American Frank Camillieri returns to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park VRRA to Celebrate Grand Prix Success
One of the pioneers of road racing in North America, Frank Camillieri, was among the invited former road racing stars who took to the track at the Vintage Road Racing Association’s 50th Grand Prix Anniversary event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. American Camillieri, aboard a Yamaha in the 32 Lap Grand Prix final on September 30, 1967, placed a strong fifth overall in the World Championship round in conjunction with the Canadian Centenary.
Camillieri was one of the few racers from the original event who took part in this morning’s five lap tribute to the sole C.G.P. fifty years ago. Back in the day, Camillieri faced an uphill struggle against the works racers from Europe on his early production Yamaha.
Winner fifty years ago in the 250cc class was era-hero Mike “the bike” Hailwood on the exotic four-stroke, six cylinder Honda RC166. Second went to the equally unique two-stroke, four-cylinder Yamaha RD56 of Phil Read, who rode in demonstration laps aboard a more modern Yamaha this morning at “old Mosport.” Hailwood, who died in a car accident in 1981, as well as Read are British legends and multi-time World Champions.
Third overall, fifty years ago in the 250 G.P. counter, was the second works Honda of Ireland’s Ralph Bryans. Top Canadian was the production Yamaha TD1C of Yvon Duhamel in fourth, with Camillieri’s similar bike fifth at the finish. Duhamel would go on to a top-flight career as a Kawasaki racer during the 1970s, and raced in the top echelon at C.T.M.P. into the early 1980s. Ever-popular Duhamel was busy signing autographs at lunch in the VRRA Display set-up at C.T.M.P.
Camillieri was from the Boston area, and one of a group of Yank front runner who raced regularly in Canada during the early development days of the sport of motorcycle road racing. A machinist, Camillieri was one of the early adopters of disc brakes and slick tires. Among his rivals of the period were Duhamel, Mike Duff, Gary Nixon and Canadian up-and-comer Jim Allen, also on hand for the Anniversary Events.
Saturday, 12 August 2017 17:03
The Celebration portion of the Vintage Road Racing Association’s 1967 Canadian Grand Prix 50th Anniversary Celebration was in full swing this morning at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, starting with a five lap demonstration race complete with standing start, showcasing the machines from the era of the Mosport FIM World round half a century ago.
With the race complete, the famous ten turn, 4 kilometer venue, unchanged in layout from the sole Canadian World round fifty years ago, was turned over to a variety of famous racers and important machines.
Team Obsolete from the U.S. had their central racer Dave Roper as well as Michelle Duff aboard classic some of the Team’s classic-era British singles. Canadian Duff, a 1960s works Yamaha G.P. racer, used an Arter Matchless G50. This bike was very similar to the machine she raced to place third behind Hailwood (Honda) and soon-to-be-crowned World Champ Agostini (MV Agusta) fifty years ago in the Feature 500cc event, while Roper was on an ex-Duff, Surtees-Special AJS.
Multi-time world Champ Phil Read took to the track on a newer race bike, a TZ250 two-stroke Yamaha that currently leads the VRRA Series in the hands of owner Eddie Brunet. 1960s ace Rod Gould, another ex-works Yamaha rider, demonstrated an early 1970s Yamaha two-stroke twin racer.
Among the famous racers on hand but not riding was Yvon Duhamel, a top Canadian at Mosport for the G.P. in 1967 for Yamaha Motor Canada (then Deeley) and a 1970s legend aboard Kawasaki triple equipment. “Why-von” is also the father of top American Superbike competitor Miguel Duhamel.
Another 1970s Canadian fast guy on hand to visit is Jim Allen, who as a young racer competed in the 125cc Grand Prix class back in 1967 aboard a bored-out 80cc Suzuki! Allen went on to considerable success on Yamaha equipment, especially the 1970s four-cylinder TZ750 rocket.
