Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki ended round two of the 2004 AMA series at California Speedway on a high note Sunday, scoring top-10 results in each of the team’s classes — Formula Xtreme, Superstock, and Supersport.
Vincent Haskovec piloted his Michelin-shod Suzuki
GSX-R600 ‘mini-Superbike’ to an impressive fifth place in Formula Xtreme. The Czech Republic-born racer living in California bounced back from a painful Friday crash to score the strong placing in the 17-lap event.
Haskovec, who now sits fourth in the FX points race, said, “That wasn’t too bad. My thumb was still hurting and I couldn’t push as hard as wanted to. I had a big problem on the second lap; I want to thank all those guys that missed me when I had a full tank slap!” Vincent said. “I feel we should be on the podium at the next round.”
In Superstock action, the team’s strategic decision to run GSX-R750s up against a deep field of 1000s showed plenty of promise in its debut. As the team had hoped, the bikes came into their own during the race. This allowed Steve Rapp to improve five places from his grid position to claim eighth in what is perhaps the most competitive class in the series.
“Superstock went well, I think.” Rapp said. “It was the first time we raced the bike. Basically the first time we’ve ridden it, too, and we finished eighth, so I’m pretty happy. The race was shortened by a red flag, too. I think if it would have went full distance without a stop we could have moved up even further. With the GSX-R750, the grip from our Michelin tires would have been favorable at the end of a long race when compared to the other guys on 1000cc bikes. As it was, our tires worked well, and I think there’s potential in using the GSX-R750s.”
Haskovec also performed much more effectively in the race than he had in qualifying, crossing the finish line in 13th — six spots above his starting position.
Immediately following the Superstock event, Rapp headed back out on track for the Supersport final. He put forth another fine effort, taking seventh in the 60k final.
“In the Supersport race we did pretty well too,” Rapp said. “I think I might have been able to run with the guys out front, but I got slowed up moving up through the field.”
Young Canadian Chris Peris joined Rapp in the Supersport contest, finishing 13th.
Rapp’s day saw him improve his championship standing in both classes. The Californian now sits seventh in Supersport and eighth in Superstock.
Next up for Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki is testing at Road America followed by the third round of the ’04 AMA championships at Infineon Raceway, in Sonoma, CA on April 30-May 2.