At a Parts Canada Superbike series meeting November 4, Yamaha spokesman Tim Kennedy announced that the tuning fork company would be withdrawing from the national racing series, effective immediately.
This leaves Yamaha team riders Kevin Lacombe (superbike and 600) and 600-only racers Royce McLean and Tony Kasper out in the cold for 2010 rides.
Kaspar is an American teenager whose family basically bought the ride, while McLean, a 15-year-old prodigy from Coaldale, Alberta, was in line for the rookie of the year award until breaking a leg at the Shubenacadie round in August. He still finished ninth in the Pro Sportbike (600) series despite missing the last two races.
Lacombe is a long-time racer with strong Yamaha ties. He’s always a threat for a win, but hasn’t managed to put together a national title yet.
This leaves BMW Motorrad Canada , Canadian Kawasaki and Suzuki Canada as the only official manufacturer entries in the Canadian series. Of those, BMW and Kawasaki run as full "factory" in-house teams; BMW in 2009 ran only in the Pro Sportbike class, although a Superbike entry with the new S1000RR is expected in 2010.
In fact, Chris Duff (Manager Motorrad Marketing, BMW Canada) has just told CMG that "BMW Motorrad Canada will definitely be participating in the 2010 Parts Canada Superbike series with the new S1000RR. We’ve retained our current rider line-up of Francis Martin and Mike Ferreira. They’ll just be running in the Superbike class; we won’t be running any Twins in the Sportbike class and actually have sold all of last season’s race bikes."
Similar to the way the Yamaha team was structured, Suzuki outsources its road racing activities to Blackfoot Suzuki in Calgary and Picotte Performance of Granby, Quebec.
Honda hasn’t fielded an official team for several years, relying instead on providing occasional sponsorship to private teams. The company still supports the series with advertising at events and on the TV show that telecasts the series each autumn.
Series producer Colin Fraser said, "We are sorry to have Yamaha leave us." No kidding …
The other sponsors who continue with the Parts Canada series at this point are Parts Canada, Pirelli Tires, BMW Motorrad Canada, Canadian Kawasaki Motors, Honda Canada, and Suzuki Canada.