Alberta’s Braeden Ortt had another strong MotoAmerica effort at Barber Motorsports Park, placing seventh overall and third in class in the combined Supersport and Superstock 600 race at the Honda Championship of Alabama. Riding a Tuned Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 with special Canadian flag paint job, Ortt ran near the front and worked his way up make the Superstock class Podium in the penultimate race of the American National motorcycle roadracing tour.
“We brought this Canada bike to our last round, and I’m super glad to put it up on the podium,” explained Ortt, completing his first year on the American tour. “This is for all our Canadian supporters.”
Meanwhile another top teen-aged Canadian, newly crowned Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike National Champion Tomas Casas, had a frustrating outing on his Parts Canada/Dunlop supported Yamaha Canada entry. After technical issues in Qualifying, Casas won the Last Chance race, making it onto the back of the Superstock grid.
In the race, Casas charged through to a potentially solid position, only to suffer a big crash in the Museum section of the track mid-race. Casas got up from the fall but was sent to Medical for an evaluation, and his title-winning Yamaha was badly damaged in the single bike incident.
JD Beach won the Supersport and overall race for the Monster Energy works Yamaha Team, with M4 Suzuki’s Valentin Debise almost ten seconds back for second overall. Garrett Gerloff on the other factory Yamaha diced with Beach early, ran off track, then charged back to earn third and clinch the Supersport series championship.
Jason Aguilar earned the win in “second 600 class.” Superstock, with the Riderzlaw Yamaha, and holds the Championship points lead with only tomorrow’s race left to run.
In the Motul Superbike and Bazzaz Superstock event for 1000cc machines, pole sitter Roger Hayden survived two re-starts to earn the win, holding off the Monster Yamaha of Josh Herrin by just .7 of a second. Herrin made a big push with two laps to got, but a near-crash (dramatic front end tuck!) slowed his challenge.
Matthew Scholtz of South Africa was third overall, first in Superstock, aboard a Yamalube-backed Westby Yamaha. Jake Gagne recovered from a big practice cash to put the Broaster Chicken Honda into fourth overall, ahead of Danny Eslick on the TOBC Yamaha and Hayden Gillim in sixth on the “Cycle World” Suzuki.
Newly crowned MotoAmerica Champ Toni Elias of Spain was challenging in third place mid-race when he ran wide chasing Herrin, then falling into the gravel trap at low speed. Elias did remount, but opted to retire soon after the incident.
Canadian Kenny Riedmann was looking set for a top ten placing, working through the field on the Sturgess Cycle/Liqui Moly Kawasaki ZX-10RR Ninja. However, Riedmann was forced to retire late in the race with a technical issue, listed as a DNF.
A full slate of National events is scheduled for tomorrow, with expected continued warm and humid conditions, including the final rounds for all three of the major National MotoAmerica classes.
Saturday, 16 September 2017 18:05
Alex Dumas was mathematically eliminated from contention for the KTM RC Cup Championship after a wild opening race of the final 2017 MotoAmerica weekend at Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama. Aboard his JP43 Junior Team KTM single, Dumas started sixth and worked his way up to battle for the lead, only to crash mid-race in turn two. Dumas was uninured, and will race in tomorrow’s final MotoAmerica series event.
The crash meant that Dumas’ four race win streak was at an end, and he can not win the overall Championship for young guns aboard identical KTM motorcycles. He still holds third in the rankings, and the top three riders in the final American series standings will be invited to attend the KTM World Final in Jerez, Spain, next month.
Cory Ventura won the race to take over the KTM points lead, Sean Ungvarsky second from Benjamin Smith in a great six rider battle for the win. Smith is second in the standings behind Ventura, 249-240.
Canadian Kawasaki Ninja 300 spec Series Champion Xavier Paradis made his American debut in the same KTM race. The Canuk spec series title holder worked his way up to a solid 11th overall after crashing in Qualifying and starting at the back of the grid. Paradis earned the chance to compete as a wild card on a media bike entered by “Roadracing World” Magazine.
Reigning Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike Canadian National Champion Tomas Casas had a busy morning, qualifying for the Supersport/Superstock 600 race but getting DQed following his morning session. Casas had an illegal inlet option in the air box of his Yamaha R6, a modification allowed in the Canadian Championships.
