We started this trip to Round 2 of the Mopar CSBK Canadian Superbike Championship at Grand Bend Motorplex bright and early Thursday morning as the drive is always a long one passing through the GTA but we made sure to make a stop at The Lil Organic Kitchen Whitby to see our racer friend Will and get some seriously delicious and nutritious food to keep me powered through the long drive. Finally arrived to the track and met up with my friend/competitor Mariusz who unfortunately wasn't racing that weekend but came to help out and show me the ropes to the track and how to knock some time off (thanks for everything buddy).
Friday morning I eased out onto the track for the SHOEI Helmets Amateur Sport Bike in my fresh new Alpinestars suit from 613Motorsports.com on some Dunlop Soft slicks from Round 1 at Shannonville and quickly learned that the surface of Grand Bend and the temps were not up to snuff for a soft rear. The tire shredded in 1 session and I was sliding all over the place. The afternoon I set out on a fresh medium Rear from the great people at Pro 6 Cycle Inc. and immediately felt the difference. I led the afternoon Amateur Sport Bike session with a 1:07.9 and was feeling great with how the bike was performing underneath me.
Saturday morning I was feeling under the weather with a man cold, and just wanted to work on some technical corners and improve my lines. As I set out for Shoei Amateur Sport Bike I had no intentions of setting any blazing lap times but I managed to throw down a 1:07.4 which proved to be a personal best for the weekend.
Qualifying for Amateur Sport Bike I set out looking to make a statement. I set some hot laps but made the mistake of over riding turn 1 and washing out 3 of my laps. I set back out and started piecing together my run for the front and managed quite a few hard laps and once I was satisfied I had set some hard laps I was getting ready to pit. I tipped into turn 4 and immediately lost the front, falling to the pavement and off into the dirt (not my 3 day old suit!). I got up and turned to face oncoming bikes while in the grass, just in time to watch another competitor do the exact same thing and come sliding past me narrowly missing me. I immediately picked the bike up to push it out of the impact zone and almost pushed it to an access road when I realized that if I was in fact in the top 5, and I left the track/hot pit I would be DQ'd and my times thrown out. I did some further inspection on my bike and realized it wasn't damaged too bad and it started right up so I was able to gingerly ride it back around the track to the pits where I was informed I had qualified 2nd place with a 1:07.7 for the final to take place on Sunday, it almost erased the memory that I had crashed - almost.
Sunday was race day and the cold was still beating me up it felt and the after effects of the tumble I took set in as I was feeling pretty stiff and sore (Vicks for the cold and Rub A535 for the muscles). I set out in morning practice for Amateur Sport Bike just trying to build back my confidence in turn 4 and get loose for the task at hand. I was feeling pretty good and after a good stretch I was as ready as I would ever be for the race. I knew it would be tough to last the full race pushing hard especially with the cold and the temps being into the 30's before the humidity. After a red flag on the first lap and a shortened 10 lap restart I found myself with a second place position for the first 2 laps before surrendering it to a good friend Kyle Newman. I really wanted to secure a third place podium to stand alongside Newman and thought I was off to a lonely 3rd place before some lapped traffic saw me get held up and have to watch another rider pass by, following up close to him all the way around the laps narrowed down as I planned my next move. On the last lap I got a good drive out of the hairpin into the slipstream on the back straight, pulling out and making the pass on the brakes into the carousel and making it stick to secure 3rd place back. To say I was excited was genuinely an understatement and I think more than a few people heard my cheers from my helmet while on the cool down lap.
All in all Grand Bend was a great experience and I had a blast getting to see a lot of good friends I don't often see. A big thanks extends to Mariusz and Mindy for their help and accommodations for the weekend with a nice bed to sleep in and mechanical assistance whenever it was requested. Big thanks to my dad for everything he did from swapping tires, keeping me hydrated and putting up with my typical antics all on his Birthday, so here's to you dad, brought you home some hardware for your Birthday! Couldn't have made it through the weekend without my mom and her tireless effort behind the scenes to prepare the food and drinks for the entire crew. My girlfriend deserves thanks for the words of encouragement and always keeping the sunscreen applied and my cold water close by, so thanks babe for always being so supportive of my crazy passion and not freaking out (too much) after I hit the deck and made my new suit not so pretty. Thanks to Glenn Cauley for the Generator as ours wasn't running which seems to be a common occurrence. I obviously have sponsors to thank because if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be able to attend the races and be equipped or ready to race these hot tiring races. As always the company from the Walkers, Adolfo, the Evans and Joe were much appreciated!
One last big thanks to everyone at Canadian Superbike Championship, the Grand Bend track staff for putting on a great venue and last but not least, the Marshalls who were out in the sun baking to let us do what we do!
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From a press release