Two of the famous four-cylinder, in-line two-strokes TZ750s took to the track for demonstration, one piloted by former World Champ and 1970s Mosport star Steve Baker. Baker, from just across the B.C. border in Bellingham, Washington, rode for Yamaha Motor Canada in the 1970s. His bike is owned by Fran Hall of Detroit who built the bike for competing at the Phillip Island Australia International Challenge Races in January of 2018. CMR Racing Products Inc of Trenton Ontario owned by Denis Curtis built the complete chassis and fuel tank kit. Nick Ienatsch's bike is a Spondon-framed TZ750 owned by Rusty Bigley of Pennsylvania, who is the TZ750 engine builder of both bikes.
The afternoon-s Schedule includes a range of events for the wide variety of VRRA classes, prior to a full day’s competition on Sunday in the HB Cycle-backed Vintage Classic event.
Saturday, 12 August 2017 13:06
VRRA 1967 Canadian Grand Prix 50th Anniversary Celebration Gets Underway at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
The Vintage Road Racing Association’s 1967 Canadian Grand Prix 50th Anniversary Celebration kicked of at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Friday with practice and the traditional Two Hour Endurance race. Using the same 4.03-kilometer-long venue that hosted Canada’s only motorcycle Grand Prix (now MotoGP) event back in our 100th Anniversary year, an impressive entry was on hand in preparation for tomorrow’s big anniversary celebration.
The Two Hour started with 33 bikes taking the waved Canadian Flag, but a red flag soon forced a lengthy delay for track clean-up. When the race got back underway, a good dice developed between the Joe Bar Racing Yamaha FZR600 of Eddie Brunet and Daniel Rinfret and the similar Team Ludicrous Speed FZR600 of race starter Kirby Crosby and Darrell “Boom Boom” Cooney.
Cooney was almost a lap down after their Pit Stop, but when Brunet took over the Joe Bar entry the two Lightweight Grand Prix stars staged a lengthy battle before Cooney managed to pulled away, Ludicrous Speed eventually completing 53 laps overall to beat the Joe Bar group by just 23 seconds.
Third overall, one lap down, belonged to the HB Cycle backed Yamaha FZR600 of Phil Hodgson, Jason Covello and Doug Andrich. HB are one of the major supporters of Canadian Vintage competition, and their podium result meant that Middleweight category machinery earned the overall top three in the Two Hour, too.
Yamaha FZR600s were the top Production bikes in Canadian National Pro and Amateur 600cc Sport Bike class events for street-based machines in 1989, and remained successful against the developing Honda competition into the early 1990s.
Tomorrow’s activities centre on demonstration on-track in support of the 50th Anniversary of the sole Canadian Grand Prix, with a celebration event in the evening featuring many of the racers from the event held back on Saturday, September 30, 1967. Saturday afternoon includes a busy selection of events, with a full VRRA program on Sunday.
The Grand Prix races fifty years ago included classes for the 500cc, 250cc and 125cc World Championships, as well as a 250cc Junior Event for local racers. Among the stars who raced at "old Mosport" on that cool afternoon were Mike "the bike" Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Bill Ivy and Phip Read. Mike Duff annd Yvon Duhamel lead the strong Canadian contingent.
Friday, 11 August 2017 19:23
Next year’s Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship series will include a new class for small displacement production street machines, Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike. This National series will be aimed at Amateur racers, aged 15 and above, aboard lightly modified OEM models, motorcycles and equipment approved by the CSBK Series.
The new category will use rules based on existing CSBK standards utilizing minimum weights and maximum power outputs, as measured on the official series Dynojet Dyno. The new class will also use an Approved Equipment List, limiting competitors to racing parts permitted by the CSBK Series. All competitors will compete with spec Dunlop tires, as do all competitors on the Mopar CSBK tour.
The purpose of this structure is to limit costs and modifications, and place the National Series emphasis on rider talent and development. Various specific cycle parts, including engine control units, front suspension kits and rear shocks, will be mandated through the Approved Equipment List (AEL).
