Team Hammer, Inc., racing as M4 EMGO Suzuki in the AMA Superbike Series, will exercise its contract renewal option on Michael Barnes for the 2006 season.
Barnes joined the team mid-year to replace injured rider Vincent Haskovec on M4 EMGO Suzuki racebikes in AMA Formula Xtreme and Superstock events. Barnes was sixth in the final Formula Xtreme points despite missing the much of the season, with podium finishes at Road America and Road Atlanta. Barnes also challenged for the Superstock win at Road America and was in the top 10 five times in six tries in the Superstock class. The focus and professionalism the veteran racer brought to the team after Haskovec’s injury, however, may have been as important as his solid results.
“This move is very positive for the team and our future. ‘Barney’ came in a tough spot, but he was able to get some nice results this year,” said Crew Chief Keith Perry. “He was very solid, very professional, and showed a lot of promise. We have a lot of confidence in Mike. Next year should be even better, since we’ll be able to work with him from the beginning and make even better use of our resources. We are energized by this.”
“I’m really excited to be back again next year,” said Barnes. “It’s good to know that the team believes in me and that I can go into the off-season not having to worry about anything other than being ready to race in 2006. It was a difficult situation for the team and me this year, having to step in when Vincent was injured, but we were able to run up front in some of the races and we worked well together. I’m honored that the team wanted me back and looking forward to next season.”
Barnes lives in Boca Raton, Florida. Team Hammer, Inc. is headquartered in Lake Elsinore, California with a race shop in Athens, Alabama.