John Parker looking forward to 2014 dirt track season
March 26, 2014
After a forgettable 2013 season that saw multi-time National & Provincial Dirt Track Champion John Parker on the sidelines, after sustaining a fractured pelvis in a racing accident in New York, the veteran is anxious to get the 2014 season underway.
“There really is nothing worse than to be forced out of action due to injuries and watch a season go by without being a part of it. Our racing seasons in Canada are short enough as it is so even missing one event can be distressing, never mind missing three-quarters of the season,” Parker said. “But the downtime gave me an opportunity to not only heal from my injuries, but to regroup, reflect and re-evaluate. I tried to make the best of it and now I’m raring to get back on my bike and the ovals.
John Parker wouldn’t be John Parker, however, if he hadn’t gotten back on his bike as soon as he received the nod late last fall from his physician and physical therapist to go for a ride. It was a short and tentative ride, but over the winter months he also managed to get in a bit of recreational ice racing with some long time racing buddies that included the likes of Chris Evans and Doug Beattie.
“You get a little rusty but you don’t forget how to race, and I’m glad to say that I felt comfortable and right at home on my new KX450, burning a little gas out on the ice this winter with the boys,” Parker said. “Each time out I felt a little bit better and getting up to desired speed. For me it was a good indication that I’m ready for spring training and testing and the beginning of the season in May.”
Parker, who has had a long-term sponsorship relationship with Kawasaki Canada and Inglis Cycle Centre, took delivery of the 2014 Kawasaki KX450 DTX last fall. After putting it through the paces both on and off the ice, he is convinced it is one of the best bikes ever.
“The bike is simply awesome, and like every model I have raced throughout the years, more than lives up to my expectations. It’s a very competitive machine. No more needs to be said, I think,” Parker noted.
In addition to Kawasaki and Inglis, Parker has been able to count on all his 2013 sponsors – some have been with him for over a decade – to support him this season.
“For me that is huge. I am truly grateful to all my sponsors for still believing in me. In this business you’re only as good as your last season. If you’re looking at contract renewal for the new season, chances are really good you’ll be looking for another ride if you didn’t produce results, regardless of the reason,” Parker said. “But everybody has been really supportive, understanding, and encouraging. I’m tickled about it. It’s my goal to move forward and try to make up for what I shorted them last year.”
Parker, who has the distinction of being the oldest pro rider on the Canadian dirt track circuit, makes no illusions about what he’s up against in a sport full of young guns eager to make a name for themselves. But like any racer worth his salt, regardless of age, he will race to put his bike and sponsors on the podium.
“I’m not going to pretend how difficult it would be to win another Canadian championship, but I do believe I’m capable of still winning races and finishing top ten to top five in the points chase. If I didn’t I’d call it a day or just go race the age classes,” Parker noted.
John Parker will focus first and foremost on the CMA national short track and 1/2 mile rounds this season, with a secondary objective to recapture the pro/am TT Flat Track Scrambles Championship south of the border in Medina, NY. He won the title in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 he finished runner-up a few points behind the winner, despite missing a number of rounds.
Although at present Parker remains undecided if he will ride the pro expert class or the veterans class on the short tracks, he will again campaign the pro class on the 1/2 miles. A lot will depend on how he feels at the time. In recent years, past injuries to his left leg, knee, and hip have handicapped him on the more physical demanding short tracks.
Last year, after a lot of soul-searching and discussing the matter with his sponsors and the CMA, as well as riders in the expert and veteran classes, Parker opted, with everybody’s blessing, to compete in the veteran class in Welland. Not surprisingly, he won his qualifier and the final.
John Parker Racing 2014 Sponsors: Canadian Kawasaki, Inglis Cycle Centre, Scorpion Helmets, 26 Suspension, Hot Cams, Pivot Works, Vertex Pistons, IM Leathers, Bickle Racing, Extreme Measures Kustom Paint, Saddlemen, Ron Wood Racing, A&A Racing, Garrett 64, DeCal Work