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
(June 01, 2016)- Hope you are ready for round 2 at Welland County Speedway. The Flat Track Canada team heads down to Welland on June 3 for a day full of action packed racing.
Thursday, 01 June 2017 12:57 Published in News
Flat Track Canada had its first event at the famed Ohsweken Speedway, and for almost all of the program the final national of the 2016 season was flawless in execution and spectacle. After an evening of great completion on the half mile clay oval, the Expert Open class headed out for the final national race of 2016, ready to decide the 2017 No. 1 national plate.
Steve Beattie looked to have the overall FTC Title sewn up for the Kurt Beigger Racing Honda team, and merely needed to start the main event to earn his first career Flat Track Canada crown. But Beattie fell exiting turn two on the opening lap, causing a red flag and a long delay for his careful removal from the race surface by the Safety Team.
Beattie was off to the hospital with a broken collarbone and concerns about possible other injuries, details to come shortly. The race would start again from scratch, meaning that Doug Lawrence had a shot at retaining the Championship with his Town Moto/Parts Canada Honda CRF450 DTX machine.
There was some discussion as the field got ready for start two regarding the possible points ramifications, with various opinions suggesting a win, or maybe a top three, would allow Lawrence to retain his title. It turned out only a win would do.
On the second start Lawrence and a back-from-injury Don Taylor (Jim Sehl/Motovan/Motosports of Trenton Yamaha) again pushed to the front, joined by the Tyler Seguin aboard his Evans Honda. Eventually Taylor, the two time FTC champ in his first start since breaking a leg in an American event early in the summer, faded to place fourth and Seguin and Lawrence fought for the win.
Seguin eventually worked his way clear to take a well-deserved victory, the seventh different winner over the course of the 11 round series. Lawrence wasn’t far back for second and not sure where he placed in the points – unfortunately “Fresh” came up just short. Rising star Brodie Buchan worked his way up to third aboard another KBR Honda single.
“It feels great to win,” explained Seguin after a NASCAR-style victory burnout against the front straight wall. “It’s the last race of the season, but still, a win is a win. My season was really all over the place, and now things are starting to work we can maybe try some things down in the States.”
Lawrence was obviously emotional after a close race while trying to understand his title chances and consider the possible injuries suffered by rival-and-buddy Beattie. Veteran Beattie runs a suspension service business, and the new champ was tweaking Lawrence’s refurbished fork right before the first, late afternoon Pro practice session.
“An awful lot was going through my mind,” admitted Lawrence of the 15-ap main event. “At the end of the day, you really don’t want it to happen like that, the way things went for Steve.”
“I was maybe a tenth off where I needed to be, I was really close, in terms of lap times,” continued the outgoing number one. “I wanted to be in (Seguin’s) way more, maybe park him in the corners, but I couldn’t quite make that work.
“The track was really awesome, it got better and better through the program, and we really had some great racing here tonight.
“Right now it really seems like a long year,” continued Lawrence, who raced and won at two events on the Mopar CSBK road racing national tour in 2016 and recently finished seventh at the AMA Pro event in Springfield. “I’m looking forward to recharging my batteries and getting a new mind set, get geared up for next season.”
Buchan was satisfied with third place after a white knuckle run in the Main event.
“Everywhere I rode coming up, it was a cushion track,” explained the Pro based in Welland, ON, home of the famous short-track county venue. “This place is hard packed, and it seemed like I had to be really careful. So I’m pretty happy with the result, it was tricky and it seemed like the track got slick.”
In the Expert DTX category for stock-framed MX based machinery, Seguin held off Lawrence in a great fight at the front, Lawrence making a rare start in the “production” class after opting to enter on the machine he mostly uses at the short Welland venue. Doug Beattie (Honda) edged Buchan in another good dispute, for third. Buchan clinched the Expert DTX Title, distant rival Dave Pouliot (Kawasaki) hampered by a leg injury.
The Expert Dash-for-Cash victory went to the Honda framer of Steve Beattie, prior to the new champ’s season-ending injury. Lawrence was a close second with Seguin third.
In the Intermediate Open division, Tyler Brown hung on to win, after a great dice that went down to the wire against runner-up Cody Marentette and third man Luke Rahm, all Honda mounted.
In Intermediate DTX action, Brown won again, a bike length behind the fight for second, a dead heat between Marentette and the Sturgess Kawasaki of reigning Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike national road racing Champ Kenny Riedmann.
Top Novice was Jarrett Phibbs of Cottam, ON, who won both the Open and DTX divisions aboard a Honda CRF450.
Sunday, 25 September 2016 10:51 Published in News
@FlatTrackCanada •(August 30, 2016)- The rains that had been absent for most of the summer of 2016 arrived on the Saturday of the Belleville, Ontario, half-mile, interrupting practice and causing postponement of the races.
Tuesday, 30 August 2016 07:37 Published in Reports, Results & Points
@FlatTrackCanada •Vernon, BC (May 20, 2016)- Cheers to everyone who came out and made this past weekend so rad!
Friday, 20 May 2016 19:27 Published in Reports, Results & Points
@FlatTrackCanada • (May 20, 2016)- Woodstock, ON - With a downpour of rain Friday night into Saturday morning, the race at Woodstock, Ontario, scheduled for Saturday May 14, was postponed until Sunday afternoon the 15th. With a large turnout of riders from Illinois, Michigan, New York, Quebec-and of course Ontario-it was vital not to disappoint riders and fans.
Friday, 20 May 2016 19:20 Published in Reports, Results & Points
@FlatTrackCanada •@PartsCanada •(April 14, 2016)- “Having been involved with Flat Track Canada for the past two years, we have been able to see first-hand how committed Flat Track Canada is to creating a strong and viable racing series,” said a recent press release from Parts Canada.
Thursday, 14 April 2016 11:50 Published in News
March 17 - Honda Canada today announced the details of its 2016 Red Rider Rewards Program, a contingency program for professional and amateur Canadian racers.
Thursday, 17 March 2016 14:58 Published in Industry News
@FlatTrackCanada • (March 2, 2016)- We're less than ten days away from the official start of AMA pro flat track season. Eight fast Canadians will be going to compete in Daytona to represent Canada in the GNC1 and GNC2 classes.
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 16:28 Published in News
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.
Saturday, 06 February 2016 21:57 Published in News