Doug Lawrence went all out, but ended up one position short of retaining his Flat Track Canada number one series plate after Saturday night’s final National of the season at Ohsweken Speedway, west of Hamilton, ON. The 30-year-old from Mississauga, ON., arrived at Ohsweken with only a slim shot at the title, such was the success of FTC points leader Steve Beattie of Petrolia, ON, over the summer of 2016.
After a strong program of great racing in the first appearance of the series at the famous open wheeled auto racing venue, “Dash for Cash” victor Beattie had to merely start the Expert Open feature to grab enough points to earn the crown. Instead Beattie, aboard his Kurt Beigger Racing Honda CRF450 “framer”, crashed on the opening lap, and with the ensuing mess including two other bikes, caused a red flag.
Beattie was sent to hospital in Hamilton with injuries to his neck, shoulder and hand, but is expected to make a full recovery. When the race restarted, Lawrence wasn’t exactly sure what was required to keep his National overall title, but none the less “Fresh” set off for the win aboard his Town Moto/Parts Canada DTX-class Honda CRF450.
Lawrence battled back-and-forth for the win against the Honda of Tyler Seguin, until Seguin got clear near the end of the 15 lap main event. Second for Lawrence meant he came up just short of the Title, while Brodie Buchan worked up to third on another KBR Honda “framer.” Don Taylor, back from injury, ran up front early and eventually placed fourth aboard his Sehl Racing DTX Yamaha YZF450.
“For myself, overall, it was good to be up front, battling for the win,” commented Lawrence, who had a successful debut roadracing in 2016 in the Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike division of the Mopar CSBK roadracing tour.
“It was a tough year overall, and it was a hard year on the tracks up in Canada,” reflected Lawrence, who has spoken with Beattie in the hospital. “I know Steve is hurt, he’s beat up to hell, but he’s in good spirits.
“I knew that Steve would be OK overall, at least eventually,” admitted Lawrence, who will be a Pro roadracer in Canada for 2017. “It’s really tough to see a friend when he is down like that, and Steve’s brother Doug is like a big brother to me, and he was trying to keep me calm during the delay.”
Some spectators wondered why Lawrence, who has competed on an amazingly wide selection of motorcycles in 2016, opted to run his short track Welland bike at the Ohsweken almost-half-mile.
“Early on, the track was so unbelievably slippery,” explained Lawrence. “That was during the day, then they got the water in it as the sun went down, it cooled off and got naturally more damp, and even then it was still slippery.
“It really was s a different track, it was cool, with the high banks, and overall really safe. I think it’s important for our guys to get to ride on tracks like this, because if you want to go down and race against the best guys in the U.S., you’re going to have to figure out how to ride tracks like Ohsweken.
“Because of the banking and the great width of the track, you have a lot of choices at a place like that. It was really great we got to go there with Flat Track Canada.”
As far as lines are concerned, Lawrence claims that “If you want, you can go around the very inside and make it a way shorter race track. It was really fun: you can bomb around wherever the race track takes you – there seem to be lots of fast lines.”
In 2017, Lawrence expects to be involved with the revamped, Twins-focused U.S. Series, and otherwise explains that “for 2016, I have nothing left to do. I really don’t want to think about motorcycles for a while!”
In support race action at Ohsweken, Seguin held off Lawrence to win the Expert DTX class event, while Buchan earned the 2016 DTX Title.
In the Intermediate-level classes, former Mopar CSBK overall and Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike National Champ Jodi Christie (KBR Honda) and reigning Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike National Champ Kenny Riedmann (Sturgess Kawasaki) showed well for the roadracing contingent, taking advantage of the fact the venue was new to everyone.
Tyler Brown won both the Intermediate Open and DTC classes, Riedmann third in DTX while he and Christie went 6th and 7th in the Open Main Event.