Newly-crowned Flat Track Canada overall national No. 1 Doug Lawrence is very busy these days, preparing for the season-ending dirt track doubleheader next weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. On Friday evening, November 20, the 13th and deciding round of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Championship takes place, while the next night features the inaugural Yamaha-sponsored Superprestigio of the Americas. Both events take place on a custom-built, indoor hockey rink-sized (listed at an optimistic .25 miles) track at the Orleans Hotel and Casino.
Inside Motorcycles will be on site in Vegas for Lawrence’s races, and provide exclusive web coverage focused on the Flat Track Canada champ.
Lawrence will compete aboard one of his Honda CRF450Rs, recently rebuilt by Doug Beattie.
“I’ve won a lot of Canadian nationals on this bike,” explained Lawrence shortly before leaving for Michigan and further testing and training on Sunday, November 15. “But now we’ve detuned it, trying to make it work for a tenth-of-a-mile track. Doug did a great job for me, he really knows these Hondas well now.”
Lawrence explained that everyone planning to compete in Las Vegas has been looking to ride at tracks small enough to simulate the Orleans set-up.
“Everyone has been building these little tracks, and I tested with (American champ) Jared Mees at a track he built on his property. Then I’m going to Scott Parker’s place in Michigan, Bryan Smith built a track there. I think (retired multi-time national champ) Scott’s even going to ride with us!”
After his final test in Michigan, Lawrence will fly to California, before heading to Vegas for practice.
As far as the format for the event is concerned, with many short races close together leading to eliminations and the final, Lawrence says he is trying not to focus too much on the event’s structure.
“It doesn’t help to worry too much about the starts, but everyone knows how important that is on a short track. The starts are huge,” laughs Lawrence.
“The trick is to ride assertive, not aggressive. You really need to use your head, pick your battles, and don’t put yourself in a position where you are going to make a mistake. I guess you have to say that it comes down to luck. The guys who get success in this type of event, they aren’t the fastest, but they really know how to position themselves. It is important to qualify up front, the times will be really close, put yourself on pole, be in a position to control things from the front.
“The race formats are a little different from what we get usually, so it will shake down differently, but it will still be an issue if some guy kamikazes and takes down a bunch of people in his heat race.
“The racing will be way different from how things look in practice, we’ll be more upright, not so vulnerable, guarding our spot – maybe not as exciting (or sideways). It really depends on the surface, can we ride it hard, but it will likely be inconsistent. So protecting your spot, your position, will be a big factor.”
Lawrence places equal importance on the two events, but figures that Saturday’s Superprestigio will be the tougher event in terms of qualifying for the final race.
“Organizer Chris Carr has put me in with all the other flat trackers, and that class is full of heavy hitters – I’m really in the deep water, so in a way the math is worse on the second night. No one knows what will happen, and that should make it really entertaining.”
Following the Vegas events, Lawrence will return to California for some bicycle training before heading to legendary MX venue Glen Helen Raceway for Red Bull’s 18th Day in the Dirt, with support from Troy Lee Designs Canada.
Sponsorship for the Lawrence Racing 2015 AMA Pro effort comes from John Briggs Motorsports, Town Moto, Brooklin Cycle Racing, Jon Castin, Triple J Racing, American Harley-Davidson, Arai, Troy Lee Design, SIDI boots, Motion Pro, West Coast Hot Shoes, Works Connection, Klotz, Saddlemen and JS Marketing.