Benner, DeBusk and Hoke Win Freemansburg AMA Pro Hillclimb

NEWS September 14, 2010

Benner, DeBusk and Hoke Win Freemansburg AMA Pro Hillclimb

FREEMANSBURG, Pa. (September 14, 2010) - Alex Benner leaped into first place in the Unlimited Class points race with a win and both Robby DeBusk and Scott Hoke scored top points for the first time with wins in Xtreme and Pro Sport (respectively) in the seventh round of the AMA Pro Hillclimb Championship Series on September 12 at Freemansburg, PA.

Hillclimbers had two opportunities to face off at the Freemansburg hill this season- earlier in round two and again on September 12 for round seven. In round two torrential rain turned the hill into flowing mud, shortening that race. But this time the hill remained in good condition despite some early morning showers that stopped well before the first bike launched up the hill. The moisture made for substantial traction, making it difficult for some riders to hold the front wheel down. Indeed more than a few ended their rides with wild back flips.

First up were four riders competing in exhibition Verti-Cross with thrilling side-by-side action in a double-elimination round-robin. After four heats, the line-up for the semi final and final heats- to be run at intermission- were determined. Walter "Tiger" Strank appeared to be the favorite with wins in both of his heats.

In the Xtreme Class first half, Phil Libhart rode first and rode fast at 11.167 seconds. Chris VanHyning crested at 11.812 seconds, putting in second. Then, near the end of the order, Nate Redmann edged VanHyning back a notch with an 11.196 E.T., just 29 thousandths off Libhart's time. Benner rode last and, with a very smooth all-out run, he bested them all and broke into the tens at 10.891 seconds. At the half it was Benner, Lihart and Redmann- first, second, third in order.

In Pro Sport action, Amanda Campbell rode first and topped the hill in just under 21 seconds. John Koester, fresh off a two-race winning streak, found himself behind Amanda by 30 thousandths. Hoke and points leader, Josh Lingle crested at 20.315 and 21.208 seconds respectively. All other Pro Sporters fell short of the top of the hill and were credited with distance rather than time. After one ride, Hoke held first place followed by Campbell and Koester in second and third.

The big bikes ran next. Colby McCutcheon was first to ride under 12 seconds at 11. 941. Shawn Farnsworth followed at 11.263 seconds. Rookie, Jay Sallstrom, broke into the tens with a smooth 10.724 second ride, moving ahead of the pack. Matt Luna moved into third with a 11.485 E.T. and Sam Herline bumped McCutcheon back with a solid ride at 11.741 second. But again, Benner rode last in the order and screamed to the top in under ten seconds for first place at the half, setting the time to beat. At intermission, Benner was on top, with Sallstrom and Farnsworth following in second and third.

At intermission it was time for the second half of the Verti-Cross racing. Sallstrom bested McCutcheon and Strank took Redmann in the semi-final heat. In the final it was Strank vs. Sallstrom. Sallstrom flipped out of a bad landing at 310 feet and could only watch Strank motor all the way to the top for the win. It was Strank, Sallstrom and Redman- 1, 2, 3 in order at the finish.

When Xtreme Class climbing resumed, Robby DeBusk, in sixth at the half, laid down a flawless ride at 10.092 seconds and eclipsed Benner by eight tenths. Everyone knew this would be tough to beat. Paul Kops bettered his own first-half time, moving from fifth to third. A half-dozen riders with distance at the half posted times on their second attempt. But no one could touch DeBusk's time, not even Benner who hung onto second with the time from his first ride. DeBusk was all smiles with his first Xtreme Class.

In Pro Sport's second ride, Campbell bettered her time by seven tenths, temporarily moving to first. Then Koester set the bar higher with an 18.355 second ride. But Hoke rose to the challenge and shaved just over a tenth off Koester's time, moving back into first with an 18.217 second E.T. So Hoke, like DeBusk, got to bask in the glory of his first win in the points series. Koester and Campbell rounded out the podium.

The top three order in the Unlimited Class did not change in the second half despite some amazing go-for-broke racing. No fewer than seven riders rode faster on their second attempt with Sallstrom leading the assault on Benner's time by posting the only other sub-ten-second ride at 9.928 - just 54 thousandths off the mark. Three riders moved into the tens with Farnsworth retaining third at 10.400 seconds. Benner sat out the second and never needed to defend his position. It was Benner, Sallstrom and Farnsworth in 1, 2, 3 at the finish.

For round 8, the AMA Pro Hillclimbers will return to the White Rose hill in Jefferson, PA on September 26.

Series Points Standings:
In the Unlimited Class series points race, Benner, McCutcheon and Scott Campbell each move up a spot while Shane Green dropped to fourth with a thirteenth place finish in round seven. Ten points separate the top four riders with two hillclimbs left.

In Xtreme Class, Redmann held his eight-point grip on the lead against number two, Libhart. VanHyning remains in third. Debusk's win moved him up a spot to fourth, within striking distance of the podium.

Hoke's Pro Sport win shaved six points off Lingle's lead. Hoke now trails by just eight. John Mosko remains in third, 14 points behind Hoke.

U/L: 1. Alex Benner (Hon); 2. Jay Sallstrom (Yam); 3. Shawn Farnsworth (H-D); 4. Colby McCutcheon (Suz); 5. Scott Campbell (Suz).

Xtreme: 1. Robby DeBusk (Yam); 2. Alex Benner (Hon); 3. Paul Kops (H-D); 4. Phil Libhart (Tri); 5. Nate Redmann (Yam).

Pro Spt: 1. Scott Hoke (Suz); 2. John Koester (Suz); 3. Amanda Campbell (Hon); 4. Josh Lingle (Yam); 5. John Mosko (Hon).

V-X: 1. Walter "Tiger" Strank (Suz); 2. Jay Sallstrom (Yam); 3. Nate Redman (Yam).

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