NEIL HODGSON AND BEN BOSTROM LINE UP FOR THE PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI TEAM IN 2006 AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP
Neil Hodgson and Ben Bostrom line up for the Parts Unlimited Ducati Team that will compete in this year’s AMA Superbike Championship with factory Ducati 999 bikes.
2006 will mark the second successive season in America’s premier racing category for Hodgson, 32 years old from Burnley, England. The former World Superbike champion finished sixth in his debut AMA Superbike season, winning one race at Road America and stepping onto the podium a further five times in the 2005 championship.
Hodgson now has a great opportunity to make use of his learning year to aim for the title and fulfil his ambition of becoming the only rider to win the ‘triple crown’ of British, American and World Superbike championships.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge this year” commented Neil. “I know the 999 will be improved and now I understand how to approach AMA. It’s going to be tough to beat Mladin but I’ve studied everything hard this year and I’ve got a plan for how to beat him! I really enjoyed working with Eric and it will be equally great to work with his brother Ben …. It’s just a pity he’s not better-looking!”
31-year-old Bostrom, born in Redding (California) in 1974, gets his hands on a factory Ducati Corse machine again after a three-year gap in which he rode for Honda in AMA Superbike and the World Superbike championship. He returns Stateside after one year on the world stage to take the place of his younger brother Eric, who won four races with the Parts Unlimited Ducati 999 in the last two seasons of AMA racing.
“Last year was a tough one on the racetrack” declared Ben, “so I’m real excited to be back with a factory that I’ve had so much success with in the past. We’ve shared lots of good memories, Ducati and I, and I’m looking forward to a strong season together, and to creating new memories with them.”
Parts Unlimited Ducati Team owner Terry Gregoricka commented on his team’s new line-up: “Neil had a great first season with us, winning one race and always fighting hard throughout the season and I’m convinced he can challenge for the title in 2006. Ben has had great success with Ducati in the past and I feel sure he will remember that and get on the gas! His crew chief Gary Medley has worked with him before and that’s also sure to be an advantage. I believe Neil and Ben will work well together as a team and knowing each other will certainly help. This year things are going to be even tougher but I am convinced that our two riders will go well and that they can both win races throughout the season.”
Ducati Corse Superbike director Paolo Ciabatti added: “We are officially involved in the AMA Superbike Championship for a second year with the Parts Unlimited Ducati Team and once again we will have two world-class riders. The American market is very important to Ducati: our participation in the AMA championship with a factory effort shows our strong commitment to the series and is a key element of the company’s marketing strategies in this area of the world.”
Ducati Corse Superbike technical director Ernesto Marinelli explains the key technical differences between the Ducati 999 used in last year’s championship and this year’s 999 AMA06.
“Electronics is the main area of improvement from last year, with the introduction of the same ECU and wire harness as the WSBK F05. One of the engine management strategies has been adopted to improve engine braking. In particular, engine braking is now managed by the normal slipper clutch, assisted by a throttle adjustment managed by a small electric motor. Regarding the chassis, a new fuel tank made of aluminum will be used (the same as the WSBK F05 spec) and this will allow all the electronic components that were on the front to be moved to just behind the steering-head in order to achieve better weight distribution. The oil breather tank is no longer together with the fuel tank but is located on the right side of the bike.”
The 2006 AMA Superbike Championship takes place over an 11-event calendar from March to October at North America’s leading race-tracks. The first round gets underway on Saturday 11 March at the legendary Daytona International Speedway in Florida and the season concludes with a round at the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course at the start of October.
March 8-11 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL
April 21-23 Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, AL
April 28-30 California Speedway, Fontana, CA
May 19-21 Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA
June 2-4 Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI
June 16-18 Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele, Utah
July 21-23 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, CA
August 4-6 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, OH
August 18-20 Virginia International Raceway, Alton, VA
September 1-3 Road Atlanta Superbike Showdown, Braselton, GA
Sep 30-Oct 1 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, OH
Neil Hodgson has become one of the most experienced and successful riders in the world after rising from the ranks of schoolboy motocross to take wins in three different Superbike championships. Having already picked up British and world titles, Neil’s aim is to become the only rider to take a unique ‘triple crown’ by adding the American championship to those titles. 2006 will see the 32-year-old from Burnley compete in his second successive season for the factory Parts Unlimited Ducati Team in AMA Superbike after finishing sixth in his rookie year.
