If perseverance and hours spent on the road were the only secrets to winning a championship, then Dave Pouliot would most definitely have a few number one plates on his mantle by now. Based in Quebec City and racing in a series that has the majority of its races based in southwestern Ontario, the Pouliot clan has certainly done their share to keep the oil companies in business over the past 12 years or so. With one stop in Quebec in the past couple of seasons, even that race involves an hour and a half of travel for Pouliot to show up at his “home” race. Couple that event with the other five in Ontario this past season and Pouliot tells me he put on about 20,000 kilometres of travel to attend the six-race series. With most riders in the series based in Ontario, Pouliot is certainly dealing with travel time that most of the riders can’t even imagine.
Long considered one of the fast guys in the Expert division in the Flat Track Canada series, Pouliot has endured his share of bad luck over the years as well. Many times, Pouliot has turned the fastest time on the stopwatch in practice, only to have a mechanical gremlin bite him in the butt later in the evening. At Flamboro Downs a few years ago, Pouliot had the quickest time by far in practice and had Doug Lawrence and I buzzing up in the broadcast booth. As we clicked stop on the stopwatch and announced his time which was over three quarters of a second faster than the next rider, Pouliot’s bike simultaneously went up in a puff of smoke and the dejected rider coasted to a stop. I can only imagine how long the ride back to Quebec would feel on nights like these.
After a brief talk in 2014, Pouliot teamed up with former Canadian champ and current Hall of Famer John Parker. Along with coaching and riding tips, Parker also got involved with motor work on Pouliot’s bikes and Pouliot slowly started to see progression in the Expert ranks. While Pouliot soon saw himself grabbing victories in the Expert class, he also started to climb closer to the top of the standings including a runner-up finish in 2018.
2022 was next level for Pouliot however as he not only took the Open Expert championship but grabbed the title in Expert DTX as well. While Pouliot did grab two wins in the Open class on his way to the title, those victories weren’t without drama as both times he had to make his way from back in the field.
The 2022 season started at Welland County Speedway, a quarter mile clay oval that has long been Pouliot’s nemesis. On this night Pouliot did incredible damage control and although he was nowhere near the front at the checkers, a seventh-place finish was more than respectable for the rider who is much more at home on cushion tracks. Round two saw Pouliot take the victory in Quebec, but it wasn’t easy as he had to make his way to the front from row two as well as make his way past AFT regular Brandon Robinson on the potent FTR 750. Pouliot took the checkers in Flamboro as well but once again it was an uphill battle after starting on the back row due to a mechanical in his heat race. Next up was Georgian Downs where championship contender Tyler Seguin was the class of the field, but Pouliot had a good run to finish third. Wheatley was next on the schedule and while Seguin and Pouliot had both tasted victory at the track before, it was Seguin’s brother Brandon taking a dominating victory with Pouliot grabbing a hard fought second place after a not-so-great start.
After five rounds the series headed for Humberstone Speedway with Pouliot holding a slim five-point lead over Seguin. Despite Pouliot having the points lead, many in attendance thought the championship would belong to Seguin at the end of the night for a variety of reasons. With the track being almost in Seguin’s backyard, Pouliot certainly wouldn’t have the crowd on his side. Also, with the track being a clay stock car track, it seemed likely to most that Pouliot would struggle while Seguin would be in his comfort zone. Perhaps the biggest factor against Pouliot was the fact that he didn’t even attend the race at Humberstone last season so this would be his first attempt at the tricky track with a championship on the line.
In a move showing his racing intellect with perhaps a little advice from grizzled veteran Parker, Pouliot shocked a few people in the pits when he signed up for the Open Vintage class. Although I talked to him before the bikes hit the track and knew he had no intention of taking part in the Open Vintage race, his investment of a few more dollars in entry fees would prove beneficial as it gave him some more practice laps on the track. After a great heat race, Pouliot again showed how determined he was to take the title when he chose to sit out the non-points Dash-For-Cash race. When the final got underway it became very apparent that Pouliot meant business. While he did have the lead briefly, for most of the race Pouliot sat in second, right on Seguin’s back tire, which would be enough to take the title. Even a mid-race restart couldn’t change the outcome and Pouliot although not winning the battle did everything he needed to win the war.
Pouliot couldn’t have taken his first title without some amazing sponsors including Kawasaki Canada, John Parker Racing, Moto Vanier, Magic Screed, Garrtech Inc., Inglis Cycle, Menuiserie Pouliot, Saddlemen, FXR, Webcams, Hinson Clutch, Brian Koster Orthoflex Custom Bracing, Lightshoe, MD Distributions, RP Race, 6D Helmets, Garret 64, 26 Suspension, Extreme Measure Custom Paint, and of course his amazing family. He also has to thank Kyle Thompson from the C2 Training Crew for getting him in the best shape of his life.
With the 2022 title now a memory, Pouliot has his sights set on the 2023 season. Although nothing is confirmed as of yet, Pouliot is hoping to defend his title in Canada while also possibly doing a few rounds stateside. While Pouliot’s 2022 season opened a few eyes in the American racing world, this won’t be his first racing action there as he took fifth place at the 2016 Lima Half Mile.
Regardless of where Pouliot plans to race in 2023, there is no doubt he will once again be travelling thousands of kilometres to get there.
- From Todd Vallee