Of course the well-known back story is that Brainerd was the round following Mid-Ohio.
DuHamel qualified the VR 1000 on the front row at Mid-Ohio and led the race until his shifter fell off. DuHamel was so angry after that incident he didn’t talk to the Harley-Davidson team between Mid-Ohio and Brainerd. He even briefly considered quitting the team but was talked off the ledge by his dad and his manager, Alan LaBrosse.
Thursday at Brainerd, everyone, even members of the HD team, said that Brainerd–with a mile long front straight and diaper-filling T-1–told DuHamel that BIR was going be a giant oil pan of suck for the VR1000.
People who thought Mig could not get madder were wrong.
Even more incredibly than leading the race at Mid-Ohio, DuHamel led Brainerd, and was pulling away. He looked for his pit board on Brainer’s fast straight but his crew only gave him looks of shock when he raced past them. He had no idea how big his lead was and assumed Corser, Edwards and Jamie James were trying to draft past him. DuHamel over-cooked the entrance to the hairpin and rode off in turn nine. He spun dirt all over the track getting back on line. He re-joined the fight and worked his way back up to second on the last lap when Troy Corser and Jamie James passed him one corner from the finish. DuHamel finished fourth, another in a short but valid heartbreakers the VR 1000 suffered.
Years later DuHamel said his motivation at Brainerd came from people, the team and other riders, telling him there was no way it could be done on a VR 1000 at Brainerd.
“I did it to show them what was possible. That it wasn’t all bolts and engineering and shit. That with a good rider a lot of things can be accomplished.”