Team Hammer continued its outstanding midseason form by tallying up another double podium weekend in Round 4 of the 2016 AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship at Virginia International Raceway.
Straight off his first-career MotoAmerica Supersport victory at New Jersey Motorsports Park, M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki’s Cameron Petersen demonstrated his inclement weather skills again in Saturday’s Supersport contest at VIR.
Waged in tricky drying conditions after a storm, riders throughout the field chose every conceivable tire combination for Saturday’s race. South African Petersen and his crew chose full slicks, which ultimately proved to be the best combination as the track dried. Cameron put on a skillful display in the early going on his GSX-R600 when the track was wet. As the track came better, so did Petersen and he charged up into second position on lap 14 of 23. He made some late inroads on the leader before accepting a runner-up result.
On the final lap, Frenchman Debise executed a gutsy maneuver to steal the lead. Unfortunately, he was drafted at the checkered flag, missing out on his maiden MotoAmerica victory by a scant 0.038 seconds.
Petersen was similarly victimized at the stripe, losing out for third by just 0.50.
Debise’s runner-up was already his fifth podium finish in MotoAmerica competition. He said, “All the race I was planning for the last lap. I knew exactly where I wanted to it and I pulled it off. It was a bit tight and when I started turning into the corner, I almost lost the front. But I did the last two corners as fast I could. All the way until the end I thought I had it — ‘I do it! I do it! I do it!’ But then I got passed right at the line. ‘Oh no!’ Today was not my time to win but I am sure it will come soon.”
Petersen said, “It was a good weekend for us. In tricky conditions on Saturday, we took a gamble and started off on slicks. It was tough in the first few laps — very tricky — but it paid off and we were able to get second. Sunday’s race was one of the best races I’ve had in America. There were six riders battling for position and it was a good fight. I was second for most of the race, and I felt like we had almost enough to win but I wasn’t quite sure if we had the legs to do it today. The team did a great job and we’re happy to walk away with a podium and fourth.”
Team Hammer also picked up solid results in Superstock 1000 and Superstock 600 action.
Newcomer Jake Lewis returned from injury and registered both his season and team debut at VIR. Still working his way to full fitness, the multi-time Superbike podium finisher claimed 5th and 6th place results aboard his M4 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superstock 1000 machine.
Meanwhile, teenager Xavier Zayat notched up a pair of sevenths aboard his M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki GSX-600 Superstock 600 machine.
Team Hammer will be back in action in three weeks time as the 2016 AMA/FIM North American Road Racing season resumes at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on June 3-5.
This year marks Team Hammer’s 36th consecutive season of operating as a professional road racing team. During that time, racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 60 AMA Pro National races, have finished on AMA Pro National podiums 146 times and have won five AMA Pro National Championships (the most recent in 2012), as well as two FIM South American championships. The team has also won 133 endurance races overall (including seven 24-hour races) and won 13 Overall WERA National Endurance Championships with Suzuki motorcycles, and holds the U.S. record for mileage covered in a 24-hour race. The team also competed in the televised 1990s Formula USA National Championship, famously running “Methanol Monster” GSX-R1100 Superbikes fueled by methanol, and won the F-USA Championship four times.