CAMBRIDGE, ON – May 7, 2018 – Flat Track Canada is excited to announce a new Title Sponsor to the National Championship Series. The long-term OEM sponsor, Harley-Davidson Canada is increasing its support for the 2018 race season and is now the series Title Sponsor.
Monday, 07 May 2018 14:15 Published in News
Former Flat Track Canada National Champ Doug Lawrence is just about ready for his first National of the season, round two of the American Flat Track National Championship, coming up this weekend in Georgia. Lawrence will compete in the Harley-Davidson Atlanta Short Track presented by Hellbender Harley-Davidson at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock on Saturday, April 7.
“Atlanta, round two, was always part of the plan,” explained Lawrence prior to his next trip south. “We’re warmed up, and getting back in the game. This should be a good track for us, a forgiving track, it’s round and slippery, so that should work for us. The stage is set to get back on the pace.”
After skipping most of the American Flat Track series last season, this year Lawrence plans to compete on the tour full-time for the next couple of months.
“For Atlanta, it will be one motorcycle only, and that is our Harley-Davidson XR750,” confirms Lawrence. “We always had the plan to use the XR for the half miles, and then move to our new Kawasaki at the big (mile) tracks.”
Last month, Lawrence and his tuner/father Doug Sr. went south for the traditional warm-up events, bringing both their established XR and brand new Ninja twins. That program was a success, so now they are ready to get back on the premier Flat Track tour.
“We had two days with the Kawasaki testing at Savannah, and then raced the XR. Then we went to Volusia and raced the Kawasaki, and we were satisfied with the progress overall from those events.
“We had slow starts racing the XR, but we worked up good enough to get third, we were really going good on my kind of track, behind Brad Baker (Indian) and Kenny Coolbeth (Indian). As far as the slow start, my excuse is that it is tough to come off the bench!”
“At Volusia, we maybe should have ridden our XR, but we needed to race the Kawasaki, learn about that bike, so I knew going in that would be the harder plan. We were getting there with the Ninja, getting faster, and the shorter 15 lap race actually helped us.”
“We defiantly would have done really well with the XR at Volusia, but that wasn’t a goal. We got a 4th and a 6th with our Kawasaki, and we are getting there with the chassis and the handling in terms of set-up. Our whole mission for the trip south was accomplished, the lap times on the XR750 were fast, we are right there, where we need to be.”
“With the Kawasaki, we were about .2 of a second behind Jared Mees (Indian FTR750 mounted National Champ), so that is a positive. I’m not planning to race the Kawasaki on the Half Miles, it is there for the Mile races.”
“At Atlanta this weekend, the goal is obviously to make the Main event,” considers Lawrence. “With the new format down there, you only really have one shot to make it into the feature, and you can’t risk any kind of issue.
“Things have changed with the American Flat Track tour, and it will take some adjustments,” continues Lawrence. “People are riding all the time, practicing, where as ten ears ago, people were busy working on their bikes. Now the top guys have paid mechanics to look after their twins. It’s tougher now, and you have to be mentally stronger.”
“Things are really serious now, everyone is in this to make a living,” continues Lawrence of the revamped National Tour. “It is different to before, and the little guy doesn’t really get much play. I’m going to be that little guy who makes it out of the Heat race, who makes his mark. I respect these guys, and I want to be part of all of this.
“We will have to see how we make out with our new plan in this new atmosphere. After this weekend, we have a short break and then we are on the road for five races. J.R. Addison will be taking my bikes across the country, we will share expenses.
“After the big Springfield AFT National (May 26/27), the next weekend is the Flat Track Canada National at Welland, and we will take our single to that if everything works out. And I’m still trying to work out a program for Mopar CSBK, maybe a 600cc program for Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in August.”
Among the supporters for Lawrence on the American Flat Track tour in 2018 are Town Moto, John Briggs, American Harley-Davidson, Arai Helmets, Full Bore, Side Boots and MotoNation.
Wednesday, 04 April 2018 22:03 Published in News
When we reached Doug Lawrence early (very early!) on Tuesday, March 6, he is heading south for the traditional launch of the flat track racing season. The 32-year-old former Flat Track Canada National Champ is in a van with his father, taking their twin cylinder “framers” to Georgia and then Florida.
