It is hard to believe another race season is almost behind us. 2016 is definitely a year for me to forget in terms of racing. It started off strong back in January where I won an endurance race over in China. I was in good form and had a big year planned with both my BMW team on the roads in Europe and my Kawasaki Superbike team in Asia.
Friday, 18 November 2016 13:46 Published in Dan Kruger
Looking through our archives this week, we came across this must-see photo taken by regular IM photographer Richard Coburn. Here we see CSBK racer Mitch Card getting reeeeeally low at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park during the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship doubleheader season finale in August. Card showed up to his first CSBK event of the year and finished the weekend with a double-win in Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike.
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 15:18 Published in Feature Stories
Toni Elias completed his first MotoAmeica race season in style, holding off his Yoshimura-Suzuki team-mate Roger Hayden in a wild 25 lap battle to win the final event of the season at New Jersey Motorsport Park. Spanish ace Elias lead much of the race, gradually pulling away from Yamaha’s Josh Hayes and getting into a big fight with partner Hayden for the win.
Heading into the final turn, Elias bobbled and opening race winner Hayden dove under the leader, only to run wide on the exit – Elias won by a very slim margin of 0.186 of a second.
A frustrated Hayes placed third, and also came up short in his effort to regain the Superbike title. Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha team-mate Cameron Beaubier held the points lead, but dropped out with engine issues. However, four-time Champ Hayes needed to win, so 2016 number one Beaubier earned his second straight overall American crown.
Fourth overall and winner of the Superstock division was Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja mounted Bobby Fong, regaining form for the end of the year. Fong now heads to Europe to ride in a World Endurance event in France next weekend.
New Superstock Champ Josh Herrin was fifth overall, second in his category. Italian wild man Claudio Corti charged through the pack to earn sixth with the Houston Superbike Aprilia.
“I did not think you could ever pass in that last corner,” started Elias. “Then Roger passed me, he really put two balls on the table. I did not know what was going to happen.”
“I felt better than yesterday, and my pace was comfortable from the beginning of the race. I would like to fight more for the Championship, Cameron was very intelligent in the Championship, and of course I lost 47 points in one day of the Championship in April in New Jersey.”
Elias started the season as a substitute rider, winning his first race in Texas and five more, and then stayed with the series all season. From the New Jersey Podium, former World Champ Elias explained that he would like to continue with the MotoAmerica tour in 2017: “I want to continue to battle with these guys, soon there will be eight or ten guys who can win.”
“It was a good race, I was enjoying watching Josh and Toni go at it, and I know it’s not easy to beat Toni,” commented Hayden. “I thought it might work out there at the end, I tried to get him where he wouldn’t expect it, he came back under me and it could have been a mess, so it’s good to put Yoshimura Suzuki riders first and second. I feel like I made a step this year.”
“I was keeping an eye out for Cam, and I thought he really already had this Championship,” explained Hayes from the third step of the Podium.
“It is all in good fun, and I was gutted for Cam. I know the panic you can feel when you are not in control of the situation. That was probably pretty scary, and I believe that Cam earned and deserved the Championship – the boy just out-classed me. I’m happy for Yamaha to go one-two, and I have another year to switch that up.”
“Man, to get so close to something, and then almost have it stripped away from you, it just shows you how much you want it,” admitted Champion Beaubier. Throughout the race, Beaubier was playing it safe, knowing he only needed a ninth place finish, but then his bike began to smoke and forced a DNF.
“I honestly didn’t know how many laps were left,” said Beaubier of his trackside retirement. “I don’t ever want to root against my team mate, but when I saw Toni and Rog in front of Josh, I wasn’t bummed! There were so many emotions, I was so pissed off, and then this big swing to joy. The bottom line is that it was all pretty dramatic.”
In another Championship challenge between factory Yamaha racers, J.D Beach won the battle but his Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha YZF-R6 team-mate Garrett Gerloff won the Supersport war. Beach edged a slowing Gerloff by 9.784 seconds, meaning Gerloff took the Title by four points.
Canadians in the combined Supersport/Superstock 600 event had a reasonable run, with Jeff Sneyd getting a good start on his Kawasaki, eventually earning 24th overall. Alex Coelho struggled with engine issues, but made it to the finish in 28th.
Sunday, 11 September 2016 17:17 Published in News
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden won a close one at New Jersey Motorsport Park, holding off the Monster/Graves Yamaha of four-time Champ Josh Hayes on the last lap to win the penultimate Superbike race of the 2016 MotoAmerica Championship Series.
