbike win so far.  Bostrom shadowed the Colombian in the closing laps but could not pass.

Chances are, this year’s race will be another one for the history books, too.

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