MILLVILLE, N.J. (Sept. 8) — GEICO Honda SuperBike veteran Chris Ulrich arrives at New Jersey Motorsports Park for this weekend’s Devil’s Showdown looking to secure a top-10 finish in the season rankings. Ulrich is currently tied with friend Larry Pegram for 10th place and says he’ll need to be sharp over the course of the doubleheader weekend to reach his goal.
“The guys on this team, both at the shop and the group we take on the road, have worked extremely hard all year on this GEICO Honda and I really want to reward them with a strong finish,” Ulrich said. “Not only can we lock up a top-10 spot in the final standings, but a big weekend will give us a ton of momentum heading into the off-season and what will be a new era of American road racing in 2015.”
This race will follow the new two-day format, reducing the number of chances competitors have to ride the 2.2-mile, 14-turn track before the first race begins. For Ulrich, a seasoned rider whose day job involves testing a variety of different motorcycles for Roadracing World magazine, the challenge is one he readily accepts.
“You have to make sure to maximize every minute you get in qualifying,” he said. “The team needs to be extra sharp so that if the crew chief asks for changes, they can be executed in the least amount of time possible. It’s almost like making a pit stop: You want to be that quick to effectively use all of the time allotted.
“The good news for me and Jake (Zemke, teammate) is that we have an all-star team behind us. These guys have all done this for years and nothing really phases them. They’ll be ready and we’ll be ready as riders to get the job done.”
It has been two months since the last time the American SuperBike category raced, adding another twist to the drama of the final race of the season. “It’s been a while, for sure,” Ulrich said. “I’ve been riding quite a bit, doing two-ups with the media, and testing a lot of different bikes, but nothing compares to an actual race. Fortunately, we’ve been at this awhile, so I know it will all come back to us very quickly.
“There’s always a little sadness when it’s the end of the year, but we’re already looking forward to next season and the start of the new MotoAmerica series with a new ownership group and management in place.”
Qualifying for the American SuperBike class will take place in two sessions at 9:25 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Saturday, followed by a 23-lap race at 4 p.m., Saturday. There will be a warm-up session Sunday at 10:10 a.m., with the final race of the year kicking off at 3 p.m.