Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki’s Steve Rapp came away from a drama-filled Formula Xtreme race at Pikes Peak International Raceway on Saturday with yet another top-10 finish. Adding to Rapp’s result, teammate Chris Ulrich gave the squad a second top-15 finish. Both riders struggled to find a set-up to maximize grip and acceleration off the tight corners of the twisty Pikes Peak bullring.
Rapp was forced to overcome a very late alteration to the starting grid–caused by a problem with AMA timing & scoring–that pushed him off the front row as well a twice red-flagged race. The 30-year-old worked his way up through the field on his Michelin-shod machine to score an eventual eighth place. Rapp is now sixth in Formula Xtreme points.
“It was a tough race,” Rapp admitted. “I thought I was doing better — qualifying on the front row — and the change kind of threw me off. I didn’t get great starts and it’s a tough place to pass. Nevertheless, I finished eighth and passed a few guys like (Jamie) Hacking and (Roger Lee) Hayden, which is all right. I’m not satisfied, but you have to hang in there and get through the places where you don’t do as well and move on to the tracks that you do.”
Ulrich decided his time would be best spent focusing on a single race machine after running into some difficulties dialing in his bikes on Friday. Chris went up against the fire-breathing Formula Xtreme machines on his Superstock-class GSX-R750 and picked up a 15th and a great deal of knowledge.
“We struggled with the 1000 so I rode the 750 today,” Ulrich explained. “We made some adjustments to the front and at the restart we were right there with the guys. I was kind of wishing we had the extra horsepower, but I’m really pleased with what I accomplished on the 750. It was good for my confidence to concentrate on one bike, and we found some things that will really help tomorrow. We’re going to try to do the same thing — get a good start and let it rip.”
Ulrich is now 10th in Formula Xtreme points.
Sunday will see the Valvoline EMGO Suzuki team battling in the 29-lap Superstock final. Rapp will start on the outside of row two with his younger teammate one row back in 12th as a result of their qualifying Saturday performances.