Ranking The Top Ten SuperBike Champions - No. 7
NEWS January 24, 2014
Photo by Brian J Nelson
Written by Chris Martin:
January 24, 2014 - Miguel DuHamel is, quite simply, the most decorated AMA Pro Road Racer of all-time. During his tenure, the French Canadian racked up more wins across all classes than any other rider (86), stands as the third most winningest racer in AMA Pro SuperBike history (32), ranks first in career 600 Supersport victories (40), and collected a grand total of eight AMA Pro Road Racing titles (five in Supersport, two in Formula Xtreme, and the 1995 AMA Pro SuperBike Championship).
But the numbers are not what we first think of when we consider DuHamel's legacy. No, when we look back on DuHamel's career, what immediately comes to mind are his indomitable will, his quick wit, his cagey racecraft, and his absolute fearlessness as a rider.
DuHamel was a certified racing magician who epitomized the 'never say die' approach.
Who can forget DuHamel's return following what very well should have been a career-ending injury in 1998? Just in case you did, Miguel suffered a brutal compound fracture at Loudon so serious that his femur was literally removed from his leg in order to grind the pavement off the bone before it was reinserted with a rod. DuHamel was still hobbling around on a cane at the '99 season opener in Daytona, where he was set to make his return to action. Realistically, just competing was heroic enough, but it wasn't good enough for Miguel, who added to his legend by winning the Daytona 200 and the accompanying Supersport race that weekend.
Or how about his final corner, around-the-outside pass to ace Anthony Gobert at Road Atlanta earlier in '98?
Or that time he opened the final lap of the Superbike final in Sonoma some 1.9+ seconds behind Jake Zemke yet somehow tracked him down for a last-corner victory in 2004?
And those are just a small sampling of the head shakers highlighting DuHamel's prodigious catalog of victories.
While best remembered for his time as an American Honda 'Red Rider,' Miguel proved his caliber on a wide variety of Superbikes. He won premier-class races on a Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R750, a Muzzy Kawasaki ZX-7R, and Honda RC30, RC45, RC51, and CBR1000RR racebikes. Additionally, he hustled the Harley-Davidson VR1000 around racetracks quicker than it had any business doing, leading races in '94 despite facing a very stacked field that included future and former world champs like Troy Corser, Colin Edwards II, and Fred Merkel.
And besides ranking as the series' best-ever on the undercard, DuHamel showed himself capable of putting a 500GP bike in the top five and a World Superbike on the podium in his very limited appearances on the world stage.
However, as likable, talented, and dedicated as DuHamel was as rider, he was not infallible. Regularly racing on the razor's edge occasionally bit him, and he could generally be counted on to suffer at least one costly crash per season. Sometimes those mistakes set the stage for a subsequent miraculous comeback, while other times they merely left him vulnerable to more calculating title rivals like Doug Chandler and Mat Mladin.
For all his accolades, DuHamel only collected the one (dominating) SuperBike championship in 1995. Miguel would certainly rank considerably higher on a listing of the greatest racers in AMA Pro Road Racing history, and likely move up a few slots if this were simply a ranking of the best AMA Pro SuperBike racers of all-time. But this is a list of the series' greatest champions and seventh is as high as you get with a single crown.
Next time: #6…
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