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Canadian Champ Lawrences Readies for FT Season

2015 Flat Track Canada reigning overall National Champion Doug Lawrence doesn’t mind the interruption on a Saturday night – the first period was not kind to the Leafs on “Hockey Night in Canada.”  Lawrence took a break from pre-season preparations, and Pro team sport frustration, to discuss his plans for the upcoming season.

“I’ve been busy, lots of logistics, getting ready for the season opening in Daytona for the Grand Nationals in March,” started the 30 year old Mississauga, ON-based racer. 

“Before that, I’m heading to California to ride for a few days.  I’m going to Paris Speedway, nothing is really like the Daytona Short Track but Paris is something like that, and of course it is just important to ride.  One of my main sponsors, John Briggs out of Santa Barbara got a bike for me to ride, it’s like my current Honda, and I’m flying out with Bryan Smith to get some work in the sun.”

“Then I will ride two test days before Daytona, in South Carolina and near Tampa, I’ll use my regular CRF450 bike in the Nationals and take my older Honda to thrash in practice,” continued Lawrence.  “The older bikes doesn’t’ have all the nice little trick bits, but it works just fine.  We’re also aiming to do some Dynojet Dyno work at Brooklin Cycle Racing with Rob Egan before we head south.”

“After that, well I have six bikes to get ready for the season, Canada and the U.S., and I don’t want to rush – it’s a lot of work, lots of details.  It’s stupid really! 

“Regaining the Canadian title is our first priority, then the X Games, then the AMA rounds.  I don’t know anything yet about the American Superprestigo (slated for the fall), and the rumor has it we are going to start something similar in Canada – that sounds like a good start.”

When the AMA Pro tour gets to the bigger tracks, especially the Springfield Mile events, Lawrence will revert to his Harley-Davidson XR750 twins, provided by an existing sponsor in Indianapolis.

However, prior to the April AMA National rounds at the Circuit of the Americas, Lawrence aims to start testing a brand new bike – a Kawasaki 650 twin, currently coming together under his father’s care.

“We’ll have the Harleys for CotA, but we should have everything we need to run the new Kawasaki,” confirmed Lawrence.  “There are so many little things to work on, sometimes I really would prefer I didn’t know the things I know!”

“The Kawasaki is actually pretty easy to build, even though we haven’t had any help from Kawasaki.  Briggs got us the engine, we had the wheels and forks, and we bought the frame and triple clamps.  Aaron Humphrey in Pennsylvania built the frame, he was recommended by Joe Kopp and Mike Hacker.

“The frame has the same kind of linkage set-up as the old Honda 750s,” explains Lawrence of his new chassis.  “Steve Beattie will do the forks and the shock, and then we’ll start testing.  Once we have some feedback, our aim is to get to the point where the Kawasaki as good, or better than our Harleys.

Lawrence hasn’t done any riding on the ice this winter, explaining that “the ice isn’t always such a good idea, it can teach you some bad habits – there is really too much traction, so it isn’t that helpful for flat track.”  Meanwhile Lawrence might make one ice appearance in Canada this winter, indoors in Kitchener next weekend, if time permits.

Another activity that is on Lawrence’s mind is roadracing, following his brilliant debut at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last summer, winning the inaugural Kawasaki Ninja 300 Cup series.

“I want to put something together, maybe ride a Mopar CSBK round or two, probably on a 600,” explains Lawrence.  “It depends on a few things, but that is for sure another goal.  I want to be in good shape if I do that, do some pavement practice, and I might try to get some riding in when I am down in Texas at CotA.  I talked to Jason DiSalvo about his School, so that is certainly an option.”  

Sponsors for the 2016 Lawrence Racing campaign include Town Moto, Parts Canada, American Harley-Davidson, OneSpeed, Klotz Canada, Alpinestars, HJC, Thor, Saddlemen, Motion Pro, K&N and Brooklin Cycle Racing.   

