Aug 2, 2013
© 2015, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
by David Swarts
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GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing: (From left) Troy Thompson, AMA Pro Chris Ulrich, Jer Bates, David Moncion and AMA Pro SportBike racer Dane Westby. Photos Copyright 2013, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
AMA Pro racer Chris Ulrich got a group of local TV reporters excited about motorcycle road racing by giving them 160-mph, multi-lap rides on his GEICO Honda CBR1000RR two-seat Superbike Thursday at Miller Motorsports Park.
Ulrich gave rides to Jer Bates, Sports Reporter/Anchor at KSTU-13 News (Fox); Troy Thompson, the co-host of KTVX-4’s (ABC) show “Good Things Utah,” David Moncion, a videographer for the Deseret News; and Brooke Graham, a Features Reporter for KUTV-2 News (CBS).
“I’ve never experienced anything like that,” Bates said, after his ride with Ulrich. “I’ve experienced a lot, but never anything like that. It’s hard for me to articulate what it was like to be on the back of Chris Ulrich’s bike here at Miller Motorsports Park. On the third turn when I could hear his knee scraping the ground, I had a miniature panic attack for a about a second and a half. We came out of the turn and I realized, ‘Wow! Everything’s OK.’ After that I just held on and smiled.”
“I feel like I was able to get a much better grasp of why people love this sport," Bates continued. "My racing experience has been watching NASCAR drivers go around and around making left-hand turns on an oval. But to be out there literally inches off the pavement and see that zipping past your face, to hear the sound of the engine revving up and closing down as he entered these turns and leaned into, again there’s no way I could describe that. And it’s truly just as you guys warned us, it’s something you’ve got to experience to truly understand. But even from watching in the stands, I would encourage anybody to come out here and experience this because it will give you a whole new appreciation. Just watching from a far is enough to definitely get your heart racing.”
“It was an awesome, awesome experience,” said Moncion. “It’s something that you can’t write down. You can’t just watch it. You have to experience it, being on the bike, looking down at the ground, looking at the speedometer and see we’re going 120 mph right now. Oh, we’re back down to 40 [mph]. It was amazing. And the mountains, too, seeing the mountains speed right by you is amazing, too. I didn’t know much about road racing let alone motorcycles, but it’s a great sport. You can see that these drivers work hard at what they are doing, and it’s certainly a craft that has to be witnessed and obviously learned. These guys do a great job at it. I wouldn’t mind coming and watching a race now knowing how fast they are going out there. I think it’s an awesome experience.”
“I think it was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in my life. It’s like a roller coaster times 1000,” said Graham. “I came in knowing nothing at all. I’ve never seen anything like this. Now I know what goes on behind it to make it happen, and I’m really impressed.”
Ulrich and his GEICO Honda two-seat Superbike appeared live on Thompson’s “Good Things Utah” Thursday morning, before the rides. Bates produced segments about his ride that were scheduled to air twice Thursday evening. Moncion said he planned to put together a video to be shown at . And Ulrich and Graham will recap their ride together during a live video segment at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday morning.
For over a decade, Ulrich and his team have offered rides on two-seat racebikes to reporters to help promote AMA Pro Superbike events and motorcycle road racing in general. Ulrich himself has given over 600 two-seat racebike rides since 2003.