Parker Rebounds from Injury-Shortened 2013 Season
July 11, 2014
After seeing last year’s dirt track season cut dramatically short due to a fractured pelvis, sustained at a race in Medina, NY, John Parker has fully embraced the 2014 season, which started for him at the Burford Fairgrounds Pro 1/2-Mile on May 2 in Burford, ON.
Although he had been off his bike since mid-July last year – he only did a bit of recreational ice racing during the winter months and some weather-permitting, off road training beginning early May – Parker felt right at home on the explosive Kawasaki 450 dirt track bike.
Despite having to get back into the dirt track groove, he handily won his heat race and qualified second for the feature. On a racetrack that proved to be rapidly deteriorating as the night wore on, Parker rode a conservative race to finish a respectable fifth place.
“All in all I was happy with the way things went, considering I hadn’t done much riding and no racing since last summer except a bit of ice racing this winter. My Kawasaki did what it had to do with no problems whatsoever and that made my life a little easier,” Parker said.
Following the Burford event, Parker lined up for the first CMA National of the year on May 31st at Niagara Motorcycle Raceway in Welland, ON, which for all intents and purposes is his home track.
As per a pre-season decision reached by Parker and supported by his sponsors, the multi-time champ raced the Vet class instead of Pro in Welland. Pouring on the gas, he won his heat race as well as the final, against some of his former rivals from the Pro division who have been campaigning the Vets for a number of years.
“I enjoyed racing the vet class and I certainly had to pull out all the stops to take the win, because nobody was giving me an inch. Not that I was expecting it. If I get beat in the pros, it’s no big deal, nobody is going to brag about finishing ahead of me, but if I get beat in the vets, well that’s a different story,” Parker said.
The day after his victory in Welland, Parker headed south of the border to Medina, NY for the first round of the TT Flat Track Scrambles Championship. One of his favourite racing series and tracks, because the scrambles aspect offers additional challenges compared to oval racing, Parker came, saw and conquered aboard his Kawasaki KX450 DTX. He won his heat race hands down to take the pole for the main event, which he would also win, but with a little bit more effort.
After jumping the main event start, he was penalized with a back-of-the-pack position in the restart. Undaunted and hungry for a maximum points win, Parker sliced and diced his way into second place by lap three. Two laps later he took command of the action up front, stretching his lead to some 20 bike lengths by the time the checkered flag signalled the end of the race.
“I had won the first two races of the season at Medina in 2013, and then got hurt. I wanted to pick up where I left off last year by starting the new season with a win and it was a sweet victory for me,” Parker said. “Since 2011 I have been itching for a hat trick in the championship, but for one reason or another I haven’t been able to do it. This year I want to definitely make amends. Winning the season opener was a good start.”
Parker won the Medina TT Flat Track Scrambles Championship in 2009 and 2010. He missed scoring his third consecutive title by only a handful of points in 2011, as he had to forfeit one round due to a conflict in scheduling. In 2012 he was unable to campaign the series because of cross-border issues. Last year Parker dropped out of the points chase, which he was leading, due to his season-ending crash on the track.
John Parker Racing 2014 Sponsors: Canadian Kawasaki, Inglis Cycle Centre, Scorpion Helmets, 26 Suspension, Hot Cams, Pivot Works, Vertex Pistons, IM Leathers, Bickle Racing, Extreme Measures Kustom Paint, Saddlemen, Ron Wood Racing, A&A Racing, Garrett 64, DeCal Works, WDC Media Relations
(Media photos by Steve Grover & PJ Biegger)