Shaw-O'Leary on the Podium at Shannonville

By Frank Wood SHANNONVILLE, Ont- GoLo Racing's Austin Shaw-O'Leary scored his first podium finish in the Inside Motorcycles Amateur Sportbike National Championship on Sunday with a third place run on the GoLo Racing Honda CBR 600RR at the opening round of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Shannonville Motorsports Park.

Monday, 25 June 2012 08:32

KICKER returns to Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship

From a press release from Frontline CSBK- Toronto: The ‘Kick’ will be back in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship this summer.

Friday, 22 June 2012 22:13

Remembering the First World Superbike Race – Final Installment, Part six

The poor weather caused the start of race two at Donington in 1988 to be delayed, and FIM officials made it clear to Tardozzi that as long as he finished close to Lucchinelli on track, he would be the overall victor.  However things started badly for Bimota, Tardozzi loosing most of his tail section in a start line collision with teammate Stephane Mertens.  Apparently a hiccup in the race one victor’s new-tech fuel-injection caused the incident.

All this drama allowed Merkel to lead from the start, the chasing pack initially headed by Canuk Rueben McMurter on one of the Yamaha Canada entries.  Pole-man Roger Burnett got a poor start with his RC30 but eventually charged to the front, only to run off track when it started to drizzle late in the race.

As conditions deteriorated, Lucchinelli built a safe lead from likely overall victor Tardozzi, but the Bimota rider put on a late race charge for the lead.  Perhaps first race winner Tardozzi didn’t actually understand the combined M/X style scoring, but he was about to unwittingly hand success to arch rival Ducati.

Tardozzi slid off at high speed with a lap and a half to go, trying to get by Lucchinelli on the slick track for the race two win. So “Lucky” gave Ducati a dream debut for their latest Desmo at the history-making SBK opener. 

On his cool off lap, Lucchinelli picked up Tardozzi and gave him a lift back to the pits.  At the end of the season, a warm-up lap crash by points leader Tardozzi in New Zealand would hand the Championship to Honda’s “Flying Fred” Merkel.

Tardozzi is now remembered as one of the best Team Managers in SBK history, thanks to his run of Ducati squad successes.  However back in the day, the usually calm Italian had a habit of snatching “defeat from the jaws of victory” when under pressure.  Lucchinelli also worked for Ducati after retirement, but drug problems ruined his career.

Earlier in the second Donington race, reigning Canadian Superbike Champ Michel Mercier had been running near the front on his Competition Systems built, Don Knit supported  Suzuki, in fact right on the tail of Merkel. 

Third place looked likely for the on-form Mercier in race two, and incredible effort given that Suzuki didn’t officially support SBK at the time and the newest GSX-R wasn’t considered competitive.  Unfortunately there was a mix-up in an area of the track where some oil had been dropped. 

Merkel tried to signal Mercier to stay off line, Mercier though he was getting a wave by, and the Canadian GSX-R went down on the spilled lubricant.  With an engine full of top soil, Mercier was also out of action for the rest of the remaining Match Race holiday Monday program.

After a strong start, McMurter was inside the top ten on the last lap with his Sports Afield II- backed Yamaha, but ran out of fuel. Although he eventually crossed the finish line, McMurter was not classified.  “The Rueb” was back on track Monday to complete his Match Race duties, winding up top Canadian, 16th out of 32 points scorers.  Soon after Donington, McMurter would switch to Honda Canada’s revamped Rothmans backed vee-four SBK program.

Best Canadian finisher at Donington was Montrealer Tom Douglas, making his first race start outside of North America on the Polysport-backed, Pirelli-shod  Yamaha FZR750R.  With limited spares, Douglas played it smart, slowing in the wet conditions to ensure a decent finish on his near-stock entry. 

Douglas was credited with 12th overall, solidly in the points at the Donington opener.  This impressive showing would lead to further opportunities beyond Canada for the youngster, who first attracted attention as an Amateur at Shannonville in 1985 on a stock FJ600!  Later in the 1988 season, Douglas attended the final two races of the series “down under”, netting strong 7th/11th results at the New Zealand final.   

