FIM roadracing is coming to Canada this year—that is, FIM-sanctioned mini-roadracing is coming to Canada, via Toni Sharpless’ hard work.
We first told you about Toni’s plans for mini-roadracing all the way back in 2020. Back in those heady, pre-COVID days, here’s what we told you:
“The idea is to start riders as early as 6 years old, giving them early racing development that’s really lacking in much of Canada right now. It’ll start with the Super Sonic Road Racing School, putting riders on small-displacement mini-bikes with seat heights of 508-685 mm. The school will have the necessary safety equipment on-hand, and will teach ‘the science of cornering and dragging your knee on the pavement, braking techniques, race lines and strategies, or, if you already know how to Road Race you can rent our bikes to just have fun or practise your craft,’ says the presser.”
Alas, COVID-related closures were a bit of an issue as the mini-roadracing school and associated series got underway, but as we put those pandemic unpleasantries in our rear-view mirror, things appear to be moving forward nicely now! Kawasaki backed the Canadian Mini Superbike Championship Series last year, and Ohvale also got involved with the mini racing efforts. Now, all the groundwork is coming together in a new deal with the FIM, the international racing sanctioning body that approves feeder series for World Superbike and MotoGP.
For 2023, the MiniGP series will see four races in Ontario, a race in Alberta and a race in British Columbia. See below:
FIM MiniGP Canada Series 2023 Schedule
- RD1 May 13-14 Lombardy Raceway Karting, ON
- RD2 June 24-25 Greg Moore Raceway, BC
- RD3 July 1-2 Strathmore Raceway, AB
- RD4 July 29-30 Lombardy Raceway Karting, ON
- RD5 Aug 5-6 Lombardy Raceway Karting, ON
- RD6 Sept 15-16 Shannonville Motorsport Park, ON
Racers will use Ohvale GP-O 160cc mini-GP machines, racing on small courses such as go-kart tracks. It might not sound like a big deal, but this is the first real chance in years that Canadian kids (aged 10-14) have had to get on the pathway to world-class racing, without going to Europe or the US. The winner of the 2023 Canadian series will be offered a chance to race in Spain in the finale for the world MiniGP series.
See more details in the press release below:
FIM approves MiniGP Canada Series for 2023
Toronto, ON – “We are pleased to confirm your application for FIM MiniGP Canada Series. We wish you a great racing season.” Quote from Svetlana Nazarova, FIM Circuits Racing Commissions Coordinator.
It was the news Toni Sharpless, organizer and owner of Super Sonic Road Race School, Mini Superbike Championship and Canada Cup Nationals was waiting to hear.
“After three years of building, all of us at the Super Sonic School are super excited FIM road racing is coming to Canada!” Sharpless said. “The FIM MiniGP Canada series is the crucible for young Canadian athletes to develop their skills and dream of MotoGP.”
The FIM MiniGP Canada Series with Pirelli and Motul support will kick off with a six-round, 12-race season stretching across the country from Ontario to British Columbia. Each event round will contain a pair of feature races with a doubleheader points structure.
The series will start at the familiar Lombardy Raceway near Perth, Ontario on May 13-14, the site where six races took place in the Canadian MiniSBK Canada Cup battle a year ago.
The championship then takes a dramatic swing for rounds two and three, with back-to-back weekends at Greg Moore Raceway in Chilliwack, British Columbia and Strathmore Motorsports Park near Calgary, Alberta, beginning from June 24-25 and going to July 1-2, respectfully.
The series then returns back to Ontario for another back-to-back set of weekend action at Lombardy Raceway. The sixth and final round will then head to historic Shannonville Motorsport Park near Belleville, Ontario, running in conjunction with the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship (CSBK) national final.
The feature champion of the newly minted FIM MiniGP Canada series will then be offered a spot in the world final at Valencia, Spain, just prior to the MotoGP finale in November 2023.
FIM MiniGP Canada Series 2023 Schedule
RD1 May 13-14 Lombardy Raceway Karting, ON
RD2 June 24-25 Greg Moore Raceway, BC
RD3 July 1-2 Strathmore Raceway, AB
RD4 July 29-30 Lombardy Raceway Karting, ON
RD5 Aug 5-6 Lombardy Raceway Karting, ON
RD6 Sept 15-16 Shannonville Motorsport Park, ON
The worldwide competition organization, Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) sets the rules and regulations represented in Canada by its affiliate the Canadian Motorcycle Association (CMA).
“The CMA is proud to support the FIM MiniGP Canada Series. This series will present a fantastic opportunity for younger riders that hasn’t been available in Canada previously,” CEO Holly Ralph explained. “Toni Sharpless has dedicated countless hours to develop this series to FIM standards. The CMA applauds her efforts to put our young riders on the world stage and will continue to support the series going forward.”
The official tire and sponsor of the Canadian series will be Pirelli Tires, as per the global MiniGP structure.
“Pirelli is very glad to be working with Toni in hosting the Canadian FIM MiniGP series for 2023. We are in full support of the efforts from a global scale down to our local vendors,” said Oscar Solid, the Pirelli Moto Senior Race Manager. “We are very excited to assist in providing a pathway for these young racers to grow and enjoy the sport as we all do – one in which Toni is no stranger in supplying.”
The series will also be debuting with the continued help of Motul, a significant supporter of the previous MiniSBK series.
“The partnership with Super Sonic Road Race School, Canadian Mini Superbike Championship, and now the FIM MiniGP Canada series continues to be extremely successful in contributing to the growth in consumer awareness of the Motul brand among riding enthusiasts,” said Nolan Browning, Marketing Director for Motul USA. “The school and series continue to serve as a cornerstone in our strategy to support the next generation of riders. We are excited to continue the momentum of our partnership as we look to the future.”
Ohvale brand manufacturer is the specified motorcycle of the championship world-wide. “We are excited to be part of this amazing project. The arrival of FIM MiniGP World Series in Canada is an amazing opportunity for young riders to get into racing,” said Ohvale Canada’s Michele De Rossi. “Thanks to FIM, Dorna, Road to MotoGP, and Ohvale for considering Canada for 2023.”
The bike and series are designed for riders aged 10 to 14 competing with the Ohvale GP-O 160cc mini-GP machines on paved circuits, typically such as go-kart tracks.
Any parents interested in enrolling their son or daughter in the series (or those just eager for more information) can start at supersonicschool.com.
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