While Italian manufacturer Aprilia made an almost instant impact on the international Supermoto scene with the introduction of their twin-cylinder racing machines, it took just a bit longer to emerge a true force in the American series.
However, 2007 looks like it could very well be their breakout season, thanks to pairing of 2006 M&R Supermoto Unlimited champion Ben Carlson and the factory Aprilia RXV550.
Longtime HMC protégé Carlson quickly dispelled any thoughts that he would struggle in his manufacturer swap, as the Wisconsin native put on a dominant display at the front of Saturday's Unlimited contest. Starting from pole, Carlson dropped the field in short order and stormed away with a double-digit margin of victory.
Afterwards, the enthusiastic young ace said, “Capturing Aprilia’s first win feels amazing. I am very happy for this team and everyone involved. I have been working hard and I want to put a great season together for everyone here.”
The two men expected to give Carlson his biggest challenge, Frenchman David Baffeleuf on the factory Husqvarna and HMC’s up-and-comer John Lewis, had unlucky outings with neither making it deeper than 7 laps into the 12-lap affair.
Husaberg’s Robert Loire took maximum advantage of their misfortunes, claiming a tremendous second place finish.
“Its amazing, everything went right this weekend,” Loire said. “I want to thank everyone involved with the team, all the sponsors, my family, and the fans here in St Louis.”
BP Racing’s Josh Chisum claimed the final spot on the podium aboard his KTM 560SMR. “I am excited to have done this well. I rode better than I expected. Everything worked out today”
South African Brian Capper finished fourth on the factory KTM, followed by Aprilia team boss Darryl Atkins.
Motostrano-backed Travis Marks took sixth, followed by Frenchman Xavier Bellerophon, Tunguska Blast Husaberg’s Mike Bergman, Mark’s teammate Donald Wanat, and KTM-mounted Corey Hormes.
Carlson will carry his early-season advantage into Round 2 at Raceway Park, in Englishtown, NJ on June 2 & 3.