John Parker on top of his game early in the season
July 13, 2009
Kawasaki Race Team’s John Parker has been on top of his game in the early rounds of the TT Flat Track Scrambles series south of the border as well as the CMA National Dirt Track Championship which kicked off in Welland, ON at Welland Raceway last month.
The multi-time champion kick-started the TT season in Medina, NY, where he won rounds one and two of the series on May 31st and June 7th respectively. Parker, who has reigned supreme in Medina for the past two years, campaigns the TTs on a Kawasaki KX 450 fuel-injected motocross bike. The bike has been lowered and modified especially for flat track racing.
On the Canadian flat track ovals Parker competes on a J&M purpose built flat track bike, which houses a potent 450cc Kawasaki engine. “It’s an awesome bike,” said Parker. “It not only looks like the real deal, it is the real deal.”
The first ¼ mile oval race in Welland on June 6th, unfolded somewhat less favourably than the TT excursions as Parker and his mechanic were still working on dialling in the bike from its winter sleep. Although he qualified on the back row in the premier 600 Expert class, and was last going into the first turn, he still managed to work his way into a commendable fifth place finish.
In a crash-marred Welland race the following weekend on June 13th, Parker escaped the carnage around him but when the checkered flag signalled the end of the race, he found himself crossing the finish line in seventh place.
“Considering everything that happened that night, I’m glad I managed to stay on two wheels,” said Parker. “The results were nothing to write home about but it’s a long season.”
Rain forced cancellation of the June 20th meet at Welland Raceway, but the following weekend a rejuvenated Parker recorded a fourth place finish in a field that featured many of Canada’s elite dirt trackers.
“I made some poor choices as far as tires and that, and didn’t exactly pick the right line early in the race,” explained Parker. “Once I amended my line I started catching the front runners again but simply ran out of time to finish top three.”
Back in Welland on July 4th, Parker found himself on the front row for the 600 feature race, after qualifying second. Three restarts later – one of which he snared the holeshot – and a number of crashes, the Winona, ON native cemented the top-five ahead of some of the previous weekends’ winners.
“To finish fifth on a night when you got all the top riders, including the current champion Don Taylor, in the mix, you have to consider that a good race. Although I always race to win, because that’s just my nature, at this stage in my career I don’t take the risks I did when I was younger,” said Parker. “I just want to make sure I get to the finish line and if I get first place that’s a bonus. My goal is still to claim the championship at the end of the season, but I approach it with scoring points each time out, and when you crash out you leave with no points at all. It’s about consistency.”
John would like to thank the following people for their continuing and loyal support: Len Shpeley, Jake Vanroon, Connie Vanroon, Dawn Parker; and his valued sponsors who help to make it all happen: Canadian Kawasaki Motors, Inglis Cycle Centre, Scorpion Helmets, 26 Twenty Six Suspension, Hot Cams – Pivot Works, IM Leathers, Bickle Racing, Extreme Measures Kustom Paint, Saddlemen, Ron Wood Racing, A&A Racing.