Team Hammer went from strength to strength at the second round of the AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship this weekend at Road Atlanta. Following last weekend’s podium-earning opener, the squad combined to score its 140th, 141st, and 142nd AMA Pro National podium finishes during the weekend’s action in Braselton, Georgia.
Once again leading the charge was series rookie Valentin Debise. The 23-year-old Frenchman not only kept his perfect MotoAmerica podium record intact, he one-upped his Austin third with a pair of runner-up results in the weekend’s twin Supersport races.
After qualifying second aboard his M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki GSX-R600, the French ace twice pulled free from third to claim clear second-place finishes, underlining his potential to challenge for this year’s title
Debise said, “In the first race, I pushed hard every lap from the beginning and tried to catch the leader. Ultimately, he proved impossible to catch. The second race was similar, but really, I couldn’t honestly ask for a much better result this weekend. What we were able to do here on my first race weekend at Road Atlanta was much higher than our expectations coming into the round. I’m very happy with these two second-place finishes. It’s just amazing.
“I want to say a big thank you to my team. They did a great job and gave me the bike that I wanted, and I did everything I could to run fast lap times and get the best finish possible. It was a great weekend for us.”
17-year-old Xavier Zayat also added to the team’s celebrations, claiming a third-place finish in Sunday’s Superstock 600 contest. The up-and-coming American rider qualified with the fastest time in the category and looked set to take the Saturday Superstock 600 win but crashed with just over a lap remaining.
He bounced back on Sunday to put his M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki GSX-R600 on the box with his third-place result.
Teammate Cameron Petersen also impressed on the weekend. The South African secured two additional top-five finishes in the Supersport class with a Saturday fourth and a Sunday fifth.
Meanwhile, team newcomer, M4 LOXY Suzuki’s Caroline Olsen finished just outside the Superstock 600 top ten both times out, stringing together 12th and 11th-place results.
Unfortunately, the team’s Superbike pilot, M4 Suzuki’s Chris Ulrich, was unable to compete at Road Atlanta. The Californian attempted to grit out the weekend with a damaged shoulder and qualified his M4 Suzuki GSX-R1000 17th on the combined Superbike/Superstock 1000 grid, but was forced to pull out of Sunday’s two main events.
Ulrich said, “I aggravated my shoulder when I crashed last weekend at COTA, and it came to a head at Road Atlanta. I tried to power through but decided that I had to pull out after the morning warm-up. I’m going to get it checked out this week and we’ll know more about my status in the days ahead.”
Team Hammer will be back in action in two weeks, as Round 3 of the AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship will take place on April 29-May 1 at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
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 59 AMA Pro National races, have finished on AMA Pro National podiums 142 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.