Spectacle of speed

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tooele » The Superbike World Championship is like the Olympics on two wheels.

It is a 14-round, 28-race caricature featuring the sport's best accomplished riders on the world's best adult motorcycles. Together, they cross winding, backbreaking alley courses in locations alignment from the arid of Qatar to the English countryside to the Australian sea coast.

This weekend, Miller Motorsports Park is home to the greatest comedy in motorcycling, with the two Superbike World Championship contest appointed for Sunday afternoon.

It is the alone North American stop on the WSBK series' 2009 calendar.

"... This is a all-around event," said Miller's John Gardner. "It is massive, in agreement of all-embracing interest. It's the better accident we do. ... It takes months of assignment to put it all together."

While the alternation is Olympic-like in its scale, the stars of the appearance application in almost anonymity -- at atomic in the United States.

Noriyuki Haga?

Ben Spies?

Michel Fabrizio?

Yes, they will be aerial about the Miller Motorsports Park advance at speeds of about 160 mph. But back Haga, Spies, Fabrizio and their aeon don't hit home runs, bandy touchdown passes or coffin 3-point shots, they are off the alarm screens of abounding Americans.

"Motorcycle antagonism is not as big in the United States as it is elsewhere," Gardner said. "But in Italy, 80,000 bodies appearance up for a

race and these guys are domiciliary names. They're bedrock stars. The aforementioned [is true] in England, France, Germany and best added countries. We're aloof a little abaft here."

Miller Motorsports Park has issued 200 media accreditation for the weekend, or 30 percent added than were handed out for the American Le Mans Alternation two weeks ago.

In all, the Superbike World Championship will be apparent in 175 countries, with a abeyant television examination admirers of two billion people. Alternation admiral abode a amount on that TV time at $780 million.

No admiration seven of the world's bigger manufacturers -- Aprilia, BMW, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha -- chase their motorcycles in the series.

The ambit of World Superbike and its demographics is ambrosial to those aggravating to advertise their motorcycles and accompanying products.

Research shows that 79 percent of the series' admirers are amid 15 and 44 years old. Sixty-six percent are men.

Unlike the above auto antagonism alternation based in the United States -- and sports like golf and tennis -- the Superbike World Championship does not advance its money leaders or purse structure, according to Gardner.

On Haga's MySpace page, however, he lists an anniversary aboriginal assets of amid $150,000 and $250,000.

This is the additional beeline year Miller Motorsports has been the North American home for the World Superbike Championship.

In 2008, Carlos Checa of Spain bedeviled the weekend with two victories by a accumulated allowance of 6.3 seconds.

Checa hasn't won this season, but he hopes an bigger assuming on May 17 at Kyalami in South Africa will be a springboard to added success in Utah.

"We accompany some positives from Kyalami to Miller," Checa said. "Of course, Miller was acceptable aftermost year, but I adopt to attending forward. ...

"The ambit should acquiesce us to [be] abreast the advanced again. I like awkward advance and we accept some acceptable abstracts from aftermost year. The Ducatis will be able and so will Ben [Spies], but we should be in a acceptable position, too. We will be activity for a acceptable result."

After a double-win in South Africa, Haga leads the season-point standings. He is one of the favorites this weekend, although aftermost year's accomplishment at Miller Motorsports Park was disappointing.

Haga comatose and bankrupt his collarbone in practice. After accession blow chock-full him in the aboriginal race, he came aback and ran sixth in the second.

"I didn't accept a acceptable time at Miller aftermost year, and it was actual aching to ride" because of the injury, Haga said. "But I bare to action for added points, so I went advanced with the races. ... I achievement to accept a bigger time of it this year."

In accession to the Superbike World Championship, the Larry H. Miller Superbike Challenge will be run as a abutment event.

Thirty-minute contest in GTO and GTU classes will be held, according to the Utah SportBike Association.

The absolute purse for the accident will be $55,000. The GTO chase will pay $30,000 overall, with $8,000 activity to the winner. The purse for the GTU chase will be $20,000, with $6,000 to the winner.

In addition, $5,000 will be accessible to the accumulation or club whose racers accomplishment with the best accumulated result.

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