Neil began riding motocross in 1982 at the age of nine and quickly stood out as a rider of exceptional talent. He then followed in his father’s footsteps by moving into road racing. After picking up the British 125cc title in his first full season, Neil switched to the world stage in 1993, when he became the youngest-ever rider to compete in the World 125cc Championships.
In 1994 Neil was picked by HRC to ride one of the coveted factory-kitted RS125 machines in the same class. Neil’s potential did not go unnoticed and before the season was out he had sampled the power of a Harris-Yamaha in the top 500cc class. A switch to the ROC Yamaha of Team WCM brought him the privateer award with a best finish of seventh in his home GP.
After three seasons in GPs Neil was signed by the Ducati factory team for the World Superbike Championship, but the two years spent with the Italian manufacturer were not as successful as they could have been and after a further season in WSBK with Kawasaki in 1998, he decided to return to domestic competition with GSE Racing. In only his second season back in Britain Neil won the championship after an epic year-long battle with Suzuki rider Chris Walker. Neil also gave the World Superbike championship regulars a taste of his renewed competitiveness when he scored two wins at the Donington and Brands Hatch rounds of the championship, where he was entered as a ‘wild-card’.
2001 saw Neil back where he belonged, in World Superbikes. GSE Racing’s decision to move up to the world stage turned out to be the right one when he clinched fifth place overall with a series of impressive performances. Highlights of the year were a win at Donington Park, a lap record at Misano and numerous pole positions and rostrum finishes.
Another season with GSE in World Superbikes followed in 2002 and despite finishing the season winless, Neil was a front-runner throughout the year. His eventual third place was good enough to earn him a place in the factory Ducati Fila team for the 2003 season. Neil had virtually wrapped up a long-awaited World Superbike title half-way through the season with a unbeaten run in the first nine races, which guaranteed him an unassailable points lead.
As a reward for his title win, in 2004 Neil tried his hand at MotoGP with Ducati but on a satellite Team D’Antin Ducati Desmosedici. The results were disappointing and at the end of the year he willingly accepted an offer from Ducati Corse to race in AMA Superbike. Back on a familiar Ducati 999 as teammate to Eric Bostrom, Neil scored one win in his debut season to end up sixth overall.
Neil lives on the Isle of Man and is married to childhood sweetheart Kathryn. Away from the circuit he is polite and affable, but come race day a different Neil Hodgson emerges – his winner’s instinct and steely determination to succeed become the overriding elements in his personality and nothing else matters but the chequered flag.
Date of birth: 20 November, 1973
Place of birth: Burnley, Lancs. (England)
Residence: Isle of Man
Weight: 154 lbs
Marital status: married to Kathryn, one child (Holly Jean)
Hobbies: Motocross, mountain-biking, golf
Race number: 100
2006: AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP (PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI TEAM)
2005: 6th – AMA Superbike Championship (Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin)
2004: 17th – MotoGP World Championship (D’Antin Ducati)
2003: World Superbike Champion (Ducati Fila)
2002: 3rd – World Superbike Championship (HM Plant Ducati)
2001: 5th – World Superbike Championship (GSE Racing Ducati)
2000: British Superbike Champion (GSE Racing Ducati)
12th – World Superbike Championship (GSE Racing Ducati)
1999: 4th – British Superbike Championship (GSE Racing Ducati)
1998: 11th – World Superbike Championship (Kawasaki)
1997: 9th – World Superbike Championship (Ducati)
1996: 10th – World Superbike Championship (Ducati)
1995: 11th – World 500cc Championship (WCM-Yamaha)
Finished 16th on a private Ducati at Daytona 200
1994: Two 500 cc GPs (Shell Harris-Yamaha)
1993: 24th – World 125cc Championship
1992: British 125cc Champion
1990: 8th – British Clubman’s Ministock Championship
In 2006 the charismatic Californian Ben Bostrom will be back on a factory Ducati Superbike for the first time in three years when he lines up for the Parts Unlimited Ducati Team in America’s premier motorcycle racing category, the AMA Superbike championship. Bostrom returns home to the States after one year on the world stage to take the place of his younger brother Eric, who won a total of four races with the Ducati 999 over the last two seasons of AMA racing.