“We’re going to South Carolina for a Wednesday Practice Day, on their three-eighths of a mile track,” starts Lawrence, who is letting Doug Sr. handle the driving on this leg of the trip. “Then we head to Savanah, Georgia for another three-eights mile facility and another Test Day. On Friday, we race the opening AMA All-Stars round at Savannah, the series that is a step below the American Flat Track National tour.”
“Then it’s on to Volusia Speedway Park in Florida for another All-Star round. We’ll be back in Canada on the 17th, and then we will announce our 2018 sponsorship package. Right now, I can confirm that my long-time supporters John Briggs and Town Moto are on-board.”
Lawrence has some choices to make in terms of equipment, and one of the goals of the trip will be to develop their years-in-the-making, Big A-framed Kawasaki 650 Ninja Twin. As well, their established and successful Harley-Davidson XR750 will be available, and likely be the preferred option, at least initially, on the short ovals. For the first time, Lawrence is not bringing any single cylinder racers with his for his spring journey south.
“I think the Harley will be better at first, but the goal is to get up to speed with the Kawasaki. We have a couple of engine packages available for the Kawasaki, different set-ups. We want to get the most out of each package, and ride the bike that works the best for the specific track conditions.
“We’re uncomfortable with the idea of using the Harley a lot,” admits the junior Lawrence, referring to the rare, collectable and costly to run air-cooled v-twins. “We don’t want to waste the XR750. The bigger tracks will suit the Kawasaki for sure, it will be more reliable and have better acceleration off the corners. The cornering speed is higher with the Harley, but the Kawasaki works better in a pack situation.”
Lawrence has achieved significant success on American-based Kawasaki liquid-cooled twins, riding for other teams, during the past few seasons in the U.S.
“I’ve had a few offers to ride for American Teams, but to be honest, these opportunities appeal but the machinery would not be as good as our bikes. I know what it takes to win, and the key is preparation.”
Talking about the opposition at the major races south of the border, Lawrence explains that “the Indians will be good again in American Flat Track, there could be as many as ten Indians in a Main event, but the new privateer bikes will take some figuring out.
“My goal is to get up to the pace, and that shouldn’t take too long,” continues the racer known as Fresh. “We’re not going to do the opening American Flt Track round, the Daytona TT, but we are aiming for the second event a month from now at Atlanta. That track is ‘D shaped,’ another three-eighths mile layout, and this year will be the second year Atlanta is a National.
“My initial plans for this year involve a focus on the States, as well as some races in Canada, places like Welland and Ohsweken. Right now I have eight races of American Flat Track circled on the calendar, and then we will see how it is all going.
“Our plan is to do the initial sweep out West in the U.S., and then regroup during the break and see what makes sense. In Canada, we’re looking toward the possible all-Twins feature class in 2019 with Flat Track Canada, and the goal is to come up with a sensible plan with sensible budget numbers.
“Recently, it has taken at least two or three bikes to win the National Championship in Canada, and the Twins class would match us up with what is going on south of the border, and control some cost factors. This would also allow more young Canadian racers to compete in the States, too.
“For me, I aim to do less but be more focused, be happy with my overall effort and confident in the direction. I want to get back to where I’ve been in terms of success, and I can do that.
“I still plan to roadrace at the Mopar CSBK rounds if I can, but those plans are still in the works and I don’t want to spread myself too thin. It will be a weird year, it will be busy early in the States, and then we will make plans for the rest of the season based on how things are going.
Lawrence aims to open his 2018 National Tour in a month at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Georgia, April 7. From there, he aims to head west to Texas, California and Arizona.
Tuesday, 06 March 2018 08:13 Published in News
The Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame held their annual Induction Banquet and Reunion at the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel on November 4, with a crowd of over 250 riders, racers, Hall members, fans and industry types on hand to enjoy the festivities. The 12th annual event was sponsored by Husqvarna, with additional support from Joe Rocket, BMW Motorrad Canada, Honda Canada, Flat Track Canada, Yamaha Canada and event founder Bar Hodgson Productions.
