John Parker Race Report - Busy month of August

September 10, 2008

Submitted by:  John Parker

The longest race week of the season (5 events in 9 days) starts off as we arrive at Hiawatha Downs in Sarnia on August 8th; the track is a 5/8 of a mile with a deep cushion.  Mother Nature seems to be cooperating with sunny skies and no rain in sight.  As we are setting up and getting ready for our evening event the amateur and youth classes are finishing their program, the competition was steep as it was an off weekend in the United States so a lot of the GNC riders were there. There were 3 heats in both the 450 and Open Pro classes.  In the qualifying heat for the 450 Expert class we finished in 1st position and our 600 Rotax mid pack - the track looked fast.  We were in good starting position for the 450 final, we lined up on the front row and got a good start unfortunately half way through the race we had split a muffler and lost a considerable amount of power, we finished half way back in the field - much to our disappointment!!!! The 600 Rotax was like bringing a knife to a gun fight starting along side the 750cc Harley bikes on such a big track but we persevered and finished 10th.  It was not the finish we had hoped for but we were satisfied none the less given the level of competition.  We then loaded up and headed to Leamington for a race the next day.

Leamington ran on Saturday August 9th; we were a little worried as they were calling for rain, but when we arrived it was clear skies, so we unloaded after making a pit stop to the car wash and got ready for practice.  We had 1 lap and stopped because the track was too wet, so they did some track maintenance and as they were finishing the rain started to come and never stopped.  They cancelled the race and we were to come back Sunday the following day, we then headed to the motel for a much needed rest and a relaxing supper.

As we awoke Sunday morning it had stopped raining and the sky looked like it was clearing, the motel parking lot was full of vans and trailers and all were anxious to get started.  We headed back to the track and got ready to pick up where we left off, practice went well then quickly went into qualifying as the rain clouds were reentering the sky, there were 2 heats in each class.  Competition was tough-most of the riders were there from Sarnia the night before, in our qualifying heats we finished 3rd on the KX450 in the 450 Expert class and 1st on the 600 Rotax in the Open class.  We had a little break for the other classes to run and for track grooming, as we were waiting to start the finals the rain came once again and with all the rain from Saturday it didn't take long for the track to get flooded and unsafe. At that time they called the race, therefore paying and awarding points the way we qualified.

Our final half mile event of the CMA schedule took place at Belleville on Saturday August 16th; it was a beautiful sunny summer day (for a change).  The track was well groomed and everybody was busy doing their part to get the event off to a good start, our qualifying heat went well as we finished 2nd on the KX450 in the 450 Expert class behind Martin Braconnier from Quebec and 1st in the Open Expert class on our 600 Rotax for front row starts on both bikes for the final. The evening went smooth as there were no incidents or problems and everything was going well, we then started the finals the KX450 came off the line in 2nd position behind the #1 plate holder Don Taylor where we stayed for the entire final.  The Open class final was a little different we came off the line in 5th or 6th position but then through turn 1 we passed all but Don Taylor although we were right on his back end, we had a little battle with Oliver Gagnon another young rider from Quebec who had passed us for 2nd but to no avail because we had put a move on him and passed him back to keep our 2nd position when the checkered flag waved.  We had a very good night ending on an early note with everyone safe and happy.

The next day with only a few hours of sleep we headed off to Medina, NY for a TT scrambles race season finale.  The day was great we had our qualifying heat starting from the back row and finished 2nd, after a long wait (because there are lots of riders-young and old) we had our final at the end of the day riding our KX450 Kawasaki Stock Frame Chassis and finished in 1st place.  The 2008 year is now over at Medina and we are looking forward to going back again next year to compete and have fun with everyone.

Thanks again to all our sponsors for all your help and support; we truly appreciate everything you do for us.