With record temperatures and a record number of entries, the beautiful half mile in Leamington once again played host to the first round of Thunderfest. As the mercury in the thermometer hit the mid thirties, it proved to be a sign of things to come as action on the track heated up as well.
Open Expert action saw a mix of bikes take the grid but on this night the Harley Davidson XR 750 seemed to be the bike of choice. Making his first appearance of the season was defending number one plate holder Don Taylor and he was back with a vengeance as he opened up an early lead after taking the green. As the laps counted down, Doug Lawrence was making steady progress on Taylor as his Harley seemed to like the brushed off track as well. As the leader took the white flag, Lawrence put on one final charge but most likely needed one more lap as he fell just short at the line to Taylor. Tyler Seguin rounded out the podium in third finishing ahead of New Yorker Ryan Wells.
Earlier in the evening Seguin had perhaps put on the ride of the night in the Dash for Cash. Using all of his talent and even more of the track, Seguin held off the larger displacement bikes to take the lion's share of the cash in the exciting four lap sprint.
In Expert DTX action it was hometown boy Nick Wenzler crossing the line first surprising a few of our heat race winners. Wenzler was the sole Canadian representative in the top three as Parker Norris and Ryan Wells took the final two spots on the podium. A red flag early in the race caused by Devin Pfeiffer going through the fence in turn one was extremely unfortunate not only for Pfeiffer but for Kyle Vanconant as well. Vanconant had grabbed the holeshot in the first try at completing the race and was doing a superb job holding off everyone at the front of the pack before the red. Vanconant was still able to put in a solid ride after the restart and ended up fifth.
Intermediate action once again turned into the Brodie Buchan show as he grabbed convincing wins in both Open and DTX action. The script was the same in both races as Buchan grabbed the early lead and stretched it out while everyone else in the field tried to play catch up. Cody Marentette and Braden Vallee took second and third respectively in both races, but both riders came up a little short in trying to run with Buchan.
Novice action saw perhaps the best race of the day and easily one of the best of the year. The DTX race was one for the ages as Trent Pickle and Dustin Brown were virtually side by side for the final four laps of the race. Pickle did everything he could to hold the bottom line while Brown blasted around the deep stuff at the top of the track. As the final few laps counted down the two riders would be separated by fifty feet of track in the corners only to meet up beside each other on the straights. As they excited turn four on the final lap, Pickle made the low line work as he held off Brown by inches at the line as Pickle's hometown crowd roared its approval. Rounding out the top three was another hometown boy as motocrosser Luke Rahm had a great ride to take third.
VET action saw Steve "RA RA" Ball take his first ever win at Leamington as he took the victory over Leamington's own Wayne Young and Rob Churchill.
Youth 85 action saw Hunter Bauer take the win over Jimmy McCullough and Brandon Newman but the big news in this class was the number of entries. Nineteen riders were signed up for this class which meant when the green lights flashed for the final there were a few riders watching instead of racing. Great stuff seeing this many riders in the the youth classes !
The day was a special one as the riders and spectators on hand paid tribute to the late Jesse Phibbs. A rising star on the flat track scene, Phibbs passed away in 2010 after a very unfortunate incident at the Indy Mile. Saturday saw most of the riders on hand do a lap of honour in Jesse's memory followed by Brodie Buchan turning some laps on Jesse's Rotax. Eyes in the crowd were moist as the we all remembered the fine young man that will forever be linked to Thunderfest.
Other Results from Leamington
Novice Open: Dustin Brown, Trent Pickle, Luke Rahm
Vintage: Kevin Lambert, Mark Fairfull, Brad Kitto
Youth 65: Brandon Keys, Jacob Peacock, Maguire Scott
Youth 50 Chain: Spencer Whittam, Olivia Farkas, Easton Ventoso
Youth 50 Shaft: Alyssa Armstrong, Hannah Musson, Emily Biekx
Novice 250: Brandon Newman, Hunter Bauer, Boyd Deadman
Photos by Chris Rahm
Flat Track Canada would like to thank Parts Canada, Deeley Harley Davidson, Honda Canada, Suzuki Canada, Kawasaki Canada, Diesel Equipment Limited, Dunlop Tires, Klotz Canada, Inside Motorcycles, Grand River Powersports, Sturgess Cycle, Town Moto, and JD Graphics.
