TOOELE Before coming to Utah, it had been 10 years since Carlos Checa of Spain had won a race. He only had to wait two hours to win his second.
Checa won back-to-back races Sunday in the World Superbike Championships at the Miller Motorsports Park.
Ben Spies of Texas had to wait 24 hours before he could post back-to-back wins in the American Superbike Championships.
Checa, riding a Honda, won the first race by nearly 3 seconds and the second race by what officials called "one of the largest margins" 3.5 seconds over Max Neukirchner of Germany.
In the first race, Checa took the lead on the fourth lap and was never challenged. In the second race, Checa passed Neukirchner on the ninth lap and was never challenged.
Early in the second race, it looked like this was going to be a closer race. There were a number of passes made in the early going. Troy Corser of Australia started in the lead, then Neukirchner took over, with Troy Bayliss of Australia posing a serious challenge.
Then Bayliss, in third place at the time, pulled off the track on the sixth lap with bike problems, and Corser, riding a close third, took a lowside spill on the 17th lap.
Checa said he felt confident he would win the afternoon race, mainly because he was on a trouble-free bike.
"The first race we had one problem with the first bike. We took the second bike, and it was working different. We made adjustments, and it was better," he said.
"The race was quite fast and exciting. It was not easy."
Neukirchner took second, 3.5 seconds behind the leader, and Michel Fabrizio of Italy placed third, 6.6 seconds back.
Neukirchner was fourth in the first race and said later that his bike was not working well going into the corners, "and we changed something and it was much better, but Carlos was just too fast today."
Max Biaggi of Italy finished fourth, Noriyuki Haga of Japan was fifth, Yukio Kagayama of Japan was sixth and Ryuichi Kiyonari of Japan was seventh.
The first race wasn't so much different from the second. Checa started on the pole position but found himself in third going into the first turn, behind Bayliss and Neukirchner.
For two of 20 laps, it was a close race. Then coming into the final turn on lap 2, before the long straight, Bayliss' Ducati went down hard and he spent the next few seconds dodging bikes and riders.
On the next lap, Checa, riding a Honda, took an inside line and passed Neukirchner. He took the lead and for the next 16 laps was never challenged.
"The beginning was quite fast into turn one and two," said Checa. "I couldn't push any harder than I did. Then, when I was able to get in front, in first position, I try to push."
On the sixth lap, he held at 2.2-second lead over Neukirchner, riding a Suzuki, and a 2.8-second lead over Corser, riding a Yamaha. By the 10th lap, the gap had widened to 3.5 seconds over Neukirchner and 4.7 seconds over Corser.
The order stayed that way until the 16th lap, when Corser was able to get past Neukirchner. At that point, Checa held a 5-second lead over the field.
On the final lap, the leader board changed for the final time when Fabrizio, riding a Ducati, was able to pass Neukirchner.
"I did an inside move to get into second," Fabrizio said. "To be honest, it was pretty scary going into the first corner. ... I nearly went down. Then I settled down and I knew the pace was good. Carlos was pulling away, but there was nothing I could do.
"It was pretty hard getting around Neukirchner. He was a little faster on the straights. I had to make it up in the corners."
At the finish, Checa was 2.8 seconds ahead of Corser, 6.5 seconds ahead of Fabrizio, 7.7 seconds ahead of Neukirchner and 16.4 seconds ahead of Fonsi Nieto of Spain.
In the American Superbike Championships, Spies dominated. He won Saturday's first race, leading from start to finish. On Sunday, in the second race, the Suzuki rider won again, leading from start to finish, beating his closest challenger, Jamie Hacking of Denver, by nearly seven seconds which in superbike racing, at speeds topping 180 miles per hour, is somewhere close to a dozen football fields. Hacking rides a Kawasaki.
The rest of the field tailed off in the later runs. Neil Hodgson, of England, riding a Suzuki, was 5 seconds back on lap 10 and was 14 seconds back at the finish, and Mathew Mladin of Nevada, riding a Suzuki, was 9.6 seconds back on lap 10 and finished 17 seconds back.The two superbike series will return to the Miller track next year. This was the third time the American tour visited Utah and the first time in four years the world tour had raced on U.S. soil.
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