Jun 26, 2012
© 2014, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
by David Swarts
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AMA Pro National Guard Superbike racer Chris Ulrich poses with New Orleans area broadcasters after giving rides on his GEICO Suzuki GSX-R1000 two-seat Superbike at NOLA Motorsports Park. Photo by David Swarts/Roadracingworld.com.
AMA Pro Superbike racer Chris Ulrich introduced members of the local media and New Orleans Saints and Hornets Owner/Vice Chairman Rita Benson LeBlanc to motorcycle road racing Tuesday by giving them 155-mph rides on his GEICO Suzuki GSX-R1000 two-seat Superbike around NOLA Motorsports Park. All of the guests who rode came away with strong favorable and some rather unique impressions of their rides and the sport.
"Man, it was the most fantastic thing I've ever done," said Kelder Summers, an on-air personality on 106.7 FM, a radio station that broadcasts to southern Louisiana and southern Mississippi. "It was great. The way he took those curves was unbelievable. We were so close to the ground. It was really exhilarating."
"I am literally shaking but in a good way," said Anne Cutler, a reporter with WGNO-TV, the ABC affiliate in New Orleans. "I felt like I was upside down at one point. We were so leaned over in the turns it made me dizzy and I felt like I was upside down. I am sweating. I am panting. I was gripping him like a little baby, but it was incredible. It was unlike anything else I've ever done in my life."
Asked if the ride with Ulrich had made her a motorcycle road racing fan, Cutler said, "Heck, yeah! I have a new-found appreciation for what they do, as well. My dad is actually a race car driver and he's broken 200 mph and done some crazy stuff, but that's in the confines of a vehicle. It's very, very different when you're out there and it's just you and the road."
"I've seen [motorcycle road racing] on television," said Juan Kincade, a sportscaster with WWL-TV, the CBS network affiliate in New Orleans, "but that's about the extent of it. I had never been to this park since they constructed it, and I was really caught off guard by how amazing it is out here. It's very professional. And this is a must-see sport. If you can't experience it like we did and we're fortunate to get to experience it like this you can come out here and watch and see how these riders do it on a motorcycle. I've seen NASCAR, Formula One and all that - this is a whole different level, a whole different thing. It's cool."
"I loved it," said Benson LeBlanc, who is also a member of NOLA Motorsports Park. "Cars are cool and you feel safe, but it's [riding with Ulrich] spiritual to me as far as when you're hitting the corners and you're that close to the ground. You're flying. You're absolutely flying. It really feels like you're flying rather than just using it as an adjective to say you're going fast because of how close you are visually to the ground. It's like you're the fastest bird on the planet sailing that close to the ground."
Ulrich and his team have offered rides on two-seat racebikes to local reporters to help promote AMA Pro Superbike events and motorcycle road racing in general for over 10 years, and Ulrich has given over 500 two-seat racebike rides since 2003.
Ulrich also gives rides on his two-seat racebike to the general public to raise funds for the Roadracing World Action Fund (~), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization which advocates and promotes the use of soft barriers to help prevent rider injuries at racetracks.