Motorcycle Beginner - Year 2: Up Close With Canadian Superbike Racing

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Whenever I tell people I work for, the usual reaction I get is a look of surprise followed by a “wow, that’s really cool!” What they don’t realize is most of my work is done at my desk and not in the saddle of the latest and greatest offerings from Honda, BMW, Ducati, et al.

I usually follow that up by saying “my job’s probably not as cool as you think it is … but it’s still pretty damn cool.” Indeed, most of my work involves following up news leads, tracking down photography, rendering dyno charts and deciphering press announcements to figure out exactly what makes the 2012 Vespa LX different from the 2011 version (a task made further complicated by the fact I can’t read Italian.) invades the Canadian Superbike Championship at CTMP!
But every once in a while, I get a “pretty damn cool” moment and get to do something like cover the North American debut of the Honda NC700X and NC700S or review the CBR250R from a newbie’s perspective.

Another one of those “pretty damn cool” moments came up recently, as was invited to the final weekend of the Canadian Superbike Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, or Mosport International Raceway, as it was formerly known.

One of my many duties here at is keeping up with professional races and editing Bruce Allen’s MotoGP reports (someone has to make sure he’s not sneaking in Italian swear words.) I’ve watched plenty of motorcycle races before, on television, but this was my first opportunity to watch the action live and up close.

It also gave me a chance to mix and mingle with other motorcycle racing fans and enthusiasts. Sure, I’ve been able to do that at motorcycle shows, but those take place indoors and over the winter. At CTMP, the sun was shining and the engines were roaring and everywhere you went, you were surrounded by people who love motorcycles.

Stay tuned for Kevin Duke's upcoming feature about competing in the Honda Canada's CBR250R racing series.

Even better, I had someone to root for as our very own EiC Kevin Duke was invited to compete against other moto-journalists in the Media Challenge division of the Honda CBR250R National Race Series.

Kevin will share his experience in an upcoming article so I’ll try to avoid giving away any spoilers. Instead, I will present some of the sights from the Canadian Superbike Championship season finale at CTMP. Be sure to look at the rest of the photos in our gallery.

The CTMP round attracted a wide variety of racing fans, and a wider variety of motorcycles.
A shiny new Ducati 1199 Panigale definitely stood out and drew a lot of onlookers.
Also drawing attention was the V3 two-stroke Honda NS400R.
Less exotic but full of charm, this Honda Cub EZ90 remains a serviceable pit bike.
Honda, Suzuki and BMW offered demo rides through the weekend. The BMW C650GT and C600 Sport scooters were also available for demo rides.
The Fogi Racing and Canadian Ben Young race in AMA Superbikes. Young rode this Yamaha R6 to a 20th-place finish at this year's Daytona 200. This R6 has seen better days however as it was damaged in a recent crash. Despite racing in the U.S., Thornbury, Ontario native Young shows his roots with a sponsorship from Canadian coffee icon Tim Hortons.
Raphael Archambault had a pair of second-place finishes on this Suzuki GSX-R600. The fairing includes a pattern made up of his #85 with the 8 colored with the Canadian flag and the 5 with Quebec's fleur-de-lis flag.
Honda Canada is making a concerted effort to attract young riders. In addition to the CBR250R series for teens, Honda brought its Junior Red Riders program to CTMP, offering off-road riding lessons for kids ages 6-12.
Watching the races from pit lane provided an incredible sense of how fast these race bikes can go.
Honda CBR600RR rider Jodie Christie swept both races at CTMP to give him six wins on the year and the 2012 Canadian Pro Sportsbike Championship.
Christie also won the Sportsbike title in 2011 but the big grin on his face shows he's just as happy to win his second title.
Just like in the AMA, the Canadian Championship includes a Harley-Davidson XR1200 racing series. Reigning champion Steve Crevier holds off Michael Barnes exiting the final corner.
Steve Crevier celebrated his second-straight XR1200 Cup title by leaving his mark on the asphalt on his way to the podium ceremony.
Michael Taylor broke his leg in a crash two weeks prior at a round at le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec but courageously earned a pair of fourth-place finishes at CTMP.
Jordan Szoke won his eighth national Superbike title at CTMP, this time riding a BMW S1000RR. Szoke missed out on the championship in 2011 by just 10 points to Brett McCormick who is now racing World Superbikes for Liberty Racing.
In a classy move, Michael Taylor arrived at the winner's circle on crutches for the Honda CBR250R series podium ceremony.
Tomas Casas (center) won his fourth-straight Honda CBR250R race but the championship went to Stacey Nesbitt (left). Nesbitt won the CBR125R series last year so this marks the second national title for the young woman from St-Lazare, Quebec.
The CBR250R may be underpowered compared to the superbikes but racing them still has its inherent risks as Ryan Roche's damaged racebike shows. Roche was caught in a first-lap pile-up but was able to compete on a spare bike when the race was restarted. Seventeen-year-old Sean Smith was not so lucky, fracturing his pelvis and right wrist in the crash.

I had a blast watching the races at CTMP and hope to return next season. In the meantime, check out the rest of the photos in the gallery and come back to read about how Kevin Duke did in his Honda CBR250R racing debut.

Related Reading
Motorcycle Beginner - Year 2: Motorcycle Ownership
Motorcycle Beginner - Year 2: The First Accident
Motorcycle Beginner - Year 2: Buying Your Next Bike
Motorcycle Beginner: I Want to Ride
Motorcycle Beginner: Buying Riding Gear
Motorcycle Beginner: Rider Training
Motorcycle Beginner Diary: What I Love About Being a Motorcyclist
Motorcycle Beginner: 2011 Honda CBR250R Newbie Review

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

More by Dennis Chung

Join the conversation