Details of the AEL will be released this fall, following discussions with suppliers.
The bikes expected to make up the grid for the new Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike category include the KTM 390 singles, Honda 250 and 300 CBR singles, Honda’s 500 twin, Yamaha’s 300cc R3 twin, and the Kawasaki Ninja 250 and 300 models. This category is established in some regions of Canada and the U.S.A., including Mopar Express Lane Lightweight at the RACE SuperSeries, as well as a similar division started in Europe in support of the World Superbike Championship this year.
“We are really encouraged by the interest shown in these smaller machines,” explained Fred Benjamin, Technical Director of CSBK. “We anticipate some teething issues with the new class, and some small adjustments might be required in the technical guidelines, but we think this category will produce some exciting racing and help develop the next generation of Canadian road racing talent.”
The new category’s structure will be based on the existing Kawasaki Ninja 300 spec Championship, as introduced at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2015. This category, for near-stock twin-cylinder Kawasaki street machines, has run with ten races per season over the past two years.
The Kawasaki will serve as the “index” bike for the class, establishing the relative parameters for the new rules prior to the start of the first season of Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike in 2018.
East coast ace Brandon Pemberton took the inaugural Kawasaki Ninja 300 spec National Title in 2016, and a new Champ will be crowned in the final events of the Kawasaki National Championship at C.T.M.P. on August 20.
Currently, the class limits for the Kawasaki Ninja 300 spec series include a minimum weight of 340 pounds measured with all remaining fluids immediately post race, and a maximum output of 38 horsepower as measure on the Dynojet Dyno at each venue post race. Officials anticipate some tweaking of the Technical Guidelines will be required during the early events with the new National category.
Thursday, 10 August 2017 18:15
Trevor Daley will join the Mopar CSBK for the first time in 2017 aboard a Kawasaki for the series finale Double Header at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, August 18-20. 2012 Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike National Champion Daley has acquired the Kawasaki ZX-10R originally built for the Macau street race for Canadian Dan Kruger, and then was used in competition during 2016 by Ross Millson and Doug Lawrence.
This summer, Daley has been training with 2011 Mopar CSB Pro Superbike National Champion Brett McCormick, riding together in the dirt. McCormick, currently a University student in Engineering in Saskatchewan, is in Toronto for the summer on a job placement.
McCormick has tested several times at various venues aboard Millson’s Ninja, and encouraged Daley to go with the proven Kawasaki.
Daley now has the bike at his OneSpeed Shop in Mississauga, and is prepared for his first-ever Kawasaki outing at C.T.M.P. Helping at the track will be Daley’s tuner from 2015-2016, Dave Weaver of Florida, owner of the Full Spectrum race shop and a member of the M4 Team in the MotoAmerica Series.
Daley has had a chequered career at Mosport, as typified by the 2014 National double header weekend. On Friday Daley went to hospital with a badly injured hand after a huge crash in “the chute” during Qualifying for Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike. Two days later, Daley made it onto the Superbike podium on his well-travelled back-up Suzuki GSX-R1000.
“I’ve been talking to people in the series, keeping up with things, watch all the live timing,” started Daley of his [pending C.Y.M.P. competition plans.
“From what I gather, everyone is close, except for Jordan (reigning Champ and points leader Szoke) when he puts his head down, more so than previous. But Mosport is much more of an equalizer than the other tracks in the series, because of slip-streaming and whatnot. This has always been a place for me to muster up some good results.
“The last couple of seasons haven’t been the smoothest for me,” explained Daley of his recent CSBK campaigns. “We’ve persevered for good results, but it’s been a struggle, hurting my hands, things coming together late or maybe not at all.
“That’s why I didn’t commit to a program for 2017, I wanted to get to a place where I really wanted to race, get back to the Nationals again. Mosport (C.T.M.P.) is the place where I feel most comfortable, I’ve been fast there in the past – we were fourth on Saturday last year, running in the 1:20s, even with issues.”