Saturday, 06 February 2016 21:57 Published in News


Champ Mees Wins first Superprestigio of the Americas in Las Vegas

Newly crowned AMA Pro Grand National Flat Track Champion Jared Mees of Clio, Mi, came to Las Vegas, gambled and won.  Big time.  In Friday’s final event in the AMP Flat Track National Tour at a new, ultra-short track at the Orleans Casino Arena, Mees scored a safe third in the Feature race and clinched his third overall National crown. 

This Saturday night on the same track, Mees worked through a crazy-busy set of Heats and Semi races to be one of four Flat Trackers to start the main event, then defeated his Flat Track peers and the top racers selected from other disciplines (“All Stars”) to become the first winner in the new all-comers Invitational Superprestigio of the Americas presented by Yamaha.

Aboard his Las Vegas Harley-Davidson backed Honda single, Mees placed second in the 12 Lap final Q race for Flat Trackers, behind Brad Baker of Eatonville, WA, to earn one of the four spots for “his kind” in the Superprestigio race.

In the 15 lap Main Event, Mees ran second early, then cut under Baker when the just-back-form-injury rider clobbered the plastic wall on the outside of the front straight.  Baker, frequently millimetres from the barrier, continued in second but Mees was solidly in first.

Mees won over Baker by a second and a half, with Kenny Coolbeth Jr. taking third, another second back.  Honda swept the podium.  For much of the race, Coolbeth staged a great dice with top “All Star” class competitor Roger Hayden on a Suzuki, but road race ace Hayden fell in the final turn and was classified seventh.

Top “All Star” class Feature race finisher was veteran 40 year old Larry Pegram in fourth with the Foremost Insurance Honda.  Teen-aged road race sensation Joe Roberts was fifth, while top young Brit road racer Oliver Brindley placed very worthy sixth on his Kawasaki single.

The Superprestigio concept was relaunched two years ago in Spain, and while three Spanish road racers took part in Las Vegas, none made it to the main event.  This was mostly due to bad luck – only four riders from each category could take part in the final, out of an entry of 15 per division.

“What a way to top things off at the end of a great year,” began Mees post-race.  “I’m almost at a loss for words, it’s really a big deal, winning a Superprestigio.  I knew Brad would be tough, he got the best of me in the race before, but I kept my focus.  Now Brad and I are heading over to Spain to represent the American dirt trackers.”

“I don’t think they could have designed a better track to create chaos,” joked Mees after his win.  “Any time you do something different, it’s fun.  The whole thing was hectic, but it was nothing compared to what we go through in Spain.  It’s really cool that it was so fast paced.”

“The way the track was set up, it was racy,” continued Mees.  “You could stick somebody, really go hard, like you were racing 100s in my back yard with my buddies.  With us having the event the night before, it gave us an advantage, we knew what was going to happen, how the track would change.  In the future maybe this can be a stand-alone race.”

Second placed Baker admitted that “I definitely had a wild wall ride, for a flat track style bike! To ride clean on this track is tough, but that’s the goal.  It was really fun racing Jared, he rode so good, and I made too many mistakes.  I had a bike break, I got hung up on the starting gate in one of my heats – I really can’t complain after coming back on such a rough night!”

Third placed Coolbeth said that “I had a really awesome fight with Hayden, we were really back and forth, it was really aggressive, it was real short track racing.  I got to third and I just stayed there.  The track was kind of slick, kinda dry, we slowed down our bike so we could go a little faster.”

The sole Canadian invited to the first Superprestigio of the Americas was newly crowned Flat Track Canada Champ Doug Lawrence of Mississauga, ON.  After adjusting his bike after Friday’s racing, Lawrence had nothing but bad luck in his heats. Although Lawrence got close to making the cut in is Flat Track Semi qualifying race, he stalled his Town Moto Honda in a tight turn while battling for position and was unable to Qualify for his Main. 

Sunday, 22 November 2015 03:14 Published in News


Lawrence Fights for Final at Superprestigio in Vegas

Reigning Flat Track Canada Champ Doug Lawrence is struggling to make it through the heat races at the first-ever Superprestigio of the Americas presented by Yamaha at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.  Lawrence must qualify through the “Flat Track” class, against his fellow AMA Pros, to have a chance to face-off against the “All Stars” category in the final, 15 lap race for the top eight racers from the busy evening of activity.

