The 24 year old has been completing short practice motos on the #84 machine for almost three weeks. Herlings has recovered enough strength and stability in his foot in the wake of surgery at the beginning of the year to repair several fractures. The Dutchman sustained the injury three weeks before the start of the 2019 season in Argentina after a training accident in Spain.
The reigning #1 is in the later phases of his recovery but still has to confirm a Grand Prix for his return to MXGP action. He will certainly miss the trip to France this week.
Jeffrey Herlings: “It feels great to be back on the bike again but I have to take things slowly and listen to what my body is saying. Sometimes I still have some pain in my foot and I need to train and get good time on the bike after three months of almost doing nothing. Basically I need to ride myself into shape. I want to come back to the track when I am 100% but I know I won’t be able to return and win; it will take a few races to get back up to a good level and the rest of the guys are already pushing hard and have the rhythm of regular racing. I’m working hard and will be back as soon as possible.”
Developed on the toughest climbs, gnarliest terrain and in deepest mud with our Red Bull KTM Factory Racing stars, the benchmark-setting KTM enduros have just raised the bar. The 2020 line-up includes the new model KTM 150 EXC TPI, which is homologated for Euro 4, the KTM 250 EXC TPI and KTM 300 EXC TPI 2-strokes, as well as the KTM 250 EXC-F, KTM 350 EXC-F, KTM 450 EXC-F and KTM 500 EXC-F 4-strokes.
Following on from KTM’s many advancements in technology with its enduro machines in recent years, this wide range of KTM EXC models boasts the very latest in innovation. The model year 2020 enduros have new and more efficient yet high-performing engines, a re-developed chassis with improved WP XPLOR suspension, improved handling, new bodywork, new air filter box, new cooling system, and new exhaust systems. This, combined with the high-quality NEKEN handlebar, Brembo brakes, No-Dirt footpegs, and CNC milled hubs with Giant rims fitted as standard equipment, ensures that the KTM EXC model year 2020 are the best performing and most extreme enduro bikes on the market.
The flagship KTM SIX DAYS models offer a premium parts package and these world-beating enduros are widely regarded as the best competition machines on the market. With the International Six Days Enduro at the core of the design of these bikes, the SIX DAYS models celebrate the sport of enduro and have a wide range of well-thought out KTM PowerParts fitted over the standard models of KTM EXC.
In addition, KTM is excited to announce the ultra-prestigious KTM 300 EXC TPI ERZBERGRODEO machine, a limited production of 500 units, which has been created as a tribute to the iconic Austrian hard enduro event in its 25th year. With a long list of additional READY TO RACE parts as well as an exclusive graphic design, this special edition is the ultimate machine for the journey to extreme.
“The new KTM EXC enduro range is ready for anything. With the serious challenges presented by the likes of the World Enduro Super Series, which includes classic enduro races as well as some of the toughest events in the world, the KTM EXC models have to be prepared for the most extreme conditions. Thanks to the efforts of our R&D team around the globe, who enjoy riding themselves and understand the needs of our customers, along with our factory athletes who push our machines to the limits for the ultimate durability tests, the market-leading enduro range continues to improve at a rapid rate. Evolved from excellence, the MY2020 KTM EXC’s are a new generation with the very latest innovation for the aspiring enduro rider right up to the professionals,” said KTM´s Senior Product Manager Offroad, Joachim Sauer.
To get the very best out of the new KTM EXC model line-up KTM has continued to develop its high-quality selection of KTM PowerParts, which enables riders to customize their machines to take it to new heights. KTM enduro fans can also find a wide range of riding gear, protection and casual wear in the KTM PowerWear collection, ensuring they can be READY TO RACE both on and off the bike.
Bikes will be arriving in dealers from June onwards. For more information visit www.ktm.com.
The 2019 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship got off to a much different start than years past on Sunday, with a pair of dramatic Pro races leading to some first-time championship leaders after round one at Shannonville Motorsport Park.
