Whether it be race-wins or wives, Utah is the land of the 'multiple'. Welcome to Miller Motorsports Park in scenic Tooele, Utah.
Haga came into this round with an 80ish point lead over WSBK rookie Ben's Pies. Haga's comfy championship lead is partially due to the fact that The Ben has had some bad luck lately, including a broken gear changer and running out of fuel...both of which cost him wins. Bummer, dude. Spies made it known that, in Utah, anything less than pole position and a double-win just wouldn't make the scene. Spies went ahead and took pole...again. Spies has scored the pole at every round, so far, this year...breaking Doug Polen's previous record of 6 consecutive poles set back in 1990-something or other. The AMA's own Jamie Hacking was filling in for the rarely-uninjured Makoto Tamada on the Paul Bird Kawasaki. Hacker did good to put the green Kwak up in 7th on the starting grid...by far Kawasaki's best qualifying effort in recent memory. Zemke was also there on the Stiggy Honda qualifying somewhere down in 20-something land. Points leader Haga pretty much has a hate/hate relationship with Miller Motorsports Park. Last year, lobbed it in race 1 and broke his collarbone in the process. This year, he highsided himself into the mountains during practice, but still managed to make the 9th on the grid.
Race 1...lights out and Spies immediately hit the front as the whole crew railed into turn one. Haga Bonzai'd his way up to third from 9th on the grid. Hacking was also moving forward as he put some rather impressive moves on the WSBK regulars. Hacking made his way up to 4th before the...that's right...red flag. Aussie Karl Muggeridge had a little 'oopsie' which left him and his bike stranded on the racing line. OK..restart. Spies, again, hits the front and sets sail for the top step of the podium. Carlos Checa, last year's double race winner, brought his Honda home in the first loser's spot. Ducati's Fabrizio rounded out the podium on his...err...Ducati. AMA homeboy Jamie Hacking wrapped things up in 7th spot...not too shabby. Word on the street is that he is actively seeking a fulltime WSBK ride. I'm sure the Euro-Kawasaki squad would welcome him, his hot wife, and bulldogs with open arms.
Race 2...SpeedTV's resident should-be NFL commentator, Ralph Sheheen informed me that when the lights go out, that I should 'Watch out! these guys will be really going for it!'. Thanks, Ralph. I was truly worried that the WSBK boys might just hang out on the grid, play quarters, and make fart jokes. Apparently, Spies doesn't know any fart jokes, because he opted to get the holeshot, lead every lap, set lap record after lap record, and win the race. That is pretty much the jist of race 2. As the race went on, Checa crashed out of 2nd place (par for the course), and Fabrizio was the only rider able to keep Ben and his Pies within spitting distance. At one point, Fabrizio got within 1.5 seconds of Spies. In return, Spies utilized the 6th gear on his 'R' series Yamaha and finished the race with a gap of 9+ seconds. The two British riders Johnny Rea and the ever-flaptastic Leon Haslam went back and forth for the final spot on the podium. Haslam chucked his Honda into the dirt, and Rea went on to spray Champagne. Haga lost points ti Spies, but is still 53 points ahead with 7 rounds (14 races) to go.
1) Ben Spies-Yamaha
2) Carlos Checa-Honda
3) Michel Fabrizio-Ducati
1) Ben Spies-Yamaha
2) Michel Fabrizio-Ducati
3) Johnny Rea-Honda
Next stop...San Marino.