Kahuna Kawasaki Race Report: Schouten puts Shubenacadie behind her

August 19, 2008

August 13, 2008- Kahuna Kawasaki's Vicki Schouten made the long and rainy trek to Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia for rounds #4 and #5 of the Parts Canada Superbike series from August 7-10.

After travelling through rain and hail en route from Ontario, Schouten arrived at Atlantic Motorsport Park late in the afternoon on Sunday, August 3. With some help setting up from the Christie family, and a wonderful warm meal from RozGarRacing's Roz Christie, Schouten was well fed and ready to take in some extra practice time early in the week hosted by the Atlantic Roadracing League (ARL).  

Qualifying for the competitive Armour Bodies Amateur 600 field would take place on Friday afternoon.  A number of solid local riders and AMP veterans showed up to compete and Schouten knew she would have to work hard to qualify well. Struggling with traffic and trying to get a clean lap, Schouten was forced to come into the pits several times to try to let the busy traffic subside. She worked hard but eventually qualified in 16th position for both Saturday and Sunday's races.

The first of two races was held on Saturday afternoon. While the weather looked clear all morning, the skies opened up minutes before the AM600 field was ready to grid for the race. Unsure of tire choice, Schouten scrambled to get both her rain and dry bikes to pit lane so she could select the most appropriate bike at a moment's notice. With some help from John Sharrard and Bob Szoke, Schouten had both bikes set and ready to roll. Track conditions were still quite wet so Schouten opted to use her rain bike.

At the start of the race, Schouten was set to take a strong start and make up positions quickly. However, a grid marshal sat up too quickly off the start line and Schouten was not able to see the lights go green. Her start was compromised to say the least as several other riders passed her before she could launch her Kahuna Kawasaki ZX-6R. Schouten worked hard to make up as many positions as possible on the wet race course. She eventually squeezed by several riders, when she started getting mixed signals from the pits. She settled with a 16th place finish; not her best finish by any stretch but happy to finish all the same given the track conditions and the race start.

On Saturday evening Schouten received a phone call from home that a close family member was in the hospital and quite ill. "I guess if you do this sport long enough something like this is bound to happen," explained Schouten, who spent the better part of Sunday morning on the telephone trying to secure a flight home for Sunday evening. 

With a flight secured for Sunday evening, and with lots of support and words of encouragement from friends, Schouten was able to focus on Sunday afternoon's race and planned to do well. Schouten managed a solid start on her Kawasaki ZX-6R and was quickly working her way through the pack of riders and catching the top 10 when something went wrong on her motorcycle. "The bike tried to highside me three times in one lap," explained Schouten, "and I was worried that something was really wrong. I eventually had no choice but to slow down and pull off the racetrack-I thought something was wrong with my tires." Once off the track, friend and "pit crew for the race", John Sharrard, was standing by to assess the problem. Evidently a rock had hit Schouten's radiator, causing a large puncture. The motorcycle was leaking water all over the place, out of the rad and onto the tires--- which immediately explained the handling problems.

Fortunately for Schouten, there was a red flag incident on track shortly after she pulled into the pits. This gave quick-thinking John Sharrard time to repair and replace the rad with some help from Jim Brooks and Blaze Fougere. "There is no way that I would have gotten back out onto that racetrack without John's help," suggested Schouten, "John and Jim worked so quickly to get me back out there, I owe them both big time!" Unfortunately, while John and Jim worked extremely quickly and efficiently, it was still not time enough to get Schouten back onto the starting grid. They did however manage to get the ZX-6R mobile in time for Schouten to start the race from pit lane. Never having had to start from pit lane before (and never wanting to start from there again), Schouten was not sure what to expect. The light went green and the marshals held Schouten on pit lane until the entire field was well into turn two of the racetrack. Determined to catch some of her competitors, Schouten rode hard to catch the field. She eventually caught the last five riders, however given that the 14 lap race had been reduced to 6 laps, this gave Schouten little to no time to pass. Schouten had to settle for 19th place overall.

Always happy to visit Shubenacadie, Schouten was also happy to be leaving and heading home. She will put this one behind her and move on to the Parts Canada Superbike series final at Shannonville from August 28-31.

Schouten wishes to give a tremendous and heart-felt thank you to John Sharrard for all of his help with bike set up, repair and pit help throughout the weekend and she could not have done it without him. She also wishes to thank Jim Brooks and the Christie family for helping out and looking out for Schouten all weekend. Thanks also to Sean Huffman and Sophie Drouin for helping get her gear home safely.

Schouten also wishes to thank Kahuna Kawasaki, Canadian Kawasaki Motors, Bell Helmets, Accelerated Technologies, Performance Under Gear, Komodo Gear, Compulsion Racing, Vortex, Giro Eyewear, Auto Trim and Signs and Bickle Racing for all of the continued help and support.

Congratulations as well to the corner workers and staff of the Atlantic Roadracing League for putting on such a successful event and to all the fans at AMP for such a warm welcome to the weekend! See everyone at Shannonville at the end of August!