Parts Canada Superbike Round #6- Vicki Schouten
August 21, 2007
We arrived at Shubie on Tuesday afternoon, just in time to have enough daylight to get the pit set up and find the local grocery store. This would be my first trip to Shubenacadie and I was very much looking forward to the opportunity to ride a new racetrack.
Shubie certainly has its share of character-- being a fairly technical and bumpy racetrack that apparently can scare off a lot of riders. It was much to the contrary for me.....my ZX-6R was running GREAT and aside from lack of a steering damper (one is one order!) I was having an absolute blast running the green machine around Atlantic Motorsports Park.
Since I was new to the track, I found myself taking Thursday and Friday test sessions a little cautious-- still trying to learn the track and figure out where all of the bumps were. There aren't too many lines around Shubie and I wanted to make sure I had them nailed for Sunday.
Saturday's qualifying for AM600 went relatively well. Initially I had some frustrations about not pulling the times I was aiming for, but after some chipping away I managed to qualify in 29th position on the grid and brought my laptimes down by 2.5 seconds over my practice times. I knew the competition would be tough when I looked at the starting grid and saw predominantly Nova Scotia-based riders who were local to the racetrack.
Sunday was race day and the fans of Shubenacadie were out in full force! As a side note, we discovered that apparently my hair has become a new marketing tool-- I cannot count the number of people that came to see me in the pits and commented on how great they thought it was to see a woman racer on a male-dominated grid--- evidently my long, flowing blonde hair was the telltale giveaway!
The AM600 race got underway by mid-afternoon under sunny and hot conditions. I knew that a solid start to this race was important as Shubie affords very few opportunities for passing once you're into the race. I managed to get off to a great start, passing nearly an entire row of riders! My starts are getting better on the ZX-6R as I have found the sweet spot in the clutch and it's working great! Unfortunately, one of the riders in the rows in front of me did not have a very good start, in fact, the light went green and he did not appear to be moving at all! I had to swerve sideways and jam on the brakes to miss running over top of him...this caused me to lose a few of the positions I had just so nicely gained. I worked hard going into turn one to regain my ground and eventually got caught behind another rider who I spent the better part of the race challenging and trying to get around. I knew I had some faster laptimes in me but this rider held his line and made the pass difficult. In the end I finally got him and managed to come home with a 25th place finish in my first ever AM600 National race at Shubenacadie. I was 5 positions short of my goal of top 20 but the bike was working great and I have all the confidence in the world that I will be there next time!
Shubenacadie was a fantastic experience and the fans and organizers were amazing. The racetrack itself has lots of character to say the least...and I will definitely be going back again in 2008!
The next race is the Parts Canada Superbike final at Shannonville August 31- September 2.
My A bike is back together again thanks to the tremendous support from Kahuna, CKM and Kawasaki Motors USA. I could not have done it without you guys and I am going to work my butt off on the racetrack to repay you all! Hope to see you all at Shannonville in a few weeks time!