June 27, 2017
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
DEBISE WINS AS FOUR TEAM HAMMER RIDERS EARN PODIUM FINISHES IN UTAH
Following a two-podium, four-top-five Saturday, Team Hammer collectively came back even stronger in Sunday’s conclusion to the Utah Motorsports Campus round of the 2017 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship. It was a day of spectacular success, as the team improved on every front, scoring a victory, two runner-ups, and a third in a breakout performance for the squad.
The results again demonstrated the effectiveness of a groundbreaking partnership combining Team Hammer’s technical expertise, racebikes, and crew; rider coaching by Rickdiculous Racing and Ken Hill through the Rick Rider Development Camp (RDC) program; and professional athlete mental/emotional strength and readiness training, nutrition, and hydration programs and protocols developed by medAge and Dr. Laura Ellis.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Valentin Debise got away well early in the Supersport contest, chasing the lead duo hard over the opening laps aboard his GSX-R600. The French ace gradually dropped off the challenge for first but would have been satisfied with third place considering his improved feel compared with the day before. But that certain third was transformed into an unexpected win when the leaders crashed out together on the final lap.
After securing his second win and sixth podium of 2017, Debise said, “Yesterday, the problems with my bike were due to my own mistake. I chose to change the set-up of the bike before the race and went the wrong way, against my mechanic’s better advice. I was upset with myself and myself only.
“For today’s race, I collaborated well with the mechanics and we improved the set-up in the warm-up and then again right before the race. I was able to stay up front for several laps which was a really big step forward. The leaders made a mistake at the end, but that’s racing. At VIR, I crashed twice, and this time it was their mistake. I’m so happy we won! Hopefully we will add to this and get more wins soon. A really big thanks to my M4 ECSTAR Suzuki crew and the entire team — they did a great job.”
Adding to the excitement, M4 Rickdiculous Racing Suzuki’s Daytona Anderson was the next rider across the stripe, finishing second to Debise. The runner-up result was the first podium of the up-and-coming Anderson’s professional career.
Anderson said, “I got off to a not-so-great start, but I got into a great battle during the race and persevered to the end. I didn’t even know I got second. I thought I was fourth so I just came back into the pits and my team was yelling saying I got second! I can’t thank the whole M4 Rickdiculous Racing Suzuki team enough. They put so much behind me and gave me a really great bike! I wouldn’t be here without them, and I can’t wait to get up here again.”
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Jake Lewis also made big improvements with his set-up for Sunday’sSuperstock 1000 race. As a result, Lewis had the pace to fight for victory aboard his 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000, although an early race incident interrupted his challenge. Still, the lanky Kentuckian won out in a tight fight for position to claim second at the checkered flag.
The result was Lewis’ eighth podium of 2017 and elevated him into second in the STK1000 title fight. Lewis said, “I am really happy with my race. The crew has been working so hard to give me a better bike, and we made a big change before the race that gave me a lot better rear grip.
“I made a great start and was right there with the lead pack. Unfortunately, when another rider crashed in front of me, I ran off track as well so I lost a little bit of time. I was working hard to fight back inch-by-inch but I ran out of time.
“A big thank you to the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki crew because they worked tirelessly all weekend. Next we’ll move on to Laguna Seca–one of my favorite tracks–with some good momentum and I’ll try to get another good result.”
Despite riding injured with a recently plated and still-mending collarbone, M4 medAge Suzuki’s Nick McFadden also managed to work his way further up the order on Sunday. Saturday’sSuperstock 600 fifth-place finish seemed heroic enough considering the circumstances, but in Race 2 McFadden made a late-race push to battle his way onto the podium. McFadden’s third-place finish was his fourth podium result of the season.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Brandon Cleland joined in on the across-the-board improvement. He finished five positions stronger in Sunday’s STK600 contest, scoring points with a run to 14th position.
Team Hammer and the MotoAmerica series will next travel to Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, to race alongside the Superbike World Championship on July 7-9.
About Team Hammer
The 2017 season marks Team Hammer’s 37th consecutive year of operating as a professional road racing team. Racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 67 AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National races, have finished on AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National podiums 172 times and have won five AMA Pro National Championships, as well as two FIM South American Championships. The team has also won 134 endurance races overall (including seven 24-hour races) and 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 four F-USA Championships.