Kahuna Kawasaki Race Report- Parts Canada Superbike Opener- Calabogie in the books!

June 2, 2008

May 23-25 marked the much anticipated Parts Canada Superbike season opener at Calabogie Motorsports Park near Ottawa, Ontario. A native to Ottawa, and with lots of local media with covering the event, Kahuna Kawasaki's Vicki Schouten was primed and ready to test her ZX-6R on one of Canada's newest racetracks.

Never having had the opportunity to ride Calabogie in the past, Schouten was excited to see the new course. After a short trip home from the RACE regional on Sunday evening, Schouten gave her ZX-6R's and her laundry a quick wash before making the short one hour drive to Calabogie Motorsport Park for some pre-race testing with Pro6 Cycle.

"It is a fast track with a few good blind turns and elevation changes," explained Schouten, "Just the type of track that I like!" Schouten took Tuesday's practice to ride conservatively, learn the lines and spend some time doing some local media interviews. Big thanks to the Ottawa Citizen for some great coverage of the event!

Thursday and Friday brought more practice time for Schouten and she quickly became more familiar with the track. While weather conditions were not ideal, Schouten continued to see improvements in her lap times.

It soon became apparent however, that this new racetrack, with its beautiful new pavement, appeared to be chewing Schouten's Pirelli tires to shreds. A quick consultation with Accelerated Technologies' John Sharrard and lead mechanic Brad Clarke and some suspension changes were made to dial-in the Kawasaki ZX-6R for the new track. "You can spend your money on new tires every 2-3 sessions, or you can spend your time wisely and get John to make a few minor adjustments," explained Schouten, "in the end my experience is that a few magical changes by John and everything is settled and running smooth again."

With good success at the RACE regional series under her belt, Schouten was aiming for a top 10 finish in the highly competitive national Amateur 600 class at Calabogie.  However competition was tough as riders came from across the country to compete in Canada's premier roadracing series. "I started looking at the laptimes of the people in front of me," said Schouten, "and frankly there was some solid competition throughout the field that would be difficult to beat." Schouten was sitting in 18th position out of a total of 41 riders for most of Thursday and Friday practice. With sights set on a top 15 qualifying position, Schouten rode hard to bring her laptimes down during Saturday's AM600 qualifier. Eventually she settled for 23rd position, still quite respectively in a national class with 41 entries. Schouten qualified 4th in the Women's Cup Challenge race.

Sunday brought about warmer weather and much improved conditions for racing. With some fresh Pirelli's and her suspension dialled, Schouten was ready to make her way to the Amateur 600 grid. It was a hectic race with a lot of entries, and a lot of red flags. After several delays caused by numerous red flags, the AM600 race finally went off for a third time, and Schouten had worked her way up two rows for the re-start. With a great launch to her start, Schouten was able to overtake several riders into turn one and found herself sitting in about 15th position for much of the race. She battled hard and diced it out with a few other riders and eventually finished 18th overall, extremely respectable indeed for such a competitive field.

Schouten had an equally fun battle in the Women's Cup Challenge race when she and another women's competitor diced back and forth for much of the race. "It's nice in such a limited field to have someone to race with," says Schouten, "I was a little tired from so many re-starts in the AM600 race but still had some energy left over for the Women's". Schouten was sitting 4th in the Women's Cup Challenge race, when on the last lap she came into lapped traffic, causing Schouten to slow down and eventually get caught in the last few turns. "We were fighting back and forth all the way to the end" suggested Schouten, "but in the end I settled for 5th place overall which is okay given how tired I was from AM600".

Schouten would like to thank Brad Clarke, John Sharrard and Sean Huffman for all of your help and support throughout the weekend. Special thanks as well goes to Kahuna Kawasaki and Canadian Kawasaki Motors and to the Ottawa Citizen for some tremendous coverage over the weekend. Schouten would also like to thank Bell Helmets, Accelerated Technologies, Compulsion Racing, Performance Under Gear, Komodo Gear, Vortex, Giro Eyewear, Auto Trim Design and Bickle Racing for their continued sponsorship and support.

See you all at the next RACE Superseries June 21-22, 2008.