Canadian motorcycle road racing legend Miguel Duhamel was back on the track at Autodrome St-Eustache on Friday, although not in a competitive sense. The multi-time American Motorcycle Association (AMA) champion was in the role of guest instructor at the official licensing day for the Honda CBR250R National Race Series, which will be part of this summer’s Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship.
Duhamel spent time demonstrating the Honda CBR250R on the track and coaching racers. The Honda CBR250R National Race Series replaces the CBR125R Challenge on the national road racing schedule. “The bike is a lot of fun; it’s really enjoyable,” said Duhamel, who last rode on a Canadian racetrack at a round of the Canadian Superbike Championship at Shannonville Motorsport Park in 1990. “There’s enough power that you can get good speed and if you’re riding it the right way you can be right up there,” explained Duhamel.
A native of Lasalle, Quebec, Duhamel is arguably the most successful racer in Canadian history. He is a five-time winner of the famed Daytona 200 at Daytona International Speedway, won the AMA Superbike title in 1995 and has claimed five AMA 600cc Supersport national crowns. He competed in the MotoGP World Championship in 1992 and was the last Canadian to earn a regular spot in World Championship competition before 2011 Canadian Superbike champ Brett McCormick got a shot in the World Superbike Championship this season. “This CBR250R is very well balanced,” added Duhamel. “It’s a great, great bike for learning how to ride. It reminds me of the little bikes I had when I started to ride.” The licensing day was also attended by defending CBR125R Challenge national champion Stacey Nesbitt of St-Lazare, Quebec, who will attempt to add the CBR250R title to her list of achievements this summer. “It’s a fun bike to ride,” said the 15-year-old Nesbitt. “It’s pretty comparable to the 125, but it’s a little bigger, faster and more powerful. I haven’t needed to change my style too much riding it. My lines here are not too different [from the 125].”
Racers unofficially turned laps in the 59-second range around the 1.93km (1.2-mile) St-Eustache track. The CBR125R lap record is one minute, 3.313 seconds set by Nesbitt last July. The Honda CBR250R National Race Series is open to riders aboard Honda’s CBR250R motorcycle, with limited modifications permitted by national series organizer Frontline CSBK Inc. Horsepower is restricted to 27 hp as measured on the official series Dynojet Dyno. Competitors in the Honda CBR250R National Race Series must be no older than 25 years old at the time of the first round of the series at Shannonville June 22-24. Racers may be no younger than 15 years old, unless they have previously competed in a minimum of three officially sanctioned CBR125R races, in which case they can be as young as 13 years old. There will be a second official licensing day for the Honda CBR250R National Race Series at the Rider Development Track at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly Mosport International Raceway) in Bowmanville, Ontario on Monday, June 11. Official series suppliers are Pirelli, Akrapovic, Elka, Hot Bodies, Dynojet and Parts Canada.