Top racer honored at the event was Steve Beattie, the 2016 Flat Track Canada National Champ who suffered a major injury at the end of last season at Ohsweken, and then worked in the pits last summer for the KTM Canada National Motocross program with friend and neighbor Cole Thompson. Beattie has also had success in the U.S. as a chassis tuner and rider coach for top American Flat Trackers Jared Mess and Brad Baker, as well as winning an AMA National himself.
“I think I’m kind of young to be up here,” cracked Beattie when he took the stage after his Audio-Visual introduction. From there, Beattie suggested he’d had a tough career since he didn’t start racing until he was ten, shortly after heading out to buy a bicycle with his dad and returning with a Suzuki 80 dirt bike.
“I have lots of people to thank, especially all my family, and specific people like Jon Cornwell and (fellow inductee) Kurt Beiger,” said the always-jovial Beattie. “I really have to thank my wife Michelle, because if she had stuck to her guns the first time I broke my neck, I would never have done enough to get into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame.”
Beattie admits to five major neck injuries during his career, forcing at least a couple of retirements, and explains his tolerance for, and ability to forget, pain are major factors in his many successes in a wide variety of two wheeled sport and competition. His first major retirement in 2006 lead to the creation of his chassis set-up business, 26suspension.
Legendary motorcycle builder and tuner Mike Crompton started off by saying that when people have asked how he gets away with being busy with bikes and racing, his wife Kim has always encouraged him to participate and take advantage of the opportunities available.
“In the end, we always have a great time and come back with lots of stories to tell,” confirmed Crompton, who has built title winning machinery for George Morin, Art Robbins, Michel Mercier, Miguel Duhamel, Jordan Szoke in the glory days of the works CSBK Kawasaki program, as well as a host of others.
Crompton explained that is was a great honor to be inducted at the same time as fellow super tuner/builder Nick Kemp, since “he was always a go-to guy when we needed something fixed in a hurry, or if something was wrecked, and we could weld it, or rebuild it, or make another one or a redesign, whatever it took.”
“I have other great friends here tonight who were always there for me like Harald Surian, always part of a top notch fantastic team, and Jon Cornwell (already in the Hall of Fame) who was always a big help and always there when I needed him.
Crompton spoke of his time with Suzuki Canada, Team Manager George Morin, ace racer Michel Mercier (now all in the Hall of Fame) and the mid-1980s, first generation Suzuki GSX-R750 Superbike.
“Michel rode with his heart, an incredible racer and an incredible athlete. But it could be frustrating, and at times we were racing three different motorcycles over a weekend, and there were some incidents.
“Suzuki were great to deal with, but they always insisted the bikes to be blue, and I one time when I was at Suzuki, I asked if we could switch to the red ones, and they wanted to know why. So I told them – I can see them coming out of the sky easier!”
Once the laughs died down, Crompton also wanted to recognize the famous Ontario Honda race Shop in downtown Toronto on Queen Street, and owners Murray Brown and the late Ricky Andrews, a real beehive of activity that supported a wide range of endeavors from the 1970s through the 1990s.
“The best thing with the motorcycles is always the friendship and the camaraderie that goes along with racing. My father-in-law once said that I have the most fascinating array of friends and associates, and I think he meant that in a good way.”
Kurt Bieger, former racer and top Flat Track builder and Tuner, explained that when he started in competition, he crashed a lot. “One of my best friends, and old Brit, asked me why I crashed so much, and I told him the tires just were not good enough!”
“It took me some time to figure out that I had to slow down a little bit. I gradually figured that out, and then, when I got hurt, I started letting other people race my machines so they wouldn’t just sit.”
“In closing, I want to say that It’s hard to explain why anyone spends hours and hours alone working on their race bikes. We’re trying to figure out how to put the combination of bike, rider and track together, day by day. I’m happy to be up here, I’m proud to be part of this group, and thanks everyone.”
Famed Announcer Pat Gonsalves opened his remakes by explaining that he briefly considered having his alter-ego, Guyanese announcer Huntley Williams, speak on his behalf. This took some in the crowd way back, since Gonsalves hadn’t worked that character into his race coverage since the late 1970s at Shannonville Motorsport Park.