For Results and Standings please visit
Monday, 27 July 2015 13:54 Published in Reports, Results & Points
It could come as a result of age, size or even ability, but one thing is certain in our sport. For those who start racing as children and continue with dirt track racing, at some point you are going to have to move to a bigger bike.
Friday, 12 June 2015 11:50 Published in Tumblin' Todd's Flat Track Blog
Round 2 of the Flat Track Canada Championship Series at the Burford Fairgrounds (Burford, ON) saw some intense action on a very challenging race surface. Even though the overall numbers were up from last year, the total number of Experts were way down compared to any other FTC event.
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 13:48 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Flat Track Canada, the increasingly popular race series that’s now in its third year, is doing wonders for the sport of flat track in Canada. For the second year in a row the organization is hosting a series of flat track schools, open to anyone with an interest in the sport. Very affordable and a ton of fun, I got to experience the day-long school first hand with more than a dozen other ‘students’ at the Paris Speedway 1/8-mile bullring in Paris, ON.
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 15:19 Published in Feature Stories
Saturday, May 16th was the Flat Track Canada opener for the 2015 championship series and, despite threats of bad weather, racers from all over Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, New York and even Illinois came to ride the battle of the deep cushion. There's absolutely no way really to describe how it is to ride the deep, rutted and challenging surface of the half-mile track at the Paris Fairgrounds other than to say it's thrilling and very addictive.
A very promising 151 entries showed that there's been an increase in interest in the sport of flat track. We saw a surge in American racers as well as a number of newcomers, including a large number of youths and adults.
It seems to be a growing trend worldwide for road racers to take the stage in flat track racing since the influence from Marquez and Rossi. Last year, Canadian Superbike Champion Jodi Christie and Canadian Sport Bike Champion Kenny Reidmann competed in a couple of rounds of the FTC series. This year, 2014 CSBK Superbike runner-up Trevor Daley gave flat track a try at the Paris half-mile, joined by fellow national road racers Kris Garvie, Ross Milson and Tomas Casas. Daley showed a very impressive ride, taking a second and a first in his heats. In the Intermediate DTX final he finished 7th despite falling, and in the Open Intermediate final he pulled off a very impressive 4th place. As for the other road racers, Garvie placed 7th out of 17 in both Novice classes, with Casas finishing 8th in the Intermediates, pretty impressive with full fields.
A slew of other amateur road racers were there competing, giving the excuse that flat track is just too much fun without forking out a ton of money or committing a full weekend.
The big news of the weekend was the absence of reining FTC Expert No. 1 plate holder and defending champion Don Taylor. Don's wife is pregnant and overdue on her birth, so he made a very difficult decision to miss out on the racing. That leaves a large opportunity for the championship to be up for grabs for 2015. In the Open Expert heat races, veterans Steve Beattie and Chris Evans battled like they were in their twenties, displaying the best racing and a top notch show. Beattie, racing the small 450 cc Honda and Evans on the 750 cc Harley Davidson, played tango on the race track, swooping in passes turn to turn. The main event was poised as the one to watch as Bugs Pearson from Illinois rode his Water's KTM 990 to a heat race victory over young fast GNC2 Daytona winner Justin Jones and 2014 FTC runner-up Tyler Seguin.
In the DTX main event it was New York's Justin Jones bringing home a comfortable win on his Yamaha YZF450 over Tyler Seguin on his KBR sponsored Honda CRF450.
