Vicki Schouten Pre-Season Warm-up at Virginia International Raceway

March 31, 2009

2009 Amateur 600 competitor Vicki Schouten and her crew recently travelled to Virginia International Raceway for Round #1 of the WERA Northeast Sportsman series. It was an opportunity for Schouten to test her new ex-works Kawasaki ZX-6R and warm-up for the upcoming Canadian season where she plans to contest the Armour Bodies Amateur600 championship in the Parts Canada Superbike series, as well as in the RACE Superseries at Shannonville Motorsports Park.

After an entertaining 14 hours of travel from Ottawa to Danville, Virginia the crew arrived rested and ready to challenge VIR’s gorgeous 2 mile, 17 turn North course. The 2008 Kahuna Kawasaki ZX-6R was ready to roll and Schouten, who has been training hard all winter, was motivated for the first race test of the season and excited to test the new ride.

Temperatures were seasonably cool for the area and the team was not able to take advantage of very much practice time, as with temperatures in the 3-5 degree Celsius range in the mornings it was often too cold for practice. Instead, Schouten opted to wait for warmer temperatures on Friday afternoon before taking her first siting laps. By Friday afternoon temperatures were warming up and Vicki was able to take her first laps on the technical VIR course. It was not long before she was turning some of the fastest laptimes of the practice. “My new ex-works ZX-6R is amazing,” explained Schouten, “the bike is so easy and comfortable to ride, it’s like I have been riding all winter.”

WERA does not offer qualifying sessions for its riders. Instead, riders are gridded according to points or entry times. Having been a late entry, Schouten was gridded in the second wave for the solo event on Saturday afternoon, and the very back of the first wave for Sunday’s sprint races. “I guess I’ll have my work cut out for me!” said Vicki.

Despite it being her first time at VIR, and having had only 2 practice sessions on Friday afternoon prior to Saturday’s Mediumweight Solo, the crew was very pleased with Vicki’s 10th place finish in the 16-lap Solo event. “Considering I started from the second wave, and considering I am still not entirely familiar with the track, I am fairly pleased with a 10th place ,” explained Vicki, “we essentially treated the Solo as more practice time for Sunday’s sprint races. The new Kawasaki is running so well I am confident Sunday’s sprints are going to go even better.”

Again cold temperatures prevailed on Sunday morning and once again the team had little time to practice. Schouten took to the grid at the back of the first wave for both the C Superbike and C Superstock events of Sunday afternoon. It was a hectic start to both races as close to 40 riders in each event quickly charged their way into turn one of the VIR North course. “In both cases there was some dodging of bikes for sure,” explained Vicki, “but in the end everything got sorted out and both races went off without a hitch.” Armed with the utmost confidence in the power and handling of her new ex-works Kawasaki ZX-6R, Schouten was able to continue to gain ground on her competitors during the 6 lap sprint races. She came home with an 8th place finish in C Superbike and a 7th in C Superstock. “I was really planning to put the Kawasaki on the box,” said Vicki, “but I guess our goal was to come here and test the new bike, and considering I started from the very back, I had a chance to practice some passing and am relatively pleased with the results.”

Schouten and her crew have returned home safely and are feeling confident going into the 2009 Canadian season. Vicki would like to pay a special thanks to her crew Dave Shirley and Kathy Ferguson, to mechanic Jim Brooks and suspension technician John Sharrard for ensuring the new bike was race ready in time for VIR. She would also like to thank Jeff Kovack of VIP Photography for the amazing photos!

Thanks to Kahuna Kawasaki, Canadian Kawasaki Motors, Better Built by Brooks, Accelerated Technologies, Bell Helmets, Performance Undergear, GoLo Racing, Vortex, Bickle Racing, Giro Eyewear and Auto Trim & Signs for their continued support in 2009.

The Canadian roadracing regional season kicks off at Shannonville Motorsports Park on May 1-3, 2009. We hope to see you there!