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.