Doug Lawrence managed three top 10 finishes in the highly competitive Grand National series. Doug Lawrence managed three top 10 finishes in the highly competitive Grand National series. Photo by Fran Lawrence

Lawrence caps best season in style

Written by  on Thursday, 18 October 2012 17:42

Doug Lawrence of Mississauga, Ont. capped off his best season to date in the AMA Pro Flat Tack Grand National Championship with a 15th place finish in the last race of the series, a half-mile race held at the LA County Fairplex in Pomona, Calif. last weekend.

The race was won by factory Harley-Davidson rider Kenny Coolbeth from Connecticut. Jared Mees of Clio, Mich. wrapped up the championship with an eighth place finish.

Lawrence, riding the R&J Racing/CVC Communications/American Harley-Davidson XR750 qualified for seven of the 10 races in the GNC Twins National championships and placed 13th in the nation at season's end.

He started his run at the Hagerstown, Md. half-mile on July 11, qualifying for the race in ninth, running second to defending champ Jake Johnson in his heat race and then finishing a career high sixth in the 25-lap final.

Next on the schedule was Sacramento for the Cal Expo mile where Lawrence had to dig deep to get into the final after a disappointing 22nd place qualifying effort followed by an off-pace eighth place in his heat race. He rebounded with a solid ride to third in his semi and carried that momentum to a 12th place in the GNC final.

In Knoxville, Tenn., on the high speed banked half-mile Lawrence was riding with purpose, recording a qualifying position of 10th and following that up with an inspired ride to second place in the heat race right behind the defending champion, Johnson of New Jersey. That placing put him in his first 'Dash for Cash' four-lap wallet packer where he placed fifth. In the championship final Lawrence equalled his high water mark of sixth place.

The second running of the Springfield Mile was next up for the "Mississauga Missile" and it was back to a working man's efforts once more. Lawrence was 22nd in a field of 39 qualifiers and was relegated to the semi after his eighth place finish in the heat race. His work ethic paid off as he sped to a third in his final chance and snuck into the final where he placed 16th.

The AMA Pro series then swung back to California, this time to the Santa Rosa Mile at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Here Lawrence was back to pace with a splendid qualifying effort that placed him 12th. He then took a direct transfer to the main event with a close fourth place run in the heat race and brought the R&J Racing mount home 12th after 25 laps.

Tucson hosted the penultimate round of the 2012 season at the Tucson International Raceway half-mile. Here Lawrence was ninth fastest qualifier and took a direct route to the final with a fourth in his heat race followed by a hard fought ninth place run at race end, his third top 10 performance of the year.

In addition to his appearances south of the border Lawrence also found time to race here at home and in spite of missing a number of races due to his US commitments, placed fourth in the Canadian Motorcycle Association National Dirt Track championships. He put the R&J Racing/CVC Communications/ American Harley-Davidson sponsored bikes in the winner’s circle at the short track at Niagara Raceway on two occasions and also won the Belleville half-mile.

--From Motor Mouth PR

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John Hopkins

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