Prior to Christmas, Derrick Whyte is busy in his Oshawa, Ontario, home’s garage, preparing a new 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja for action in the 2017 Mopar CSBK National Championship Series. The 2015 Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike Champion had a strong rookie Pro season last summer, even if the ending didn’t go exactly as planned.
“I guess I would say I’m about 90 percent recovered,” explains Whyte, almost four months after the crash that caused a red flag early in Sunday’s final Superbike National of the season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in August.
“I broke my left collar bone, I didn’t need to have surgery but I think it was the right choice to get back to work, back in action, as soon as I could,” starts Whyte. “Then I had the concussion that I’m mostly recovered from, and some issues with my right leg and foot. But things are good now.”
Whyte was in fifth gear near the top of the uphill backstretch at C.T.M.P., when he got tangled up with the similar Kawasaki of Franklyn Dominguez, and eventually the Yamaha 1000 of Marco Souza. Both Whyte and Dominguez crashed, the later largely unhurt.
“According to the data pack in my leathers, I was going 250 kilometers per hour when the initial collision occurred,” continues Whyte. “The telemetry in the Dainese suit indicates that the air bag deployed when I was going 225 kph, so it shows you how fast you slow down once you’re separated from the motorcycle!”
With air-bag equipped suits only recently made available for sale to non-World level racers, most insiders figure that Whyte’s incident with his Rider’s Choice supplied suit was one of the very first times an air-bag equipped set of leathers has deployed at a Canadian circuit.
Whyte was lucky to suffer almost no incidental injuries, usually a given in a high speed accident. As well as his Dainese D-Air leather suit, Whyte also aggressively used other top-of-the-line gear: Shoei X-14 helmet, Five RFX race gloves and Alpinestars Supertech-R boots. Although all the gear showed signs of damage, no major destruction occurred, and the Five gloves in particular suffered no failures whatsoever during their long trip down the road.
“Apparently I slid pretty far up the track, or at least that’s how it looks on YouTube,” considered Whyte. “As far as I’m concerned I was knocked out, I can’t remember anything, but they tell me I was talking after the crash – I just can’t remember.”
“I have some memory of the suit inflating, but that’s about it. Anyway you look at it, we were going pretty fast.”
Up until then, Whyte was having a remarkably solid and consistent rookie Pro season, with no DNFs and no crashes. Even with the incident at “old Mosport,” Whyte still finished ninth overall in the final series points standings, third best rookie Pro behind BMW mounted Ben Young and Samuel Trepanier.
Whyte’s Kawasaki suffered a damaged rear wheel and sub frame, not bad considering the incident, but the Dominguez Kawasaki was far more badly damaged.
Whyte is now busy preparing his new model Ninja, with the engine slated to travel to Scott Cameron’s shop in Quebec. Cameron handles the tuning duties for the works-supported Kenny Riedmann Kawasaki program, second overall behind Champ Jordan Szoke in the 2016 Mopar CSBK standings.
Whyte confirms he will continue in 2017 with support from Snow City Cycle Kawasaki in Toronto, as well as Lucas Oils and Hot Bodies bodywork. His new Ninja should be ready for warm weather testing in the U.S.A. by April, 2017.