Ben Young completed the weekend sweep in the Mopar Pro Superbike feature class, as the Collingwood, ON rider led every session of round one before leading all 22 laps of the final race aboard his Scot-Build/Barrie Trim BMW S1000RR.
Despite his run at the top of the leaderboard, Young was under siege for the entirety of the race, holding off a pair of familiar foes in Kenny Riedmann and four-time defending champion Jordan Szoke.
“It feels really great. We had a great start, but I knew they were behind me the whole way, so I really had to push,” said Young. “It’s nice to see BMW continuing their run of wins here this season, and I’m just honoured to be a part of that, so we’re all looking forward to round two in a few weeks at Grand Bend.”
“I think it’s one of my better tracks, so to go in there with a points advantage over Jordan and Kenny is just a dream come true so far,” he continued.
It was another brilliant ride for Belfountain, ON’s Riedmann, who has now managed to edge his long-time rival in Szoke in back-to-back races after winning the season finale at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last season, his lone career victory aboard the Sturgess Cycle Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja.
“Jordan’s a 13-time champion, so obviously keeping him behind me was never going to be easy, but I was really trying to find a weak spot on Ben to make a pass and just couldn’t find one,” Riedmann said. “He put in a really fast lap at the end that I just couldn’t match, so I’m really glad to be here on the podium and fighting with these guys. It was a lot of fun.”
Szoke will now leave round one without the series lead for the first time in seven seasons, a race he also finished third in, though it was a spirited ride for the Lynden, ON veteran in his debut with the Mopar Express Lane Kawasaki team.
After a massive crash on Saturday morning, Szoke battled through a number of injuries to keep himself within the title fight early on.
“It was a real push to get the bikes together, and I was having a tough time fighting through the pain, so I knew I had to play it smart,” said Szoke. “It was a tough weekend, but the new team is a great fit. It’s not about every race, it’s about the championship, and we’ll be right back up there in round two.”
Taking a career-best result in fourth place was Peterborough, ON youngster Tomas Casas, who was racing aboard a Parts Canada Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike for the first time in his career this weekend, with St. Isidore, QC’s Samuel Trepanier also battling through injury to round out the top five aboard his Blysk Racing BMW.
The top rookie in the Pro Superbike class was Maple, ON’s Ivan Babic, who finished eighth aboard his BMW as he takes an early lead in the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year battle.
It wasn’t as good of a result for Casas in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, however, as a last-lap crash led to the first career Pro victory for Sarnia, ON’s Will Hornblower.
A frequent podium finisher, Hornblower finally managed to overcome a string of bad luck performances to win at SMP aboard his Yamaha YZF-R6.
“It’s really felt like a long time coming,” Hornblower said. “The past six years I’ve come so close, but to finally do it is just unbelievable. I can’t thank everyone enough.”
After running in third for much of the race, Hornblower had the front seat to a crash involving Casas and Mirabel, QC’s Sebastien Tremblay, with Tremblay leading the race at the time aboard his DB Moto Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja.
“Tomas was faster in turn three so he tried to make the pass there, but Sebastien held the line and there was just nothing they could do,” Hornblower explained. “I just kept telling myself ‘you can’t screw this up,’ so I’m not glad they crashed but I’m just really glad I held onto it.”
Casas, the two-time defending champion in the Sport Bike category, will now enter round two at the Grand Bend Motorplex with just four points to Hornblower’s 52.
Also benefitting from the incident was Hamilton, ON’s David MacKay, who ran majority of the race in fourth before finishing in second place aboard his Mack Attack Racing Kawasaki. Rounding out the podium, meanwhile, was Lasalle, QC’s Samuel Desmarais, who had his best career finish aboard his Playground Poker Club Kawasaki.
The TSN Motorcycle Experience Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike class also continued its thrilling action from Saturday, as Princeville, NS’s Avery Hart claimed his second career victory aboard a WRBF Racing Yamaha YZF-R3.
After finishing second to Blackstock, ON teenager Ben LeClair in race one on Saturday, Hart was able to get his revenge over his Yamaha counterpart in race two.
