Flat Track Canada Expert Open class points leader Steve Beattie moved a step closer to the 2017 red Number One plate with victory at Saturday evening’s National debut at Georgian Downs in Barrie, ON. Aboard his Brian Olsen-built Harley-Davidson XR750 twin, Petrolia, ON’s Beattie easily won the opening Heat race and then controlled the Main from the green light.
Meanwhile, reigning Flat Track Canada Champ Doug Lawrence of Mississauga, ON., managed a great salvage job to work his way up to second place aboard a borrowed “framer” Honda. Aboard a Sehl-Rotax single, Lawrence eked out a last lap pass to win his Heat, but had engine issues in the “Dash for Cash.”
Beattie dominated the “Dash for Cash” on his Harley.
Recent triple race Mopar CSBK Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike victor Lawrence was forced to borrow a Honda-powered “framer” for the Final, starting from the back of the grid due to the switch. Lawrence fought his way to the front, getting into a great battle with the DTX Kawasaki of rising star Dave Pouliot.
After several passes, Lawrence earned runner-up honours, Pouliot a close third aboard the first stock- framed entry.
“The first five laps, I never really rolled off,” explained Beattie of his pace in the Main Event on the 5/8-mile oval. “This was the tallest gearing I’ve used in 15 years on this XR, and I wasn’t really breathing it much those first laps. This is as fast as we go on any track in Canada, except maybe for when we use to run at Trois Riviere in Quebec.”
“I really have to thank Brian Olsen who built the engine. After the Heat we put the carb restrictors back in, and backed the power off maybe eight or ten horsepower. That made it a lot easier to handle in the “Dash for Cash”.
“Everyone talks about winning the Championship, but really I’m not too focused on that. I try to take it a race at a time, a bike at a time, a session at a time. We will see what happens at the end of the year with the number one plate.”
With two National rounds left to run in 2016, at Welland Country September 10 and in the series debut at famed Ohsweken Speedway Sept. 24, Beattie has a race in hand over hard-luck Lawrence.
Commenting on the Lawrence effort, once he saw the number one plate at the podium, Beattie quipped that “Doug has really been in the crap all year, and he just keeps coming back on a different bike!”
Lawrence was in a rush at the Podium, since he was scheduled to head to Springfield, Illinois and the AMA Pro National round on Sunday, September 4.
“I was kind of thinking that we need to get this over with,” commented Lawrence on the box. “You couldn’t really see too well out there; I was just trying to pass the next guy in front of me.”
When asked about the fact that only Beattie opted to race a twin, Town Moto/Parts Canada backed Lawrence commented that “I’m happy with the bikes I have, I didn’t need a Harley, but then my A bike broke. But Dustin Brown had no hesitation to let me ride his bike from the Sehls.”
Earlier in the program, Quebecer Pouliot had earned a second in the DTX race after a start line bump with winner and support class points leader Brodie Buchan (Honda), so third in the Feature was a real positive.
“I didn’t know how it would go in the Main,” started Pouliot, more than a decade younger than the top two at age 18. “Then Lawrence had his blow up, and I think maybe I can get second. Then in the race, Doug caught me, he passed me, I passed back, it was really a good battle. I want to thank John Parker for building my Kawasaki engine, and Moto Vanier for supporting everything.”
In intermediate level action, a number of Mopar CSBK Pro road racers competed, with mixed results. Jodi Christie got tangled up in the first turn of the DTX class and crashed, then remounted to charge back, not aware of his badly damaged left pink finger. In the Open class, Christie ran third most of the way on his Bruce Beigger-built DTX Honda, but was pushed to fourth on the last lap.
In his first FTC start of the season on another Beigger Honda DTX machine, One Speed’s Trevor Daley was tangled up in Christie’s DTX incident, then fell late in the Open race. Reigning Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike triple National Champ Kenny Riedmann had a cautious debut with his new Kawasaki, and Matt McBride also joined the series aboard a Rider’s Choice Honda, suffering a flat rear tire in DTX and battling Riedmann for 11th in the Intermediate Open final.
Perhaps the best road racer in Barrie, or former pavement ace, was Bentley Thistlethwaite of Woodstock, ON, who earned a solid seventh in Intermediate DTX action with his Motovan Suzuki single, and continues to debug his Kawasaki twin framer n the Open division.