WorldSBK takes a look back over the American successes over the years
Securing 121 victories and nine world titles overall in all MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship classes since it began back in 1988, it’s clear American riders aren’t shy of showing their talent in the ever-competitive series. Producing many world champions throughout the years, American riders have always been fighting up at the front, with a rider winning a race in 16 years out of 30 so far. The most successful season for the country was 1991, with Doug Polen taking 17 victories whilst Tom Kipp secured just one; and WorldSBK.com take a look back over the Great American History of within the world’s fastest production-based motorcycle series.
Fred Merkel began the American surge in the series, taking the first ever world title in 1988 before taking his second the year after. With eight victories to his name, Merkel took the Honda RC30 to the top in the opening years of the series, firmly stamping the American’s authority on the championship as they visited the US in the second year of the championship.
In the next decade, America had even more success in the WorldSBK championship, with Doug Polen taking back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992 with 27 victories to his name. Scott Russell made his mark in WorldBK in 1993 – his first full season in the series – as he took the title with Kawasaki following a consistent year in the series.
Spending just two years in the WorldSBK championship, John Kocinski finished in third in his first year in the series before taking the title in 1997 – beating Carl Fogarty by 58 points. Finishing on the podium in each season he has competed in, Colin Edwards can hold his name highly as one of the most well respected American WorldSBK champions. With two world titles behind him – secured in 2000 and 2002 - Edwards brought back the American resurge into WorldSBK which had began to dry up.
Ben Spies exploded onto the WorldSBK scene in 2009, and was able to take the world title in his debut and only season in the championship, on board a Yamaha. Following a season long battle with Italian legend Max Biaggi on the Aprilia, Spies stamped his authority early on, taking 14 victories and 17 podiums before making the step over to MotoGP™.
Currently flying the flag for the 50 states is Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) in WorldSBK and PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in WorldSSP, both with solid results and wins to their name as they hope to continue the American Dream long into the future.
Want to relive any of the stunning performances by American riders over the years? We have highlights, interviews and full races available on WorldSBK.com, all accessible with a VideoPass. It’s too good an opportunity to miss out on.