Summer is here and motorcycles are back on the street and the racetrack. Inside Motorcycles asked me to write a blog this year, to tell the story on how I got here and where I am going, so here we go.
First let me introduce myself: I’m Bronti Verbeek and I live in Calgary Alberta. I’ve been riding motorcycles since July 2015 and I did my very first race in May of 2017 with the EMRA. How did I get there? That’s a good question. I always wanted to ride a motorcycle since I was a kid, but I never grew up around it or knew anyone who rode. I never rode dirt bikes, quads or anything with an engine until July 2015 when I finished university and bought my first motorcycle. Against many opinions my first bike was a 2005 GSX-R750. I admit that it was probably the wrong choice but I made it work and I rode over 10,000 km in the first six months I owned it.
A friend bought me a day at Castrol race way to receive instruction with On Track Performance and a couple weeks before going to OTP, fate (or luck) had it that while sitting in traffic on the street I met Brad, the former head instructor of BGPR Riding school at Race City Speedway. Brad helped me get to that first riding school and has been helping and coaching me ever since.
After watching me ride he was convinced I should go racing and so was I. I loved riding on the track more than anything. My love for racing was confirmed after leading my very first novice race and finishing third out of 30 or so. I couldn’t believe it! On a 2005 GSX-R750 too! This was an amazing feeling and now one year later with a woman’s open championship, a couple novice race wins, four motorcycles and sponsorship from Motology and Motovan, 2018 is upon us.
It was a long winter getting ready to race in intermediate and knowing that it would be a huge jump to move away from my beloved 750 and race the Motology sponsored GSX-R1000, but before you know it the first EMRA round of 2018 is behind me and here’s what I have learned so far: Racing ain’t easy.
I signed up for the Women’s Open, Intermediate Open Sport Bike and Open Superbike. In the Women’s Open race, I made the mistake of assuming it was a waved start like it was last year. Light goes out and mostly everyone takes off; I stayed there waiting, thinking they would do a restart. I took off a good eight to ten seconds after everyone launched. I managed to make up ground throughout the race and caught up to the leader, but I ran out of laps. Lesson learned: Don’t assume things.
The second race of the day was a combined race with the experts and intermediates. I started in 11th place for the intermediates and was in seventh place but a mix up at the line because of a crashed rider in front of me put me in eighth. Was a fun race! I really enjoyed this one, learning the 1000 and figuring out the new brake markers and body position. It’s a big and heavy fast bike! My pit crew made some adjustments to the geometry to make it easier to turn in and I was able to place the bike where I wanted it through the tricky turns one, three and four at Castrol Raceway. I had a great time! I love being in the intermediate class, made some passes and had some hard passes made on me. They don’t go easy on me because I’m a woman that’s for sure.
The last race of the day was the ten lap Open Superbike. It was a boring race in comparison to the first two, but I turned my fastest lap of the weekend on the last lap of the race.
Last year, when I won and led a bunch of races, was easy in comparison to this year. Now I’m starting over and it’s a faster group in intermediate. But I like a challenge and I’m going to work harder to get to the front. The next round is a double header this weekend (July 6-8) at Castrol Raceway. If you can make it up watch some racing, look for the yellow and blue #93 bike, that’s me. Thanks again to all of my sponsors: James Wong of Motology, Ross Godfrey at Pro-Am, GW Cycle World and Mike Zottman for the wicked Dunlop Tires.
See you all at the track.