Kawasaki Ninja series makes exciting debut at CTMP
August 20, 2015
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – The debut of the Kawasaki Ninja 300 Race Series produced a pair of dramatic, down-to-the-wire battles at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Saturday and Sunday.
The new series features identically modified Ninja 300 sport bikes competing in conjunction with the MOPAR Canadian Superbike National Road Racing Championship Series organized by Toronto’s Professional Motorsport Productions with sponsorship directly from Canadian Kawasaki Motors.
The inaugural event was an invitation-only affair held in conjunction with the traditional season-ending doubleheader of the 2015 MOPAR CSBK National Tour at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
By the time of the event at Mosport, the Ninjas had already undergone extensive testing by John Sharrad of Accelerated Technologies and Brooklin Cycle Racing’s Rob Egan.
Mods include Elka Suspension rear shocks, fork internals from Accelerated Technologies and Hindle Racing Titanium Evolution exhaust systems. Hindle also provided the muffler hangers and front and rear stands, all designed by Scott Cartier. Bodywork is from Hot Bodies Racing, and custom-tuned Dynojet Power Commander Fives complete the package.
Dunlop Sportmax Alpha 13 rubber will be available at each National venue, along with the other slick and DOT Dunlop race rubber options, from Pro 6 Cycle.
Race wins were shared between former Canadian Superbike Champion Michael Taylor of Toronto and Canadian road racing veteran Matt McBride of Mississauga, Ont., who was also competing in the weekend’s Mopar CSBK feature event.
Star of the show and winner of the two-race “championship” was flat track ace Doug Lawrence, also from Mississauga, who was the only person to be on the podium twice and had never been in a motorcycle road race in his life.
“I had no idea where the flags were or what lap it was,” Lawrence admitted. “It’s pretty much the same as Mile racing. You use the same strategy. You’re probably not going to break away in the lead. You just drag your eyes across to where you want to be, whether or not you’re going to be there, and use drafting.
“I felt comfortable with the pace the second day, but everyone stepped it up so much today [Sunday]. Even if they got by me in the turns, I could always get them back on the draft.
“I want to say a big thanks to Kawasaki for putting this on.”
The top six finishers on Saturday and Sunday were less than a second apart at the checkered flag, and everyone had a goofy grin on their face when they came into the pits, proclaiming it was the most fun they had had in quite a while.
On Saturday Taylor edged out Lawrence by 0.177 secs., with west coast Kawasaki Motorcycles USA rep Adam Faussett of Kent, Wash. third, former Canadian 250GP rider Adam Roberts from Bedford, N.S. fourth and motojournalists Pascal Bastien of Laval, Que. and Montreal’s Costa Mouzouris fifth and sixth, respectively, all covered by just 0.780 secs.
On Sunday McBride topped Roberts, Lawrence, Bastien, Fausett and Taylor, this time with 0.836 secs. blanketing the top six.
Most telling might have been Taylor’s wish that the series would go global in the near future. Even more significantly, the opinion was seconded by Faussett. Adam started a Ninja 250 series on the west coast of the U.S. five years ago. He’s also a long-time district manager at Kawasaki Motorcycles USA.
Starting in 2016, Kawasaki will sponsor the series for kitted Ninja 300s at every round of the MOPAR Canadian Superbike tour. Amateur competitors can utilize existing Ninja 300 machinery or build their own bikes using an affordable, limited edition “spec” kit sourced by Canadian Kawasaki Motors.
Right now, the series is scheduled to run for two more years, through the 2017 season. As it stands, it’s going to be a Canada-only event, but if Taylor and Faussett get their wishes . . .
The official Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship website, www.csbk.ca, will have full race video coverage of one of this weekend’s Kawasaki Ninja 300 Media/VIP events.