At the Road America 750 Supersport race in 1990, Doug Chandler (No. 6) started conservatively behind leader Rick Kirk (No. 59). Chandler assessed Kirk’s strengths and weaknesses, then calmly made his move with two laps remaining and nudged out Kirk at the finish line to win his third 750 Supersport race of the 1990 season. Chandler’s Kawasaki teammate Scott Russell (No. 7) riding banged-up from a Friday practice crash, was in the hunt the entire way, but had to settle for a very close third.
If there were any doubts that newcomer Kirk might was ready for the Yoshimura ride, those doubts were erased that weekend at Road America.
Kirk led the pack into turn one and stretched his lead to 2.5 seconds by the end of lap one. Russell, Chandler and Tommy Lynch were in tight formation in second on the first lap. Kirk stretched his lead to a full three seconds on the second lap, running a 2:27.71 while Russell and Chandler were running together at a 2:28.70 pace. Lynch was joined by Robert Wright in a battle for fourth, five seconds behind the Russell/Chandler fight.
On lap four a mistake by Kirk cost him his three second lead. “I almost high-sided going through the carousel, that cost me some time,” Kirk explained about his slow lap. With the slip up, Chandler (now in second) and Russell were right in Kirk’s draft. That’s when Chandler began to make mental notes on were he could make his move later in the race.
Kirk in his first try-out ride with Yoshimura now was being heavily pressured by the two bright green Kawasaki’s. It would be understandable if Kirk succumbed to the pressure, but the new kid didn’t flinch.
Chandler made his move with two laps to go. “I saw an opening going into turn five, he was going a little slow into that turn so that’s were I passed him.” explained Chandler. In fact Kirk was not going at all slow into the turn, rather Chandler was in a different league when it came to running very hot into a turn, pushing the front end to the point of cashing, then getting hard on the throttle to shoot out of the turn.
On the last lap the top three riders all got into the 2:26 range, the fastest of the race, (Russell doing the fastest, a 2:26 flat from his third place position). Kirk was in the position he needed to be in to draft on Chandler. As the lead trio crested the hill, Chandler held the lead Kirk was coming out of the draft, but came up inches short at the finish.
“I consider Doug (Chandler) one of the best riders in the world, so I don’t feel bad at all losing to him.” said Kirk after the event.
Russell’s third place finish kept him in a safe points lead over Chandler in the series. Kirk moved into third in the points. Russell went on to win the 1990 AMA 750 Supersport title over Chandler.