Flat Track Canada had its first event at the famed Ohsweken Speedway, and for almost all of the program the final national of the 2016 season was flawless in execution and spectacle. After an evening of great completion on the half mile clay oval, the Expert Open class headed out for the final national race of 2016, ready to decide the 2017 No. 1 national plate.
Steve Beattie looked to have the overall FTC Title sewn up for the Kurt Beigger Racing Honda team, and merely needed to start the main event to earn his first career Flat Track Canada crown. But Beattie fell exiting turn two on the opening lap, causing a red flag and a long delay for his careful removal from the race surface by the Safety Team.
Beattie was off to the hospital with a broken collarbone and concerns about possible other injuries, details to come shortly. The race would start again from scratch, meaning that Doug Lawrence had a shot at retaining the Championship with his Town Moto/Parts Canada Honda CRF450 DTX machine.
There was some discussion as the field got ready for start two regarding the possible points ramifications, with various opinions suggesting a win, or maybe a top three, would allow Lawrence to retain his title. It turned out only a win would do.
On the second start Lawrence and a back-from-injury Don Taylor (Jim Sehl/Motovan/Motosports of Trenton Yamaha) again pushed to the front, joined by the Tyler Seguin aboard his Evans Honda. Eventually Taylor, the two time FTC champ in his first start since breaking a leg in an American event early in the summer, faded to place fourth and Seguin and Lawrence fought for the win.
Seguin eventually worked his way clear to take a well-deserved victory, the seventh different winner over the course of the 11 round series. Lawrence wasn’t far back for second and not sure where he placed in the points – unfortunately “Fresh” came up just short. Rising star Brodie Buchan worked his way up to third aboard another KBR Honda single.
“It feels great to win,” explained Seguin after a NASCAR-style victory burnout against the front straight wall. “It’s the last race of the season, but still, a win is a win. My season was really all over the place, and now things are starting to work we can maybe try some things down in the States.”
Lawrence was obviously emotional after a close race while trying to understand his title chances and consider the possible injuries suffered by rival-and-buddy Beattie. Veteran Beattie runs a suspension service business, and the new champ was tweaking Lawrence’s refurbished fork right before the first, late afternoon Pro practice session.
“An awful lot was going through my mind,” admitted Lawrence of the 15-ap main event. “At the end of the day, you really don’t want it to happen like that, the way things went for Steve.”
“I was maybe a tenth off where I needed to be, I was really close, in terms of lap times,” continued the outgoing number one. “I wanted to be in (Seguin’s) way more, maybe park him in the corners, but I couldn’t quite make that work.
“The track was really awesome, it got better and better through the program, and we really had some great racing here tonight.
“Right now it really seems like a long year,” continued Lawrence, who raced and won at two events on the Mopar CSBK road racing national tour in 2016 and recently finished seventh at the AMA Pro event in Springfield. “I’m looking forward to recharging my batteries and getting a new mind set, get geared up for next season.”
Buchan was satisfied with third place after a white knuckle run in the Main event.
“Everywhere I rode coming up, it was a cushion track,” explained the Pro based in Welland, ON, home of the famous short-track county venue. “This place is hard packed, and it seemed like I had to be really careful. So I’m pretty happy with the result, it was tricky and it seemed like the track got slick.”
In the Expert DTX category for stock-framed MX based machinery, Seguin held off Lawrence in a great fight at the front, Lawrence making a rare start in the “production” class after opting to enter on the machine he mostly uses at the short Welland venue. Doug Beattie (Honda) edged Buchan in another good dispute, for third. Buchan clinched the Expert DTX Title, distant rival Dave Pouliot (Kawasaki) hampered by a leg injury.
The Expert Dash-for-Cash victory went to the Honda framer of Steve Beattie, prior to the new champ’s season-ending injury. Lawrence was a close second with Seguin third.
In the Intermediate Open division, Tyler Brown hung on to win, after a great dice that went down to the wire against runner-up Cody Marentette and third man Luke Rahm, all Honda mounted.
In Intermediate DTX action, Brown won again, a bike length behind the fight for second, a dead heat between Marentette and the Sturgess Kawasaki of reigning Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike national road racing Champ Kenny Riedmann.
Top Novice was Jarrett Phibbs of Cottam, ON, who won both the Open and DTX divisions aboard a Honda CRF450.
