Roberts and Team Hammer Win Thriller at Laguna Seca

NEWS July 20, 2013

Roberts and Team Hammer Win Thriller at Laguna Seca

Photo by Brian J Nelson

Courtesy of Team Hammer:

July 20, 2013 - California Superbike School Racing's Joe Roberts remained perfect in AMA Pro Road Racing competition, backing up his spectacular debut double victory at Barber Motorsports Park with a clutch victory in Saturday's AMA SuperSport race at Laguna Seca.

The 16-year-old engaged in a thrilling three-way dogfight for the race win in the once-stopped race, showing rare determination, bravery, and skill en route to his third triumph in as many attempts.

Roberts led the tight three-man pack on the penultimate lap but a minor mistake and subsequent save allowed both competitors to overtake him as they climbed the hill. However, Roberts, who had owned the Corkscrew throughout the race, overtook one rival on entrance.

He opened the final lap in second position and once again used his superiority in the track's trademark corner to take back the lead. He then held his line down the following left, fending off an attempted counter attack.

His rival attempted a last-corner pass, but Roberts calmly let him dive past, ducked back underneath and got the better drive to the flag, winning at the stripe by 0.117 seconds.

Roberts said, "It was a really, really good race. I thought I'd be able to pull away and do something like I did at Barber but the guys were really quick this weekend. It was a hard race for sure, but I put my head down. I made a little mistake so I had to make some aggressive passes to get right back to the front.

"It's been like a dream come true to come to Laguna and win. I've always wanted to come here and ride and to come here and win is just amazing."

For Roberts, the three-win streak to begin his AMA Pro career is unprecedented. He will compete at the next round in Utah as well.

The contenders in the Daytona SportBike class hit the track just once on Saturday, going out early in the morning to complete the second of two weekend qualifying sessions. Unfortunately, the morning Monterey mist meant that conditions were not overly conducive to putting in a blistering lap and relatively few riders improved upon their Friday afternoon times.

As a result, the provisional times of GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing's Dane Westby (1:28.681), M4 Racing's s Benny Solis (1:30.163), and MPH Racing's Melissa Paris (1:33.177) remained unaltered following the conclusion of qualifying.

The provisional grid positions of Solis (12th) and Paris (19th) were finalized, while Westby was dropped from sixth to seventh. Due to the unique MotoGP-style three-rider-per-row grid arrangement used this weekend, that small drop bumped the Oklahoman down from the second to the third row.

Despite being unable to show any improvements on Saturday, the Team Hammer DSB contingent is confident of delivering strong Sunday showings aboard their CBR600RRs in their 20-lap final.

M4 Racing's Chris Ulrich slashed nearly a second-and-a-half off his provisional time in QP2, posting a fast lap of 1:27.628 aboard his CBR1000RR. That put him 14th fastest and on the fifth row for Sunday's 23-lap AMA Superbike finale.

About Team Hammer: In 2013, Team Hammer, Inc. is competing in its 33rd consecutive racing season, and is marking its seventh year of offering technical and logistical support through its Contract Services Department. Riders on Team Hammer-prepared racebikes have earned 57 AMA Pro National race wins; 133 AMA Pro National podium finishes; 5 AMA Pro Championships; 133 Overall National Endurance race wins; 13 National Endurance Championships and assorted other race wins and titles.

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