Daley was fifth overall in the Mopar Pro Superbike Championship in 2016 aboard a Yamaha, and earned the same position in 2015 with Suzuki equipment.
Daley’s first outing with the Ninja will be in a week’s time at a Test Day on Thursday, August 10 at C.T.M.P. with Rider’s Choice, right before the VRRA 50th Anniversary Grand Prix event.
“This bike has all the right stuff,” continued Daley of the Kawasaki recently owned and prepared by veteran Pro and industry insider Ross Millson. “I think this will be one of the most completely-prepared bikes I have ever raced.
“Last year, we struggled with power, but still were competitive, and I think this bike makes all the right numbers, it will have a fresh, built engine, and it should have good speed. I have been hanging out with Brett, going dirt bike riding, and he likes the Kawasaki.
“I’ve been riding lots of motocross, and I think I’m fit and prepared – I’m really excited about this opportunity. I haven’t felt this good in a few years, I’m healthy and in a good place.”
Backing for the Daley program at C.T.M.P. will come from OneSpeed, Shoei, Rockstar, Motovan, Liqui Moly, 5 gloves and TCX boots.
Sunday, 06 August 2017 12:27
Brodie Buchan of Leamington, ON, had a big evening at the Flamboro Downs Half Mile last night in round four of the 2017 Flat Track Canada National Championship. The Kurt Biegger Racing Honda pilot won the Open Expert Feature race on his framer Honda as well as the DTX Expert class aboard his CBR450R motocross based single and leads both Championship series.
From the start of the main event, Buchan disputed first with the Sehl-Rotax back-up framer single of Don Taylor, this pair pulling clear of the strong field. Then Buchan, the pace setter in practice, built a lead, only for Port Colborne’s Taylor to mount a challenge late in the race.
With two laps to go, it looked like Taylor might make his charge work, but a good traffic decision by leader Buchan gave him the win by a marrow margin over the resurgent Taylor. Earlier, Taylor earned the victory in the Dash-for-Cash class. Dustin Brown of Utterson, ON., worked his way up to a strong third aboard a Yamaha.
Victor Buchan, age 18, commented from the Podium that “last year I chased these guys hard, and I guess I got suckered a little bit. So I thought I could get a little more ready than I did, and it’s working, it’s close. Next up is Belleville next weekend, and I rode great there last year, so I’m looking forward to it. “
Buchan thanked builder Biegger, Honda Canada, Joe Rocket, Klotz and all of his fans for their support so far this season on the Flat Track Canada National tour.
Runner up Taylor, 28-years-old, explained that “I made a mistake with a lapper, and that’s on me. I’m trying not to make any mistakes, and the first laps weren’t great, and the races are short. It’s kind of a bummer. I guess I really threw the race away on the opening laps, I just can’t make those kind of mistakes.
“With two laps to go, I really thought I had a shot, I was catching up. This Rotax is a 600cc, built originally in the late 1990s, and we pull it out and it always runs well.” Taylor thanked Jim Sehl, Steve Ball, Motovan, Shoei and Olympia, and also mentioned that the evening was his first start at the Flamboro horse race venue just outside Hamilton, ON.
Third overall Brown, age 15, is a rookie Pro and earned his first career Feature Event Podium placing.
“I really was looking to move up, but as a Rookie it feels so good to get it onto the Podium,” admitted Brown. “I was really working on hitting my marks, being smooth and smart. I want to thanks Sehl Racing, Performance ATV, Moto Gear, Ryno Power, Fuel Clothing and North Brace Auto Tech.”
The Hard Charge Award went to Tyler Seguin of Welland, ON., who wound up 14th overall in the main event.
Fourth belonged to Jeremy Higgins of Bergen, New York, age 25, aboard a KTM twin. Veteran Chris Evans was fifth on a Yamaha framer, after a good fight with the sixth place Kawasaki DTX single of Quebec’s Dave Pouliot.