With a career spanning many types of motorsports in a variety of countries, both on the P.A. and television, Gonsalves admitted that he has never “met a microphone I didn’t like. This evening is truly special, and I want to thank the group of racers that nominated me for the Hall including Kathleen Coburn, Alan Labrosse and Bernie Ryan.”
“I am filled with gratitude for my career announcing, now at 40 years and counting. Harry McCluney hired me to work with the Canadian Road Racing Club at their events at Mosport when I was at Ryerson in 1972, and I eventually worked at Shannonville for John Nelson when it opened in 1976, and started announcing at Daytona International Speedway in 1977.”
The next event for the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame will be the 2018 Banquet and Reunion scheduled for November 17 at the Delta Burnaby Conference Centre in British Columbia.
Sunday, 05 November 2017 01:09 Published in News
Ohsweken, ON (October 7, 2017)- For the second year in a row Oshweken Speedway played host to the final round of the Flat Track Canada series.
Saturday, 07 October 2017 08:45 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Doug Lawrence “was chasing the ball” all day at the famous Harley-Davidson sponsored Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds September 3, but ultimately had too many issues to make the 25 lap Main Event, National round 15 for American Flat Track Twins.
After brake troubles forced 2015 Flat Track Canada Champ Lawrence of Mississauga, ON., from the grid in his third Heat race, Lawrence’s Weirbach Kawasaki Ninja 650 won the Last Chance Qualifier to make it into the next race, the opening Semi Final. Unfortunately, a charging Lawrence had a clutch issue and was forced to retire, ending his day.
Fellow former Canadian Champ Don Taylor of Port Colborne, ON, travelled to Springfield with Lawrence and made it to his Semi with a strong fifth place finish in Heat Race number three. Aboard a Racing Unlimited/Bel Ray/Motovan supported Kawasaki twin, Taylor retired from Semi race number one just one lap later than Lawrence, also with a clutch problem.
“Those five laps of feeling awesome again on a race bike were great,” confirmed Parts Canada backed Lawrence while returning from the Springfield. “You want to get that felling back, but I don’t want to have any problems. I adapting well to getting back on the Kawasaki, but you have to be so in touch with the bike to achieve any results at this level.”
Lawrence explained that “the track was very similar to 2013; in the past three years it was good grip with a narrow line, grooved, but his year it was so much more wide open, and I really liked it.
“The bike I rode yesterday wasn’t as fast as the Kawasaki I used in previous years, but it did handle better – the old bike was only aimed at big tracks like Indy or Springfield. This bike I rode yesterday was easier to ride from zero to eighty percent, with a lot more throttle feel. It’s a C & J chassis, the same as before, but the engine really affects how the bike works overall.”
As with his single previous outing on the Weirbach Kawasaki at the Black Hills Half Mile at Rapid City, South Dakota, Lawrence explains that “I was way off with gearing to start with, not in the ballpark, and the bike wasn’t revving hard at all – we had to add teeth. Than I started climbing the ladder. I added another tooth of gearing, and I might have even gone further for the Semi, but didn’t get a chance to ride.
“Then in the first heat, the caliper wasn’t attached properly, and it came off on the way to the grid, and ripped the brake line off. So that pushed us into the LCQ.
“We have zero points, so we don’t have a drafting partner – we aren’t near anyone in the top ten in points, so that hurts our laps, and I’m riding with guys who are a second and a half off the pace – we can’t really help each other.”
In the Last Chance Qualifier, Lawrence hooked up with Weirbach team-mate Chad Cose to fight for victory, eventually winning by 0.14 of a second.
“Racing with Chad Coss for the win in the LCQ, that was sweet,” confirmed Lawrence. “We were finally starting to run the way we should.
“Then into the semi, I’m behind the eight ball again, they take the top nine. I knew I was fast, I could do it, but if someone broke up the draft, that would be a problem. I was up to fourth or fifth, watching (eventual winner Jared) Mees around the bottom, sliding everywhere, and I figured I could catch these guys and get to the front, maybe get a second or third.