So Casas started from the back of the “Last Chance Qualifier,” needing a top placing to make the main event. He blasted into the lead and pulled away to win by 15 seconds and earn a spot at the back of the grid (29th overall!) in this afternoon’s race. Casas will need to win tomorrow’s LCQ race as well if he wishes to race in Sunday’s main event for 600cc middleweight machinery.
“Yeah, that was a bit of extra work,” smiled Casas on an overcast but very humid day at the beautiful barber facility. “That will be the biggest grid I’ve been on in a while. We’re working away at getting faster, making changes, and we’re making progress, bit by bit. If I can get going early in the race, I should improve some more.”
In Motul Superbike/Bazzaz Superstock SuperPole final qualifying, Roger Hayden continued his hot streak to earn pole for Yoshimura-Suzuki and the new-for-2017 GSX-R1000. Using the special Dunlop yellow-sidewall rear slick, Hayden turned a best lap at 1:24.091 in the final 15-minute session, hisx seventh Pole of 2017. Hayden was also fastest in the sessions leading into SuperPole, with a tour of the 16-turn venue at 1:25.97.
Newly crowned Superstock Champ Mathew Scholtz was second quickest on his Westby Yamaha R1 with a best lap of 1:24.19, Josh Herrin third on the works Yamaha superbike at 1:24.86, followed by newly crowned overall Champion Toni Elias of Spain on the second Yosh Suzuki with a best of 1:25.0.
This afternoon’s schedule includes the penultimate races for both the Supersport/Superstock class (2:25 PM local time) and the featured Motul Superbike/Bazzaz Superstock 1000cc divisions (3:30 PM).
Saturday, 16 September 2017 14:35
The opening day of the Honda Championship of Alabama presented by Genuine Broaster Chicken included the final combined Provisional Pole session for Motul Superbike and Bazzaz Superstock 1000cc machines prior to Saturday’s SuperPole session. In a busy day in the final 2017 event of the MotoAmerica National series, Yoshimura-Suzuki’s veteran Roger Hayden was quickest with a time of 1:25.97 on the works GSX-R1000 Superbike.
Former Series Champ Josh Herrin, filling in for the injured Cameron Beaubier on the works Monster/Graves Yamaha team, has a strong second outing on the works YZF-R1, placing second best with a lap at 1:26.28.
The top Superstock entry for less-modified 1000cc machines in the second, Friday afternoon session was South African Mathew Scholtz on a Yamaha, third quickest at 1:26.408. Scholtz has already won the Superstock title for Westby Racing outfit. Newly crowned overall series Champ Toni Elias was sixth best on the seconds factory Yosh-Suzuki.
Kenny Riedmann made his first career entry in the Superstock category with his Sturgess Cycle/Liqui Moly Kawasaki ZX-10RR Ninja, and wound up 16th overall in the red flag-interrupted afternoon 1000cc session. Mitch Card, another rising Canadian Pro start racer, was scheduled to compete in the same category as Riedmann with his Yamaha YZF-R1, but a last minute issue with his racing licence meant Card could not enter the MotoAmerica event.
The top 12 riders will advance to the 15-minute final session to establish the front of the Feature race grid, late tomorrow morning, using special soft Dunlop “Q” tires. The first of the two 1000cc races is scheduled for 3:30 tomorrow, but there have been some delays due to rain seeping through the usually-pristine track surface. There has been considerable rain in the Birmingham area recently, a left over effect of Hurricane Irma.
Qualifying for the KTM Cup spec series for single cylinder machines was rescheduled for tomorrow due to the various water control issues with the track. 15-year-old French-Canadian class rookie Alex Dumas is riding a four race win streak in the KTM class, and has a serious shot at the Championship in the final two races this weekend. Dumas was sixth fastest in the morning session, having run as high as first before he suffered a late crash in his first outing at the track. He was uninjured.
Newly crowned Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike Canadian National Champ Tomas Casas had an encouraging first day as a MotoAmerica competitor, placing his Parts Canada/Dunlop supported Yamaha Canada R6 seventh overall in the “second tier” Supersport and Superstock 600 afternoon Practice with a lap at 1:34.6.
