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Roberts and Team Hammer Win at Barber Motorsports Park

NEWS June 22, 2013

Roberts and Team Hammer Win at Barber Motorsports Park

Photo by Brian J Nelson

Courtesy of Team Hammer:

(June 22, 2013) - Team Hammer’s stable of riders played a central role in a dramatic day of AMA Pro Racing at Barber Motorsports Park.

Saturday's action was headlined by the performance of California Superbike School Racing's Joe Roberts -- the latest in a long line of gifted prospects introduced to the AMA Pro paddock by Team Hammer -- who continued to shock and amaze on Saturday Barber Motorsports Park.

Roberts' dream debut was furthered by locking down the AMA Pro SuperSport pole position in the morning and then he backed that up with a convincing, one-sided victory in the afternoon's 17-lap contest.

Despite his superior pace, Roberts was forced to fight his way into the lead after struggling with his launch at the green light. The front wheel of his SuperSport-spec Honda CBR600RR lofted into the air and a handful of his rivals powered past as the race got underway.

Roberts was undeterred and calmly went about his business, slicing up from fifth to move into third by the end of the opening lap. He then took control of the lead on the following lap.

At that point the 16-year-old pulled free, ultimately winning by over eight seconds in his AMA Pro race debut.

"It's fun to come out and win," Roberts said. "The start of that race, I got, I think, the worst start ever. I wheelied pretty bad off the line and about six riders went by me. I just made some passes and as soon as I got in front I knew I needed to push and go as fast as I could. I ended up getting the gap and I just managed that gap to the end of the race. It was an awesome race and I can't thank my team enough. It's cool to come out and win like this."

M4 Racing's Chris Ulrich continued to make progress on the team's CBR1000RR Superbike, slashing 0.652 seconds off his Friday best in QP2 ahead of the day's contest.

Unfortunately, Ulrich's race got off to a bad start, as the Californian reacted when other riders jumped the start and in turn did so himself. Attempting to self-police, Chris backed off and let a handful of riders back by before he began his charge forward.

Nevertheless, he was assessed a five-second penalty. Despite dicing for 11th-place on track, Ulrich was firmly slotted into 12th late in the race due to the penalty, which is where he would finish.

"We've been making big, steady gains on the chassis," Ulrich remarked. "Finally, this week we rolled off the truck with a pretty decent baseline and were just trying to work forward. We haven't had too many of the electronic glitches like we had at Road America -- we worked pretty hard to get that sorted. The chassis is getting better and we're almost to a point where we can stop messing with it so much and concentrate on riding it. We did find something in the engine management after the race that we can improve, especially at low rpm. We have a small issue on the map and we're going to improve that for tomorrow. That's all part of the development. The engine braking thing is still not the best it could be but we're dealing with the situation the best that we can. We wish it was better but it is what it is.

"I was confident that I could get a good start for the race and I was keen to do so. I think I just went when everyone else did. I stopped and went but I didn't go hard -- precedence has said that if you give up anything you may have gained, then you aren't going to get a penalty. Well, I gave up four positions. I gave up the three on my row and an additional position to a guy behind me and then I got going. That wrecked my race. If I would have known I would have gotten a five-second penalty no matter what, I would have stopped and then gone hard and kept the guys on my row behind me.

"I probably could have gotten by into 11th on track but it would have been a sketchy move and I would have been credited with 12th no matter what. Looking at the lap times, we had the pace to run top 10 today for sure. Tomorrow we're going to work on that and we're going to use what we learned and go forward."

GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing's Dane Westby claimed a hard-earned fourth-place result in Saturday's Daytona SportBike contest. Westby battled throughout the race as part of a three and four-rider group jockeying for the position.

The Oklahoman took full advantage of the sweet handling characteristics of his Honda CBR600RR late in the race. Westby was shuffled down to sixth position on the final lap but counterattacked with an inside maneuver to slice back past two of his opponents in Turn 5. He then held onto fourth to the checkered flag.

M4 Racing's Benny Solis also took a top 10 result in Saturday's DSB showdown. Solis charged up from 11th on the opening lap to take control of eighth with just five laps remaining. Caught up in a multi-rider fight himself, the North Hollywood, California resident ultimately took the flag in 10th, just over a half-second back of eighth.

MPH Racing's Melissa Paris was credited with 17th aboard her Team Hammer Contract Services Honda CBR600RR. That was two spots above her qualifying position despite that fact that she suffered a fall on the race's last lap.

On Sunday Roberts, Ulrich, Westby, Solis, and Paris will have the opportunity to close out the Barber Motorsports Park weekend on a high note in the second legs of the SuperSport, Superbike, and Sportike doubleheaders

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