31-year-old Bostrom is one of the stars of US and world motorcycle racing. He is a former AMA Superbike champion and a multiple race winner in the World Superbike championship, as well as winner of the inaugural AMA Supermoto Championship in 2003.
Ben’s family has racing in its blood: his father won the Californian dirt bike championship, and his uncle, cousin, and two brothers Torsten and Eric, have all been involved in motorcycle racing. Born in Redding (CA) in 1974, Ben learned to ride before he entered kindergarten and excelled in dirt bike events as a teenager, winning the AMA National 600 Dirt Track Championship in 1993. He made his first foray into road racing in 1995, and in 1996 he came in fourth in the AMA Supersport 600 Championship, as well as second in AMA Super Twins. In 1997, Ben competed in no fewer than three different AMA series, and just one year later he captured the AMA Superbike Championship, following that up with a second-place AMA Superbike finish in 1999.
In 2000, Ben was signed by Ducati Corse to compete in the World Superbike Championship. Despite a difficult learning year, Ben stuck at it and finished the season with four podium finishes to his name to end up seventh overall. The 2001 season was the year in which he really came good, chalking up six wins for the factory Ducati L&M team, including a legendary mid-season sequence of five on the run, which powered him to third overall in the championship table.
But 2002 proved to be less successful, and when a number of motorcycle manufacturers used 2003 to concentrate on an equipment redesign rather than World Superbike, Ben decided to take part in AMA Superbike once again with American Honda.
In 2003, still running his trademark #155, Ben found it difficult to acclimate to his new ride, yet he continually challenged the field to end up fourth in the points. His season came to a satisfactory end in November when he scored a unique win at the AMA Supermoto Championship in Las Vegas.
The following year Ben and his factory Honda notched up several Superbike and Formula Xtreme podiums, as well as an impressive win at Laguna Seca.
For 2005, Ben had a great opportunity to move back to World Superbikes with a Honda Fireblade for the British-based Renegade team, but the experience turned out to be an unsuccessful one and it left him weighing up his options for 2006.
Newly signed by Ducati Corse for the US series, Ben Bostrom will be aiming to make the most of his proven winning experience as he takes his place alongside Neil Hodgson in the Italian manufacturer’s AMA line-up.
Date of birth: May 7, 1974
Place of birth: Redding, California
Residence: Las Vegas, Nevada
Height: 5’11” / 1.80m
Weight: 180 lbs / 82 kg
Marital status: single
Hobbies: Surfing, climbing, X-Games!
Race number: 155
2006: AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSIP (PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI TEAM)
2005: 16th – World Superbike Championship (Honda)
2004: 4th – AMA Superbike Championship (Honda)
2003: 4th – AMA Superbike Championship (Honda)
23rd – AMA Supersport Championship (Honda)
2002: 5th – World Superbike Championship (Ducati L&M)
2001: 3rd – World Superbike Championship (Ducati L&M)
2000: 7th – World Superbike Championship (Ducati Infostrada)
1999: 2nd – AMA Superbike Championship (Vance & Hines Ducati)
1998: AMA Superbike Champion (Honda)
1997: 16th – AMA Superbike Championship
12th – AMA 600SS Championship, 2nd – AMA 750SS Championship
1996: 2nd – AMA SuperTwins Championship
4th – AMA 600SS Championship, 22nd – AMA 750SS Championship
1995: 7th – AMA Harley SuperTwins
20th – AMA 600SS Championship, 38th – AMA 750SS Championship
1994: 20th – AMA Harley SuperTwins
1993: AMA Harley SuperTwins
DUCATI 999 AMA 06
Type 4-stroke L- twin
Bore x stroke 104mm x 58.8mm
