Return To Laguna Seca For Team Hammer
NEWS September 28, 2013
Photo by Brian J Nelson
Courtesy of Team Hammer:
September 27, 2013 - Team Hammer kicked off the 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season finale weekend on Friday at the fabled Laguna Seca raceway in Monterey, California.
Returning to the Northern Californian circuit for a second time this season -- this time alongside the Superbike World Championship -- GEICO Road Racing Honda's Dane Westby was immediately up to speed, clocking a top-five time in the morning Daytona SportBike practice.
The Oklahoman lowered his time by nearly a second in the afternoon's DSB qualifying session, posting a 1:28.074 aboard his Honda CBR600RR to rank seventh provisionally.
M4 Hotbodies Racing's Benny Solis was 14th fastest in the first of two SportBike qualifying sessions. The Californian navigated the steep climbs and dips of the undulating course with a best time of 1:29.934 to place his CBR600RR on the provisional fourth row.
Solis said, "Right away in the morning we started off pretty good -- it was better than our race pace from earlier in the season. That gave me some good confidence, but I wanted to make some small changes for qualifying. The changes we did make, unfortunately, we went backwards. But at least we know what direction to go. Tomorrow we'll start off with the set-up we had this morning but with a really small change. We know the lap times we can do, and I think just riding a little bit harder will make it even better."
MPH Racing's Melissa Paris rounded out the team's efforts in Daytona SportBike, closing out Friday in 28th in a very deep, 37-rider field. Paris' best lap was a 1:32.280 aboard her Team Hammer Contract Services-prepared Honda CBR600RR.
Friday proved to be a rocky day for Team Hammer's AMA Pro Superbike contender, M4 Broaster Chicken Racing's Chris Ulrich. The Californian bravely fought his way back from a very big crash in the morning to claim 12th in the session with a best time of 1:27.744 aboard his CBR1000RR Superbike.
Ulrich said, "We've been working on the bike all year and had some high hopes coming into this weekend, especially after a positive weekend at New Jersey. But finally the air-bleed back-in control system that we've been forced to use by the sanctioning body bit us today. It had been a little bit inconsistent this morning and I got myself in a situation where I corrected for it using a little throttle to get the bike back in line. I came off the brake pressure when I did that, and then came back on it a bit too aggressively. It spit me on my head, very, very quickly, and very, very violently. It was a huge crash and I am beat up.
"I wasn't too sure if I was going to be able to continue to ride this weekend but I got on the spare bike in the afternoon and matched our qualifying time from earlier in the year. That shows a little bit of progress, particularly considering the state that I'm in. I need to improve some tomorrow and we have changes to make to help make the bike rotate in the center of the corner.
"We have 23 laps on Sunday to see what we can do. I'm sure a couple of those guys in front of me will come back to me and I think I can hang on and be in the hunt. But it's disappointing because I had some higher hopes and expectations for this weekend."
On Saturday, Team Hammer's riders will look to improve as they lock down their final grid positions of the 2013 season ahead of Sunday's SportBike and Superbike race finales.
About Team Hammer: In 2013, Team Hammer, Inc. is competing in its 33rd consecutive racing season, and is marking its seventh year of offering technical and logistical support through its Contract Services Department. Riders on Team Hammer-prepared racebikes have earned 59 AMA Pro National race wins; 135 AMA Pro National podium finishes; 5 AMA Pro Championships; 133 Overall National Endurance race wins; 13 National Endurance Championships and assorted other race wins and titles.
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