The first weekend in August was a tough one for Team Hammer, racing as Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki in Formula USA at Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin and racing as Team Suzuki Endurance in a WERA National Endurance Series 4-Hour at Summit Point Raceway, Summit Point, West Virginia.
With Tray Batey and Grant Lopez campaigning Formula USA and Reuben Frankenfield racing in NASB Sport Bike at Road America (Frankenfield’s first race since suffering a herniated disc in a crash last May) at Road America, Team Suzuki Endurance needed another rider to team with Josh Hayes on the team’s 1997 GSXR1100. Former team lead rider Michael Martin, who retired at the end of the 1995 racing season, agreed to come out of retirement for the occasion, tuning up for the weekend with rides at the July 23 Team Suzuki Endurance Advanced Riding School at Willow Springs in Rosamond, California and also during open practice at Summit Point on July 31. Despite splitting forces, the team had a good weekend, Batey qualifying fastest for F-USA at Road America and running away with the first race, then leading the second race until an electronic ignition problem slowed his bike. Batey limped home 12th but still moved up in the point standings, to second. Lopez finished 6th and 4th after qualifying 6th in his first visit to Road America.
Meanwhile, Team Suzuki Endurance won the seventh round of the 1997 WERA National Endurance Series, a 4-hour at Summit Point on August 2. Substitute rider Michael Martin of Dallas and team regular Josh Hayes of Gulfport, Mississippi rode the team’s 1997 Suzuki GSXR1100 to a one-lap (2.0-mile) margin of victory.
Team Suzuki Endurance’s win at Summit Point marks the team’s 125th victory since joining the WERA National Endurance Series in 1981. The team leads the series points standings in a bid to win its 13th WERA National Endurance Championship and could wrap up the title with a win in the September 6 6-hour scheduled for Memphis Motorsports Park in Millington, Tennessee.