MotoAmerica Series regular Braeden Ortt of Alberta on a Tuned Racing Yamaha R6 was 11th quickest in the Group One session, turning a lap at 1:31.6. Fastest overall in the combined two 600cc classes was newly crowned Champ Garrett Gerloff aboard a Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha R6 at 1:28.18.
“I’m gaining confidence with the bike on this track,” confirmed a cheerful Casas at the end of a very warm day at Barber Motorsport Park. “The bike feels good settings wise, and the adjustments we have made so far have helped.
“I need to work more on the blind corners, and the braking areas, there is so much going on with this track,” confirmed 18-year-old Casas of the hilly, 16 turn venue. “Some of the turns I’m still lacking confidence; that really affects your lap time on a blind section of this track.
“If I can pick up some corner speed, I know I’ll gain some confidence,” continued the 2018 Pro Middleweight Canadian number one plate holder. “The I can really focus on riding with other people and picking up some pointers; so far I have been by myself. That will be a focus of Qualifying tomorrow.
“Overall, it was a lot of fun for my first day. My goal is to make it all the way through the weekend, not to crash, to ride all the time in every session and race and get the greatest opportunity to learn. I want to stay within my limits.”
The first 600cc class race for Ortt and Casas is schedule for 2:25 tomorrow afternoon, with the initial KTM spec race including title contender Dumas slated for the end of the day Saturday at 4:35.
Friday, 15 September 2017 18:30
The final event of the 2017 MotoAmerica National road racing Championship takes place this weekend at Barber Motorsport Park, and Quebec’s Alex Dumas heads south with the chance to win the KTM RC Cup Championship. The 15-year-old is coming off a remarkable, record setting four-race win streak at the most recent rounds last weekend at New Jersey and previously at Pittsburgh.
Dumas is second in the Championship standings after eight rounds with only the pair of Barber races left to run, one point behind co-Championship leaders Cory Ventura and Benjamin Smith, the KTM spec series points totals reading 224-224-223.
Showing impressive form in his first season on the American tour, Dumas is just one of several Canuks who could feature at the Alabama event.
Officially called the Honda Championship of Alabama presented by Genuine Broaster Chicken, the event is the tenth and final round of the MotoAmerica Championship and will include two races each for three MOPAR CSBK Canadian National stars.
Belfountain, ON. based Kenny Riedmann will compete aboard the same Sturgess Cycle/Liqui Moly Kawasaki ZX-10RR Ninja he took the second overall in the 2017 Canadian Superbike Championship behind BMW’s Jordan Szoke.
After spending most of the season on a Yamaha YZF-R6 battling Tomas Casas for the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike Championship, Ripley, ON’s Mitch Card will focus on the big bike classes at Barber. Card will switch to the Yamaha YZF-R1 he used during the final Superbike events of the season last month at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Card earned 10th/11th place results on his 1000cc racer backed by Shoei, Dunlop, Vortex, Goderich Toyota, DP, Maclyn Dust Control, Bluestreak, Bickle, Dynojet and Liqui Moly.
Newly crowned Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike National Champion Casas, aged 18 from Peterborough, ON, will make his American racing debut at Barber, aboard his title-winning Yamaha R6.
“This will be a big step, my first race in the States,” admits Casas. “I’m really excited to get out there, to see what it’s all about. Sandy Noce from Dunlop said that the track is a little like Calabogie, a track with technical corners and not too much in terms of straight-aways. I’ve been watching videos to learn the track; mentally I think I have it fairly sorted out, but that’s not the same as racing on the bikes!”
Casas will be joining the “second” middleweight category in the MotoAmerica Series, the Superstock class run in conjunction with the premier Supersport division, also for 600cc class machinery. Currently, Braeden Ortt of Calgary, AB., is the only Canadian who contests the Superstock series as a regular, aboard the Tuned Racing Yamaha. Earlier this season, 17-year-old Ortt won a round at Sears Point, CA.