Thursday, 21 June 2012 17:19

Szoke Aims to Regain Title

Story by John Hopkins- You could forgive Jordan Szoke for feeling like he lost what rightfully belongs to him last summer. After all, the Brantford, Ont. racer had exclusive ownership of the number one plate in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship between 2006 and 2010, so when Brett McCormick took it from under his nose at the season finale at Mosport International Raceway (now Canadian Tire Motorsport Park), Szoke could not have been happy.

Thursday, 21 June 2012 17:03

Friday Night Lights: A Look at the History of Paris Speedway

Story by Todd Vallee, photos by Karolina Pelc- It started as a dream between three speedway enthusiasts who felt their favourite sport, speedway racing, needed a home in Canada. Speedway was huge in other parts of the world at that point but hadn't caught on here.

Monday, 18 June 2012 11:33


If you've watched any MotoGP races this year, or read any reports, you'll know that many riders and teams are struggling with chatter. Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa are the most vocal, and it's enough of an issue for them that Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo leads the points after five rounds so far this year even though Stoner was consistently quicker in testing.

The term chatter has its roots in machining, and refers to the resonant vibration that occurs when a machine tool, such as a milling cutter or drill bit, vibrates against the work piece, leaving a rough or wavy finish. Running your nails over a chalkboard and making that awful screeching noise is an example of high-frequency chatter. Or, if you push your hand across a table at just the right angle and force, it will chatter at a lower frequency. Under certain circumstances, a motorcycle's unsprung masses - the wheels and tires - will vibrate on the pavement at a resonant frequency in the range of 17 and 22 Hz (cycles per second). According to the book Motorcycle Dynamics, by Vittore Cossalter, chatter is often observed in circumstances where the resonant frequency matches that of the wheel rotation frequency. That is between 125 kph and 160 kph depending on tire circumference and the chatter frequency, and European tracks are filled with corners taken at those speeds.

Chatter is not a new and mysterious issue - I remember my brother struggling with it on his Yamaha TZ250 at Shannonville 30 year ago. It does, however, seem to come and go as tire, suspension and frame technologies continually leapfrog each other but occasionally clash. Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards suffered from severe chatter on the Yamaha M1 in 2006, and World Superbike riders have complained of chatter occasionally. Generally, it cannot be eradicated with the standard setup adjustments available even on a MotoGP bike as the suspension simply cannot absorb vibrations at that frequency. One way around chatter is to use a different tire that can better absorb vibrations at the resonant frequency, or has a different resonant frequency altogether; with a spec tire as used in MotoGP however, that is not an option. Engineers are forced to turn to the chassis, and either change the resonant frequencies of various parts or make them more flexible to absorb the vibrations elsewhere.

Yamaha attempted a temporary fix for the M1's chatter early in 2006 by adding weight to the axles, but ended up reverting to the 2005 chassis until the new bike could be updated with more elaborate modifications. The factory Repsol Honda team is working through a similar process. Following the recent official Catalunya test, Casey Stoner stated in the team press release that, "We didn't work on set up at all, we just tried everything we could think of to reduce the rear chatter." Showing how fickle chatter can be, however, he did say to that progress was made by changing a small two-dollar part that they did not expect would make a difference. Certainly the various teams will find their individual solutions before too long, and then the current obsession with chatter will likely fade - until the next time the relative performances of tire, suspension and frames and their resonant frequencies collide.

This highlight video from the MotoGP race in Qatar earlier this year shows some serious chatter on Ben Spies' Yamaha M1 at about the 25-second mark.

Thursday, 14 June 2012 14:48

Alabama bound with Jon Taverner

Inside Motorcycles contributor Jon Taverner took a motorcycle touring trip from southern Ontario down to Alabama and back through the Tail of the Dragon. He shares his six day, 4100km account. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012 19:09

MOPAR CSBK Test Day at Shannonville Motorsports Park

Story by Frank Wood. Shannoville Motorsports Park, June 7, 2012- Riders competing in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championships had a free pre-season test day today and were blessed with perfect weather for their outing.

