Britain’s Neil Hodgson had a mixed weekend at Virginia International Raceway this weekend with a massive high-side and a seventh to show for his AMA Superbike efforts.
The nature of the 18-turn, 2.25-mile road course doesn’t suit the strengths of the Honda CBR1000RR. Rather than flowing, sweeping corners where the Honda excels, the track has a number of hard braking corners and rapid transitions. From the beginning of the weekend, the teams struggled to find a workable set-up.
Team-mate Migurl Duhamel had one of his most consistent weekends of the year. He would have been fifth both days, if not for being passed by Yamaha rider Jason DiSalvo on the final lap of Saturday’s race in turn one. There was some irony in the pass, since Duhamel was strong on the brakes in the slippery corner than bends right.
Hodgson was in front of the Duhamel/DiSalvo battle until he high-sided in the first turn on the ninth lap while running sixth. Though the crash was spectacular, Hodgson didn’t suffer serious injuries.
The Honda teammates ran together for much of Sunday’s race. Hodgson was making a run at Duhamel for fifth when he ran off the track in the first turn on the 27th of 28 laps. That dropped him from sixth to seventh, with Duhamel finishing fifth.
Both races were won by Mat Mladin (Suzuki) from teammates Ben Spies and Tommy Hayden.
"Nothing really worked to be honest. I were way off the pace and then I ran off the track, just at the end, just the second to last lap in turn one," said Hodgson.
"I was just trying to outbrake Miguel. When I got in there, I couldn’t risk tipping it in so I had to go straight, like everybody else did. We did the same lap times as yesterday, so not very good really. But better than yesterday.
"Yesterday it were a weird, weird crash, because obviously I’ve got traction control and everything. I’m not the sort of guy who trusts traction control all the time, so I’m never going to just twist the throttle open. I was just squeezing it on, 30% throttle, then touched it a little bit further and just went and said, oh no.
It’s a shame, because I landed pretty hard; it winded me, which is always the worst. Instantly knocked the wind out so I couldn’t breathe. Sort of banged every other corner of my body. My shoulder’ was killing me. At first I wasn’t too sure what was the worst. I banged both of my hips, which is random, then I realized I’d done something in there."