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Vance & Hines Ducati: The Super Team
by staff
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Anthony, how did you even get in those leathers? Then AMA Superbike champion Ben Bostrom and teammate Anthony Gobert share a laugh on the grass at Daytona in December of 1998. The Vance and Hines pair were an undisputed superteam in AMA Superbike racing.
image by DFA

The 1998 Vance and Hines Ducati AMA Superbike team were not the first Superbike "Superteam"--they weren't even really the first Ducati superteam--but they were, unequivocally, one of the most potent Superbike teams ever formed.

Bostrom had won the AMA Superbike championship in 1998 but left Honda for Ducati. Gobert was the bad boy of racing, and had been kicked off the Suzuki GP team when they signed with the Ducati factory's new Vance and Hines Superbike team.

The squad was supported by Ducati as essentially their second World Superbike effort. It seems incredible in light of the beleagured state of the championship today, which Ducati does not even take part in, but back then everything their WSBK riders received, Ducati shipped to the Vance and Hines race shop for the AMA effort. And more.

The team debuted at the then annual Dunlop tire test at Daytona in December of 1998. The blood red transporter and the sheer number of Italians at the track meant that AMA Superbike had become an arms race for the factories. Ducati vs Honda, Japan vs Italy.

Members of the team that season went on to be movers and shakers in racing worldwide. For example then Ducati liaison to the Vance and Hines team, Ernesto Marinelli, remains at Ducati today as Superbike Project Manager (he essentially runs Ducati's WSBK team). Other members of the squad? Crewchiefs Jim Leonard and Gary Medley had already proven their mettle in the domestic championship.

The kick off test for the Terry Vance led team did not go to plan with Bostrom crashing at 175 mph on the banking with a suspected tire failure, sending him to the hospital ... while Gobert cut fast laps and did his best to elude the local police.

Before it ended, the Bostrom and Gobert Ducati team won races and humbled Ducati's factory team at Laguna Seca. It also was where Gobert was suspended from FIM and AMA competition for failing a banned substance test.

ENDS

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