If you’re a motorcycle fan, the next two weekends are made for you.
At the RJ Motorsport Park just north of Barrie, the final races of the 2017 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals will be taking place. At Canadian Tire Motorsport Park north of Bowmanville, a reunion organized by the Vintage Road Racing Association for motorcycle road racers of days gone by will be held, complete with racing.
That’s last weekend.
This weekend, the final races in the 2017 MOPAR Canadian Superbike Championship will take place at CTMP with an extra added attraction — the Jordan Szoke Motorcycle Extreme Show.
Also on this weekend, if you’re in the mood to travel, is the 48th annual Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres in which all of Canada’s road-racing series gather for one wonderful weekend of competition — the Canadian Touring Car Championship, the Nissan Micra Cup, the GT3 Porsche Canada series and the NASCAR Pinty’s Series will all be racing through the streets of that marvellous Quebec city on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River.
And, elsewhere, the annual sprint car Knoxville Nationals will be run off on the fairgrounds oval in that Iowa city, the NASCAR Monster Energy cars and Camping World trucks are in Michigan while the Xfinity Series is at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The IndyCar series and Formula One are both off.
Now, Dave Bennett of Xposure PR writes to inform (and I’m just pasting this in here) that after nine rounds of action in Kamloops, Prince George, Calgary, Regina, Courtland (Ont.), Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil (Que.,), Truro, N.S., Moncton and this past weekend in Deschambault (near Quebec City), the Rockstar motocross nationals now makes its way to Barrie for the finale of its 25th Anniversary season.
Championships in both MX1 and MX2 class will come down to the final round, as there are only 15 and 11 points respectively separating the top two riders in both classes. In MX1 (450cc bike), a former World Champion from France, Christophe Pourcel, trails Florida’s Matt Goerke by 15 points and with 60 points potentially up for grabs this weekend, this battle is far from over.
In MX2 (250cc bike), Swift Current, Saskatchewan’s Shawn Maffenbeier is clinging to an 11-point lead over California’s Ryan Surratt, and with 60 points also potentially on the board in this class, both motos on Sunday will decide who the 2017 champions will be.
There are two days of racing this weekend. Saturday features a full day of amateur racing while Sunday belongs to the Pros, with practice and qualifying taking place in the morning, and the first moto beginning shortly after noon. The action typically wraps up around 5 p.m. both days.
Motocross is one of the world’s most physically demanding sports with participants racing for 17 laps over a course of bumps, turns, and jumps. As many as 40 riders can be in a race.
About 15 teams from four countries will be competing Sunday and it is not cheap to participate — the annual cost for a race team to participate in the MX Nationals Series can range from $100,000 to as much as $800,000
Things weren’t quite as expensive in the “old” days, but everything is relative. Any kind of racing was never not expensive. Just ask some of the people who will be at CTMP this weekend for the Vintage Road Racing Association’s annual motorcycle racing festival and reunion to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix that was held that year on Sept. 30 at what was then Mosport.
Old friend Dave Lloyd writes to say that World Champion, and TT race winner Phil Read and 750 World Champion Steve Baker will be there as will many other notable names from the motorcycle road racing world including Canadian ex-factory Yamaha rider Michelle (Mike) Duff and former Canadian champions Yvon Duhamel, Duane McDaniels and Jim Allen.
Dave says the list of former top calibre riders is “quite impressive and extensive. They are coming from the U.K., Europe, and across Canada and the U.S.A.”
Vintage racing — more than 250 riders will compete in 14 races over the course of the weekend — will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday but the main 50th anniversary celebrations are scheduled for Saturday. Saturday morning, the ’67 celebration race will go off at 9 a.m. More information on this one can be found at the VRRA website: vvra.ca
Finally, and looking a week ahead, the finals in the season-long MOPAR Canadian Superbike Championship will be held at CTMP Aug. 18-20. The weekend will feature some of Canada’s top racers and an added attraction this year will be 11-time Canadian National Champion Jordan Szoke’s Extreme Show.
CTMP communications manager Dave Drimmie advises that while Szoke will be looking to secure his third consecutive (and 12th overall) Superbike title on the race track, his team of Extreme Show riders (once upon a time they called them “thrill show” drivers and riders) will present what’s being billed as a high-adrenaline freestyle motocross show on both Saturday and Sunday.
Access to the paddock is included with the purchase of an event ticket where fans can take photos and get autographs from the riders.
In addition to the national championship, Canadian titles will also be up for grabs in other classes including Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike, Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike, Shoei Helmets Amateur Sport Bike and the Kawasaki Ninja 300 Racing Series.
Said Myles Brandt, president and general manager of CTMP: “We are excited to welcome back some of the best two-wheeled road racers in North America. (And) if you haven’t had the chance to watch a motorcycle race at CTMP, the action is truly amazing.”
Saturday, 12:30 p.m., FOX Sports Racing, NASCAR Camping World Trucks, Michigan
Saturday, 3:30 p.m., TSN5, NASCAR Xfinity Series, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Sunday, 4:30 a.m., beIN, FIM MotoGP (plus Moto G2 and G3), Red Bull Ring, Austria
Sunday, 2:30 p.m., TSN1/3, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Michigan
Sunday, 5 p.m., TSN2, NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Edmonton (tape)