Digital Edition Subscribers: Read Roadracing World Magazine Now >
Roadracing - An Online Service of Roadracing World Magazine
Jun 23, 2018

MotoAmerica: Arai And Team Hammer Commemorate 35th Anniversary At Laguna Seca

Team Hammer and Arai are commemorating their 35-year relationship with Arai Corsair-X helmets painted with a Hammerhead replica design from the 1990's during this weekend's MotoAmerica event at Laguna Seca. (From left) Team Hammer co-founder and original rider John Ulrich, Nick McFadden, Valentin Debise, Jake Lewis, Daytona Anderson, and Chris Ulrich pose with the special helmets. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

The 2018 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Race Championship season marks 35 years of collaboration between Team Hammer and Arai Helmet. To celebrate, Team Hammer's racers are wearing Arai helmets featuring special throwback paintwork at this weekend's combined WorldSBK/MotoAmerica round at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The particular paint scheme chosen for the event was worn by Team Hammer's riders from 1993 through 1997. Chief among the team's many achievements during that era was Team Hammer's 100th WERA National Endurance Series race win with Michael Martin and Tray Batey at Texas World Speedway in 1994. Other racers who wore the design in that era included future AMA champions Josh Hayes and Jamie Hacking.

Even then, Hayes and Hacking were just the latest in a long line of future superstars that Team Hammer helped springboard to massive success, either through endurance racing or AMA support programs. Future icons such as Kevin Schwantz, Jamie James, David Sadowski, Scott Russell, Thomas Stevens, Donald Jacks, Kurt Hall, and Mike Smith rode Team Hammer racebikes, as did AMA Superbike Champion Wes Cooley in a career comeback.

Through the 1980s, Team Hammer dominated endurance racing. In the late 1990s, Team Hammer transitioned to focus on sprint racing, while continuing its legacy of introducing the sport's next stars. Grand Prix standout John Hopkins and Superbike World Champion and MotoGP race winner Ben Spies headline a star-studded line-up of additional Team Hammer riders who achieved success, also including Vincent Haskovec, Danny Eslick, Britt Turkington, Michael Barnes, Dane Westby, Martin Cardenas, and many others.

"The 35-year relationship between Team Hammer and Arai is a product of two families of passionate motorcycle people with a shared mindset on rider safety," said Team Hammer Vice President of Operations Chris Ulrich. "I was three years old when the partnership between my family's race team and Arai started in 1983. As a kid working in the pits, I watched some of the best racers in the country race and win in the Arai Hammerhead helmet, dreaming of the day I would be able to wear that helmet. The Arai Hammerhead design was my first road racing helmet as a kid. I wore it proudly in my first race in 1993, in my professional debut in 1996, and have worked to bring back the design in the later years of my racing career. Through the years, the ups and downs in racing, and riders coming and going, the Arai Hammerhead helmet design was a constant. It is much more than a helmet design, it a representation of my family's great history in motorcycle road racing.

"We've had a long and successful partnership with Arai. The team won back-to-back National Endurance Championships in 1983 and 1984; now it is 2018 and we are still winning races, and that's pretty uncommon in motorsports," Ulrich continued. "Arai is a company that is always working to improve to give our riders the best support possible. That's why racers like Josh Hayes and John Hopkins continued to have long associations with Arai after using their helmets with our team, which is a tribute to what Arai does. This throwback helmet celebrates our long and uninterrupted partnership as well as spotlighting some of our great shared history. I'm excited to watch Jake Lewis, Valentin Debise, Nick McFadden, and Daytona Anderson race in the reborn Hammerhead design!"

During the 35 years of Team Hammer and Arai's collaboration, the strategic partnership has resulted in 69 MotoAmerica/AMA Pro race victories, 194 podiums, and five AMA Pro National Championships, along with four Formula USA Championships.

Arai Helmet was founded in 1926 by Hirotake Arai. Despite its remarkable record of international success in MotoGP, Formula One, WorldSBK, and MotoAmerica, Arai remains a small, family company, now headed by its third-generation of riders. Arai Helmet is world renowned for its unparalleled combination of innovation, safety, comfort and style.

"When people hear how long I've worked for Arai -- 34 years this year -- I am always surprised at their surprise." said Arai Managing Director Brian Weston. "'Wow, you don't see that very often,' is the general response. But as long as I have worked for Arai, there are a select few relationships that were already in place when I joined the company; Freddie Spencer, Wes Cooley, Dale Singleton, and Team Hammer to name a few. But only one is still active and still winning 35 years later!

"An iconic constant in the American road racing paddock, Team Hammer joined Arai in 1983, and for the last 35 years has been a premium asset in Arai's R&D racing program, playing an unparalleled role in Arai's product development in helping to improve our helmets for both track and street use. And, of course, there's the added bonus of putting the Arai name out in front of the public with each win and podium finish countless times along the way.

"To commemorate our 35th Anniversary, each Team Hammer rider (Daytona Anderson, Valentin Debise, Jake Lewis, and Nick McFadden) will be wearing a replica of an original Team Hammer Design, hand painted by Arai Japan and flown in especially for this weekend's event. I am thrilled to be able to attend the event and play a part in the celebration and look forward to another 35 years!"

About Arai Helmet

Hirotake Arai created the first helmet in Japan for his own protection, not just for business. To this day, the Arai company is still owned and operated by the Arai family, driven by the same motivation of superior rider protection that drove Hirotake. Comfort, ventilation, aerodynamics, low weight and low noise are just a few of the benefits most riders look for in a helmet, and of course Arai strives to deliver those things. However, Arai has never forgotten the most import function of a helmet - protection - which is why Arai focuses on The Consistent Pursuit of Gains in Protection. See more at

About Team Hammer

The 2018 season marks Team Hammer's 38th consecutive year of operating as a professional road racing team. Racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 69 AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National races, have finished on AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National podiums 194 times and have won five AMA Pro National Championships, as well as two FIM South American Championships. The team has also won 135 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.