With Anthony Gobert (16) in the lead, Supersport points leader Aaron Yates (20) wasn’t going to settle for second at Mid-Ohio in 2002. Yates won the race and the season championship. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

July 28, 2002, is a memorable date for the Yates family. Aboard his number 20 Team Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R600, Aaron Yates won the Pro Honda Oils Supersport race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, and in doing so, he clinched the 2002 class championship with one more round left to go in the season.

For Yates, who is current MotoAmerica Stock 1000 and Superbike Cup rider Ashton Yates’ father, it was his fifth win of the year. He began the 2002 season by winning at Daytona, and then he backed up that victory with two wins on the West Coast, at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and Sonoma Raceway, in Sonoma, California. Yates then went on to win at Road America, and his victory at Mid-Ohio was his fifth Supersport win of the season.

Getting that Mid-Ohio race win was a bold move by Yates, who only needed to finish in 10th-place to wrap up the 2002 Supersport Championship. But, instead of being conservative, which was definitely not Yates’ style, especially at Mid-Ohio, the man known as “Double A-Ron The Enforcer” emerged victorious in a breathtaking 16-lap battle with Roger Hayden, Tommy Hayden, Damon Buckmaster, Jason Pridmore and Anthony Gobert, who were all fighting for the lead.

“Mid-Ohio has always been a really fun track for me,” said Yates after winning the race. “I’ve always gone really well here, but I’ve never really put it all together in a Supersport race at this track. I’ve been there a few times and fell off towards the end. But this weekend I was just thinking, ‘Yeah, I could take it easy and ride around and clinch the championship, or I can go out and ride hard and try to win the race. And if something happens, I’ve got a pretty good cushion, so I can still go out in the final race of the season and try and get in the top ten.’”

2002 Mid-Ohio Supersport Race Results:

1. Aaron Yates, Suzuki

2. Damon Buckmaster, Yamaha

3. Tommy Hayden, Kawasaki

4. Jason Pridmore, Suzuki

5. Anthony Gobert, Yamaha

6. Roger Hayden, Honda

7. Jake Zemke, Honda

8. Jamie Hacking, Suzuki

9. Josh Hayes, Suzuki

10. Ben Spies, Suzuki

11. Ty Howard, Suzuki

12. Tony Meiring, Kawasaki

13. Aaron Gobert, Yamaha

14. Mike Hale, Honda

15. Michael Hannas, Kawasaki

16. Troy Green, Yamaha

17. Andrew Nelson, Honda

18. Adam Coco, Yamaha

19. Kevin Pate, Suzuki

20. Jeff Muskopf, Suzuki

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