“Then I had two laps while my bike was slowing, before I put my hand up, and then I had to stop. It was weird, the clutch problem – we think Don had the same issue on the next lap. They’ll look at the engines today or tomorrow.”
Lawrence also explained that “Taylor was going good, and he is someone who can hop in and race – he truly can. He was in the ballpark, but he was starting to struggle with grip. We were all struggling for grip.”
As far as the remaining three National rounds of the American Flat Track tour are concerned, Lawrence says that “I would consider going out west to ride the last race, but I need to know the bike is good – so I’ll see if I can put something together. We did have five or six awesome laps, so that’s encouraging.”
Monday, 04 September 2017 16:01 Published in News
Brodie Buchan of Leamington, ON., clinched the 2017 Open Expert Championship and the Flat Track Canada overall number one plate for 2018 with victory in the Feature race at the three quarters of a mile long oval at Georgian Downs in Barrie, ON., round seven of the nine round National tour.
Second year Pro racer Buchan, age 18, rode a “framer” Honda built by Kurt Biegger to the win in the main event, holding off the 600cc Sehl Rotax piloted by Dustin Brown of Utterson, ON. Aboard the single-cylinder racer usually piloted by Don Taylor of Port Colborne, ON., Brown spent most of the race less than one second behind leader Buchan before mounting a charge late in the race.
On the last of 15 laps in cool but fortunately not rainy conditions, Brown got close exiting the final turn, but wound up about one bike length short at the finish line. Honda mounted Tyler Seguin of Welland, ON, was less then a second behind the leaders for third place.
Pre-race favorite and opening Heat Race victor Chris Evans of Jordan Station, ON., earned a solitary fourth aboard the only Harley-Davidson XR750 twin in the field. Last year, Steve Beattie won the title riding a Bieger Honda and his own, Brian Olsen built Harley, but Beattie opted not to compete in 2017 due to injuries suffered at the end of last season.
Honda-mounted Brandon Seguin of Welland, ON, was fifth ahead of Cody Marentette of Tilbury, ON, also on a Honda CRF450R.
Frequent Flat Track Canada front runners Doug Lawrence (2015 Champ) and Don Taylor (winner at the most recent round in Belleville, ON.) are in the U.S.A. this weekend competing in American Flat Track National events in Springfield, Ill.
“It feels good, since we knew we had to win to get the Championship tonight, “started winner Buchan. “This is gold to come in here and get the win. I’m really happy with the bike and our pace.”
“Looking at the race, I know this isn’t really my kind of track,” continued Buchan of his title charge with two events left to run on the 2017 National Schedule. “I started well, and just tried to maintain my pace, but I knew I was working the tire. We put a lot of work in early in the season, things went according to plan and that allowed us to clinch if we got the win here, and we hung on to get it.”
Bike builder Bieger confirmed that after engine problems at the same track a year ago,” trying to keep up with the Harleys,” he built a special Honda mill for Buchan’s title run, completed the Friday night before the Barrie event.
15-year-old runner-up Brown was clearly frustrated not to get Buchan at the line, and after the race explained that “I was really trying for the win, but I just couldn’t quite make it happen. It was my first time riding Taylor’s Rotax, built by Jim Sehl, and its just as good as I expected.”
Seguin also thought he was close to the leader’s pace, but “I couldn’t quite make it work the way I wanted. It’s been an up-and-down year, with good luck and it seems like a lot of bad luck. The next tracks on the tour (Wheatley on September 16 and the series final at Ohsweken September 23) are good for me, so we’re still working for a win.”
Seguin went on to thank George Evans and Parts Canada and Performance ATV Leisure, as well as “everyone at the track.” Buchan is backed by Kurt Biegger Racing, Joe Rocket and Honda Canada, while Brown’s backers include Bracebridge Machine, Sehl Racing, Moto Gear, Performance ATV, Ryno Power and Fuel Clothing.
The Expert DTX event was expected to be one of the best events of the program, after two great heat races. But front runner Dave Pouliot of Quebec City, QC, couldn’t get his Kawasaki to fire on the line, and Brown had a remote starter problem with Taylor’s stock framed Yamaha. This gave Buchan a solid jump, and he ran away to win by over a quarter of a lap, Marentette holding off unretired Braden Vallee in a good dice for second place out of four total finishers in the “production” class!