These two battled throughout the 25 lap event, joined early by reigning Champ and Superbike points leader Cameron Beaubier on the second works Yamaha YZF-R1. Late in the race, Spanish ace Toni Elias caught up to the leading trio, and Beaubier eased off to guarantee a solid finish in fourth. Beaubier leads Hayes by 22 points with just one race, later this afternoon, left to run.
Elias didn’t have quiet enough time to join the fight for first, a tight battle that went right to the finish line.
“I did think a win was a possibility, I had the pace in Q but I crashed,” explained Hayden of his troubles on Saturday. “I’ve been workin’ hard and I’ve been trying to win those races that I am close in. I went out this morning on an old tire and felt I had the pace.”
“I tried to lead more, still wasn’t sure if I had the pace. On the last lap, I didn’t know if I would make turn one, I had things locked up! I’m rally happy for the team; we’ve been so close so many times. I’ve been racing Josh my whole career and he always get the best of me, so that was really good. I know Josh hates loosing, Toni too, so I expect it to be even harder in the next race.”
The title is a long shot for Hayes, but the second-in-points racer is still working for another Championship number one plate.
“I really hoped our good pace at the start would break things up a little bit, but we all stayed close,” explained Hayes of his early race lead over Hayden.
“Then Cam (Beaubier) got by and I let him try to see if he had the pace, but he didn’t. That let Roger get away, and I was mad at myself, thought maybe I could take advantage, but that didn’t work.”
At the start of the last lap Hayes “was getting a good run, gave it the best run that I can, made a few mistakes – I don’t think it woulda mattered, so I have to take second. I think I learned a lot and that will really help in race two. I have one goal today, and I’m not going to be very nice – I have one plan to try for the Championship.”
“They were running fast from the start and they were gone,” explained Elias. “Then I started to make up, and then at the end I arrive for the last few laps. I’m waiting for the second race, I’m feeling really good and we are recovered from yesterday.”
Fifth went to the Kawasaki of Bobby Fong, also first overall in the less-modified Superstock class. Jake Gagne placed sixth overall, in his Superbike class Yamaha, while seventh overall and second in Superstock belonged to South African Matthew Scholtz on his Westby Yamaha.
Sunday, 11 September 2016 14:03 Published in News
Josh Hayes will start from pole in the final Superbike Feature races of the 2016 MotoAmerica National season, after toping the time sheets in Superbike SuperPole 2 at New Jersey Motorsport Park. Riding his Monster Energy/Graves works Yamaha YZF-R1, Hayes made the most of his yellow-striped Dunlop special soft rear slick, turning a lap at 1:21.1.
Earlier in practice, Hayes had turned a best lap of 1:21.5, third best of the session, on the “regular” Dunlop slick rubber. In final SuperPole, each of the top 12 Pro riders were allotted a special Dunlop soft Qualifying tire.
The effort was Hayes’ second pole of 2016, and the 40th overall in the career of the multi-time overall American national motorcycle road racing Champion.
“I fell like that was a good effort, everything hasn’t always worked out this year, I haven’t always done my best, so I’m happy with that,” confirmed Hayes in the post-Q Media session. “It’s really hot and humid today, and that’s having an effect on everyone, our conditioning and our equipment. But I fell like after the announcement at lunch today, it’s really good to put this Yamaha on pole.”
Earlier in the New Jersey program, the Yamaha team confirmed that Hayes would continue with the team for 2017, once again joined by current series points leader and 2015 Champion Cameron Beaubier. 23-year-old Beaubier was quickest prior to the SuperPole session, but suffered a minor tumble in the Q Session with his number one plated 1000cc Yamaha, and wound up third on the grid for Sunday’s pair of 25 lap Superbike rounds.
“It was really minor, second gear, no big deal,” explained Beaubier following the incident, when he delayed his fast lap and then perhaps allowed his front tire to cool too much. “I’m fine, and we’ll be ready for our races.”
Beaubier leads Hayes 298 to 269 in the points standings, and it will take some unusual events during the two races to keep Beaubier from winning his second straight crown.
“I fell like Cam has done everything right, really done his homework, and he’s ready to take the title,” explained Hayes of the Championship battle between the team-mates.
Jake Gagne was second quickest in Qualifying to earn the second start spot with his Broaster Chicken/Roadrace Factory Yamaha, a return to form after some recent testing activity for the squad. Gage turned a lap at 1:21.273, just ahead of Beaubier’s 1:21.348 effort.
“We had some new parts that we were happy with in testing, and then I wasn’t too happy yesterday, so we took some of them off,” smiled Gagne. “But our A bike is working really well, we have a new suspension link, and we’re aiming to finish up the year strong, we have two more races to show where we are.”
