Brodie Buchan of Leamington, ON., clinched the 2017 Open Expert Championship and the Flat Track Canada overall number one plate for 2018 with victory in the Feature race at the three quarters of a mile long oval at Georgian Downs in Barrie, ON., round seven of the nine round National tour.
Second year Pro racer Buchan, age 18, rode a “framer” Honda built by Kurt Biegger to the win in the main event, holding off the 600cc Sehl Rotax piloted by Dustin Brown of Utterson, ON. Aboard the single-cylinder racer usually piloted by Don Taylor of Port Colborne, ON., Brown spent most of the race less than one second behind leader Buchan before mounting a charge late in the race.
On the last of 15 laps in cool but fortunately not rainy conditions, Brown got close exiting the final turn, but wound up about one bike length short at the finish line. Honda mounted Tyler Seguin of Welland, ON, was less then a second behind the leaders for third place.
Pre-race favorite and opening Heat Race victor Chris Evans of Jordan Station, ON., earned a solitary fourth aboard the only Harley-Davidson XR750 twin in the field. Last year, Steve Beattie won the title riding a Bieger Honda and his own, Brian Olsen built Harley, but Beattie opted not to compete in 2017 due to injuries suffered at the end of last season.
Honda-mounted Brandon Seguin of Welland, ON, was fifth ahead of Cody Marentette of Tilbury, ON, also on a Honda CRF450R.
Frequent Flat Track Canada front runners Doug Lawrence (2015 Champ) and Don Taylor (winner at the most recent round in Belleville, ON.) are in the U.S.A. this weekend competing in American Flat Track National events in Springfield, Ill.
“It feels good, since we knew we had to win to get the Championship tonight, “started winner Buchan. “This is gold to come in here and get the win. I’m really happy with the bike and our pace.”
“Looking at the race, I know this isn’t really my kind of track,” continued Buchan of his title charge with two events left to run on the 2017 National Schedule. “I started well, and just tried to maintain my pace, but I knew I was working the tire. We put a lot of work in early in the season, things went according to plan and that allowed us to clinch if we got the win here, and we hung on to get it.”
Bike builder Bieger confirmed that after engine problems at the same track a year ago,” trying to keep up with the Harleys,” he built a special Honda mill for Buchan’s title run, completed the Friday night before the Barrie event.
15-year-old runner-up Brown was clearly frustrated not to get Buchan at the line, and after the race explained that “I was really trying for the win, but I just couldn’t quite make it happen. It was my first time riding Taylor’s Rotax, built by Jim Sehl, and its just as good as I expected.”
Seguin also thought he was close to the leader’s pace, but “I couldn’t quite make it work the way I wanted. It’s been an up-and-down year, with good luck and it seems like a lot of bad luck. The next tracks on the tour (Wheatley on September 16 and the series final at Ohsweken September 23) are good for me, so we’re still working for a win.”
Seguin went on to thank George Evans and Parts Canada and Performance ATV Leisure, as well as “everyone at the track.” Buchan is backed by Kurt Biegger Racing, Joe Rocket and Honda Canada, while Brown’s backers include Bracebridge Machine, Sehl Racing, Moto Gear, Performance ATV, Ryno Power and Fuel Clothing.
The Expert DTX event was expected to be one of the best events of the program, after two great heat races. But front runner Dave Pouliot of Quebec City, QC, couldn’t get his Kawasaki to fire on the line, and Brown had a remote starter problem with Taylor’s stock framed Yamaha. This gave Buchan a solid jump, and he ran away to win by over a quarter of a lap, Marentette holding off unretired Braden Vallee in a good dice for second place out of four total finishers in the “production” class!
New Champ Buchan also held off Brown in another leg of their building rivalry in the Dash-For-Cash, meaning Buchan and Biegger went three-for-three in Expert class events at Georgian Downs.
Also attracting attention was Honda-mounted Trent Pickle of Essex, ON., first overall in Intermediate DTX as well as Intermediate Open class action in Barrie.