New Champ Buchan also held off Brown in another leg of their building rivalry in the Dash-For-Cash, meaning Buchan and Biegger went three-for-three in Expert class events at Georgian Downs.
Also attracting attention was Honda-mounted Trent Pickle of Essex, ON., first overall in Intermediate DTX as well as Intermediate Open class action in Barrie.
Sunday, 03 September 2017 01:38 Published in News
Drumheller, AB (August 24, 2017)- On August 19 and 20 Dinosaur Downs Speedway held it's first motorcycle flat track races.
Thursday, 24 August 2017 16:07 Published in News
Leamington’s Brodie Buchan continued his recent form with success at the 61st annual George Pepper Classic at the Belleville, ON. half mile Flat Track Canada National on Saturday night, August 13. Aboard the Kurt Biegger Racing Honda single, Buchan earned his third Feature victory in the fifth round of the nine race Parts Canada-backed National Tour.
The final race was initially headed by fast starting Kawasaki racer Dave Pouliot of Quebec City, but unfortunately two incidents caused a red flag and spoiled Pouliot’s lightning get away.
At the restart, Buchan took control to dominate, just as he did a week earlier at Flamboro, ON. Second overall was a ware between Tyler Seguin of Welland, ON, aboard a George Evans tuned Honda and rookie Pro Justin Brown on a Yamaha.
At the finish, Seguin took the runner-up honors while 15-year-old Brown earned his second straight Podium placing with third.
DTX Intermediate points leader Jimmy McCullough of Paris, ON., won that race on his Honda, and earned the “Inside Motorcycles” hard charger award for run from fifth to first, late in the race.
Attracting plenty of attention was 2011 Mopar CSBK National Superbike Champion Brett McCormick of Saskatoon, SK, in his first-ever career Flat Track aboard a spare Beattie Honda prepared by KBR. Last year, McCormick qualified for a National Motocross event in the Feature class aboard a Kawasaki, and is trying a variety of motorcycle competition disciplines.
McCormick has been practicing on Tuesday nights at the tight Paris venue, and was moving to a big track, first race and first National, with considerable interest.
In his first Intermediate heat, McCormick ran in second spot early and was in third place when he brushed the wall exiting the second turn. McCormick jammed his foot against the fence, and was forced to pull in for medical attention.
Taken to Hospital by fellow former Superbike National Champ Jodi Christie, McCormick returned to the track on crutches with a bandage on his right foot for broken toes. A hospital visit in Toronto will determine if he needs surgery.
“It was going well, it was fun, I only got about ten laps, and I’d be a lot happier if I got to ride the whole night - now I’m a little sour,” admitted McCormick.
“It wasn’t a ride over your head mistake, but it was a lack of experience, I guess. I have people to thank - Doug Beattie made yesterday happen, and Aaron (Flat Track Canada boss Hesmer) gave me an avenue to try something new, make that happen.”
The next round of the Flat Track Canada Nationals is scheduled for the Western Fair District in London, ON, on August 26. An Ontario Regional race takes place at the short Shannonville venue, next door to the famed road course, this afternoon.
Sunday, 13 August 2017 13:22 Published in News
In his first full season as a Pro road racer, former Flat Track Canada National Champion Doug Lawrence of Mississauga, ON, is still getting the hang of pavement life. Instead of a busy afternoon and evening at a dirt oval, he now digs in for four days at one venue, working up to speed aboard his Pi Racing 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Of course, fitness is still a big part of his program, and riding a variety of machines in a range of conditions is central to the Lawrence training regime. During a weekend off in June, Lawrence attended the opening round of the Flat Track Canada nationals at Welland, and won at one of his favourite short track venues.
In the break between round three of the Mopar CSBK Nationals at Autodrome St-Eustache June 25 and the upcoming Honda/Pro Cycle-backed double header weekend at Atlantic Motorsport park in Nova Scotia, July 13-16, Lawrence is busy “training, riding my mountain bike, riding the road bicycle. I went up to Blue Mountain to ride with (fellow Pro) Ben Young, and Kenny (Riedmann, another CSBK Star) joined us for a day.