The Schedule is running Speedway-style, with no brakes, each class starting just seconds after the previous group cleared the short, dirt oval track.  With no red flags through the opening two sets of races heat, the event truly moved at break-neck speed.

Town Moto Honda pro pilot Lawrence was briefly as high as second in his first heat, but was bumped to the rear by the end of the 6 laps.  In his second Heat race, Lawrence got an amazing start from the outside of the unique, motocross style drop-gate starting area, and was in the lead into the bumpy first turn.  But Lawrence was clipped and stalled his bike, and while he was able to restart the Town Moto Honda, he could not catch the lead group during the very brief Heat.

In heat three, Lawrence was in the middle of things on the first lap, only to get squeezed in the second turn, again stalling and losing the pack.

Perhaps the best race so far at the Orleans was one of the “All Star” heats, when pre-race favorite Roger Hayden on a Suzuki battled against the Yamaha of Jake Gagne.  After much pushing and shoving, Gagne won from a none-too-pleased Hayden.  Also showing well is a strong Spanish contingent of road racers, including former Moto2 World Champ Toni Elias.

Saturday, 21 November 2015 23:44 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Bauman Wins, Mees takes American Flat track Title in Vegas

Brian Bauman of Salinas, Ca took victory in in the final AMP Pro Flat Track Grand National of the season, piloting his Honda for a green lights to chequered flag win in Harley-Davidson sponsored GNC1 class action, presented by Vance and Hines, at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas on Friday night, November 20.  20-year-old Bauman wound up 2.445 of a second ahead of the runner-up after 25 laps, a solid margin around such a tight, hockey rink-sized venue.

Unretired 47 year old Joe Kopp of Mica, WA made his sole start of the AMA Pro National Dirt Track season a success, the Triumph Team Manager piloting a unique Husqvarna FC450 to a solid second place. 

Third overall belonged to Jared Mees, the popular Clio, MI racer having earlier in the evening clinched his second straight, and third Grand National career, overall National Title.

Fourth went to Sammy Halbert on a Yamaha, Jake Johnson fifth on a Honda and up-and-coming Yamaha rider Dominic Colindres earned sixth.

In what turned out to be a somewhat processional race around the very dusty, tenth of a mile oval, Bauman took control early and was never seriously challenged.

“I really don’t know if I should cry or scream with joy,” explained Bauman form the podium, emotional after his second career National feature victory.  “The track was insane, so small and tight, really something with the performance of the bikes we were using.  I basically raced all night without changing a single thing, we just checked the tire pressures.”

“Some of the best laps I did all night were in the final,” continued the victor.  “I made a few mistakes, but I did well when it counted, I did well with the lapped traffic.  I’m really excited that this result gets me in tomorrow’s race.”

After a first ever National Championship round at the new Orleans racing venue, the double header winds up on Saturday night with the first-ever invitational Superprestigio of the Americas event, with the star dirt trackers facing off against top riders from other disciplines of two-wheeled sport.

“I came here to have fun, I’m not really racing for a paycheck anymore,” smiled Kopp post-race.  “It was my only outing of the year with these guys, and I wanted to make it count.  The Husky worked really well, it was just awesome.  Maybe now the Promoter will invite me to ride in the Superprestigo tomorrow.”

Mees explained that it was nice that the title battle pressure was diminished after arch rivals Bryan Smith and Kenny Coolbeth fell during Semi qualifying action, ending their chances for the crown.  However Mees “came up a little short, Bauman split so quick, and it took me about five laps to get down to the bottom (racing line), really get into the groove.”

“It was really backyard racing, so I built a track in my backyard to get ready,” stated Mees.  “It really was lots of fun preparing for this race.  But my biggest fear was what happened to (title rival) Bryan, and I’ve been there racing little tracks, on concrete, on ice.”

“It’s great to finish up the year with the number one plate, we only got the one win, but we were always competitive, and consistency is what gets you Championships.  Consistency pays off.”

