The AMA Supermoto Championship season-ending doubleheader at Infineon Raceway near Sonoma, Calif., closed the year in dramatic fashion, with come-from-behind rides, mechanical breakdowns and dominant performances deciding the disciplineâ€™s three titles.
Speed and perseverance helped Troy Herfoss win his first premier-class No. 1 plate in the AMA Supermoto Championship, which features four-stroke motocross-based motorcycles displacing up to 450cc. The HCM KTM rider wrapped up the year with a second and a third.
â€œI didnâ€™t expect this coming into the year, but I knew I had a really good shot,â€ Herfoss said. â€œI trained hard for this season, and the whole team worked hard on the bikes so they were perfect every time. My aim was to be on the podium every race, and I knew that if I could be on the podium every race that I would be right there. I started off the year a little cautious at that first race, I think, but then I went on to win three races in a row.â€
Despite mechanical issues that effectively took defending AMA Supermoto Champion and â€™08 contender Mark Burkhart out of the points chase in the first race of the doubleheader, it wasnâ€™t easy for Herfoss. The Australian rider had to come from dead last in both races â€“ the first after a stall on the first lap of the first race, and his second run following a heat race mishap that required him to start the final race from the last spot on the grid.
â€œI was thinking I threw the whole championship away. I couldnâ€™t believe it,â€ Herfoss said. â€œWhen I made it back to second, I couldnâ€™t believe that either. (Burkhartâ€™s mechanical) went in my favor, but unfortunately I returned the favor the next morning in my heat race, and I had to start from the back row.â€
For the year, Herfoss bounced back from a season-opener loss to Burkhart to string together three wins. Other race winners on the season included Yamaha rider Burkhart, KTMâ€™s Chris Fillmore and Honda-mounted Cassidy Anderson.
Fate also intervened in the Supermoto Unlimited class, which features motorcycles displacing more than 490cc. Apriliaâ€™s Darryl Atkins came into the final weekend with a five-point cushion, but got a flat during the first main event. That allowed KTM-mounted Steve Drew, from Buckeye, Ariz., to take over the points lead with a win. In the second race, Drew held on for a safe fourth-place finish and claimed the title by one championship point despite Atkinsâ€™ win.
â€œWinning this is a dream come true. Iâ€™ve been working for this a long time, first in motocross and Supercross, and then when Supermoto came around, all of a sudden I had a second life,â€ Drew said. â€œAll the hard work that got put in â€“ the training around working, racing around working â€“ to compete with these incredible riders who devote their lives to this sport is incredible. It made all of those bicycle rides at lunch time in 105-degree heat in Phoenix worth it. When I think about all the great riders who have run an AMA No. 1 plate, now to be one of those riders is pretty awesome.â€
For the season, Drew and Atkins split wins in the Supermoto Unlimited class with three apiece.
In the Supermoto Lites class, which features four-stroke machinery up to 250cc, the doubleheader finale was another Brandon Currie clinic. The Graves Yamaha rider from Anaheim, Calif., won both events to put a perfect finish on a perfect season in which he won all six races. KTMâ€™s Matt Burton was the runner-up for the championship.
â€œI wasnâ€™t thinking of being perfect heading into the season,â€ said Currie, who also won the 2007 AMA Supermoto Lites title. â€œI just wanted another championship. Thankfully, I have a good group of people around me â€“ my family and Yamaha and Graves â€“ and all of them were behind me 100 percent, making sure Iâ€™m working hard and that Iâ€™m ready to race every weekend. To finish the season like this is awesome, really. Now, I canâ€™t wait to move up to the 450 class, and show them what I can do on a 450.â€