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Former Formula USA Champion Tray Batey has signed a contract with Blackmans Cycles Racing to campaign an Aprilia RSV Mille R in the Formula USA Series Unlimited Superbike class.
Batey, 40, rode for Team Hammer, Inc. in the 1994 through 1998 seasons, co-riding to the 1994-1997 WERA National Endurance Championship on a Team Suzuki Endurance GSX-R1100 and winning the 1996 Formula USA Championship on a Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki GSX-R1100. Team Hammer left the WERA Series to concentrate on Formula USA and AMA Formula Xtreme in 1998, and Batey elected to leave the team at the end of the 1998 season because he was tired of the stress of competing in both series; Batey signed with Arclight Suzuki for the 1999 and 2000 seasons and returned to the WERA National Endurance Series and the WERA National Challenge Series.
Batey won the WERA National Endurance Championship with Arclight in 2000 and also won the 1999 and 2000 WERA Formula One National Challenge Series Championships and the 2000 Suzuki TLR1000 Cup Final.
Arclight has left the WERA Series and will concentrate on the Formula USA Series with Lee Acree and Brian Parriott as the primary riders in 2001, leading Batey to contemplate retirement before receiving the Blackmans offer.
The Blackmans ride became available when Vincent Haskovec reneged on an agreement to ride for the team just prior to flying to Pennsylvania to sign a contract with Blackmans.
Batey will ride in all six rounds of the Formula USA Series. Blackmans will also field Chris Carr in the two Daytona rounds of the Series, in March and October, and will field Mike Himmelsbach in all six rounds.
Bill Himmelsbach is the Crew Chief for the Blackmans program.
"We did it right this time and got a signed contract right away," said Blackmans Cycles Racing Manager Kris Bickford of the deal with Batey. "We're pretty excited about it."
In a January 26 phone interview, Batey said "I'm really excited about riding the Aprilia because I think it's going to be a really good motorcycle, and I'm looking forward to helping Blackmans develop the bike in its maiden season in F-USA."