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
MINNEAPOLIS (September 5, 2017) – The Indian Wrecking Crew and the Scout FTR750 secured its 12th first-place finish and sixth podium sweep of the 2017 American Flat Track season at the Springfield Mile II.
Tuesday, 05 September 2017 22:26 Published in Rider and Team Releases
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
MINNEAPOLIS (August 18, 2017) – After more than 60 years away from professional flat track racing, Indian Motorcycle has won the 2017 American Flat Track Manufacturer’s Championship after a second-place finish at the Peoria TT.
Friday, 18 August 2017 13:34 Published in News
American Flat Track Takes Center Stage At The Inaugural Buffalo Chip TT Presented By Indian Motorcycle
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 2, 2017) – The American Flat Track paddock will join the hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists headed to the 77th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this weekend.
Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00 Published in News
ELBRIDGE, N.Y. (July 8, 2017) – American Flat Track was back in action following a two-week haitus for the Rolling Wheels Half-Mile presented by Old Carriage House Apartments, and it was a long two weeks indeed for Jared Mees.
Monday, 10 July 2017 10:40 Published in Reports, Results & Points