Assisting Casas at the venue will be his father, as well as former Casas team-mate and front-running National Superbike privateer Franklyn Dominguez. This duo will work in the pit lane for Casas during his on-track sessions around Barber’s popular 17 turn, 2.3-mile-long layout.
The Riedmann Management Kawasaki team is also expected to be help Casas, since racer and three-time Canadian middle weight Champ Kenny does not compete in the same class as Casas and therefore the two racers will not be on the track at the same time. Former racer and famed chassis consultant Jon Cornwell will also assist newly crowned Canadian number one Casas with set-up on his Yamaha Canada entry.
“I’m missing some High School but I’ll catch up,” continued Casas. “I’m trying to work ahead; I don’t want to do too much homework on the trip!
“I want to say a big thank you to the Riedmanns, they’re really making all this possible. The I have to thank Pro 6 and Dunlop, they’re looking after our tires. Also my new sponsors DP Brakes and ASM Motorsports. As well I have to include my solid regulars, Yamaha Canada, Parts Canada, Brooklin Cycle Racing, Blue Streak Racing, Vortex, Bickle Racing, Flexiglass, Human 2.0, Hindle Exhaust, Peterborough Cycle Salvage and HB Cycle.
“This is probably our last race of the season, for what we have planned,” says Casas. “There is some possibility we might go to the last round of the Dominican Republic Championship. But right now my focus is on Friday morning at Barber, and getting the best set-up right away to get ready for Qualifying.”
Tuesday, 12 September 2017 22:56
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
Brodie Buchan of Leamington, ON., clinched the 2017 Open Expert Championship and the Flat Track Canada overall number one plate for 2018 with victory in the Feature race at the three quarters of a mile long oval at Georgian Downs in Barrie, ON., round seven of the nine round National tour.
Second year Pro racer Buchan, age 18, rode a “framer” Honda built by Kurt Biegger to the win in the main event, holding off the 600cc Sehl Rotax piloted by Dustin Brown of Utterson, ON. Aboard the single-cylinder racer usually piloted by Don Taylor of Port Colborne, ON., Brown spent most of the race less than one second behind leader Buchan before mounting a charge late in the race.
On the last of 15 laps in cool but fortunately not rainy conditions, Brown got close exiting the final turn, but wound up about one bike length short at the finish line. Honda mounted Tyler Seguin of Welland, ON, was less then a second behind the leaders for third place.
Pre-race favorite and opening Heat Race victor Chris Evans of Jordan Station, ON., earned a solitary fourth aboard the only Harley-Davidson XR750 twin in the field. Last year, Steve Beattie won the title riding a Bieger Honda and his own, Brian Olsen built Harley, but Beattie opted not to compete in 2017 due to injuries suffered at the end of last season.
Honda-mounted Brandon Seguin of Welland, ON, was fifth ahead of Cody Marentette of Tilbury, ON, also on a Honda CRF450R.
Frequent Flat Track Canada front runners Doug Lawrence (2015 Champ) and Don Taylor (winner at the most recent round in Belleville, ON.) are in the U.S.A. this weekend competing in American Flat Track National events in Springfield, Ill.
“It feels good, since we knew we had to win to get the Championship tonight, “started winner Buchan. “This is gold to come in here and get the win. I’m really happy with the bike and our pace.”
“Looking at the race, I know this isn’t really my kind of track,” continued Buchan of his title charge with two events left to run on the 2017 National Schedule. “I started well, and just tried to maintain my pace, but I knew I was working the tire. We put a lot of work in early in the season, things went according to plan and that allowed us to clinch if we got the win here, and we hung on to get it.”
Bike builder Bieger confirmed that after engine problems at the same track a year ago,” trying to keep up with the Harleys,” he built a special Honda mill for Buchan’s title run, completed the Friday night before the Barrie event.
15-year-old runner-up Brown was clearly frustrated not to get Buchan at the line, and after the race explained that “I was really trying for the win, but I just couldn’t quite make it happen. It was my first time riding Taylor’s Rotax, built by Jim Sehl, and its just as good as I expected.”
Seguin also thought he was close to the leader’s pace, but “I couldn’t quite make it work the way I wanted. It’s been an up-and-down year, with good luck and it seems like a lot of bad luck. The next tracks on the tour (Wheatley on September 16 and the series final at Ohsweken September 23) are good for me, so we’re still working for a win.”
