Bubba Shobert leads Doug Polen in their epic battle at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1988. 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.

Yoshimura Suzuki’s Doug Polen looked like a shoo-in for the 1988 AMA Superbike Championship, but that all changed with just half a lap left at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as Polen crashed out of the race and all but handed the title to his Team Honda rival Bubba Shobert.

Cycle News’ coverage of the Mid-Ohio race in 1988.

It was a dramatic day at Mid-Ohio as Shobert and Polen battled throughout the 25-lap, 60-mile National with the championship resting on the outcome. Polen led for the first time on the 22nd lap, but disaster struck two laps later when the Texan lost the front end of his Suzuki GSX-R750 half a lap from the finish. As Polen struggled to get his bike out of the gravel trap, Shobert cruised to his third win of the season and took a giant step toward his first-ever Superbike title.

Polen managed to remount and finished sixth, but Shobert left Ohio with an eight-point lead in the title chase with just one round remaining.

Second place went to Polen’s teammate Scott Gray in his best finish to date. Doug Chandler was third on his SuperTrapp Honda with Lockhart’s Dale Quarterley and Peter Brady’s John Ashmead rounding out the top five.

Polen filed a protest after the race, claiming that Shobert had passed a rider under a waving yellow flag.

“You know how these road race championships are won in court,” Shobert said. “Their guy blows it and they’re looking for an excuse to protest it. Oh well, they can’t feel good about it. As far as I can see, they had it in the bag.”

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