Last year’s overall Flat Track Canada Champ Steve Beattie was on hand at Flamboro, assisting riders with his suspension business. 2015 Flat Track National Champion Doug Lawrence, heading to race a U.S. National at Rapid City in three days, served as a color commentator during the main event.
Quebec teen-ager Alex Dumas, currently fifth overall in the MotoAmerica KTM single RC Cup road racing Championship, made his Flat Track National debut on a KTM and finished seventh in the Novice division.
Sunday, 06 August 2017 01:50
Former Flat Track Canada National Champion Doug Lawrence of Mississauga, ON., will make his first American race appearance of the 2017 season at the Harley-Davidson Black Hills Half Mile at Raid City, South Dakota, on Tuesday, August 8. The 14th event on the American Flat Track National Tour is part of the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
In a just-negotiated deal, Lawrence will ride a Kawasaki Ninja 650 twin for the Weirbach Racing group out of Iowa, one of 25 entries in the Feature class, AFT Twins, presented by Vance and Hines. So far this season, the new works Indian FTR750s of Bryan Smith, Brad Baker and Jared Mees have dominated the revamped American Flat Track tour.
“The Weirbachs are father and son, and I’ve known them for what seems like forever,” explained Lawrence, who will fly to the states just long enough to attend the Rapid City National Round.
“This will be my first ride with this bike, this team. They were looking around for a racer, and they called me and wanted to see what we could do. I’ve known them from the track, and they’re good guys.”
Lawrence would not confirm that the ride could lead to other opportunities with the Weirbach Kawasaki, but did concede that other events, later in the year, had been discussed.
“So far, I’ve really tried to concentrate on my Mopar CSBK Nationals program with Suzuki,” explained Lawrence, currently sitting second in the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year standings in the road racing National tour. “I’ve done a little Flat tracking at Welland, just to keep up to speed, but my focus is now on Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and the two Superbike races for Suzuki August 19 and 20.
“After Mosport, I will figure out what is possible with the rest of the Flat Track Canada and American Flat Track series, with their remaining 2017 events. There are a few races I would like to hit, like the Springfield Mile National, so we’ll see what comes of this entry in South Dakota. There are a few possibilities.”
The Weirbach effort is backed by Kawasaki USA, Racing Unlimited, Durelle Racing, CP Pistons and Rods, Web cams, Spectro, Shorai, Cheeney Engineering, G2 Ergonomics, All Balls Racing, Firecoat Custom Powderworks, Fourdee’s Graphics, Sunoco, Supertrapp, Yoyodyne and Pit Poss.
Lawrence’s sponsors include Parts Canada, HJC, Alpinestars, K&N, Saddlemen and Motion Pro.
Friday, 04 August 2017 17:00
Jared Mees took his Rogers Racing Indian Scout FTR750 to a solid win in the opening race of the new era of American Flat Track, the 25-lap Harley-Davidson Daytona Twins TT at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday night. The win was the first success for Indian in the modern era, and gave them a head start in the 20-round 2017 AFT national championship against arch rival Harley-Davidson.
Victory in the first-ever Daytona TT was the 21st Grand National success for Mees, who also earned the Ohlins Award for the fastest Twins lap of the event on the brand new track.
Daytona marked the first time since the Peoria TT in 1983 that twins raced in a TT-style main event, although Daytona’s sole jump was very low key. There are three more TT events this season; another change to recent trends is the requirement that all Twins riders wear leathers rather than motocross gear in 2017.
Second overall in the feature race went to the second works Indian of veteran Bryan Smith, a lengthy nine seconds behind Mees in a race with significant attrition at the front. After starting on the outside of the second row of the grid on his Kawasaki KX-framed twin, Henry Wiles worked his way up to nab third at the finish, just behind Smith.
The best placing liquid-cooled Harley was fourth placed Jacob Johnson, just ahead of fifth overall Bronson Bauman on another Kawasaki Ninja twin.