“It was well worth the drive up here,” joked Hart. “That first corner really set the tone for the race, and it got really close out there but I was able to hold him off at the end and it was a lot of fun.”
Winning the season opener of the Mopar Express Lane Amateur Superbike category was Markham, ON’s Dave Natale, who narrowly held off the Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja of Guillaume Fortin (Blainville, QC) aboard his Aprilia RSV4 RR.
As for the Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike class, it was St. Marc-sur-Richelieu, QC’s Christian Allard dominating a shortened race aboard his Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja, with Oakville, ON’s Jared Walker finishing second aboard a similar machine.
Walker was also the winner of round one’s Parts Canada Hard Charger award, improving upon his qualifying time by nearly 1.2 seconds in Sunday’s race.
Full results from Sunday’s racing at Shannonville Motorsport Park can be found on the series’ official website at www.csbk.ca, as well as information regarding round two at the Grand Bend Motorplex on June 7-9.
Just two weeks after the conclusion of the 2019 AMA Supercross Championship, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team headed north to Sacramento, California for the opening round of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Hangtown. Battling both dry and muddy conditions at Hangtown, team riders Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin delivered solid results to bring home fifth and sixth overall, respectively, from the season opener.
Recently-crowned AMA 450SX Champion Cooper Webb made the transition to the outdoors with ease, qualifying inside the top-five. With a solid gate pick for Moto 1, Webb powered his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION into the holeshot where he eventually settled into second on the opening lap. He rode strong in second for a majority of the race until he was passed with three laps to go. Despite a hard charge, Webb finished third in the first race. In Moto 2, Webb got off to a great start up front but an early mistake caused him to get cross-rutted and drop back to seventh on lap two. Despite a couple more crashes in the mud, Webb was able to battle his way back up to finish sixth in the moto. With combined finishes of 3-6, Webb secured fifth overall at the season opener.
Webb: “The opening round went pretty well considering the conditions at the end of the day. In the second moto, I struggled in the mud to get a flow going and I fell a few times. Overall, it’s not what I wanted but it’s a good start to the season and we’re in a good position, so we’ll get better from here.”
Musquin kicked off the day on a good note, qualifying third overall in the 450MX class before enduring a big crash in the second practice session that left him banged up heading into the first moto. After getting off to a tough start in Moto 1, Musquin was forced to work his way through the field early on. He climbed up to seventh, where he ultimately finished in Moto 1. In Moto 2, Musquin powered his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION through the sloppy conditions to capture the holeshot and early lead. He settled into third on the opening lap and from there, he battled back-and-forth between third and fourth-place. He made the pass on Jason Anderson to overtake third late in the race but he ultimately got passed by Zach Osborne on the final lap to finish fourth in the moto and sixth overall for the day.
Musquin: “I was super sore after my crash in practice but I tried to regroup and get as better as I could before the motos but the first moto was tough. The feeling was not good and the start was not there, so I was battling with myself, basically, and then the track – I couldn’t find a good flow or rhythm. The second moto was better but it was a very disappointing outcome for me as I’ve gotten second the last two years here. Hangtown is always tough, so we know where we are now and it can only get better.”
Triumph Motorcycles announces a unique collaboration with UK industry experts, academic leaders and Innovate UK, to develop specialist electric motorcycle technology and innovative integrated solutions. This two-year project, in partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, Integral Powertrain Ltd, and WMG at the University of Warwick, will provide significant input into potential electric motorcycle offerings from Triumph.
· A unique collaboration between four major UK industry and academic leaders – Triumph Motorcycles, Williams Advanced Engineering, Integral Powertrain Ltd.’s e-Drive Division, and WMG at the University of Warwick
· Supported and co-funded by the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) via Innovate UK
· A two-year project focused on developing electric motorcycle capabilities, providing an input into Triumph’s future electric motorcycle strategy driving innovation, capability and new intellectual property, enhancing the credibility and profile of British industry and design
This new collaboration will combine Triumph’s world-renowned motorcycle expertise with advanced automotive-based capabilities to generate technological innovation for future electric motorcycles.
