Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki’s Steve Rapp ended the 2003 season on a high note on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park. Rapp claimed a season best top-five result in the Superbike class, finishing the challenging race in which two red flags flew and rain threatened to shake things up at the 16 turn, 2.3 mile circuit.
Fighting through two restarts, the 30-year-old gradually guided his fire-breathing GSX-R1000 from just inside of the top 10 to an eventual stellar fifth. Although the Californian says he generally prefers the high-speed tracks to tighter, more technical circuits like Barber Motorsports Park, Rapp continued the form he showed on Saturday when he nearly won the Superstock race. On Sunday, Steve’s versatility and desire allowed him to take advantage of a rare opportunity to finish in the top five in Superbike.
“That was a great race,” said Rapp. “All of the starts went fine and the bike and Michelin tires were working really well today. It’s just a fantastic way to finish off the year. We worked past a few of the fast non-factory racers and finished the race next behind the factory riders.”
It was a fine way to close out a season that also included sixth and eighth place overall championship standings in the Superstock and Formula Xtreme classes, respectively. Rapp had nine top-5 race results, three podiums, and two wins in 2003.
Chris Ulrich had a difficult race on his GSX-R750. A rear shock problem caused him to miss one of the restarts and a pit stop kept Ulrich from a better result. A fuel light came on erroneously despite the machine having enough fuel to finish and Ulrich pitted rather than risk running out on the circuit.