Sunday, 25 September 2016 10:51
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
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
Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 pilot Roger Hayden was quickest in the morning warm-up session for this afternoon’s two final Superbike Feature races of 2016 in the MotoAmerica Championship Series. After a troubled SuperPole session on Saturday, dominated by Yamaha entries, the last pre-race SBK track sessions at New Jersey Motorsport Park suggest a more diverse pair of races this afternoon.
Hayden, youngest of the famed trio of Hayden brothers from Kentucky, set the pace with a best lap at 1:21.6, comparing well to his Saturday best lap of 1:21.3 (fourth on the grid) set on special Q slick rear Dunlop rubber.
Pole for today’s races belongs to Josh Hayes on the works Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha YZF-R1, and he was second quickest in the warm-up at 1:22.3. Third best was the second works Suzuki of Spanish ace Toni Elias, recovering from a Qualifying crash to turn a best lap of 1:22.5 around the 12 turn, 2.25 mil long New Jersey venue.
Mathew Scholtz continued his impressive weekend, fourth best in the warm-up on the Westby Racing/Yamalube entry, at 1:22.613. In the “class within a class” Superstock division of MotoAmerica, Scholtz was the fastest entry.
Italian ace Claudio Corti struggled on Saturday, but in the warm-up was fifth best aboard the HSBK Aprilia RSv4, also a Superstock class bike. Last month, Corti earned a pair of second place finished in Mopar CSBK National action at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, ON.
MotoAmerica Superbike Championship points leader Cameron Beaubier, another Saturday crasher, turned only three laps in the warm up with his works Yamaha, and was ninth best.
The two Canadians on hand both made it into the afternoon’s Superstock 600 round. In this morning’s Last Chance Qualifier ten lap race, Jeff Sneyd made up for yesterday’s frustrations, netting a strong second overall. Sneyd is a former Canadian National Superbike Feature race winner, coming back to racing after a 15-year retirement. Sneyd rides a recently purchased Black Sheep Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja.
On Saturday, Quebec’s Alex Coelho qualified well aboard his Liqui Moly Kawasaki, only to suffer engine issues early in the opening race. Coelho placed second overall in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike Canadian National class in his rookie Pro season,
After a busy evening of paddock repair, Coelho made it out to race, and although the machine was not 100%, once again qualified for the Final 600 race with a fourth place finish. The top five machines from this morning’s LCQ transferred to the final event.
Sunday, 11 September 2016 11:18
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
Quebec’s Alex Coelho placed fourth in the Superstock 600 Last Chance Qualifier at New Jersey Motorsport Park, part of the final MotoAmerica National of 2016. This means that Coelho will compete in this afternoon’s Supersport/Superstock 23 lap race, his debut on the American tour.
The 2015 Shoei Premium Helmets Amateur Sport Bike Champion on the Mopar CSBK National Tour, Coelho placed second overall in the final points standings for the 2016 Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike Championship, earning a podium at Autodrome St-Eustache in his rookie Pro Mopar CSBK season.
Coelho had a problem-plagued trip down to New Jersey, and hadn’t ridden the venue until Friday’s practice with his regular Black Sheep Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja. Coelho qualified with a lap at 1:29.8, but in the race dropped his best tour down to 1:27.6, an encouraging sign for this afternoon’s race.
Fellow Canadian-based Kawasaki rider Jeff Sneyd, a Pro front runner on the Canadian National tour in the 1990s, continued his “unretirement” program with his third race in the past four weeks aboard his just-purchased Ninja. After returning to action at the Mopar CSBK races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in August, Sneyd competed in the SOAR event at Grand Bend and then travelled to New Jersey.
In the Last Chance Qualifier, Sneyd started 11th and was running in a top spot, likely to qualify for the main race, before he ran off-track. He rejoined to charge to sixth, running a best lap of 1:28.3 – good enough to make the main if not for his problems.
Saturday, 10 September 2016 13:54
2015 Flat Track Canada reigning overall National Champion Doug Lawrence doesn’t mind the interruption on a Saturday night – the first period was not kind to the Leafs on “Hockey Night in Canada.” Lawrence took a break from pre-season preparations, and Pro team sport frustration, to discuss his plans for the upcoming season.
“I’ve been busy, lots of logistics, getting ready for the season opening in Daytona for the Grand Nationals in March,” started the 30 year old Mississauga, ON-based racer.
“Before that, I’m heading to California to ride for a few days. I’m going to Paris Speedway, nothing is really like the Daytona Short Track but Paris is something like that, and of course it is just important to ride. One of my main sponsors, John Briggs out of Santa Barbara got a bike for me to ride, it’s like my current Honda, and I’m flying out with Bryan Smith to get some work in the sun.”
