Soon after Corona Extra Honda’s Neil Hodgson crossed the finish line to finish eighth in Sunday’s AMA Superbike race at Virginia International Raceway, he was speeding through a grass field at 165 mph in what he said was the “scariest moment” of his career.
Hodgson was drafting Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young to the line when Young turned in for the kink at the finish stripe.
Hodgson said: “I’m like totally upright and then the wind sort of got underneath me and literally nothing I could do. If I’d have continued to try to turn, I’d have crashed.”
Hodgson said it was worse than a crash because of the anticipation. “We do 167 mph as it (turns right) and, literally, I’m on the grass at 165 mph. And instantly when I hit the grass I thought I was going to be alright, and then the bike took off as it just went down in compression or whatever, shook its head.
“And I thought I’m definitely going down and I just thought, ‘oh my shoulder,’ because I knew if I went down I were going to tumble. And I’ve never hung on as hard in my life, seriously. I just had the most violent tankslapper, controlled it, and then it went airborne again and did the same thing again, lost control of it. And then got it again and it did it one more time and I managed to scrub enough speed. I had me finger on both brakes ever so lightly, as you can imagine.
“Oh, it was horrible. I was nearly sick in my helmet when I got to the end, because I think I might have held my breath as well as I were holding, ready for the impact. And then I felt like really nauseous, I couldn’t breathe.”
Hodgson added, “Horrible, horrible. I don’t want one of them again. Thank God it’s a safe track. Thank God. Because if there were anything like a wall or anything, I wouldn’t be talking about it now, I’d be dead.”
Yamahas’ Josh Hayes won the race from Tommy Hayden’s Kawasaki and Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom. Mat Mladin finished ninth but wrapped up an unprecedented seventh AMA Superbike title. Mladin has already announced he will retire at the end of the year. The aussie holds the record for the most AMA Superbike race wins at 82 – 78 of them have been on Suzukis, four came in a Fast by Ferracci Ducati in 1997.