Story by Frank Wood. Shannoville Motorsports Park, June 7, 2012- Riders competing in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championships had a free pre-season test day today and were blessed with perfect weather for their outing.
Although official timing was not available for this test, many riders had on-bike lap timers and others relied on stopwatches to chart their progress. The Dynojet dynamometer was on site and many teams used that as a guide to get them close to the series-dictated horsepower limits for their respective classes. The official weight scales gave the teams accurate assessments of their mounts weight and series officials gave each motorcycle a thorough inspection.
There were two notable mishaps during the day as Michael Taylor took the Mackies Harley-Davidson/Technic Leathers/Goderich Toyota XR1200 for an off-track excursion in Turn 3 and lowsided, breaking the footrest bracket and bending the handlebars. “It was just a tumble,” Taylor said. “The bad news is, I was in such a hurry to get here I didn’t pack the box of spare parts.”
“This is great, I’m so glad to be back,” he added, on his return to racing. “I had the bike out at Grand Bend and really enjoyed myself and I guess I’m a bit bummed right now. I would have liked to have ridden more here today but we’ll just look forward to the nationals.”
Francois Dumas also brought out the red flag after a spectacular crash in Turn One. Dumas highsided on his #67 BMW superbike and hit the turf at track side, became airborne and flipped end over end. When it came to rest it had sustained considerable damage. Dumas admitted to a sore shoulder but was otherwise unhurt.
Alex Welsh on the Kenwood/Parts Canada Suzuki GSXR 1000 was impressive on track and logged 58 laps experimenting with various set-ups and dealing with a frustrating front brake problem. His unofficial fastest lap time was 1.05.3. “We’ve still got some work to do but it’s good,” said Welsh post-session. “I’ve still got to find what’s up with the brake but the bike is where we want it. Right now the front tire is shot so we’re going to call it a day.”
Andrew Nelson was the workhorse of the day, putting in just short of 90 laps. “We’ve got a lot of new stuff” Nelson commented between shifts. “It’s a different chassis, there’s a new K-Tech rear shock and we have some new triple clamps so it’s kind of like starting from scratch.” In the afternoon session Nelson had an unofficial 1.05.47 and then lowered that to a 1.05.22. The Nelson team is sponsored by mcn.tv/mcnsports.tv and Endras BMW Motorrad of Ajax, ON.
Raphael Archambault is coming back from a difficult 2011 Pro Sportbike season with a new team and new sponsorships. The former CBR125, SV 650 Cup and Amatuer National Champion is now partnered with G Suspension, Town and Country Ceramics and Picotte Performance on the Suzuki GSXR 600. “It’s going good, really good,” the Quebec native beamed. “We have a decent bike and a good set up and all we have got do is go out and have fun and the times will be there.” Archambault was circulating in the 1.07 range in the morning on worn tires and then dropped into the mid-1.05 range by days end on fresh Pirellis.
Will Hornblower is also a graduate of CBR125 and SV650 racing and has now broken into the Inside Motorcycles Amateur Sportbike Championship for 2012. He has already won a regional 600 amateur sportbike championship in the 2011 SOAR series and after a “fantastic weekend”, was moved into the Pro ranks for the next day’s race where he placed second.
Hornblower will campaign a Yamaha R6 with a motor prepared by Scott Miller of Fast Company. “It’s definitely more physically demanding, a new experience and I’m enjoying it,” he said of his new bike. “Everything happens so much faster. It is harder, but it’s fun.” He enjoys the support of ProStar Racing, Ripp Racing and his father.