Inside Motorcycles exclusive by Colin Fraser- St. Eustache, Quebec: Current Autodrome St. Eustache track owner Alan Labrosse was a top motorcycle road racer in the early 1980s, winning AMA Nationals in the 250cc and Formula One categories, as well as representing Canada in 250cc Grand Prix World Championship action in Europe.
Following his retirement from two-wheeled competition at a young age in 1985, Labrosse was rookie of the year in Canadian National F2000 open wheel auto action in 1986. But Labrosse then retired to take over Track Manager duties at the just-expanded Shannonville Motorsport Park.
In 1989, Labrosse began yet another career as a business manager of top racing competitors, starting with then rising star Miguel Duhamel. Labrosse and Duhamel have been together ever since, including Duhamel’s stint as a MotoGP front runner in the 500cc two-stroke Grand Prix days as well as his long time as a winner in AMA Superbike and SuperSport action.
Five time Daytona 200 victor Duhamel recently retired after twenty years at the top of his sport. Duhamel was a race winner on a wide variety of machines, including Yamaha, Kawasaki and Harley-Davidson, but centred on a long run as top gun for the American Honda program.
On Friday, June 1, Duhamel was in Montreal for his duties as Guest Chief Instructor at the Honda Canada CBR250R School at St. Eustache. In his first-ever on-track appearance on the Autodrome’s road course, Duhamel spent the day riding the brand new, spec kit equipped CBR250R racer with competitors planning to take part in the brand new National Championship class.
Previously, Duhamel had competed on the St. Eustache oval venue in a car owned by Labrosse for a NASCAR Canadian Tire National series four-wheeled event.
Last Friday afternoon, Canadian road race history was made when Duhamel was joined on track by friend and manager Labrosse for the first time. Several students, as well as 2011 CBR125R National Champion Stacey Nesbitt, enjoyed on-track dicing with the unusual Duhamel/Labrosse duo.
“That sure was lots of fun,” smiled Duhamel, who has not raced in Canada on two wheels since his win at Shannonville in the Pro Superbike National round in September, 1990. “For someone who hasn’t been out on the track in a long time, Alan was really going well – I could barely keep up with him. Everyone was really enjoying this new Honda; it’s a great machine that really suits this circuit.”
Duhamel, who still lives part time in old Montreal, returned to his regular home in Las Vegas, Nevada following the event. The next Honda CBR250R School is slated for Monday, June 11 at the Rider Development Track at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, formerly known as Mosport.