American Motorcyclist August 2018

Road Racing From A Different Perspective

AMA Staff Member Takes The Ride Of Her Life

Photo by Brian J. Nelson

By Samantha Laderer

As Roadracing World journalist and retired AMA Superbike competitor Chris Ulrich shifted through the gears leaving pit lane at the Road America circuit, I felt the adrenaline kicking in. Within seconds, Urlich—with me riding pillion—was entering a corner at 70 mph and exiting into the next straight. The G-force on my body was exhilarating as we reached 159 mph.

Within the first 45 seconds of the Dunlop M4 Suzuki Two-Seat Superbike Program, I had experienced something that words cannot fully describe. Between the thrill of possible danger and getting comfortable on the back of the bike, I was experiencing true bliss, with a sense of freedom.

I was able to participate in the program at Round 4 of the MotoAmerica series in June at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

The program, run by Team Hammer Inc., is in its 18th year. Donations from the rides go to Roadracing World Action Fund. The RWAF provides air-filled soft barriers, known by the trade name Airfence, to motorcycle road races. The barriers line key sections of the race course to help protect riders who crash.

Ulrich and his team, as well as the MotoAmerica crew, continue to do an outstanding job at bringing awareness to the sport. For his efforts, Ulrich received the 2016 AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award from the AMA Board of Directors.

There is no better way to educate the fans and media than a hands-on experience.

As I mounted the bike, Ulrich’s team reminded me to breathe and instructed me absolutely not to wave to the crowd. I got comfortable and held on.

After Ulrich took off, I focused on my breathing and on finding the flow. From weighting the pegs correctly around the corners, to bracing myself as Ulrich applied the brakes. I felt like I was becoming part of the experience and was not just along for the ride.

By the second lap, I felt fully comfortable.

When he slowed to pull into pit lane, I felt a hint of sadness, because I was having the time of my life. After I got off the bike, I could not stop smiling.

Author and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer once said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you will look at will change.”

I did exactly that during this adventure, and I could not be happier with my experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat and heartily recommend it.