Saturday, 21 November 2015 03:00 Published in News


Lawrence Misses Vegas Main as Mees Repeats

Flat Track Canada Champ Doug Lawrence earned third in his heat race and fifth in his semi in the final round of the Harley-Davidson GNC1 AMA Flat Track Championship presented by Vance and Hines, but it wasn’t enough to get him into the 13th and final main event of the 2015 National season at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, November 20.

In his Heat, Town Moto backed, Honda mounted Lawrence got a poor start, but managed to work his way up to place a respectable third behind winner Brandon Robinson and runner-up Kayl Kolkman.  That result moved Lawrence onto the front row of the crowed 12 rider Semi race, and the Champ needed to place in the top two to make it to the main. 

While Lawrence again moved through the field, it wasn’t enough to earn him a spot in the 12 rider Main vent.  Instead, Lawrence’s effort moved him on to the GNC1 “B Main,” and after a rough start, he worked his way up to net sixth.

“The track slowed down a lot, we changed the gearing, we were trying to work it,” explained Lawrence post racing.  “My races went Ok, but just Ok – positioning is everything.  The track was getting rutted, and you really needed to hit things straight, and when you’re in traffic, that’s hard to do.”

Lawrence will return to the same tenth of a mile, custom designed dirt oval tomorrow, since the Northern National Champ earned an invitation to take part in the first ever Superprestigio of the Americas.  This unique event, based on a recent Spanish format, has a ladder system for flat track stars and a separate series of qualifying and heats for non-dirt trackers, leading to a combined “world” final.

Meanwhile, a series of bizarre events mean that heat six victor and reigning Champ Jared Mees of Clio, MI has clinched the American National Flat Track crown, before the final event has even taken place.  As with most of the field, Mees was mounted on a Honda CFR450R single, but is backed by big local dealer Las Vegas Harley-Davidson.

Potential points rivals in the Championship chase, Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (Hon) and Brad Baker (Hon), both fell in their Semi, meaning both are mathematically eliminated from the title battle.       

Saturday, 21 November 2015 01:20 Published in News


Lawrence Launches from Fifth Heat in Vegas

Reigning Flat Track Canada National Champion Doug Lawrence will aim to qualify through the fifth of sixth Heat races tonight at the 13th and final round of the Harley-Davidson GNC1 Flat Track Grand Nationals, held at the Arena in the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas.  The sole Canadian in the 36 rider entry ran as high as 16th aboard his Town Moto backed-Honda CRF450R in the early practice sessions, but a fall in the final Qualifying dropped him down the order to 23rd overall.

Fastest Qualifier for tonight’s racing is Mike Rush on a Honda, the veteran lapping the tight oval at 10.23 seconds.  Rush will start from pole in the first heat, while next best lapper Henry Wiles (10.27) gets the pole for race two with his Honda, race three will be headed by third best Q rider Briar Bauman on a Honda, Robert Pearson will start from the inside in Heat four on a Yamaha YZF450F, the Lawrence heat will be headed by Suzuki RMZ 450 of Kayl Kolkman, while pole for the final heat belongs to the sixth best qualifier, reigning Champ Jared Mees on another Honda.

Lawrence turned a best lap at 10.62 seconds before he got out of shape in the second and last Q session, eventually tumbling into the padded wall that lines the tight, hockey arena-sized track.  The top 12 riders from the HEat and Semi races will take part in the final 2015 Dirt Track National.

“The track was getting rough, there was prep work right before our session, and I figured it would help, but I was wrong,” explained the uninjured Lawrence prior to the opening ceremonies.  “Yeah, I hit the wall, but it was no big deal.  Maybe it’s time to put on the ol’ chest protector!”

“I need to get back to the way I was riding (in the earlier sessions),” considered 30 year old Lawrence.  “I need to be a little more calculated, that’s my normal mode.  I’ll be in the middle of the row, it will be crazy on the first laps, so I need to get my elbows out.”