Friday, 08 June 2012 14:23

Remembering the First World Superbike Race – Part Five; Bimota Win Part One

At Donington Park in England in the spring of 1988, a brand new series made its debut, based partly on World Championship TT-F1 standards, partly on AMA Superbike guidelines, and centered on the popular Anglo American Match Race series.  The Donington midlands venue, recently fully revamped, was one of the safest and most popular bike racing circuits of the era. 

As expected, British riders made up almost half of the debut SBK grid. The new fuel injected Bimota Yamahas where the pre-race favorites, once the many gorgeous Honda RC30s on hand proved to be in a near-stock state of tune.

However, the Bimota machines were plagued by teething problems, ranging from rough running to leaking fuel.  Long before the days of Power Commanders and other useful electronic tuning devices aimed at fuel-injected sports bikes, the Bimota crew at one point blamed the local airport for inadvertently “jamming” their YB4EI’s fuel control systems.

The seldom seen Ducati squad and their brand new water-cooled, four-valve 851 Desmo twin attracted loads of attention too.  Former World Champ Marco Lucchinelli was a real motor mouth, and enjoyed all of his media opportunities.  I clearly remember the Ducati crew stopping work for lunch, setting up a table between their machines, and sitting down for pasta and wine.

The first round of the Superbike World Championship featured the then-new two race format, still used to this day in SBK.  However, the Donington opener was scored on aggregate, producing one combined result, the way motocross GPs were run at the time.

This means that the record books show just one set of results, unlike any other round of the series (except for events with rain-outs, like Monza 2012).  Here comes the spoiler alert:  in case you don’t know the April 3, 1988 result, Lucchinelli on the new Ducati is listed as the first-ever SBK race (and round) winner.

Honda’s Fred Merkel was scored second, a much better result than he expected with his brand new Rumi Honda RC30.  Third overall belonged to the second kitted RC vee-four, the Honda Britain entry of famed “real road racing” king Joey Dunlop.  Cool, wet and always changing conditions helped Dunlop to the podium.

But before the racing started, there was controversy on the grid prior to leg one.  Officials wouldn’t let the crews push start the bikes for the warm-up laps, and some of the machines, certainly the Ducati, were difficult to start.

In the days before plug in starters, rear wheel rollers and the like, this was a big issue.  Lucchinelli simply leaned the big Ducati against the wall and waited for everyone to calm down – there was no way he could bump start the thing by himself.

After some angry discussion, it was decided that the team’s crew members would be allowed to help start the bikes after all.  Indirectly, this mix up led to the issue of vapor lock on Bubba Shobert’s American Honda VFR750 Interceptor. The American flat track ace missed the start – and these pre-warm-up problems at least provide a reason (or maybe an excuse).

Race one started with a good fight up front, but gradually Bimota’s Davide Tardozzi pulled clear to earn the “leg one” win.  But it wasn’t straightforward – ignition issues returned near the end of the race, and Lucchinelli almost got by Tardozzi on the final lap.

Canadians Gary Goodfellow and Michel Mercier were well inside the top ten for much of the opening race, staging a great dice as they moved through the pack, sometimes banging fairings.  But Vancouver-based Kiwi Goodfellow got mixed up with a lapped rider and crashed, reinjuring his foot.  “Goodie” was out for the rest of the event, and his trick F-1 style, Don Knit-backed Yoshimura Japan GSX-R750 entry was certainly much the worse for wear.

Monday, 11 June 2012 21:11

Luminox Pole Award Returns to CSBK

From a press release from Frontline CSBK Inc.- Canada’s premier road racing series organizer,Frontline CSBK Inc., is pleased to announce that for the second consecutive year Tactical Products Canada are partnering with the MOPAR Canadian Superbike Championship series in providing the Luminox Pole Award for fast qualifier in the Harley-Davidson XR1200 Cup.

Monday, 11 June 2012 09:34

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