Timing system Desmo DOHC
Valves 4 per cylinder
ECU Electronic Ignition-injection managed by Magneti Marelli Marvel4
Fuel injection Magneti Marelli electronic injection system
Injector Magneti Marelli IWF1, one per cylinder
Final drive Regina chain
Brake horsepower 194HP at 12500 rpm
Top speed over 190 mph
Lubrication gear oil pump, with oil cooler
Chassis / Suspension
Frame tubular steel trellis
Front suspension 42 mm pressurized TT25 upside-down Öhlins fork
Rear suspension Dual-side aluminium swingarm, with Öhlins shock absorber
Clutch dry multiplate clutch
Front two 320mm floating discs
Rear one 218mm Ø vented floating disc
Fluid Shell Advance
Front 125/80R420 (16.5”)
Rear 200/70R420 (16.5”)
Dry weight 370 lbs
Fuel tank capacity 23.9 l
2006 PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI TEAM
Riders Neil Hodgson (#100)
Ben Bostrom (#155)
Team Owner Terry Gregoricka
Team Manager Tom Bodenbach
Team Technical Manager Gabriele Raccio
Race Engineer Gabriele Raccio
Electronics Engineer Peter Boom
Chief Mechanic Paul Hallet
Mechanic Nicola Manna
Mechanic Anthony Warnock
Tires/Fuel Nick Dager
Race Engineer Gary Medley
Electronics Engineer Davide Gentile
Chief Mechanic Michele Ducoli
Mechanic Neil Freeman
Mechanic Perry Melneciuc
Tires/Fuel Brett Ledford
Truck Driver Charlie Strausbough
Dunlop Technician Jim Allen
Öhlins Technician Jon Cornwell
Ducati Corse Director Paolo Ciabatti
Ducati Corse Technical Director Ernesto Marinelli
Ducati Corse Press Officer Julian Thomas
AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP
The AMA Superbike championship can trace its roots back to 1934, when the American Motorcyclist Association started to organize road racing in the USA. Apart from a gap during the Second World War, AMA professional road racing has continued every year since.
The AMA Superbike series was created in 1976 to provide a professional nationwide racing series on an affordable, equal level for competitors and teams and to allow manufacturers to showcase their high-performance production sportsbikes.
The formula was so successful that it was adopted by the FIM on an international level and implemented as a national formula in virtually all countries of the world in which motorcycle racing is a top sport.
Today AMA Superbike is one of the world’s leading domestic racing street bike championships, followed by millions of fans worldwide, at the race events and via satellite and internet broadcasts. The support of the world’s top motorcycle manufacturers, who develop their cutting-edge technology on the track, attracts top rider talent from all over the world.
AMA Superbike is the leading class in U.S. motorcycle road racing today. Superbikes are racing motorcycles that are modified versions of machines originally sold for street use. The concept of Superbike racing is similar to that of championship stock car racing — to have machines that visually resemble production models, while allowing freedom to the tuner to improve the power and handling characteristics of the machine.
AMA Superbike races are normally around 100 kilometers in length and points are awarded to the top 30 finishers in each event according to the following sliding scale: 36-32-29-27-26-25-24-23 etc. One point is also awarded for pole position and to the rider who leads the most laps in each race.
DUCATI’S AMA SUPERBIKE HISTORY
2006 – Parts Unlimited Ducati Team: Neil Hodgson, Ben Bostrom
2005 – Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin: Eric Bostrom (3rd), Neil Hodgson (6th)
May 22 Pikes Peak, CO Eric Bostrom (USA)
June 4 Road America, WI Neil Hodgson (GB)
July 9 Laguna Seca, CA Eric Bostrom (USA)
July 24 Mid-Ohio, OH Eric Bostrom (USA)
Points: 1. Mat Mladin (AUS-Suzuki) 536; 2. Ben Spies (USA-Suzuki) 514; 3. Eric Bostrom (USA-Ducati) 431.
