From 2002: Tracy Hagen's Suzuka 8 Hours Sunday Notes
Sunday, August 04, 2002
Doug Polen pulled a historic holeshot from thirteenth in the grid to lead the start of the 8 Hours.

Here's how he did it: In the warm-up lap the 12th place bike had a cylinder stop firing, thus they pulled the bike off the grid. Doug had the crew re-angle his bike so it pointed more in the direction of the track rather than across it. Thus in the LeMans start Polen did not have to go out and do a right turn, he just went straight on past all the factory bikes.

That was brilliant calculation on Polen's part.

However, his crew weren't quite as swift with their abacuses, and Polen ran out of gas forty minutes later. Race over.

After that it was three Hondas and one Suzuki providing all the meaningful action. The overworked Suzuki expired five hours in, leaving Hondas laps ahead of the rest. Colin Edwards and Daijiro Kato had plenty of breathing space to win comfortably.

A slight rain near the end with Kato on the bike had Edwards biting his nails, but Kato did the job.

Barros set fastest lap in the race, further embarrassing his slow teammate and the folks in charge at HRC for putting him on a satellite team and with a limp wrist rider. Barros blew off the lavish Honda victory party.

The Corona Extra team of Adam Fergusson and Jordan Szoke were having an excellent Suzuka 8 Hour adventure until the race started. First the vent rag wasn't completely removed from the dry break at the start and Fergusson had to stop at Turn 2 to complete the removal.

Later Szoke was sent out six liters short on fuel, and was lucky he did not join Polen.

Next Fergusson developed a golf ball sized blister (ever notice how journalists love to compare things to golf balls?) on the sole of his right foot and could not ride a fourth time. Thus Szoke had to finish the race with a double stint.

Not so bad, except six teeth broke off the rear sprocket and the chain couldn't hook up with the sprocket. In the end: tenth overall, and third in the FIM Super Production class.

Finally, the luck of Jason Pridmore. We at 'Soup advise readers not to fly in airplanes with Jason, go to Las Vegas with Jason, or race the 8 Hours with Jason. Pridmore's fine Phase 1 Endurance Suzuki GSX-R1000 sprung a radiator leak on the warm-up lap, and Pridmore spent the first six laps of the race watching the television monitor.
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