While RACE’s chief referee Chris Chapelle didn’t exactly drop his pants to make the race work, he came pretty close.
At the first RACE event of the year on April 20 (incredibly blessed by perfect weather, I might add), Michel Mercier protegé Karl Daigle crashed while leading the Pro 600 race. Chapelle responded to the incident, helped Daigle get the bike back up and running, then whipped off his pants belt to use as a strap to hold the damaged fairing in place.
Daigle got back on track and finished ninth. I’ve been hanging around motorcycle racetracks for nearly 30 years, and I can guarantee I never saw that one before. It was definitely a very CMGesque moment …
The win in that race went to long-time Shannonville favourite Frank Trombino (remarkably, with the same girl for the second year in a row; a new track record, of sorts). "Frankie" managed a second in his other appearance, Pro Superbike, where he shadowed national series runner Clint McBain to the flag. McBain was looking for some testing time on his new Alberta Cycle-sponsored machine before the nationals start, and taking home a small bag of first-place cash didn’t hurt any.
However, the big story of the weekend (other than the weather; the test days last weekend were nearly cancelled due to freezing temps and driving wind and rain) wasn’t the success of the old guard, but the remarkable number of scary-fast youngsters there are coming up in Canada.
For starters, another reason McBain showed up was to introduce his teenage stepson Cody Matechuk to racing, and an impressive start it was, with Cody carding a fifth out of 18 riders in the SV Cup race. Not quite as young as Cody but still young (and more pleasing than Cody to these eyes) Marie-Josée Boucher opened up her first season as a Pro with an eye-popping third in Pro 600, her first-ever Pro race. Now that’s impressive stuff!
She also set some kind of record for narrow finishes in another event, with a 0.007 second victory in the Women’s Open race, edging Genevieve Lesieur by a gnat’s whatever — Mary-Jo thought she’d won, but neither she, Gigi, nor I (who was waving the checkered flag) were sure until the timing results came up. Pretty cool stuff.
Jodi Christie won the Amateur 600 race by a comfortable margin,
although he had to push to do it. The kid is still in high school, and
this is only his second year of road racing. A lot of his competitors
wanted him in Pro this season after only his first year! He’s got a
future if he sticks with it, for sure.
But even baby-faced Jodi looks pretty old compared to the GP 125 class. The combined ages of the first four finishers probably wouldn’t be more than 55. The oldest of the group, Josh Wong, is all of 16, and he finished second behind aptly-named Ben Young, a recent import from Scotland.
They both ride as Pros, and third overall and first amateur was Kenny Reidman (whose dad was a fast GP rider in the 1980s), followed by Steve Nickerson. At a young-looking 13, Nickerson has a ridiculous amount of racing experience and a big weight advantage over his other competitors due to his diminutive size.
No shortage of young talent happening up here, short riding season or not. Another new talent, also in SV, is John Jarvie, who moved to Canada a couple of months ago from New Zealand, and pulled off the remarkable feat of learning Shannonville’s difficult Fabi Circuit well enough to take a win in his first race north of the equator and east of Hawaii.
Good report Larry. Looks like roadracing at the Club level is alive and well in Ontario.
Kudos to Chris Chappelle for running a great program. I’m assuming the grids were pretty full for all classes?