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Ravell Call, Deseret News
Front to back, Travis Child (930), Alex Zinaich (20) and Kurt Hall (104) race in the Open Superbike Race. Motorcycle racing at Miller Motorsports Park near Tooele, Utah, October 21, 2006.

It's somewhat confusing — that is, the weekend superbike races at the Miller Motorsports Park featuring the HANNspree Superbike World Championships and the AMA Superbike Championships ... two different races, but both claiming superbike status.

Best way to describe the difference is one is a world tour — HANNspree — and the other an American tour — AMA.

The races will open with practice today and racing and more practice time on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

It's been four years since the world tour has raced in the United States. The American tour was on the Miller track just last year.

One official said trying to compare the two is like comparing apples and oranges. The world tour features experimental-type bikes, and all riders are required to run on the same tires. The American tour features production-type bikes similar to those on showroom floors and has no specific tire requirement.

But there, it appears, differences end. Speeds are similar, upward of 180-mph-plus, riding technique is the same and riders come into this race with similar credentials.

In 31 years, for example, 15 racers graduated from the AMA Superbike Championship and went on to score 30 world titles, which includes five riders who won eight Superbike World Championships in the series' 20-year history.

Michael Jordan has chosen to throw his support to the AMA series by sponsoring Suzuki rider Aaron Yates.

Among the riders competing in the world event will be Scott Jensen from Longmont, Colo. Jensen is a regular competitor in superbike races at the Miller track and was given a wildcard seat in this event.

Riders will inspect the track and practice today. Friday will also be for testing and tuning machines, with one race, the AMA Formula Xtreme, scheduled for 4:55 p.m. There will be several AMA races on Saturday, including a championship race starting at 12:30 p.m. On Sunday, the first of the two one-hour world events will start at noon and the second at 3:30 p.m.

The Superbike World Championship races will be broadcast live on 95 television networks to 173 countries and an estimated television audience of 120 million.

For information visit www.millermotorsportspark.com.


E-mail: grass@desnews.com