Saturday was autograph day for the stars of the Mopar CSBK series on February 18 at the Enercare Centre for the Toronto Motorcycle Show on the Exhibition grounds. The annual event at the Show, running through Sunday on the north shore of Lake Ontario, was hosted by Dalton Timmis Insurance presents Mopar CSBK on TSN host Frank Woods, voice of the National Championship Series.
Arriving just in time to start the fan session was Doug Lawrence, the former Flat Track Canada National Champ carrying a bundle of Suzuki posters and unpacking his brand new electric-blue pit shirt, all part of his just-announced support deal with Suzuki Canada.
Fan favourite Lawrence confirmed that he will focus most of his summer attentions on the Mopar CSBK Series, as well as racing select Flat Track events in both the United States and Canada. Although unwilling to make any predictions for 2017, Lawrence did acknowledge that the 2017 Brooklin Cycle Racing Rookie of the Year Award was definitely a target for his first full season of road racing.
Lawrence also confirmed his enthusiasm for the second 2017 round at Grand Bend Motorplex in Western Ontario, since “no one on the Pro National tour has raced there much, and there has never been a National, so I have a better chance!”
While many racers are discouraged by the famed “Roller Coaster” back straight at Atlantic Motorsport Park in Nova Scotia, Lawrence is looking forward to the July Superbike double header. “I’ve been watching some video and it looks like fun, and it is certainly a place that rewards accuracy,” explained Lawrence, who will be on a steep learning curve for his venue debut on the potent new Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Current Mopar CSBK Champion Jordan Szoke was busy at the show, riding in the Trials Demo events as well as joining his fellow Superbike front runners at the CSBK booth. Szoke confirmed that he is busy preparing his pair of Express Lane/Motovan supported BMW Motorrad S1000RR race bikes for his 2017 title defence, starting at Shannonville Motorsport Park, ON, on May 28.
2016 National tour points runner-up Kenny Riedmann is already in training for the 2017 tour, with his new Sturgess Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja racer spread out across a couple of provinces, undergoing a full-scale race preparation. Riedmann plans to train with flat trackers in the U.S. in the near future, before moving on to development on the pavement of the latest Ninja.
Derrick Whyte expects to join Riedmann for spring testing in the U.S.A. for the second straight season, also with a new Kawasaki Ninja: this one a ZX-10R model. The 2015 Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike Champion will continue with backing from Snow City Cycle in Toronto as well as Lucas Oils, aiming to build on his strong ninth overall series placing in 2016.
Recently confirmed for a second straight season with BMW Motorrad support, Ben Young is busy training near home at the Blue Mountain Ski resort, although the warm weather has the Scot worried about a shorted season on the slopes.
Young took the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year honours in 2016, and confirmed he is looking for feature race wins in his second year in the feature class in 2017. However Young did come up short of Riedmann’s bold statement of intent: the main goal for “Kenneth the Menace” is to dethrone 11 time overall Canadian Superbike Champ Szoke, taking his number one plate, in the upcoming season.