Top Yoshimura Suzuki was Roger Hayden in fourth, followed by upstart Matthew Scholtz in fifth on the Yamalube/Westby Racing Yamaha. The second row will be completed by the sixth best effort of Kyle Wyman, on the Millennium Tech Yamaha.
Former World Series front runner Toni Elias of Spain crashed early in qualifying with the second Yosh-Suz, and wills start eight (middle of the third row) in both of Sunday’s races.
In Saturday’s opening Supersport/Superstock 600 race 1 over 23 laps of the 12 turn, 3.8 km long venue, Yamaha’s reigning Champ J.D. Beach took victory after a good battle with team-mate and points leader Garrett Gerloff. If Beach wins tomorrow and Gerloff places second, then Gerloff earns the 2016 title.
The sole Canuk in the race, fast starting Alex Coelho of Brossard, QC, encountered engine problems early in the race with his Kawasaki and was forced to retire. Further work will be required to determine if Coelho’s equipment can be repaired for tomorrow’s New Jersey National action.
Saturday, 10 September 2016 16:54 Published in News
2011 Mopar CSBK Canadian National Superbike Champion Brett McCormick of Saskatoon, SK, rode on a road race track for the first time in almost four years at Le Circuit Mount Tremblant in Quebec this week. A guest of Marc-Olivier Labelle’s Tremblant Superbike Track Day group, McCormick took part in three days of on-track activity at the famed and fast 4.26 km, 15 turn facility.
25-year-old McCormick used a Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja supplied by Ross Millson Racing, and tuned at Tremblant by Scott Cameron. The BMW Motorrad Canada squad that took McCormick to the National title five years ago included Cameron among the crew. The following year, McCormick went to Europe to ride World Superbike in 2012 for the Czech-based Effenbert Liberty Ducati team.
McCormick’s final race in 2012 was at the penultimate World Round at Portimao, Portugal, where he earned a close fifth in the wet opener and ninth in dry race two. After that, the squad folded, and McCormick opted to head home to study Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan.
Now entering his fourth year of post-secondary education, closing in on his degree, McCormick attended the most recent Mopar CSBK National event August 21 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario, and wanted to get back on a Superbike.
Support for the Tremblant trip came from Tremblant SBK, Ross Millson Racing, SC Motosport, Pro 6 and Shoei.
“There were two main goals with the trip,” explained McCormick following his last afternoon session on Wednesday, September 7. “One was to see if riding a fast bike on a fast track would still put a smile on my face, and two, to see if I still had a feel for the riding and tuning of a modern superbike.
“When I left the pit lane for the first time, I really felt like an alien, it took me a few laps to cruise around and get comfortable, finally get my knee on the ground after about three laps,” admitted McCormick. “But it was cool how quick it all came back.
“I have never had any trouble going from bike to bike, getting use to the handling and power delivery, then working to get the most from it,” continued McCormick. “I was impressed with the Kawasaki, sure it wasn’t a World Superbike, but it was fast and worked really well without much adjustment. Day one we were on a used front Dunlop slick and a new rear we put 40 laps on, and just trying to get comfortable. After that, we started to work through things, and it didn’t take much to get the chassis feel I prefer. Scott has worked with me before and we can get a lot done together.
“It was nice to remember the direction to go to get things working, and get the process going to make changes and evaluate them quickly. I was really happy with how much my feel came back, starting with the front end and then we got the rear working and could try some new tires and really have some fun.”
No official lap times were recorded, but observers say that McCormick was on the national Pro pace by mid-afternoon of his third day, when the pair opted to stop early and pack up.
McCormick now heads home for university, and is considering a return to Pro national-level road racing activity for the 2017 season.
Thursday, 08 September 2016 08:49 Published in News
At the final rounds of this year's Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship series, held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Dunlop offered qualifying tires to the top 10 riders for a separate, 15-minute final qualifying session. This was new for many of the competitors, as qualifying tires have not been used in the series for several years. Jeff Williams was one of the riders in the top-10 session, and I was able to get some data from the Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR1000RR that he was riding for the weekend.
Tuesday, 06 September 2016 11:23 Published in Andrew Trevitt
Inside Motorcycles vintage race contributor Dave Minnett (Rockwood, ON), a regular competitor with the Vintage Road Racing Association (VRRA), stepped into the world of modern machinery when he competed as a guest media rider in the Kawasaki Ninja 300 Race Series doubleheader during the season-ending Canadian Superbike Championship double round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on the weekend of August 19-21.
