WELSH IN TIGHT POINTS BATTLE AFTER CALGARY
July 5, 2010
TORONTO, Ont. - Alex Welsh and the Competition Systems Kawasaki Race Team are looking forward to the fourth and fifth round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship at Mosport International Raceway July 8-11 after a pair of sixth place finishes at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park last weekend.
The 22-year-old rider of the team's Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja heads to Mosport in the thick of a tight battle for third place in the Superbike standings. Welsh has 79 points but is just 11 points out of third, meaning a pair of solid races in the Mosport doubleheader could vault the Uxbridge, Ont. rider up the rankings.
Welsh was disappointed not to finish higher in Calgary after qualifying fifth in the Pirelli SuperPole single bike session on Friday afternoon. His time of 1:16.824 was almost a second better than his effort in prequalifying earlier in the day.
"We went into the morning [prequalifying] with a whole new set up and the Competition Systems ZX-10R Ninja was pretty good," Welsh explained. "We made some changes from there but it was getting worse, so we went back to the original set up for SuperPole.
"We're close, we're just taking a little longer to get up to speed. We're looking good though."
In Saturday's opening 22-lap race Welsh got off the line well to run fifth early on and moved up to fourth on lap 11. From there, however, issues with set-up started affecting the handling and in the closing stages he fell into a battle with Andrew Nelson for fifth and finished just under a second behind Nelson at the end of the race.
"It was a good race until lap 12 and then the bike started moving around and I had trouble pulling it into the apexes," Welsh admitted. "Speed is not an issue but I'm having to muscle it around a bit."
Sunday's race was similar as Welsh again got the ZX-10R Ninja up into fourth early on but then started dropping back. He looked to have fifth secured but was passed on the final lap to take another sixth place.
"I was really fighting the bike," Welsh said. "We made some changes to my body position on the bike to make me more comfortable, but it was more or less the same story as yesterday. I know we're capable of more than our results this far, we're planning to take the next few days before Mosport to review the data and come up with a game plan."
Welsh enjoyed a stellar weekend at Mosport last year, finishing third and fifth in the two Superbike races at the 3.9km (2.459-mile) venue.
"We'll regroup and be ready for Mosport," said the 2008 HJC Pro Rookie of the Year. "Mosport is my type of track and I did well there last year. Mike Crompton, Harald Surian, Richard Winter and all the Competition Systems team are working their butts off and I'm confident that we'll be right in there on raceday."
The Competition Systems Kawasaki Race Team is sponsored by Canadian Kawasaki, Parts Canada, Noco, Akrapovic, Dynojet, Motul, DID, Vortex, Zero Gravity and Pirelli.