Moto GP has its fans, World Superbike has its fans … but it’s pretty hard to beat local racing for as good as it gets.
That was proven at Shannonville Motorsport Park, near Belleville, Ont., on Labour Day weekend Sunday when many dedicated racers pushed the envelope on weather conditions to provide the most spectacular racing I’ve seen or heard of anywhere in a long, long time.
Let’s start with the conditions – the wind was so bad on Saturday that half the qualifying sessions were cancelled. Marshalls were having trouble standing erect, waving a warning or information flag was nearly impossible, and riders were having their bikes blown across the track at random times depending on the wind gusts.
Sunday was a little better, but at various times competitors had to deal with nearly the same wind speeds, rain light to heavy leading to totally unreadable track conditions, and temperatures varying by certainly more than 5C from minute to minute. Nevertheless, the racing was spectacular.
Take the best race of the day for an example: the final, the Pro Superbike event. Former RACE No. 1 Frank Trombino took his Prostar Hondas to wins in both the Pro 600 and Superbike races, but the latter was undoubtedly the best race I’ve seen all year. Michael Ferreira of the Motorrad BMW team had gotten BMW’s permission to show up as a privateer entry, with the national series being finished, and gave Trombino the race of his life, the two exchanging first and second spots all race long, and never more than a couple of bike lengths apart. After the event, the two were both more excited than I’ve seen either in years about how much fun they’d had.
Anyone watching, from team-mates to casual spectators, figured they’d earned the price of their season tickets watching that race.
Another extra touch, in the "unexpected quality" category, happened in the 125 cc GP event. Lorenzo Vaccarino won the race, but only because former dirt track ace Sheena Morgan (now Sheena Noce, married to Pro 6 owner Sandy Noce) crashed at the last corner trying to keep Vaccarino from getting by. On the track, Vaccarino was noticeably upset taking the checkered, and refused to accept his trophy plaque until Sheena joined him on the podium.
He kept the plaque, however!
Great stuff, and lots more to talk about as well. But it just goes to show that checking out the local stuff can be a lot more rewarding than watching replays of boring international stuff on the telly.