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From AMA Pro Racing:

Finally.

After several near misses and a great deal of heartbreak, Superbike rookie Jake Zemke finally scored his first career AMA Chevrolet Superbike victory following a classic battle -- albeit one with a somewhat bizarre conclusion.

Superbike final results
Following a multi-bike dogfight that featured four different leaders and lasted well past half distance, the works Hondas of Zemke and Miguel DuHamel finally separated themselves at the front; the two dropped Mat Mladin with less than two laps remaining and Eric Bostrom shortly earlier -- thanks to some timely aggression through heavy traffic.

DuHamel led as they settled in for a two-man duel for the win. He took the white flag and then turned back the Californian's outside drafting attempt at the end of the long front straight and into Turn 1.

Desperate to hold onto the lead, the Canadian pushed his CBR1000RR to its limits and a bit beyond those of the actual racing surface; DuHamel's rear wheel dropped off the pavement and onto the grass momentarily through Turn 2, allowing Zemke to drive past heading into the hard-braking 3.

Miguel immediately regrouped to apply pressure to the new leader. Coming out of the bus stop Turn 9 that leads onto the short straight before Turn 10, Zemke's powerful RR lost traction for an instant, allowing DuHamel to get a superior drive heading to the contest's final corner.

With a last-turn clash for victory looking inevitable, a bizarre series of events occurred in that vital corner as the leaders approached.

Rain -- which had been threatening to strike for an extended period -- finally started to fall lightly on the west side of the circuit during the penultimate lap. It became a more serious factor on that back half during the final lap, causing Zemke's aforementioned bus stop bobble. The building rainfall was hitting the Turn 10 area to an even greater extent, causing Jeremy Toye, Greg Fryer, and Jack Pfeifer to crash there shortly before the dice for the lead arrived.

A local yellow was thrown and cornerworkers scrambled in an attempt to get the situation under control -- including one who darted across the track in front of the approaching leaders. Despite slippery conditions and odd circumstances, Zemke successfully negotiated the treacherous final turn at speed while DuHamel backed off.

The Erion Honda pilot took the checkered flag to earn his first ever Superbike victory at the same circuit he also grabbed his first Supersport and Formula Xtreme wins.

The American Honda star took the corner more gingerly to cross the stripe in second, 1.195 seconds back.

"It was a hard race out there from the get-go," Zemke remarked. "Even though I was on pole... I don't want to say it was a fluke because I put the lap in, but at the same time that was just one lap and we were still searching for a good set-up. Going into the race I was running an unknown bike -- we just threw some stuff at it and luckily it was good enough to hang in there.

"Miguel made a little mistake coming out of 2. I was actually lining him up, and that's where I was going to try and pass him anyways. When he did that it just opened the door wide open. It was like I was trying to peak in and all the sudden someone kicked the door through."

DuHamel explained the last lap from his perspective, stating, "In Turn 2, I was just carrying a little too much speed and went wide, sliding a bit. Jake jumped on the chance and passed me. Then I was pretty much on him, and coming out of the bus stop it was raining pretty bad. He got a slide and I got a good drive on him. We crossed the bridge and it was pouring rain. Going into the corner I just rolled off and he went for it.

"For me it was a heartbreaker to lose the race, but to lose it to Jake... I don't think there is a guy more deserving in the paddock."

A red flag was eventually thrown (after several of the contestants had already taken the checkered flag), resulting in a degree of confusion early on over the official results. A handful of riders results were pushed back to the lap prior (the ones that took the red flag), but Zemke's win was quickly confirmed as official.

Around a half-second behind DuHamel at the flag was Mladin, who looked like a definite threat to win before getting the worse end of it through a number of lappers. The Yoshimura hero's top speed and acceleration deficit was obvious on the day as he was repeatedly torched by the HRC machines on the mile-long dragstrip (DuHamel later admitted, "He was down on power; we did take a few stickers off him going down the front straight,").

Despite the disadvantage, throughout much of the race he not only stayed in touch, but routinely took the lead with some deft riding through 2 and 3. But once cut off from the leading duo, he was left with no hope of drafting enough to help keep him in the game. The Aussie knew that third was the best he could hope for after 20 of 21 laps.

"We were competitive entering Turn 1 to exiting the bus stop," Mladin said. "The rest of the track we weren't competitive. We pushed hard through the first couple turns to make up a huge gap on every lap, but that's the best we could do. I got stuck in that traffic with a couple to go and fell back a second-and-a-half and that was it. Once I lost the little bit of wind I was getting on the straight, I couldn't do it after that."

Ducati Austin's Eric Bostrom lurked just behind the top trio for the vast majority of the 100k event. Similar to Mladin, the Californian lost the tow after a tough spell through the lappers. Although a podium finish looked possible, Bostrom's fourth place was still an encouraging result for the Ducati Corse-supported squad.

Eric's brother Ben took fifth, some eleven seconds behind Zemke, although he did make a stirring mid-race charge to close on the leading group before fading late.

Josh Hayes came home sixth after running at the front early on, including a stint as the leader on the Attack Kawasaki ZX-10R. While the Mississippian wasn't able to hold the pace the entire distance, he and the California-based crew took another major step towards becoming week-in and week-out giant killers.

Mladin's Yoshimura Suzuki teammate, Aaron Yates, finished down in eighth, 27-seconds behind the victor.

Canadian ace Pascal Picotte, Lion Racing's Jacob Holden, and Prieto Racing's Geoff May rounded out the top ten.

Mladin's title lead took another significant blow today. His advantage was cut to just six over DuHamel (358 vs. 352), while Zemke closed to within ten points at 348 with just seven of 18 races remaining.
 
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