“We’re also busy with the Suzuki, working on the bike, focused on the mapping and other items with Payam,” explained Lawrence of his tuner Shafinia.
This Thursday, Lawrence will take his new GSX-R to a Riders Choice Track Day at Shannonville Motorsport Park, building his road race experience – an important consideration for someone who started pavement competition less than two years ago. Then this weekend, Lawrence will return to Welland for a regional flat track race before heading to Atlantic Motorsport Park for the next Mopar CSBK event and his continuing quest for Brooklin Cycle Pro Rookie of the Year honours.
“Right now, I’m watching video, trying to get the track figured out,” explained Lawrence, who has not previously competed around the famed Shubenacadie 'Roller Coaster.' “I’ve been studying Jodi Christie, his races against Kenny in Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike back in 2015,” continues Lawrence. “The track looks fun, Don Taylor (fellow Canadian FT champ and road racer) says that I’ll love it. But I think it will be a tough weekend – a lot of the top guys have a good handle on AMP.
“I haven’t grown up around tracks with all that elevation change, and AMP has a lot of different right-hand corners. Then you have that run up the hill onto the pit straight, and I’m not sure how you get your reference points sorted out when you’re looking in the sky!”
One of the details of road racing that is holding Lawrence’s attention is the Dunlop spec slick tires that all the competitors use.
“I guess I’m pretty easy on tires so far, so we’ll see if that holds true at Shubie. I think I’m doing well with my feel with the throttle, but I’m not using too much Traction Control (TC). I don’t fully understand all of our available systems, I’m still working through the options available and the electronic opportunities.”
So how has the process of learning to race with the Pros on the pavement gone so far?
“The first thing that comes to mind is all the things I learned about over the winter,” starts Lawrence. “All of those rider aids, you need to learn to use that stuff. TC, auto blip, wheelie control; you need to focus on getting the wheels down on the pavement and working. I’m not really making many adjustments yet, but that’s coming.
“Getting to grips with a new tire, getting the most from it, that is a challenge too. When you put on a new tire and go looking for the available time, the top guys get that .8 of a second or whatever right away – I have to work up to it. I have to get settled, I’m not ready right away – it takes me a few laps, and that’s funny, since in flat track our sessions are so short! I need more knowledge, and that leads to more confidence. This is an issue in the early laps of the races too.
“In Flat Track, you’re always making little mistakes, you fix things as you go," Lawrence informs. "But in road racing, if you’re off-line, that could affect half a lap, and you’re losing time. At St-Eustache, I was mistake-free in the main event, and my times were just off Jeff Williams and Samuel Trepanier (both on BMWs). I was a tenth or two away from those guys, and that is where I need to be.
“In the first nationals of the season, I thought I would pick up the pace earlier in the races, and I took it for granted that would happen. I’m getting there, but it is tougher than I expected to build the pace. I don’t have the outright aggression or raw speed I would like yet, but things are progressing and I’m making some good passes, starting to do what I need to do. I’m getting more comfortable, working on comfort with the speed, working on body position – it doesn’t matter what Jordan (Szoke) or Bodhi (Edie) are doing, not yet for me."
Once the CSBK tour is complete at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, August 17-20, Lawrence plans to return to the dirt ovals. He’ll compete at the London half-mile national, probably on his recently-updated 485 cc Honda framer single, looking forward to London’s “narrow, slippery groove.” After that, he is considering offers to compete aboard a twin for several US teams at the Springfield Mile, a national round where he has performed well in the past. Following the American Flat Track races, Lawrence aims to complete at the final Flat Track Canada national at Ohsweken on September 2.
Lawrence’s 2017 road racing program is sponsored by Suzuki Canada, Pi Racing, Parts Canada, Pro 6 Cycle, Alpinestars, HJC, Motion Pro, Dunlop. Brooklin Cycle Racing, Town Moto, Vortex, Hot Bodies, John Briggs Motorsports and Two Wheel Motorsport.
Tuesday, 04 July 2017 05:19 Published in News