Vance & Hines Yamaha’s Thomas Stevens won the AMA Superbike National at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1991, and he would go on to win the AMA Superbike Championship. Photo by Paul Carruthers.

Vance & Hines Yamaha’s Thomas Stevens quieted the doubters at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1991 with the Floridian winning the first AMA Superbike win of his career while asserting himself as the man to beat for the Superbike Championship.

And the win didn’t fall into Stevens’ hands. Instead, he went out and earned it, reeling in and passing Tom Kipp and then holding off the advances of both Miguel Duhamel and Scott Russell to win a thriller in front of a record crowd of 50,000 spectators.

Stevens is flanked on the podium by Miguel Duhamel (left) and Tom Kipp (right). Photo by Larry Lawrence.

Stevens ended up topping Duhamel by 2.5 seconds while Kipp, who led 21 of 25 laps, finished third after giving way to the hard-charging duo of Stevens and Duhamel. Still, it was the best finish of Kipp’s young career. Russell ended up fourth with Freddie Spencer fifth on the Two Brothers Racing Honda.

“I knew all week,” said Stevens, who became the fourth different winner in the first five races. “I knew it was time for us to win. I’ve been biding my time, getting my finishes. I’ve had a lot of good luck, but after last year I deserve to have luck in buckets. It feels really good. It (his ability to win) has always been there, but there’s been a lot of doubting Thomases. I wanted to beat those guys and show ‘em I was for real.”

With his win, Stevens was atop the championship point standings by nine points over Duhamel with three rounds remaining in the series. He would go on to win the 1991 AMA Superbike Championship – giving Yamaha its first AMA Superbike crown.

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