It has been five years since the CMDRA has raced in Fort St. John B.C. and all the teams were eager to put on a great show for the fans. The morning test session was delayed slightly due to the previous evening's heavy rain that left the track rather wet Saturday morning. By the afternoon the sun was out and the track was ready for the bikes to make their runs. The staff worked hard getting the track up to par but the lack of rubber on the surface was preventing the teams from making clean passes under power. Many teams, including Ethan were simply having their tires go up in smoke instead of accelerating properly. Afternoon qualifying produced slightly better results but it was obvious the times would be way off the mark of a typical track. Barkley found himself qualified in the number two spot at the days end.
Ethan made several changes to his bike Eleanor for Sunday in an attempt to gain some much needed traction. The new and improved machine is lighter and longer, making traction even more critical than ever. This new more aggressive setup will work wonders on the perfect surfaces of the USA but is proving to be challenging racing on Canadian tracks. Ethan was still spinning up a storm on every pass but the unmatched power to weight ratio of his bike helped him post the top speed of his class on every pass. Barkley dispatched Ken Morrison on his turbo ZX-14 easily in the semi-finals and would be facing Rob Aston in the finals. The two racers left the start line gently but then Ethan spun the tire early and found himself behind by 3 thenths of a second after only 330'. Never one to give up, Ethan worked the throttle and somehow found some grip and then poured the coals to the turbocharged GSX-R1000 and quickly accelerated, gaining ground on his competitor. The two crossed the finish line virtually side by side, with Barkley narrowly edging out the victory, 8.90 to an 8.92 by the runner up Aston. Ethan had gained over ten miles per hour over his opponent, which allowed him to not only catch up but actually pass him just in the nick of time for the win.
This is a big boost for Ethan and his team as he heads for the season finale at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, AB. September 7-8. The track surface is always stellar at Castrol and Ethan is hopeful he can use all of Eleanor's new found power in his quest for a 14th National Championship.
-- From EB Speed