Race Report- RACE Regional Round #1: Shannonville
April 25, 2008
April 18-20, Shannonville, Ontario
This weekend marked the season opener of the RACE Regional Superseries at Shannonville Motorsport Park near Belleville, Ontario. With sunny skies and warm weather in the forecast all weekend long one could not ask for better weather to kick off the 2008 racing season!
The weekend started off with some Friday practice sessions on the 2007 Kawasaki ZX-6R to get reacquainted with the Fabi layout at Shannonville. As usual, my ZX-6R was running solid and my laptimes continued to improve consistently throughout the course of the day. While the 2007 was out being tested, Brad Clarke was putting the final touches on the new 2008 ZX-6R which arrived a few weeks ago. The 2008 would be ready to test first thing Saturday morning and I was anxious to try the new ride!
Saturday morning practice was spent testing the 2008 ZX-6R, which felt as solid as ever and performed nearly perfectly right from the start! With a few minor suspension tweaks from suspension tuner John Sharrard, the 2008 ZX-6R was dialled in and ready to take on qualifying.
Timed qualifying for AM600, AM Superbike and RACE Women’s Open took place Saturday afternoon.I was feeling pretty good and the bike was running great so it was just a matter of putting my head down and laying down some solid laptimes! I eventually qualified mid-pack in both AM600 and AM Superbike, and I was pleased with the result given I had moved up in my grid positions significantly over 2007.
By Sunday morning I was feeling quite comfortable and thinking that some of my winter training had really paid off. My laptimes were improving each session and I was convinced a top 15 finish in AM600 and AM Superbike was definitely achievable!
The first race of the day was AM600. With over 24 riders entered into this premier amateur class, I knew I had my work cut out for me. The start of the race was quite hectic as usual but eventually everything got settled. I found myself racing with a group of about 3-4 other riders and we were constantly jostling back and forth for position. I eventually managed to get around a few of them and come in with a 15th place finish overall.While a top 10 finish would have been ideal, I was happy to achieve my goal of a top 15 finish and to have some fun battling with some other riders, and I know what I need to work on for next time!
The second race of the day was the RACE Women’s Open. The Expert Women’s field was relatively sparse, but with some good competition all the same, including now Pro ranked female rider Marie-Josee Boucher coming back to give the Expert girls a run for their money. Marie- Josee managed to get out front and stay out front throughout the race, but it is good motivation to be challenged by another rider who has now earned her position the the Pro level ranks of roadracing, and to manage to close the time gap to less than 3 seconds. I managed to come away with a 4th place finish in the RACE Women’s Open category and recorded some new personal best laptimes while I was at it.
The final race of the day was Amateur Superbike. Once again the field was packed with some solid competition but I was confident another top 15 finish was in store. After much dicing back and forth and a little bit of work, I managed another 15th place finish in AM Superbike, posting a personal best laptime of 1:09.0
Overall it was a great start to the season and I am confident this is going to be a positive year! My Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6Rs are running stronger than ever and my laptimes continue to improve. I can see some top 10 finishes coming soon!
Special thanks to Kahuna Kawasaki and Canadian Kawasaki Motors for standing by my side again for the 2008 season. The race weekend experience is always that much greater when you know that you have a solid team standing behind you that you can count on!
See you all at the next round May 2-4, 2008!