Jodi Christie, who turned 16 last year while winning the Canadian national Amateur 600 title and backing that up with Amateur 600 and Amateur Superbike titles in RACE regional competition, will be racing again in Canada in 2009.
Christie had been selected as one of the elite to be offered a ride with the Red Bull AMA Rookies Cup in the U.S., but when Red Bull and KTM pulled the plug at the last minute due to financial considerations his team (Roz-Gar Racing, run by his dad Gary Christie, a pretty good ex-racer himself) jumped into a frantic last-minute charge to put together a Canadian program, saying "[we] are firm believers in moving on and making the best of the situation.
"The Red Bull deal appeared to be a great opportunity for Jodi, the chance to train and ride with world class people on a world class team only comes up so often, we had centered all our efforts towards that effort. We would like to thank Red Bull and Kevin Schwantz for everything that they did provide, and accept the reasons for the cancellation."
The team announced Sunday, January 25 that they’ll be teaming up with Joel Nodell and Ben Gartner of Prostar Motorsports to again run the Parts Canada national and RACE regional series this season. It’ll be Christie’s rookie year as a Pro, which adds a new dimension to pressure, but his lap times last year would already have made him competitive, so he’ll be an interesting rider to watch.
Prostar is well-experienced, Gartner and Nodell having run excellent professional programs in the past, notably for multiple RACE champion Frank Trombino. The new team combination is still negotiating for bikes and are hoping to announce this final piece of their puzzle shortly. Prostar has experience with both Suzuki and Yamaha, while Roz-Gar and Christie have strong Yamaha ties. More when we have it. Also, more info on the team at www.rozgarracing.com and www.prostarmotorsports.ca.
In other news, Suzuki Canada has announced that it will be supporting only a one-rider team this season, down from three in last year’s perhaps over-optimistic effort. Brett McCormick of Saskatoon will be the sole rider, entering both the 600 and Superbike Parts Canada classes. As in the past, the team will be run by Pascal Picotte of Picotte Performance in collaboration with Blackfoot Motorsports of Calgary.
Of the 2008 Suzuki Blackfoot squad, Francis Martin has moved to BMW to chase a Canadian Thunder title, Chris Peris is signed with Erion Racing in the U.S., and of Matt McBride, no word so far.