“The race is fun, the whole weekend is great (including tomorrow night’s Superprestigio of the Americas), but I wish there was a little time to enjoy it.  We didn’t really know what to expect with the track, they maybe over watered it, and now they’re trying to smooth it out as best they can.”

“As far as the race strategy goes, It is what it is, what I expected – you really need a good start, and you need to take advantage of your chances if they come, especially in the early laps.  If you get a chance, you just have to do it.”

“The race format is pretty specialized, there are a few guys who know how to race these little tracks, and then there is everyone else.  You’re really going to need to work the inside, right around the ring.  You need full commitment, look well ahead, and just try and find your comfort level.”      

 Sponsorship for the Lawrence Racing 2015 AMA Pro effort comes from John Briggs Motorsports, Town Moto, Brooklin Cycle Racing, Jon Castin, Triple J Racing, American Harley-Davidson, Arai, Troy Lee Design, SIDI boots, Motion Pro, West Coast Hot Shoes, Works Connection, Klotz, Saddlemen and JS Marketing.  

Friday, 20 November 2015 21:56 Published in News


Non Flat Trackers Test in Vegas

With the arena’s track preparation complete and the Airfence in place, non-Flat Track Superprestigio of the Americas competitors got a couple of hours of surface testing and practice on Thursday evening, November 19 at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas.

On Friday evening, November 20, the 13th and deciding round of the 2015 American Flat Track Championship takes place at the same venue, while the next night features the inaugural Yamaha-sponsored Superprestigio of The Americas. 

Both events take place on a custom built, indoor hockey rink-sized (about .10 of a mile in length) track at the Orleans Hotel and Casino.

Non flat track racers taking part in the discipline-crossing first ever North American Superprestigio event will be at a disadvantage, partly because they do not regularly compete on dirt ovals and mostly because they are not part of the AMA Pro National wrap-up on Friday night.  So a little test and tune was a welcome and much appreciated surprise.

With most of the top flat trackers watching from the sidelines, the non-oval group showed well, and demonstrated that the surface should be good for competition.  Track designer and Flat Track legend Chris Carr made big efforts to ensure that passing was possible, and the initial, non-competition outing on the Orleans oval showed promise.

Maybe the fastest, unofficially, of the Pros to try the track was Larry Pegram on the Foremost Insurance Honda single.  Out of work since the works Buell team dropped out of World Superbike early in 2015 due to issues with the parent company, former flat track star Pegram was in confident form.

Attracting the most attention was a charging Roger Lee Hayden aboard the Yoshimura Suzuki RMZ450, with most of the riders trying to follow every time Hayden took to the course for one of the many brief sessions.  Back in 2002, Hayden and his two brothers, Tommy and Nicky, swept the AMA Pro National Short Track podium in Springfield, Ill.

Top European was MotoGP ace and 2012 Moto2 World Champ Toni Elias of Spain, 32. A veteran of the Spanish Superprestigio that started the us vs them flat track spectacular craze, Elias looked quick and fairly consistent, shaking of a couple of minor tumbles on the stop-and-go layout.

Action for the Flat Track Experts starts on Friday at 3 PM local time, with two hours of timed practice.  After that, there will be Heat and Semi races for the GNC1 and GNC2 categories.  Canadian interest will focus on newly crowned Flat Track Canada Champ Doug Lawrence aboard the John Briggs Motorsports/Town Moto Honda. 

The Inside Motorcycles web site will feature coverage of the Lawrence effort both nights.

On hand to watch the test, Lawrence explained that he was “impressed with the track, they seem to have really done a good job preparing the surface – it has plenty of moisture, and that should help over a night.”

“They’re trying to make it so you can pass, race each other.  I don’t know if what we watched tonight will be what we see in the races tomorrow night, but right now those guys know more than we do.”     

Thursday, 19 November 2015 22:53 Published in News


Lawrence Readies for Vegas

Newly-crowned Flat Track Canada overall national No. 1 Doug Lawrence is very busy these days, preparing for the season-ending dirt track doubleheader next weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. On Friday evening, November 20, the 13th and deciding round of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Championship takes place, while the next night features the inaugural Yamaha-sponsored Superprestigio of the Americas.  Both events take place on a custom-built, indoor hockey rink-sized (listed at an optimistic .25 miles) track at the Orleans Hotel and Casino.

