Pat Gonsalves interviews winner Steve Wise, with fellow podium finishers Fred Merkel and Jimmy Adamo sitting next to him, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car
Course in 1983. Photo by Bert Shepard.

With MotoAmerica set to bring AMA Superbike racing back to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, August 16-18, we’re taking a closer look at past Superbike races at the iconic racetrack in Lexington, Ohio. This is the first of those…

They say you never forget your first so Steve Wise must think fondly of Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course. After all, Wise not only won his first AMA Superbike race at the facility on May 21, 1983, it was also the first-ever AMA Superbike race held at the track in Lexington, Ohio.

It shocked many in the road racing establishment when motocross racer Steve Wise won the Mid-Ohio Superbike race in 1983. Photo by Bert Shepard.

Although Mid-Ohio opened its doors in 1962, it was 21 years later that the AMA championship first took to the 2.4-mile racetrack with a full slate of racing classes – Formula One, Superbike, Formula Two, Battle of The Twins, and Sidecar.

At the time, Cycle News described the venue as, “The Mid-Ohio facility is a new stop on the Camel Pro Series circuit, and it was well worth it. The track rises and dips, twists and turns through the rolling countryside.”

Although the victory ultimately fell to Honda factory rider Wise, it was his teammate Mike Baldwin who was leading by over 15 seconds on the 15th of 25 laps when he crashed out of the race. That left former motocrosser Wise to take his first career Superbike win over Fred Merkel’s Honda and the Ducati of Jimmy Adamo.

MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey’s first memory of Mid-Ohio wasn’t a good one as he crashed his Kawasaki on the fifth lap while holding down third place. His crash in the Mid-Ohio round, however, didn’t end up preventing Rainey from earning his first AMA Superbike Championship at season’s end.

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