The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, ON hosted the tenth and final round of the Honda CBR250R Race Series
last weekend. The stakes were high and a champion had yet to be crowned. Would it be Stacey Nesbitt or Ryan Roche?
During the qualifying session on Friday, Nesbitt recorded the fastest lap with a time of 1:54,183. However, on Saturday, 13-year-old phenom Tomas Casas edged out Nesbitt by 0.586 seconds. Ryan Roche came in nearly 15 seconds late and finished third. That made Sunday's race all the more decisive and exciting.
A spectacular crash occurred on the very first lap. Casas attempted a bold passing manoeuvre that failed. His pursuer Sean Smith touched his rear wheel and went airborne before landing right in front of motorcycle journalist Costa Mouzouris, who rolled over Smith. Roche also got thrown off his bike but, luckily, he landed on the grass. Mouzouris suffered some injuries as well, which kind of put a damper on his weekend after winning the Media Championship the day before.
Roche's bike kept rolling and almost entered the pit lane before veering back on the track. Both Cameron Walker and our very own Pascal Bastien narrowly avoided the rider-less missile. Still, the red flag was waved as emergency personnel rushed Smith to the hospital.
Race officials ordered a second start with all the riders in their initial spots on the grid. Casas went on to beat Nesbitt by 7.4 seconds and Roche by more than 42 seconds. The latter wound up in seventh place, while Pascal (fourth) was the first media representative to cross the finish line.
At just 15, Nesbitt was crowned as the overall champion and became the only woman in Canadian history to win two mixed national championships.
Good news for the fallen: Mouzouris only suffered torn shoulder ligaments, while Smith fractured his right hip and wrist. According to his dad, he's already looking forward to returning to action.
Honda Canada wanted to attract more young consumers, and especially women, to its showrooms. With the remarkable success of the 125R
and 250R series, not to mention a charismatic star in Stacey Nesbitt (who could make the jump to the AM Sportbike series next year), the manufacturer might just do that.