“Then I will ride two test days before Daytona, in South Carolina and near Tampa, I’ll use my regular CRF450 bike in the Nationals and take my older Honda to thrash in practice,” continued Lawrence. “The older bikes doesn’t’ have all the nice little trick bits, but it works just fine. We’re also aiming to do some Dynojet Dyno work at Brooklin Cycle Racing with Rob Egan before we head south.”
“After that, well I have six bikes to get ready for the season, Canada and the U.S., and I don’t want to rush – it’s a lot of work, lots of details. It’s stupid really!
“Regaining the Canadian title is our first priority, then the X Games, then the AMA rounds. I don’t know anything yet about the American Superprestigo (slated for the fall), and the rumor has it we are going to start something similar in Canada – that sounds like a good start.”
When the AMA Pro tour gets to the bigger tracks, especially the Springfield Mile events, Lawrence will revert to his Harley-Davidson XR750 twins, provided by an existing sponsor in Indianapolis.
However, prior to the April AMA National rounds at the Circuit of the Americas, Lawrence aims to start testing a brand new bike – a Kawasaki 650 twin, currently coming together under his father’s care.
“We’ll have the Harleys for CotA, but we should have everything we need to run the new Kawasaki,” confirmed Lawrence. “There are so many little things to work on, sometimes I really would prefer I didn’t know the things I know!”
“The Kawasaki is actually pretty easy to build, even though we haven’t had any help from Kawasaki. Briggs got us the engine, we had the wheels and forks, and we bought the frame and triple clamps. Aaron Humphrey in Pennsylvania built the frame, he was recommended by Joe Kopp and Mike Hacker.
“The frame has the same kind of linkage set-up as the old Honda 750s,” explains Lawrence of his new chassis. “Steve Beattie will do the forks and the shock, and then we’ll start testing. Once we have some feedback, our aim is to get to the point where the Kawasaki as good, or better than our Harleys.
Lawrence hasn’t done any riding on the ice this winter, explaining that “the ice isn’t always such a good idea, it can teach you some bad habits – there is really too much traction, so it isn’t that helpful for flat track.” Meanwhile Lawrence might make one ice appearance in Canada this winter, indoors in Kitchener next weekend, if time permits.
Another activity that is on Lawrence’s mind is roadracing, following his brilliant debut at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last summer, winning the inaugural Kawasaki Ninja 300 Cup series.
“I want to put something together, maybe ride a Mopar CSBK round or two, probably on a 600,” explains Lawrence. “It depends on a few things, but that is for sure another goal. I want to be in good shape if I do that, do some pavement practice, and I might try to get some riding in when I am down in Texas at CotA. I talked to Jason DiSalvo about his School, so that is certainly an option.”
Sponsors for the 2016 Lawrence Racing campaign include Town Moto, Parts Canada, American Harley-Davidson, OneSpeed, Klotz Canada, Alpinestars, HJC, Thor, Saddlemen, Motion Pro, K&N and Brooklin Cycle Racing.
Saturday, 06 February 2016 21:57
Prior to the start of practice for the Super Hooligans class at the Superprestigio of the Americans at the Orleans Casino Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon, November 21, Roland Sands check out the paddock. Sands, one of the prime movers in the new Super Hooligans race division for street-based motorcycles above 750cc, entered a team of Indian twins and placed third overall in the "Super H" Final after a poor start. This is the final image in our selection of 15 shots from the afternoon and evening, initial running of the successful SuperPrestigio of the Americas Short Track event.
Sunday, 06 December 2015 20:40
Roland Sands styles during Qualifying race action for the Super Hooligans support class during the Superprestigio of the Americas Flat Track at the Orleans Casino Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 21. One of the prime movers in developing the entertaining new category for street-based bikes above 750cc's, Sands moved thorugh the 13 rider field after a bad start to earn third in the Super Hooligans Final, with support for his Roland Sands Design constructed Indian coming from Dunlop, K&N Filters, Bell Helmets and Performance Machine.
Saturday, 05 December 2015 16:26
Super Hooligans paddock at the Orleans Casino Arena for the Superprestigio of the Americas Flat Track event in Las Vegas, November 21. Picutred, the Harley-Davidsons of the Broken Homme and Suicide Machine Company squads, including riders "Guardado", Shaun Guardado, Gabriel Vidrio and Joshua Johnson, await practice around the tenth mile oval.
Thursday, 03 December 2015 23:31