Seguin went on to thank George Evans and Parts Canada and Performance ATV Leisure, as well as “everyone at the track.” Buchan is backed by Kurt Biegger Racing, Joe Rocket and Honda Canada, while Brown’s backers include Bracebridge Machine, Sehl Racing, Moto Gear, Performance ATV, Ryno Power and Fuel Clothing.
The Expert DTX event was expected to be one of the best events of the program, after two great heat races. But front runner Dave Pouliot of Quebec City, QC, couldn’t get his Kawasaki to fire on the line, and Brown had a remote starter problem with Taylor’s stock framed Yamaha. This gave Buchan a solid jump, and he ran away to win by over a quarter of a lap, Marentette holding off unretired Braden Vallee in a good dice for second place out of four total finishers in the “production” class!
New Champ Buchan also held off Brown in another leg of their building rivalry in the Dash-For-Cash, meaning Buchan and Biegger went three-for-three in Expert class events at Georgian Downs.
Also attracting attention was Honda-mounted Trent Pickle of Essex, ON., first overall in Intermediate DTX as well as Intermediate Open class action in Barrie.
Sunday, 03 September 2017 01:38
Leamington’s Brodie Buchan continued his recent form with success at the 61st annual George Pepper Classic at the Belleville, ON. half mile Flat Track Canada National on Saturday night, August 13. Aboard the Kurt Biegger Racing Honda single, Buchan earned his third Feature victory in the fifth round of the nine race Parts Canada-backed National Tour.
The final race was initially headed by fast starting Kawasaki racer Dave Pouliot of Quebec City, but unfortunately two incidents caused a red flag and spoiled Pouliot’s lightning get away.
At the restart, Buchan took control to dominate, just as he did a week earlier at Flamboro, ON. Second overall was a ware between Tyler Seguin of Welland, ON, aboard a George Evans tuned Honda and rookie Pro Justin Brown on a Yamaha.
At the finish, Seguin took the runner-up honors while 15-year-old Brown earned his second straight Podium placing with third.
DTX Intermediate points leader Jimmy McCullough of Paris, ON., won that race on his Honda, and earned the “Inside Motorcycles” hard charger award for run from fifth to first, late in the race.
Attracting plenty of attention was 2011 Mopar CSBK National Superbike Champion Brett McCormick of Saskatoon, SK, in his first-ever career Flat Track aboard a spare Beattie Honda prepared by KBR. Last year, McCormick qualified for a National Motocross event in the Feature class aboard a Kawasaki, and is trying a variety of motorcycle competition disciplines.
McCormick has been practicing on Tuesday nights at the tight Paris venue, and was moving to a big track, first race and first National, with considerable interest.
In his first Intermediate heat, McCormick ran in second spot early and was in third place when he brushed the wall exiting the second turn. McCormick jammed his foot against the fence, and was forced to pull in for medical attention.
Taken to Hospital by fellow former Superbike National Champ Jodi Christie, McCormick returned to the track on crutches with a bandage on his right foot for broken toes. A hospital visit in Toronto will determine if he needs surgery.
“It was going well, it was fun, I only got about ten laps, and I’d be a lot happier if I got to ride the whole night - now I’m a little sour,” admitted McCormick.
“It wasn’t a ride over your head mistake, but it was a lack of experience, I guess. I have people to thank - Doug Beattie made yesterday happen, and Aaron (Flat Track Canada boss Hesmer) gave me an avenue to try something new, make that happen.”
The next round of the Flat Track Canada Nationals is scheduled for the Western Fair District in London, ON, on August 26. An Ontario Regional race takes place at the short Shannonville venue, next door to the famed road course, this afternoon.
