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.