Photo: Steve English
With Marquez (and his hot rod HRC Honda) out of contention, Brad Baker out after surgery and Jared Mees missing the race, presumably because of his new baby and incredible championship winning year, the Superprestigio was more open than it had been for some time.
The Superprestigio is a pure short track shitfight, with the added complication of 17in tyres (because Michelin sponsor and don't make a 19) and an MX-style start gate. The British challenge fizzled slightly, with Oliver Brindley being the only UK flat tracker to make it through to the finals of the Open class, but he failed to make it through to Superfinal.
In the end, JD Beach dominated proceedings. For years I thought Beach was being lined up to be the next American MotoGP hopeful, but his move from the US domestic series to the world stage has stalled, and I don't know why. Beach has a flat track background, coming up with Brad Baker, before moving to road racing. He competed at the final AFT Twins round of the year, at Perris, and came third (behind Mees and Carver) on a Yamaha twin, ahead of a packed field of AFT regulars. He's a super talent.
Briar Bauman was second, Ferran Cardus third, Elias fourth. We were happy to see a Zaeta in the Superfinal, with Fabio Di Giannantonio coming in fifth on the new fuel-injected machine. Zaeta have finally come of age, the handsome street tracker has finally proved itself as a race bike. (Read the Zaeta story in Sideburn 11)
But... the stadium was barely a quarter full. No Marquez, no crowd. Beach and Bauman are names in AFT circles, but not in Europe. The Superprestigio has lost its sparkle. We've heard rumours this was to be the last Superprestigio the current promoters would organise. The lack of crowd is only likely to confirm this decision, though TV rights might be worth something.
Perhaps it's a coincidence, but Valentino Rossi has organised his 100km race for the same weekend at his ranch in Tavullia, and the entry list is packed full of GP riders, plus our old friend Marco Belli (interviewed in Sideburn 30), Sammy Halbert and his other-half Sandrina Shipman. Tito Rabat, one of the big names at early Superprestigios, is also at Rossi's Ranch.
So is the date a coincidence?