Sunday, 13 August 2017 13:22
1967 Grand Prix stars Take Center Stage at Banquet Event during VRRA Festival at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
The stars of the VRRA’s 1967 Canadian Grand Prix 50th Anniversary Celebration were out in force at the evening gala celebration at the posh meeting centre at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Aug 12. Famous competitor and journalist Sir Alan Cathcart interviewed legendary racers who featured during the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc Grand Prix (now MotoGP) events on a cool and sometimes wet day at “old Mosport” almost fifty years ago, the only time the series competed in Canada
Third overall in the Featured 500cc class competition, staged with Government support to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Canada on Saturday, September 30th, 1967 was Mike, now Michelle Duff. After a promising European career, a serious Yamaha testing crash in Japan kept Duff away from the “Continental Circus” in 1967, but for the event at her home track she received the loan of “the first Arter Special, just finished by Tom,” confirmed Duff to Cathcart.
“It had a G50 engine, disc brakes, a great frame, some said it was ahead of it’s time. It was also fitted with Goodyear tires, and the conditions were wet, almost rainy. It was really slippery, and in those conditions I think those Goodyears were better than the Dunlops most had. I attribute much of my success that day to the Goodyear tires.”
Duff’s practice with the new bike was troubled, due to an issue with the Magneto.
“Officially we didn’t qualify, but they said we could start from the back if no one protested, and no one did. I still had my bad hip, so I wasn’t good at bump starting in those days, so they let me get a push start from the back of the field, and I worked my way up to get that third.”
The poor conditions, along with delays due to a shortage of race fuel at the venue, meant the 500cc Feature race was shortened from 50 laps to 40 tours, still an incredibly lengthy event by modern standards.
Canadian Dave Lloyd had raced in Europe in 1966, but was competing in North America in 1967 when he ran in the 500cc event at Mosport on a locally built Ernie White Racing Manx Norton, winding up seventh, just out of the points.
“The weather was atrocious, that was the best you could say,” started Lloyd regarding his first and only home Grand Prix. “The bike sometimes leaked from the left primary, but this time both my feet were eventually covered in oil. On top of that, the carb was spitting back into a delicate area, and the only relief I had was sticking my legs out on the straights, and that didn’t help much.
“Honestly, how I managed to finish 7th I don’t know!”
In 1968, Lloyd Returned to Europe and competed at the Isle of Man for the second time aboard Honda equipment, earning a Silver Replica with a strong 13th place finish in the 250cc Grand Prix class.
Eight-time World Champ Phil Read was on hand from the U.K., and took part in some lively banter with Cathcart, the pair having previously spoken at various European Grand Prix reunion type events.
Classic bike tester and exotic expert Cathcart inquired about the challenge of following the famous Honda six-cylinder 250cc four-stroke racer, a bike that barely ran below 9,000 RPMs.
“Really, if you got within ten meters of that Honda, the pain was so intense that you couldn’t believe it,” explained Read of the eras’ un-muffled engines. “So you just had to get by!”
Read was in a supporting role in the 250cc class at Mosport aboard the works Yamaha two stroke four cylinder, as legendary Mike Hailwood on the Honda six was fighting for the World Championship against the other works Yamaha of Bill Ivy.
“They were two mad men, so I left them to it,” explained Red, who held station in third behind Ivy and Hailwood, in what was regarded as the best race of the day. The title protagonists battled until the last lap when Ivy stopped, allegedly out of gas even though the event had been shortened. Read, riding at a more conservative pace while watching the fight for first, wound up second behind soon-to-be-World Champion Hailwood.
Hailwood would clinch the 250cc crown a few weeks later in Japan, and then Honda pulled out of Grand Prix racing to concentrate on their fast-expanding auto division.
In the 500cc Premier class, Hailwood tried to get MV Agusta mounted points leader Giacomo Agostini to fight for the lead, even though Agostino knew he could clinch the Championship with second. Hailwood let Agostini lead for half of the race, but when “Ago” couldn’t be convinced to engaged, Hailwood took off to win by 40 seconds, Agostino second and the new premier class Champ.
Vintage action with the VRRA continues will a full slate of racing on Sunday around the classic Mosport layout for a wide range of Vintage classes. The special Saturday evening event was sponsored by Alien Technology Racing, Rider’s Choice.ca, Castrol Oils, fabricators C.M.R. and Woody’s Cycle.
The final V.R.R.A. National of 2017 is slated for Calabogie Motorsport Park on September 8-9-10.
Saturday, 12 August 2017 22:03
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