Wild Bill finds Top Ten at AMP
August 21, 2008
Calm and relaxed Canadian Kawasaki Motors / Sackville Motorsports / RAT Racing rider Bill Clark shows up for Thursday's practice for the most tell tale weekend of the 2008's roadracing series. His hope is to make the top 10 this weekend for both Pro Superbike races but as he looks around at the factory team set-ups and the superior equipment, a shadow of doubt creeps in and shakes his confidence somewhat. He knows what he has to do and knows how to do it. The question is will his equipment and body be up for the challenge?
Friday was windy and overcast with the constant threat of rain. Well rested and ready to go out for qualifying, Clark would set a personal best lap time of 1 minute 9.9 seconds. He was astounded at his time and the fact that it came on lap 13, gave him even greater confidence in his ability to achieve his goal of top 10 this weekend. This would give him a starting position of 12th.
The focus of the first part of Saturday morning's practice was to break in the new brake pads installed on the Kawasaki ZX-10R. After a few laps Clark came in to let the pads cool down, and then proceeded to go back out on the track to amp up his lap times. A decision to not apply the tire warmers during the stop,
would lead to a low side in turn eight. Not wanting the bike to flip, in fear of creating massive damage, Clark refused to let go of the handle bar as he slid across the pavement at over 100mph. With no major injuries and covered in mud, Clark got to his feet once his bike came to a stop in the grass. The bike appeared to be in reasonable shape, but upon further investigation once in the pits it was discovered that the radiator had been destroyed as well as other minor problems. The radiator problem would turn out to be a major problem and threaten Clark's chances at riding at all on the weekend. Unfortunately a kind offer from the Kawasaki Factory Team for a radiator could not help him, as the 2008 model would not fit on the 2005. With time running out and a frustrated rider, the RAT / SMS team members stepped up and Allan Chaulk offered to drive to his home in Sackville, load up his 2006 Kawasaki and bring it to the track for parts. Once the bike arrived the team members and friends alike all pitched in to get Clark out on the track for the 2:55pm start of the Superbike race. With the help of a rain delay Clark was ready to go out with time to spare. A huge thank you to his RAT team mates and all those who were involved in getting his bike back out on the track as his weekend could have ended before it began.
With bike problems behind him, Clark was eager to get the Pro Superbike race underway. After getting a less than stellar start, 18th going into turn two, Clark had his work cut out for him. With some fancy manoeuvring he came out of turn two in 14th and proceeded to work his way through the pack over the next few laps to 10th place where he would remain unchallenged until the last lap when he let the #34 of factory rider Kevin Lacombe pass him in turn 9, thinking he was being lapped by the leader. In fact, Lacombe was riding injured and had started from the back and had caught Clark in the closing laps. Pleased with his performance but disappointed by giving away 10th position to Lacombe, Clark was more determined than ever to improve his standing for the upcoming round 6 race on Sunday.
Clark needed a great start in Sunday's race in order to improve upon his Saturday's 11th place finish. A great start is exactly what he got, finding himself right behind the #157 of Brian Blaauwendratt coming out of turn two. He would hang on with the front pack until mid race when his age and conditioning began to get the best of him and he was fighting for the 7,8,9th spot along with factory riders Kevin Lacombe and Ross Millson. An exciting race for the Propeller Brewery sponsored #41 Kawasaki rider, as he fought for seventh. A miss-shift on the back straight would allow Ross Millson to pass with a few laps to go but he was not going to give up. Too little too late, Clark would run down Millson but would lose 8th position to the rider by 1/10th of a second and was one second behind Kevin Lacombe for 7th place.
Clark would like thank his sponsors, Remote Access Technology, Sackville Motorsports, Canadian Kawasaki Motors, and Propeller Brewing Company. Also, a huge thanks go out to the entire RAT / Sackville Motorsports Team for the tremendous support during the weekend.