The Open Expert final turned out to be one of Flat Track Canada's greatest races, and one of the best half-mile races in Canada. For lap after lap, corner after corner, fans were on their feet and cheering for the passing amongst the leading riders. First it was Tyler Seguin and Rob 'Bugs' Pearson with the early battle. After only a couple of laps Seguin faded fast and it looked like a hungry Chris Evans was warping from 1999 to put the pressure on Bugs. From that point on, the race was spectacular - Bugs on the 990 KTM banging and crashing into Evans' XR750 Harley, handlebar to handlebar. They went at it for about four laps and then, out of nowhere, Steve Beattie threw himself into the mix on his KBR Honda CRF450.
Bugs started to fade at about the halfway point of the 15-lap main with the fan favourite, Doug Lawrence, sitting back in about sixth position. The race became a constant battle between Evans and Beattie, with Beattie navigating his smaller, nimble bike quickly through the turns and Evans challenging back in the straightaways, showing off the big horsepower of the Harley. It was very neat to see, and typically you'll only get to enjoy this big bike/small bike kind of battle here in Canada.
As the last couple of laps to go it looked like Evans was in control of taking home the win, but as this point all eyes were on Doug Lawrence, who went from sixth place to second in only a matter of a couple laps. The pressure was on, and Chris knew Lawrence was coming; he had to hold on only a few more moments as the rough, demanding track had taken its toll on the 50-plus-year-old Evans. As the riders came out of the final corner to the checkered flag, Evans threw himself on his fuel tank, just using every last bit of energy to bring it home for the big win! It was another very well-deserved and respected win for Chris Evans.
In the Intermediate class, Brodie Buchan came out with a big win in the DTX class with Braden Vallee finishing second despite having to start from the third row. In the Open Int, Buchan struggled with bike issues on his Kawasaki twin, leaving the door open for Vallee who edged out Justin Crumb for the victory. Frontrunner Shane Corbeil struggled while blowing his engines in the heat races.
Braden Vallee (54)
ATVs had a good turnout, with Peter Grison taking home his first Flat Track Canada win on the Yamaha Banshee. Brandon Doucette built a Honda quad with a CBR600 F4i engine in it; he's still working out the bugs, but it showed it worked fairly well, finding a 5th place finish.
Another highlight was young superstar Dallas Daniels, who made the trek from Illinois. This 11-year-old showed he could run with the big guns and did an awesome job handling his bike to 3rd in the Novice class. Dallas also took home a win in the 250 class. Very promising performance and I'm sure we'll see him back again.
In the full field of 85s, Chase Saathoff took home the win. Brian Newman from New York edged out Niagara Falls' Hunter Bauer for second place, while Paris' own Jimmy McCullough finished 4th.
Flat Track Canada would like to thank everyone for coming out and supporting. Bike time thank you to all of the volunteers and a big thanks to our sponsors: Parts Canada, Harley Davidson, Suzuki, Diesel Equipment, Honda Canada, Dunlop, Kawasaki Canada, Sturgess Cycle, Grand River Powersports, Town Moto, Klotz, & Outlaw Productions.
We hope to see everyone this Saturday in Burford!
Friday, 22 May 2015 13:49 Published in Reports, Results & Points
@FlatTrackCanada • @RideDunlop • Flat Track Canada is pleased to announce Dunlop Tires as a sponsoring partner of the 2015 Flat Track Canada Championship Race Series.
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 11:20 Published in Industry News
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
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla - Stevie Bonsey was flawless from start to finish on Thursday night during the AMA Pro Flat Track season-opener at DAYTONA Flat Track.
Thursday, 12 March 2015 09:54 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Most fans (and likely most racers) are a little naïve as to what it takes to put on a race. The average fan shows up about half an hour before race time, while many racers get to the track just in time to sign in, unpack the trailer and head out for practice. Few, if any, give any thought to the dedicated group that has been there hours—and in some cases even days—before them.
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 16:49 Published in Tumblin' Todd's Flat Track Blog