Our journey (my father and I) began Tuesday evening as we finished packing up and checking off our lists. We then picked up Kyle and Lindsey from Windmill Motorsports and Machine and set off. We stopped in Montreal (or area) and met up with pro Superbike racer Michael Leon to transfer Kyle and Lindsey into his truck for the remainder of the trip. We set out and stopped in Edmunston, New Brunswick around 3am Atlantic time for a few hours rest. We set out bright and early to continue on our trip. As we entered Nova Scotia we realized Michael's truck had no accessory power. After some quick roadside diagnosis we found a faulty alternator. A huge thank you goes out to Robert McKinnon from Napa Auto Parts Cornwall for helping us out even when we're out in Nova Scotia and getting us back on the road quickly.
Once we finally arrived at Atlantic Motorsport Park and got set up for Rounds 3 & 4 of the Mopar CSBK Canadian Superbike Championship weekend I set out to walk the track I would be racing in the coming days. My first thoughts on the track were that no video I have ever watched has prepared me for the insane elevations and blind corners. It was safe to say I was intimidated.
Thursday morning came and we put the bike through tech and set out for the CSBK track day. It took me a few sessions to figure out my lefts and my rights but by the 3rd session I had absolutely fallen in love with the track. There were no official timed sessions but I was rumoured to be in the 1:17's but I was still content with it being my first day there.
Friday morning I skipped practice due to a wet track and not wanting to use my rains. I set out for Shoei Premium Helmets Amateur Sport Bike qualifying in the dry with a cold front tire due to a warmer issue and was not in the zone. A red flag came out and we were given 12 minutes. I was able to get more in the zone and piece together a few good flying laps and qualify in 4th place with a 1:14.688 which was only .002 ahead of the 5th place rider. I was extremely happy with that qualification and was just narrowly off the front row of a National Race on a 15 year old motorcycle!
Saturday morning I went out and just worked on hitting my marks and getting ready for the race.
The start of the first Shoei Premium Helmets Amateur Sport Bike race on Saturday was one of my worst starts and I was pushed to 5th place. I worked hard and hung on to 5th place for most of the race before being passed and finished 6th. It was a hard fought race with a fellow friend and competitor Travis Milkowski right on my tail the entire race. It was the last lap that I managed my fastest lap of the race with a 1:14.3. This was my best ever national level finish and it put me into the prize money so I can say that I'm a paid racer now!
Sunday morning I was feeling stiff and sore and wanted to save myself for the race (this may have turned out to be my best idea of the weekend). The skies were threatening as we set out for our warm up lap in the Shoei Premium Helmets Amateur Sport Bike class but the track was dry. I was nervous about getting a good start which made my start less than spectacular and I was pushed back to 6th place. It was around the 4th lap that coming through turn 1 towards turn 2 I felt the bike shut itself off and slowly chug back to life surrendering a position in the process and putting me p7. The next lap by the rider that had just passed me had a hard crash just 1 corner ahead of me bringing out the red flag. I managed my fastest time of the weekend in the first half of the race with a 1:14.1. Thankfully the rider was for the most part okay and was able to walk away. I was starting p6 for the restart. During the red flag we tightened up the chain as we noticed there was a lot of slack. I mentioned the shut off issue and a few people had noticed that my bike may have been showing its true age and the work I was putting it through. No time to further diagnose the issue. It was time to go and as we set out the skies started to spit on us. I got a bad start (déjà vu, it seems) and set out in 7th. By the back straight the first time by I realized something was not okay with my motorcycle. I was not getting the speed or response I was expecting when I was opening up the throttle and the bike was spitting and sputtering. Definitely not running on all 4 cylinders. My survival instinct kicked in and all I was concerned with was finishing the race. I was carefully watching my pitboard and instrument panel throughout the short race and learning quickly that my once large gap was extremely short and I was on the verge of losing positions. I managed to hang on to 7th to collect some valuable points in the series and salvage the weekend. The bike didn't stay running long enough to make the cool down lap but I was able to coast into the pits and call it a semi successful weekend. There were some kind words and encouragement given to me from people along pit lane for staying out and salvaging what I could which I really appreciated from everyone.
Now it's time to start the long road home and see what Burns Racing can muster up for the remaining rounds of the CSBK series. Hopefully we can repair the bike. I am currently sitting 6th overall in the Amateur Sport Bike standings and I'm really happy with how my season has been going all things considered (blowing up my first bike at CSBK Rd 1 & now possibly blowing up my second bike at Rd 4).
I'd like to thank the entire Walker family for making the Nationals an enjoyable time off the track. I also need to thank Adolfo and Julia Silva for getting us away from the track to do some exploring throughout Halifax.
I need to thank my dad for helping to keep me level headed and my bike almost in perfect running order this weekend (sorry for potentially blowing up another motorcycle)
I had a blast out east and I hope it's in my cards to come back next year and compete once again! I can't thank the people enough who help make this racing dream a reality and keep allowing me to do what I do! Without you I wouldn't be where I am and I appreciate everything you've done for me.
Once again thanks to all the die-hard fans that read and share these extremely drawn out race weekend reports. Hope you enjoy them!
Champion Spark Plugs
Windmilll Motorsports and Machine
Vortex Racing Fan Page
My Ottawa Orthodontist
Road Racing Stars of Tomorrow
NAPA Autoparts Cornwall
Argyle & Associates
From a press release