BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (June 22) — A long and grueling weekend at Barber Motorsports Park paid some dividends for the GEICO Motorcycle team, with the Triumph SuperBike Classic closing its second day of racing Sunday afternoon.
Riders Jake Zemke and Chris Ulrich both feel as though they made steps forward in the setup of their Honda motorcycles. Zemke followed Saturday’s seventh-place result with an eighth-place finish Sunday in the Daytona SportBike category, while Ulrich shrugged off Saturday’s injury to log his best finish of the year, taking seventh in the Superbike class.
Zemke posted his best lap time of the weekend during Sunday’s race, despite the scorching heat beating in the racing surface. He managed to pick up positions throughout the race, eventually landing in the second pack of riders.
“Overall today was good,” Zemke said. “We started in the same position (12th) as yesterday and I really had to fight my way up. Once we got some clear track I was able to actually go a second faster than my times yesterday. We made some good progress with the bike and we were able to catch up to the battle for sixth and seventh. There were only two laps left when that happened, and they were in a battle of their own and there was very little room for a third bike in that pack.
“We will take this and move on to our next round with an improved motorcycle. The guys will head back to the shop and try and look for even more. The team has done an excellent job at giving me a solid chassis and suspension that are working great together. We just need to find a little more power. We improved from the last race, so next race should better as well.”
Ulrich raced despite suffering a serious crash Saturday that left him with a deep gash to his left arm. Riding through the pain, he managed to complete his best finish of the year on top of his Honda CBR1000.
“I was unsure I could even ride today,” Ulrich said. “My arm felt pretty stiff this morning but the medical staff here at the track was excellent in making sure I was able to compete. With a modified dressing to fit in my leathers and some Advil I was ready to go out there.
“I had a little difficulty keeping the clutch in during the start and I earned a penalty for a little roll there. I was aware of the infraction during the race and knew I had to battle against the other riders and the penalty.
“It was good to go faster than I had in qualifying and I got my best finish of the year. On top of that I overcame a crash that could have ended much worse yesterday. I will be sore for a few days but thankfully we have a few weeks off before Laguna for us to regroup and come out swinging. I look forward to battling with the elite group that makes up the top five. That’s the next step.”
The team will have three weeks to rest and prepare for the next round at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., where they will join the elite World Superbike riders.