After missing the Friday morning practice session, Minnett stepped in for the second session and slowly improved his lap times down to a best 1:47.07, sixth-best in the session. The other media reps in attendance were JP Schroeder, riding for CMG Online, and Jacob Black of Autotrader.ca. These two outlets had quite a good-natured online spitting match building up to the race weekend (thanks to CMG editor Mark Richardson), but after day one, Schroeder was the fastest of the journalists at 1:45.74, almost a second and a half ahead of Minnett. Black, whose pride far outmatches his motorcycle race experience, qualified 11th.
While the guest riders were on track to spread the word about the affordable Ninja 300 spec class to the public, there was a class full of real racers taking priority at the legendary track formerly known as Mosport. On that note, Windsor, NS teenager Brandon Pemberton was the fastest in practice with a 1:43.31.
Green machines head off after the lights drop in Saturday's race. IM rider Minnett qualified fifth.
Minnett improved to a 1:46.4 in Saturday morning's lone qualifying session, quickest of the journalists and good enough for fifth overall on the grid. Pemberton improved his time to a 1:43.04 but was outpaced by fellow teen Jared Walker (Oakville, ON), who set a new track record at 1:42.30. Eric Quintin (Ile Perot, QC) took third at 1:44.01.
During Saturday's official race (the first of two scheduled for the weekend), Minnett got a mediocre start but managed to remain in the top five for the majority of the race. He and Dartmouth, NS rider Patrick Pelletier lost ground to the top three of Walker, Pemberton and Quintin early on, but used the draft to make time back up on Quintin, and by the closing laps had caught up to the Quebec rider. After a smart pass in turn 8, Minnett held Quintin off by 0.090 seconds to earn third place, having run a best lap of 1:43.92, his best lap of the weekend. Walker reset his own track record to 1:42.16 and took the win four seconds ahead of Pemberton.
He may have crossed the line more than 20 seconds after winner Walker, but third place was as good as a victory for the humble but focused Minnett.
"Coming in, I said I would be happy with a top ten," said Minnett after the race. "Of course that was an outright lie, because even second place is only first loser, and we all want the top spot. The reality is that I had no idea what the competition was and whether or not I could make it to the top 5. Let's just say it was a very nice surprise to get there."
CMG Online's JP Schroeder finished in sixth, while Black finished tenth. Due to his "guest" status Minnett wasn't given the third place trophy, which went to Quintin.
Minnett stalks Eric Quintin and Patrick Pelletier exiting turn 3. He would eventually surpass both riders to take third place on Saturday.
On Sunday Minnett backed up his third-place finish the day before with a solid fifth while Walker, Pemberton and Quintin took the three podium spots, respectively. The race was red-flagged on lap seven when Autotrader.ca's Black lost control coming out of turn 10 and blasted into some hay bales at a high rate of speed. Black received a few bruises and cuts from the crash but was seen walking around trackside shortly after. CMG's Schroeder wound up sixth, giving Minnett a sweep of the media portion of the Ninja 300 Race Series doubleheader.
Minnett, a veteran of the track but mostly on vintage machinery, was impressed by the track capabilities of the Kawasaki Ninja 300. "It's quite impressive, really. Once the suspension was set for my weight (thanks John Sharrard), it handled quite well. There was still room for further development though, as I felt it wouldn't turn in as quick as I liked. But the Dunlop tires are surprisingly good and I never felt I was outriding them. After a couple of brisk warm-up laps to get some heat into them, they were always confidence-inspiring. The engine is surprisingly good for it's size and pulls very smoothly all the way to redline. The power shift feature is so convenient, especially when you want to maintain streamlining in the tucked position - no gear shift wrangling required!"
As far as commenting on the series itself, Minnett was even more impressed than he expected at the fun and competitiveness of the Kawasaki-only spec class. "Wow, what an awesome little machine and series to go with it!" said a smiling Minnett post-race. "This is a relatively low cost way to go racing. A set of tires will last two weekends, maybe more... the fuel is cheap, and because it's a spec class, the fun factor is just as high as on something far more expensive to maintain. Because it has modest power, the only way to decrease lap times is to stay off the brakes and stay on the throttle. I'm sure that a weekend on the baby Ninja has improved my cornering skills - just because there is no other way to make it go faster.
"Who knew 38 hp could be this much fun!"
Minnett was impressed by the track capabilities of the Ninja 300 and the fun competition the spec class offers.
The Kawasaki Ninja 300 Race Series continues in 2017 in conjunction with the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship national tour. For full results and final points standings, visit www.csbk.ca. For more on the Ninja 300 Race Series, visit www.kawasakiracing.ca
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 17:20 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Tim McGill was one of the shooters on the scene for Inside Motorcycles at the 2016 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship doubleheader at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on August 20-21. Check out a sampling of his fine work in this gallery!
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 11:55 Published in Reports, Results & Points