Honda Canada invited Moto123.com to take part in a round of the Honda CBR125R Challenge that was held in Shannonville, Ontario, on the same weekend as the final of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship.
|OK - Head down, look up to where you want to go, bum over to the side, knee touching the ground! I'm doing this right, so how come I am not on pole?
I couldn’t believe it when my boss offered me the opportunity to represent the team. I replied with a resounding "Yes!" even before thinking about it. Of course, I could already hear my girlfriend in my head, saying stuff like: "Don’t forget we have a trip to France in three weeks -- if you come out of it injured just like last year, I’ll be going with someone else."
Putting these apprehensions aside, I packed my track gear and drove to Shannonville for my first motorcycle race ever. With two days of coaching from Turn2 at Calabogie plus multiple track days spent with my own GSX-R600 and other press bikes, I was convinced that I could have a blast and still get back home in one piece.
Riding with the pros
Holding my racing license, which I got after attending the ARC Turn2 School, butterflies filled my stomach as I arrived for registration early Friday morning. After a serious fall during a track day less than a year ago, I started having second thoughts when the time came to sign the disclaimer. With big names like Brett McCormick and Jordan Szoke on the same signature sheet, I suddenly had the impression of having chosen the wrong weekend or even the wrong sport (I also race cars).
Once the formalities were over with, I quickly found the large Honda Canada canopy, where I was to spend the weekend next to my bike and the other CBR125R racers. I was impressed by the semi-trailer full of race-ready CBR125Rs, as all the series bikes are carried to the track aboard that trailer, not to mention tools, parts and all the necessary equipment for an actual racing weekend.
All I had to do was set up the tires and rear suspension according to my weight and Honda’s recommendation, don my leathers, and was ready to roll!
Listening to the sweet burble of the small engines under the canopy, I felt the pressure weighing down on my shoulders. I knew that the pace set by the leaders was quick, as they had been at it all season. I had my work cut out for me, with only three short sessions to get familiar with the machine and the track.
|Shite! This duffus is ruining my race just when I was going to make my move around the eight guys in front on the in Corner 1 on the last lap.