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
Race day at round 3 of the 2017 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship ended as most had expected, with Jordan Szoke (Lynden, ON) winning the 22-lap Feature Race in convincing fashion at Autodrome St-Eustache.
Sunday, 25 June 2017 18:24 Published in Reports, Results & Points
ST-EUSTACHE, QC (June 23, 2017) – Jordan Szoke topped the practice sheets in Pro Superbike action during round 3 of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Autodrome St-Eustache in Deux Montages, north of Montreal, on Friday afternoon. After a wet morning, the track dried as official action in all classes got underway.
Szoke (Lynden, ON) lapped his Mopar Express Lane/Motovan BMW S1000RR around the 1.93-km Quebec track in 0:45.488 seconds, less than a tenth off his top practice time from last year despite a still-drying track, and more than a second quicker than the next-fastest racer.
"We knew we had a good dry setup," said Szoke, the current track record holder at 0:44.812 seconds. "We felt good yesterday (during the MotoNation track day), and we went even faster today, doing a bunch of 0:45-second laps, which is really good since the track had a couple of damp spots and felt a little green. Considering the track conditions, the times we did were really good."
Szoke is currently riding a six-race Pro Feature race National winning streak at this venue on the Mopar CSBK tour.
Ben Young (Collingwood, ON) finished practice in second overall despite lingering pain from a crash at Grand Bend in round 2 of the National Series 12 days earlier. "We took a gamble not going out for practice this morning since we were making some changes to the bike, but we took care of some glitches for this afternoon," said Young, who posted a 0:46.671 on his Scot-Build Developments BMW.
"Physically I'm beat up a bit (after Grand Bend); I've got an issue with my right shoulder, but we should be good for the race,” Young continued. “I'm not too worried about it. When it comes down to it, I'll just have to grit through it and push a little bit harder for the 22 laps."
Third place on the charts was claimed by Kenny Riedmann, who posted a quick 0:46.791 out of the gate before crashing his Sturgess Cycle Kawasaki ZX-10RR while passing a slower rider. "I was out in the first rain session, and I was fastest, which was good considering I'm not a good rain rider," acknowledged the Belfountain, ON rider.
"I feel good. I'm bummed that I crashed, because we're a bit behind on bike setup right now, but I got some good laps in yesterday and now I've got a good rain setup, so who knows what might happen." The Feature race program on Sunday at St-Eustache is likely to be affected by rain.
Rounding out the top five in Pro Superbike practice were Andrew Nelson (Ottawa, ON) on a Suzuki GSX-R1000 and returning local Sebastian Tremblay (Laval, QC) on a Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Earlier in the afternoon, Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike practice concluded with Frank Trombino (Etobicoke, ON) setting the fastest lap in the middleweight sport bike division with a 0:49.428 on his ProStar/White Gold Financial Services Honda CBR600RR. Yamaha R6-mounted racers Mitch Card (Ripley, ON) and Eric Richard (Sainte-Basile, QC) finished the day second and third.
"We're trying to go fast on the 600 because we're thinking of using it for the Superbike race," admitted Trombino, acknowledging the advantages of a smaller bike on the tight St-Eustache track. "My bike feels really good, and we've raced here for 15 years, so we know the track in the rain and the dry. That makes a big difference."
Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike practice was led by Ernest Bernhard (Ste-Brigide, QC) on a Yamaha R1, while Montreal's Vincent Levillain topped Shoei Premium Helmets Amateur Sport Bike on an R6. Amy Szoke (Lynden, ON) set the quickest time in Friday's Kawasaki Ninja 300 Race Series practice.
Saturday action at St-Eustache kicks off with practice and qualifying starting at 10 a.m. in all classes. Mopar Pro Superbike qualifying, including the Dalton Timmis Insurance SuperPole session, starts at 3:40 p.m. For more information, visit www.csbk.ca.
Friday, 23 June 2017 22:47 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Tim McGill snapped hundreds of colourful shots for Inside Motorcycles at round 2 of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship in Grand Bend, ON, June 9-11. Here's another assortment of images from "The Bend" - enjoy!
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 16:21 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Ben Young had a nasty highside while in lead contention during the Pro Superbike final at the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship round at Grand Bend on June 11. Young originally laid motionless on the track but eventually walked away from the incident.
Monday, 12 June 2017 12:25 Published in Multimedia
Jordan Szoke of Lynden, ON started his National motorcycle road racing title defense in powerful fashion at Shannonville Motorsport Park (Shannonville, ON) on Sunday with an aggressive victory at the CSBK Superbike Challenge presented by the Trenton MFRC.
Monday, 29 May 2017 09:49 Published in Reports, Results & Points
SHANNONVILLE, ON (May 27, 2017) – The grid for Sunday's Pro Superbike feature at the Mopar CSBK Superbike Challenge presented by the Trenton MFRC has been set after a blazing Saturday qualifying session at Shannonville Motorsport Park that concluded with six riders less than half a second apart on the timing sheets.