2004 – Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin: Eric Bostrom (7th)
May 23 Pike’s Peak, CO Eric Bostrom (USA)
2003 – Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin: Anthony Gobert, replaced by Giovanni Bussei. Dream Team: Larry Pegram
2002 – HMC Ducati: Pascal Picotte, replaced by Doug Chandler. Austin/Bleu Bayou Ducati: Pascal Picotte
2001 – HMC Ducati: Scott Russell, replaced by Andy Meklau after injury; Steve Rapp. Competition Accessories Ducati: Larry Pegram
2000 – Vance & Hines: Troy Bayliss, replaced by John Kocinski when Bayliss goes to WSB to replace injured Carl Fogarty; Steve Rapp. Competition Accessories Ducati: Larry Pegram
1999 – Vance & Hines (last factory supported team until 2004): Anthony Gobert, Ben Bostrom. Fast By Ferracci: Matt Wait, Larry Pegram
March 21 Phoenix, AZ Anthony Gobert (AUS)
April 18 Rosamond, CA Larry Pegram (USA)
May 2 Monterey, CA Anthony Gobert (AUS)
June 6 Braselton, GA Anthony Gobert (AUS)
June 5 Braselton, GA Anthony Gobert (AUS)
June 13 Elkhart Lake, WI Anthony Gobert (AUS)
August 1 Brainerd, MN Ben Bostrom (USA)
July 11 (WSB) Monterey, CA Anthony Gobert (AUS)
July 11 (WSB) Monterey, CA Ben Bostrom (USA)
Points: 1. Mat Mladin (AUS-Suzuki) 361; 2. Ben Bostrom (USA-Ducati) 351; 3. Anthony Gobert (AUS-Ducati) 315.
AMA MANUFACTURERS’ TITLE
1998 – Fast By Ferracci: Mike Hale, Tom Kipp. Vance & Hines: Anthony Gobert, Thomas Stevens
February 15 Phoenix, AZ Anthony Gobert (AUS)
May 31 Braselton, GA Anthony Gobert (AUS)
June 14 Elkhart Lake, WI Anthony Gobert (AUS)
1997 – Fast By Ferracci: Mat Mladin. Vance & Hines: Thomas Stevens
February 16 Phoenix, AZ Mat Mladin (AUS)
June 8 Elkhart Lake, WI Mat Mladin (AUS)
June 15 Loudon, NH Mat Mladin (AUS)
October 5 Las Vegas, NV Mat Mladin (AUS)
Points: 1. Doug Chandler (USA-Kawasaki) 304; 2. Miguel Duhamel (CDN-Honda) 292 ; 3. Mat Mladin (AUS-Ducati) 288.
1996 – Fast by Ferracci: Alessandro Gramigni
June 9 Elkhart Lake, WI Alessandro Gramigni (ITA)
July 14 Brainerd, MN Alessandro Gramigni (ITA)
May 1 Monterey, CA Freddie Spencer (USA)
AMA RIDERS’ TITLE – TROY CORSER (AUS-DUCATI 888)
AMA MANUFACTURERS’ TITLE
March 27 Phoenix, AZ Troy Corser (AUS)
April 10 Pomona, CA Troy Corser (AUS)
May 22 Monterey, CA Pascal Picotte (CDN)
June 12 Elkhart Lake, WI Pascal Picotte (CDN)
June 19 Loudon, NH Troy Corser (AUS)
Points: 1. Troy Corser (AUS-Ducati) 273; 2. Jamie James (USA-Yamaha) 272; 3. Takahiro Sohwa (JPN-Kawasaki) 251.
AMA RIDERS’ TITLE – DOUG POLEN (DUCATI 888)
AMA MANUFACTURERS’ TITLE
February 15 Phoenix, AZ Doug Polen (USA)
April 18 Monterey, CA Doug Polen (USA)
May 2 Charlotte, NC Doug Polen (USA)
June 13 Elkhart Lake, WI Doug Polen (USA)
July 18 Atlanta, GA Doug Polen (USA)
August 1 Brainerd, MN Doug Polen (USA)
Points: 1. Doug Polen (USA-Ducati) 326; 2. Dale Quarterley (USA-Kawasaki) 262; 3. Miguel Duhamel (CDN-Kawasaki) 261.
April 26 Monterey, CA Doug Polen (USA)
June 14 Brainerd, MN Doug Polen (USA)
August 1 Lexington, OH Doug Polen (USA)
Points: 1. Scott Russell (USA-Kawasaki) 122; 2. Thomas Stevens (USA-Kawasaki) 102; 3. Doug Polen (USA-Ducati).
Doug Polen rode a Fast By Ferracci Ducati to a double victory at Brainerd in 1991 en route to winning the 1991 World Superbike Championship.
June 17 Loudon, NH Rich Schlachter (USA)
July 15 Sonoma, CA Paul Ritter (USA)
March 11 Daytona Beach, FL Cook Neilson (USA)
July 16 Sonoma, CA Paul Ritter (USA)