“The race was great,” explained Mees from the podium. “We were making adjustments, after the heats and semis, and working things through, right until the last minute. I got a great start in the main, and I really think that was the biggest key. I just want to make a real shout out to our entire team. It’s the start we need.”
Reigning champ Smith said that he was happy with his Indian debut. “I really wanted to be the one to get that first win,” Smith admitted, “but we’re all still stoked for Indian. You have to be satisfied with the performance of a brand new bike, with all the unknowns.”
“That race was a lotta fun,” started Wiles, famous for his high fitness level and one of just a couple of riders at Daytona who stuffed a twin engine into an MX frame rather than a conventional ‘framer’ chassis. “We were shooting a little higher, but this was only the second time out with a new bike, and the other guys were a little faster in a straight line. I didn’t even know we were racing for second there at the end, so the podium is a good start.”
Former Canadian Flat Track champ Doug Lawrence was on hand to watch the event. “Fresh” isn’t sure when he will open his 2017 dirt track campaign, since he is focused on his new Suzuki Canada Mopar CSBK road racing program. Lawrence was testing at the Jennings G.P. venue earlier in the week aboard a Jon Cornwell-built older model GSX-R1000, and was happy to be back on track, as well as doing some bicycle training and motocross down south.
“I think the track was pretty good, they did the best with what they had,” said Lawrence of the new Daytona TT layout, pre-built under the just-used Monster Supercross track in the tri-oval area in front of the NASCAR pit lane. “It got to be one line, kind of hard to pass, but if they went the other way it would have been just too rough and gnarly.
“I don’t know if the track was too much fun to ride at the end there, so you had to be impressed with the Indians, and they basically ran what they had been testing last year. Obviously, it was tougher for the Harley guys, and they had their issues.
“You had to like the way the Indians worked,” continued Lawrence. “They had good power, but more than that they had super clean delivery, from really low down, in the tight stuff. That makes things easier. Now everyone has to get used to the new (AFT race) format, but that won’t take long.”
Dalton Gauthier won the 15-lap AFT Singles national aboard a Yamaha YZ450F, taking the lead on the brakes from Wyatt Anderson’s KTM in the last corner and holding on at the finish line. “Tomato Juice” Kolby Carlile was a close third on a brand new Honda, the top three covered by less than a second after a great dice up front.
Thursday, 16 March 2017 23:12
Husqvarna presented the 11th annual Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Reunion at the Sheraton Airport in Montreal, QC, Saturday, March 25, and veteran road racer Miguel Duhamel of Las Vegas, NV, cemented his reputation for public speaking.
Fan favourite Duhamel, a star on the American superbike tour for almost two decades, was the final person inducted during post-dinner ceremonies hosted by television personality Eric Menard.
Sunday, 26 February 2017 01:40
“It hasn’t really been a long off-season, but it feels like it at times,” explains former Canadian national flat track champion Doug Lawrence, who will make the move to the Pro road race ranks this season aboard a Suzuki GSX-R1000. Lawrence announced his new Suzuki Canada program for the 2017 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at the Toronto Motorcycle Show last weekend.
“I’m excited to get a program to ride the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 in 2017,” confirms the man some call ‘Fresh.’ “I’m excited to go road racing, that’s what it comes down to. I’ve had some offers, with different bikes, from great people, and really I’ve just been trying to figure out what could work the best for me. I appreciate all the help from everyone, and I think the Suzuki program is right for me. My aim is to build with that, to get the ball rolling with Suzuki and their return (to Canadian Superbike).
“I’ll get a bike, hopefully, by mid-March, and get it track-ready,” Lawrence continued. “For me, with my level of road racing experience, it’s essential to just get on the track and get riding. I need bodywork and suspension, but that’s really all I will need to get out and start riding. Then I can get going from there, get the feedback for the people who are working with me.
“I think that usually, with Suzuki, things are pretty close to perfect, and this bike has been in development for some time,” says Lawrence about his weapon for 2017. “I’m confident that the new GSX-R1000 will be good.
