Smokin’ Joe’s Honda teammates Miguel Duhamel and Mike Hale were this close at the end of the AMA Superbike race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1995. Photo by Henny Ray Abrams

Smokin’ Joe’s Honda Martin Adams had a day at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1995 with his two-rider team of Miguel Duhamel and Mike Hale giving the likable team owner from Kentucky a one-two finish in the fourth round of the 1995 AMA Superbike Championship.

But wait. There’s more. The one-two finish by the Honda RC45-mounted duo extended Hale’s surprising lead in the championship while also lifting Duhamel into the top five in the title chase.

All this just a year after a miserable season of racing for Adams and his team with Mike Smith and Kevin Magee struggling to find their form on the team’s RC45s.

But that was then, and this is… well this is already then. And sine there’s no such thing as a spoiler alert almost 29 years later, it was a championship that Duhamel would ultimately win.

After 62-some miles of racing at Mid-Ohio the two Hondas crossed the line in unison with Duhamel ahead of Hale by 1.3 seconds. Third place went to two-time World Superbike Champion Fred Merkel on the Yoshimura Suzuki, just three seconds from victory.

Vance & Hines Yamaha’s Jamie James and Muzzy Kawasaki’s Steve Crevier rounded out the top five.

The Mid-Ohio victory was the fourth of Duhamel’s career with the French Canadian taking the lead on the seventh lap. Though he was never headed, Merkel initially and ultimately the slow-starting Hale hounded Duhamel for the duration.

(From left to right) Fred Merkel, Miguel Duhamel and Mike Hale celebrate on the Mid-Ohio podium in July of 1995. Photo by Henny Ray Abrams

“The pace felt a little bit slow,” Duhamel said after his victory. “It was hard to get by them because they were riding pretty good. First, I had to get over the shock of having two Yoshimura Suzukis ahead of me. I said, ‘I’ve got to get more aggressive.’ This was the warmest it’s been all weekend, so I wasn’t real confident about the tire going the whole distance. So, to make a long story short, I was trying to keep a gap while saving my tires.”

Hale left Ohio with the Superbike Championship points lead by 11 over Merkel with Dale Quarterley third and Thomas Stevens fourth. The fast-rising Duhamel, meanwhile, jumped to fifth in the standings. To make a good weekend even better for Duhamel and the Smokin’ Joe’s Honda team, he also won the 600cc Supersport round with Hale again finishing second  with pair separated by less than a second.

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