Defending class champion Jordan Szoke came out on top after an ultra-competitive Dalton Timmis Insurance Pro Superbike Top Ten SuperPole session, setting the top time with a 1:04.121 on his Mopar Express Lane/Motovan BMW S1000RR.
Fellow BMW racer Matt McBride came back from a disastrous engine failure in Friday practice to take the second spot just 0.129 seconds behind Szoke, with Kawasaki rider Kenny Riedmann finishing third thanks to a 1:04.333. Ben Young (BMW) will take the fourth and final spot on the front row for tomorrow's 22-lap Pro Superbike feature, while Andrew Nelson (Suzuki) and Bodhi Edie (Yamaha) rounded out the six riders in the 1:04-second range during a furious SuperPole session.
For Szoke, it was a good way to start his quest for a 12th Canadian Superbike championship after limited track time leading up to Saturday's qualifying session.
"We weren't worried, but we were a little curious about how things would go," Szoke admitted after securing yet another pole position, the accompanying top-qualifier cheque and a Rockwell watch. "The track's a little bit sketchy - there's a little bit of water going into Allen's Corner - but it was a good day for us. Under the circumstances and given the track conditions, that was a really good lap time and it was really competitive all through the top ten."
Although some ways off the 1:03.795 track Superbike record set by Brett McCormick on a Suzuki GSX-R1000 in 2009, Szoke's pole-earning lap was nearly three-tenths quicker than his top qualifying lap from last year's Shannonville round.
"It's a great way to start our defense," admitted Szoke. "We're going into this year with a lot of confidence, but it's going to be a tough race tomorrow, that's for sure."
McBride, who put a new bullet in his Riders Choice BMW S1000RR last night, seemed ecstatic with his second-place finish after a frustrating Friday. "Yesterday wasn't the day we planned for," admitted the Mississauga, ON native. "We got half a lap in, and then we had a lot of work ahead of us. Luckily I've got really good friends and family here, and everyone worked so hard. We're just happy to be out here.
"We always want to be ahead of Jordan, but that's a tough task. We're happy to be up here, and tomorrow's what counts, so we're going to put our heads down and try to last this year."
Riedmann made significant progress during Saturday's practice and qualifying sessions to establish himself in third at the conclusion of the SuperPole session on his new 2017 ZX-10RR.
"I've got an awesome Kawasaki motorcycle underneath me, and the times are super close at the front," said Riedmann, who finished runner-up to Szoke at last year's Shannonville opener. "It's going to be a really exciting race."
The surprise of the weekend in Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike has been the quick performance of Kris Garvie, who earned his first-ever CSBK Pro pole position with a 1:06.967 on his Kawasaki ZX-6R.
"It feels amazing," admitted Garvie, who was returning to the national tour after more than a year away. "The bike does what I need it to, and I do what she needs me to, and we're able to work as one.
"Everything feels good, I'm just having fun. I'm shocked that things are coming along as well as they are."
Almost as surprising as Garvie's hot pace was that of rookie Pro Chris Brent, who will start in the second spot on the first row thanks to a 1:07.168 on his Honda CBR600RR. The front row for tomorrow's Pro Sport Bike race will also include Tomas Casas (1:07.195) and Louie Raffa (1:07.730).
In Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike, Ernest Bernhard of Ste-Brigide, QC will start his Yamaha R1 on tomorrow's pole after a 1:08.284 top qualifying effort. In Shoei Helmets Amateur Sport Bike, fellow Quebec racer Jean-Francois Aubin earned top position on his Suzuki GSX-R600 with a 1:09.537.
The first Kawasaki Ninja 300 Race Series round of the year went to Jared Walker (Oakville, ON), who claimed the top spot on the podium by finishing nearly 15 seconds ahead of second-place Johann Plancque (St-Jerome, QC), who narrowly edged out third-place teenager Xavier Paradis of Shannon, QC.
Sunday's action at Shannonville starts with morning practice for all classes, followed by national rounds starting at 1:00 pm. For full qualifying results and a schedule of Sunday's events, visit www.csbk.ca.
Sunday, 28 May 2017 09:07 Published in Reports, Results & Points
11-time Canadian Superbike Champion Jordan Szoke will be attending the Motorama Custom Car & Motorsports Expo on Saturday, March 11th at the International Centre near Pearson International Airport in Toronto, ON. Additionally, you will be able to find Szoke’s 2016 Mopar Express Lane BMW Motorrad Superbike on display all weekend in the Mopar exhibitor booth.
Szoke, the winningest racer in Canadian Superbike history and a 2016 inductee into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, will be on hand to greet fans and enthusiasts alongside other Mopar racers and vehicles.
Mar 10-12, 2017
6900 Airport Road
Show Times: Friday: 10am - 9 pm / Saturday: 10 am - 8 pm / Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm
Visit www.motoramashow.com for more information.
Friday, 03 March 2017 10:08 Published in Industry News