“People tell me it doesn’t make sense to test on old tires, things like that, and I do understand the advice,” notes Lawrence, whose entry into the Pro SBK ranks is perhaps the most interesting story of the 2017 CSBK preseason. “But I have only ridden a road race bike for seven or eight days in total. I really just need to get some laps in before we really start development, doing race laps, race-distance testing. I just need to get the bike underneath me, really fell it, and go from there. I’d like to ride Grand Bend, Mosport, Shannonville, before those national rounds. I would like to go down south, I have some good connections in Ohio and Michigan. We’ll see what happens.
“I have to manage my plan, not get too overwhelmed with stuff – I have been so excited over the past few months. I need to get one motorcycle ready, and go from there.”
As far as flat track racing goes in 2017, the former No. 1 plateholder is depending on his mechanic and father, Doug Sr, to lead the charge.
“My Dad is excited for me, and wants to see where I’m going. He’s not a huge road racing fan,” Lawrence laughs. “He knows what I have going on, and he wants me to do it. He’s building another flat track bike for me, to ride in the new Twins class in the States.”
However, Lawrence did admit that following the national CSBK tour will curb his Canadian flat track appearances.
“My riding in the Flat Track Canada national series will be restricted. I raced 26 weekends last year, and I got a bit overwhelmed in the last half of the season. My mind was focused on the CSBK round at Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) after I started my first national at St-Eustache, and I know my flat track program suffered for that. I’m not committed to too-too much in the States, and fortunately my dad says ‘Hey, we’ve got this bike ready for you whenever you want to go for it and ride.’
“Right now, I have a plan for doing the first two American half-miles before the CSBK nationals start, but I have to dedicated my time and mind to the Suzuki program for the CSBK national series. After the final CSBK round at CTMP, there are still four or five American Flat Track races I can get to in the United States. Those eight or so AMA races are at racetracks I want to ride at as well.
“I have some goals in flat track that I want to achieve, and I feel like I can turn up at those races and be right up to speed.”
As far as support is concerned, Lawrence admits that “there is lots of talking going on, and I have been waiting to get the Suzuki deal confirmed. I have supporters and friends who have helped, and I know they are there for me, and now I have to get out there and work on it. I know that we can’t have the big factory deals of 10 or 20 years ago, but I really wanted to do it, to race the CSBK series.”
Lawrence will be visiting several tracks for the first time, including the home of the famed east-coast ‘roller coaster,’ Atlantic Motorsport Park, in Shubenacadie, NS.
“I’m excited to go places like Shubenacadie,” Lawrence states. “During the off-season, I have told people I actually had more fun racing at St-Eustache then I did at Mosport. I’ve been watching videos, and it seems like you have to be really accurate at Atlantic Motorsport Park. You have to minimize mistakes. It’s another track with a lot of character, lots of uphill and downhill. It’s all new to me.
“I think the Shannonville opener will be really tough; lots of the guys in the series grew up riding there. Grand Bend will be more of a level playing field, not too many of the national guys have a lot of laps around there. Mosport is at the end of the year; I like that place. The speed is a little higher than flat track, and it’s really flowing, but the track is in some ways forgiving. By that time, I aim to be up to speed with the faster group, and I’m comfortable with the drafting.
“I don’t have any specific goals in terms of finishing positions,” Lawrence humbly admits. “I’m more concerned with getting comfortable on the bike, be able to adapt to riding in the Pro ranks on a big bike. The Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year is a goal, but that isn’t my only target. I want to do better in every race. I have to wipe the slate clean after every race, good or bad. It’s a rebuilding process and there is a new race track at the next round. I can’t get too high, can’t get too low.
“I’ve been through all of these things in my flat track career,” summarized Canada’s newest Pro Superbike racer. It’s a different discipline, but it’s still racing a motorcycle.”
Saturday, 25 February 2017 08:57