Inside Motorcycles will be on site in Vegas for Lawrence’s races, and provide exclusive web coverage focused on the Flat Track Canada champ.

Lawrence will compete aboard one of his Honda CRF450Rs, recently rebuilt by Doug Beattie.

“I’ve won a lot of Canadian nationals on this bike,” explained Lawrence shortly before leaving for Michigan and further testing and training on Sunday, November 15. “But now we’ve detuned it, trying to make it work for a tenth-of-a-mile track. Doug did a great job for me, he really knows these Hondas well now.”

Lawrence explained that everyone planning to compete in Las Vegas has been looking to ride at tracks small enough to simulate the Orleans set-up.

“Everyone has been building these little tracks, and I tested with (American champ) Jared Mees at a track he built on his property. Then I’m going to Scott Parker’s place in Michigan, Bryan Smith built a track there.  I think (retired multi-time national champ) Scott’s even going to ride with us!”

After his final test in Michigan, Lawrence will fly to California, before heading to Vegas for practice.

As far as the format for the event is concerned, with many short races close together leading to eliminations and the final, Lawrence says he is trying not to focus too much on the event’s structure.

“It doesn’t help to worry too much about the starts, but everyone knows how important that is on a short track.  The starts are huge,” laughs Lawrence.

“The trick is to ride assertive, not aggressive.  You really need to use your head, pick your battles, and don’t put yourself in a position where you are going to make a mistake. I guess you have to say that it comes down to luck.  The guys who get success in this type of event, they aren’t the fastest, but they really know how to position themselves.  It is important to qualify up front, the times will be really close, put yourself on pole, be in a position to control things from the front.

“The race formats are a little different from what we get usually, so it will shake down differently, but it will still be an issue if some guy kamikazes and takes down a bunch of people in his heat race.

“The racing will be way different from how things look in practice, we’ll be more upright, not so vulnerable, guarding our spot – maybe not as exciting (or sideways).  It really depends on the surface, can we ride it hard, but it will likely be inconsistent.  So protecting your spot, your position, will be a big factor.”

Lawrence places equal importance on the two events, but figures that Saturday’s Superprestigio will be the tougher event in terms of qualifying for the final race.

“Organizer Chris Carr has put me in with all the other flat trackers, and that class is full of heavy hitters – I’m really in the deep water, so in a way the math is worse on the second night. No one knows what will happen, and that should make it really entertaining.”            

Following the Vegas events, Lawrence will return to California for some bicycle training before heading to legendary MX venue Glen Helen Raceway for Red Bull’s 18th Day in the Dirt, with support from Troy Lee Designs Canada.

Sponsorship for the Lawrence Racing 2015 AMA Pro effort comes from John Briggs Motorsports, Town Moto, Brooklin Cycle Racing, Jon Castin, Triple J Racing, American Harley-Davidson, Arai, Troy Lee Design, SIDI boots, Motion Pro, West Coast Hot Shoes, Works Connection, Klotz, Saddlemen and JS Marketing.  

Saturday, 14 November 2015 14:21 Published in News


Tumblin’ Todd’s Flat Track Blog: DTX Vs. Framer

For those unaware, I will give you the Coles Notes version of the difference between DTX and ‘framer’ flat track bikes. A DTX machine is a motocross motorcycle that has been turned into a flat tracker via suspension changes and the addition of 19-inch wheels and tires, whereas a framer utilizes a purpose-built racing frame fitted with a motor, wheels, tank, etc.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 13:19 Published in Tumblin' Todd's Flat Track Blog


Canadian Flat Track Star Doug Lawrence to Compete at the 2015 X Games in Austin, Texas

Cambridge, On. April 21, 2015 - Flat Track Canada is proud to announce Doug Lawrence of Mississauga,On has been officially invited to the 2015 Summer X Games from Austin,Texas in June.

Thursday, 23 April 2015 13:43 Published in News


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