Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki’s Steve Rapp ended the team’s weekend at Barber Motorsports Park on a high note Sunday, claiming a pair of impressive results at the picturesque Alabama track just outside of Birmingham.
The 30-year-old earned a top five finish in the highly-competitive Supersport final aboard his GSX-R600. Rapp ran with the lead group for much of the 17-lap contest held in hot but overcast weather and crossed the line in fifth as the top Suzuki-mounted rider, ahead of the manufacturer’s official entries.
“It was a really good day for me out there in the Supersport race,” said Rapp. “We were a very competitive fifth place. After a tough weekend for us at Sears Point, I thought we really showed what we could do here at Barber, being on top of the charts in a couple of practices and running strongly in the race. This is more like it. Of course our goal is to win or get on the podium, but we also try to get it up there and finish in front of the factory boys, and that is what we did today.”
Just an hour earlier, the Californian piloted his Michelin-shod GSX-R750 to sixth in the hard-fought Superstock class, again ranked as the top man on a Suzuki and in front of several factory riders on 1000cc bikes.
“The Superstock race was a nice result. We were running right with the leaders in the beginning but there was a crash right in front of me and I ended up losing the lead pack,” Steve said.
“Everything seems to be coming along nicely, and I’m looking forward to Pikes Peak next weekend. Being able to test really seems to bring out the best in us,” said Rapp.
Rapp’s teammates, Vincent Haskovec and Chris Peris, had less fortunate outings.
Haskovec, who was especially motivated to do well in Superstock after seeing a possible win escape him when his tire went off in Saturday’s Formula Xtreme race, was taken out in an opening lap incident during the Superstock final in the 2.3-mile circuit’s Turn 4.
“It’s too bad,” he remarked. “I just got pinched off going into the corner and had nowhere to go.”
Youngster Peris crashed out of the Supersport race while running just outside the top 10 with less than two laps remaining.
“I had hooked up with a couple of other riders and we were running consistent laps. I got into a little ‘tankslapper’ in turn six and ended up in the gravel trap,” said Peris.
Valvoline EMGO Suzuki will race next weekend at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado.