Mixed results for Parker in Belleville
August 17, 2009
The Belleville, ON Dirt Track National on August 8th started on a high note for Kawasaki Race Team's John Parker with top practice laps and wins in the 450 Pro and Pro Open heat races, both of which he holeshotted. Although the weather had looked threatening for most of the day, rain never materialized and officials actually called upon the water truck to spray a very dry and dusty ½ mile track to make it race ready.
In his 450 heat race, Parker led the field till it was red flagged on lap four, after a rider went down. At the restart he again took command of the lead from the get-go and stayed there till the finish line. The victory and resulting qualifying time put him on the front row in second place for the 450 final. A convincing win in his Open heat race, with top qualifying time, put him on the pole for the final.
After taking the holeshot of the 12-lap 450 final, a crash on lap six saw the race red flagged while Parker was in the lead. A single file restart, with Parker up front, got the field underway. But towards the end of the race Parker experienced problems with his rear tire and found himself giving up two positions by the time the checkered was waved.
At the green light for the Open final Parker again took the freight train in tow and led for the first half of the 15-lap event but ended up losing three positions in the heat of battle over the next few laps. The remainder of the race Parker spent dicing for fourth place but that spot also slipped from his grasp and he had to settle for fifth at the finish line.
"We spent quite a bit of time prepping the bikes and they ran just like a missile, especially the 450. The heat races were intense and hard on the tires. I pretty well destroyed the rear tires," said Parker. "For the 450 final, I went out with a new edge on the rear tire using a less aggressive cut than for the qualifiers. This proved to be a wrong choice and the tire pretty well became next to useless. I went back to the more aggressive rear tire cut for the Open final, which held up okay, but this time poor line choices did me in. The line that had worked for me in the earlier races didn't work anymore. When I changed to a better line it was pretty well futile, because the track conditions had become really dusty and it was hard to see where you were going so trying to pass was out of the question."