Chris Ulrich has signed a two-year contract with Team Hammer, Inc., racing as Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki, to ride in the AMA 750cc Supersport and AMA Formula Xtreme Series. Ulrich will also make appearances in the AMA 600cc Supersport and AMA Superbike Series during the term of the contract.
Ulrich, now 21, has been around road racing his entire life and started competing himself at age 13, on a YSR50. He progressed to racing a Moriwaki MH80R, followed by a Yamaha TZ125 and a Honda RS125, a Yamaha TZ250 and a Suzuki GSX-R750 and GSX-R1000.
After three years in the AMA 250cc Grand Prix Series on a TZ250—with three podium appearances and a best season finish of third in 1999—Ulrich made the big step up to racing a GSX-R750 at the end of the 2000 season.
At the beginning of the 2001 AMA season, Ulrich struggled on the Roadracingworld.com GSX-R750, crashing at Daytona but finally starting to find his stride at Sears Point, where he finished a close fourth. He ran as high as second at Road Atlanta but finished a close fifth in a dogfight, then took third after charging from eighth to lead at Road America. He crashed at Loudon but won at Laguna Seca and finished second at Mid-Ohio. Ulrich again came from eighth to second at Brainerd before jumping a curb and bending both his racebike’s wheels in the run to the white flag and limping home 17th. At Pikes Peak Ulrich finished third, and he crashed at Virginia International after being run off the track by a sideways competitor. He finished the year 5th in AMA 750cc Supersport points.
In between AMA races, Ulrich competed on a Vesrah Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the WERA National Endurance Series, co-riding to four overall wins and the WERA National Endurance Championship, becoming the first 2nd-generation endurance champion in the 26-year history of the WERA series. He also rode a Roadracingworld.com GSX-R1000 to victory in the GSX-R1000 Suzuki Cup Final at Road Atlanta, and won the CCS GTO Championship on his GSX-R750 during the CCS Race of Champions at Daytona.
“Chris has come a long way in a very short time and we’re proud of the job he did,” said Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki Crew Chief Keith Perry. “When you’ve known somebody since they were a little kid hanging out in the pits with their father’s race team, it’s easy to take them for granted and not expect much out of them. And of course some people will say he got the ride because his father owns the team; he’s had to take that type of criticism since he started racing. But if you look at his results and compare his record to other young riders this team has signed in recent years, he actually is the most qualified, dedicated and proven youngster we’ve decided to work with at this stage of his career. His riding has done his talking.”
“I drove 45,000 miles by myself going to races in 2001, hauling my own racebikes around,” said Chris Ulrich, “and that’s been the story since I was 16. But it was worth it. It felt great to win my first AMA National at Laguna Seca. It was a real honor to win the WERA National Endurance Championship that my dad won in 1983 and 1984, and now it is an honor to ride for the team he started with Bruce Hammer way back in 1980. I learned a lot this season and I’m going to do my best in 2002 and 2003. I worked very hard to get this ride and I’m going to continue working hard to try to win championships for Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki.”
“For years this team has helped launch other peoples’ kids into professional racing careers. Now it’s Chris’ turn, and his performance this year shows that he deserves it,” said team owner John Ulrich.
Chris Ulrich’s Road Racing Career To Date:
1993: Ran CMRRA Series on a YSR50.
1994: Won CMRRA 80cc Amateur Championship, on Moriwaki MH80R.
1995: Raced Yamaha TZ125 in WSMC and WERA Sportsman Series, worked pit board for Team Suzuki Endurance in WERA National Endurance Series.
1996: Won WERA Sportsman 125cc Grand Prix Championship, finished 2nd in WERA 125cc National Challenge Series 125cc Grand Prix Championship, Honda RS125
1997: Finished 2nd in WERA 125cc National Challenge Series 125cc Grand Prix Championship (injured, missed one race), Honda RS125
1998: Competed in AMA 250cc Grand Prix Series (injured, missed four races), Yamaha TZ250, Kids: Don’t Smoke! Racing
1999: Finished 3rd in AMA 250cc Grand Prix Series, Yamaha TZ250, two podium finishes, Kids: Don’t Smoke! Racing.
2000: Finished 5th in AMA 250cc Grand Prix Series, Yamaha TZ250, one podium finish, World Sports Racing. Won WERA National Endurance Series 24-hour West on Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R750, becoming first 2nd-generation WERA endurance race overall winner.
2001: Won WERA National Endurance Championship on Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R1000, becoming first 2nd-generation WERA National Endurance Champion. Won GSX-R1000 Suzuki Cup Final. Finished 5th in AMA 750cc Supersport Championship, winning at Laguna Seca and finishing on the podium 4 times on a Roadracingworld.com Suzuki GSX-R750. Won CCS GTO Championship.