Throwback Thursday: Rich Oliver does Double Duty

Larry Lawrence | March 1, 2018
Rich Oliver in 600 Supersport action in 1997
Henny Ray Abrams photo

By 1997 Rich Oliver had accomplished about everything he could in AMA 250 Grand Prix competition. He’d won the championship three times straight and established new all-time win records for the series. At that point Oliver was looking to conquer new horizons and was hoping to earn a factory Superbike ride, so in 1997, in addition to continuing in 250GP, Oliver also started a 600 Supersport program with factory backing under his own Team Oliver banner.

During a time when 600 Supersport was at an all-time peak with more than a dozen factory or factory-backed riders, Oliver proved that he was more than just a great GP bike rider. He scored a slew of top Supersport finishes, including a runner-up finish at Brainerd to Yoshimura Suzuki’s Pascal Picotte.

Here Oliver (97) leads Matt Wait (95), Ben Bostrom (11) and Jason Pridmore (7) in the July round at Laguna Seca Raceway.

Oliver ended 1997, not only winning yet another AMA 250 Grand Prix Championship, but also taking a very strong sixth in the final Pro Honda Oils 600 Supersport Series. He was also the top-ranked Yamaha rider in the series. For his efforts at running his own team in two different championships, Team Oliver earned the AMA Pro Racing Award of Mechanical Excellence. And best of all, Oliver earned that factory Superbike ride.

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