Elliott Vieria’s last race went well. The final National of the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike series at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last August turned into a run-away victory for the Guyanese born, Pickering based 25 year old Pro racer.
“After the five years I had prior to that, it was such a good way to end the 2022 season,” explained Vieira during an interview at the Toronto Motorcycle Show last weekend. Vieira was referencing his first years in Canada on the CSBK tour, a period that could define the concept of “hard luck.”
The 2023 Canadian Pro middleweight season was a crazy one, with unparalleled competition at the front of the field – five winners in eight races, and a rookie Pro Champ, Trevor Dion. Vieira was in the thick of things, near the front of the pack, at most of the rounds.
Does one 2022 race stand out?
“Calabogie, that second race, there was so much fighting back and forth,” considers Vieira. “It was probably the most favorite for me, even though we had some shifting issues. Everyone knows that I love to battle, I love to go head on, I love a dog fight – that’s just me!”
The Calabogie race featured some amazing passes involving the Snow City Yamaha of Vieira, Dion’s Kawasaki and McKay’s Fast Company ZX-6R Ninja, sometimes two or three per lap.
“Once I know my bike is set up well, then I know I am at the level where I know I can do it,” confirms Vieira of his racing strategy. “My confidence level was up after the first Calabogie race, and those first couple of laps, back and forth with Trevor, I was able to confirm my pace, I knew I had what it would take to win.”
Vieira has now completed his Engineering Degree, so he confirms has a better chance to focus on his 2023 campaign: “studying, racing, juggling all of that – this should be much easier, I can relax and concentrate more on racing. The next couple of years, I want to focus on racing, before I get more involved in work.”
Having gown up racing in the Caribbean islands, including Expert-level success, Vieira still considers 2022 his break-out year in terms of his overall package.
“I would say last season was my most comfortable year in terms of having confidence in the bike and myself- there were other years when the bike was ready, but I wasn’t, or the other way around. Every year, it seemed like some set of problems would put me behind the eight ball.
“So in terms of having both elements working, the whole package, it came together at Calabogie. At the first round at Grand Bend, I hadn’t been on my bike prior to that weekend, so there was no seat time – I wasn’t prepared.
“So for sure, for 2023, this is the first year I will try to get out there, and get the seat time with an all new bike.”
Ironically, Vieria’s team never put the complete “A” package Yamaha together during last season.
“There was always some form of problem, I’ve never had things fully, one hundred percent. So, this year, we aim to get everything lined up fully, be prepared and then get the seat time to be ready for the first Nationals.”
“Physically, I think I’m better than in previous years, and in terms of the bike, I’m going with something new, but I think this is the right direction. I know what I’m capable of!”
After beating around the bush, Vieira confirmed that for 2023, his team will take advantage of the revamped CSBK Sport Bike Rules and compete in middleweight with a Ducati v-2 Panigale.
“The point is to go after the Pro Sport Bike crown, and then we will see what we can do in the big class – we might do a couple of Superbike races. I have a bike that could work well on some tracks, like Shubbie, but at the end of the day I am focused on the 600 class Championship for 2023.”
“In the long running, we are looking for that exposure in the 1000 cc class as well – most racers have those goals,” admits Vieira, backed in 2023 by GP Bikes, Liqui Moly, DP Brakes and Brooklin Cycle Racing.
Undoubtably, the switch to the high-profile Ducati will place additional pressure on Vieria’s 2023 program, and Vieira is excited to meet the “fans of the brand.”
“I think it will be a change, a great challenge,” starts Vieira. “It’s a great bike, a proven package, but not in Canada. No one has ridden them for years. No one else is on it. I believe it is the right direction for me – it will be great exposure if I can do well on it, open a lot of doors.”
With Dion departed to Pro Superbike with the Szoke/Kawasaki super team, we asked Vieira who he expects to provide the most competition in 2023: “David McKay seems to be the one – he is the most consistent, knows all the tracks, and was right there last year. If Trevor hadn’t gone to focus on the 1000s, it would be the two of them.”
Prior to trying the Ducati for the first time, Vieira will be at Daytona for his first crack at the famed 200 miler, as team-mate to 2023 CSBK number one Ben Young on the Bridgestone-backed Yamaha YZF-R6 superteam.
“Words can’t explain how thrilled I was when I got the news about the Daytona program from Bridgestone,” smiles Vieira. “My father and Clive (Ng-A-Kein, former racer, Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame member and Vieria’s mentor) have talked about Daytona, and getting to actually experience it myself, it is one of those things that was on my bucket list.
“It’s really awesome to ride in the 200, and I’m excited to learn everything that is particular to the 200, the Pit Stops and what have you. Me, personally, I love the challenge. I think it will be fun.”
“Ben and I have never actually ridden together, but we get along pretty well off the track. I think we should be able to work well, he has the 200 experience, I don’t. I know I will need to learn the track in the first half of the first day, and come up with the pace.”
Vieria’s first time on Bridgestone rubber will be at Daytona, but he’s not too worried.
“At the end of the day, Bridgestone are professionals, and they know what they are doing. It should be awesome to ride on the newest Bridgestones – I believe in them, and they believe in us also.”
- From Colin Fraser