“This new collaboration represents an exciting opportunity for Triumph and its partners to be leaders in the technology that will enable the electrification of motorcycles, which is driven by customers striving to reduce their environmental impact, combined with the desire for more economical transportation and changing legislation,” said Nick Bloor, Triumph CEO. “Project Triumph TE-1 is one part of our electric motorcycle strategy, focused on delivering what riders want and expect from their Triumph, which is the perfect balance of handling, performance and usability.”
A unique collaboration between industry experts, academic leaders and Innovate UK
Project Triumph TE-1 now represents a ground-breaking collaboration between Triumph Motorcycles and the UK’s electrification experts, each of whom will create innovations in their own areas:
· Triumph Motorcycles will lead the project, providing advanced motorcycle chassis design and engineering expertise, manufacturing excellence and pioneering functional safety systems, as well as defining electric drivetrain power delivery characteristics.
· Williams Advanced Engineering will provide industry-leading lightweight battery design and integration capability, using its test and development facilities to deliver an innovative battery management system combined with a vehicle control unit.
· Integral Powertrain Ltd.’s e-Drive Division will lead the development of bespoke power-dense electric motors and a silicon carbide inverter, integrating both into a singular motor housing.
· WMG at the University of Warwick will provide electrification expertise and the critical vision to drive innovation from R&D to commercial impact, through modelling and simulation based on future market needs.
· Innovate UK,the government agency that promotes science and technology programs expected to grow the UK economy, will support the partners and administer funds. This forms part of the BEIS modern funding strategy with the aim of creating a market-leading UK electric vehicle capability.
A two-year project focused on developing technical innovation and advanced electric motorcycle capabilities
The project will be organized into four main phases, with one of its key aims being increased systems integration. By developing individual components of automotive-based electric drivetrains and optimizing them into innovative combined units, the project aims to deliver sophisticated electric motorcycle systems which reduce mass, complexity and package requirements.
Triumph Motorcycles will work alongside the partner organizations to accelerate joint expertise in the packaging and safety of batteries, optimum electric motor sizing and packaging, the integration of braking systems including regenerative braking, and advanced safety systems. The innovation and capabilities developed in these areas will input into Triumph’s future electric motorcycle strategy.
The Project Triumph TE-1 partnership, with the support of Innovate UK, is focused on facilitating the creation of:
· Electric motorcycle capability that meets the needs of customers seeking lower environmental impact transportation, delivering against the UK’s focus on reducing emissions.
· Strong, commercially viable and sustainable partnerships with UK industry manufacturers and supply chains.
· Expertise and capability within the UK workforce, creating jobs and a talent base that both ensures sustainable employment and drives the UK’s reputation and influence on the world stage.
“The team at Williams Advanced Engineering is looking forward to applying our expertise in the electrification of transport with our partners,” said Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering. “Williams has powered a number of world-renowned electric vehicles already and this will be a significant further step in our work by taking that knowledge onto two wheels.”
“Integral Powertrain has always pushed the boundaries of e-drive technology working with clients to find the best solution to meet their exact requirements,” said Andrew Cross, Chief Technical Officer at Integral Powertrain Ltd. “This project will draw upon the extensive motor and EV experience gained over the past 20 years working with major OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers in the automotive and motorsport sectors. We are extremely pleased to be supporting Triumph Motorcycles with their future electrification strategy and in a project where we can apply our experience to engineer an extremely power dense, efficient and highly integrated motorcycle electric drive.”
“Electric motorcycles will have a vital role to play in future transport across the globe – delivering reduced congestion and improved urban air quality as well as easing parking. They will also be great to ride, with copious, easily controlled torque delivered smoothly at all road speeds. WMG has experience of battery technology and vehicle electrification for road, rail, sea and air which it will bring to this exciting sector. Our expert team will lead the modeling and simulation work within the project, to ensure the vehicles are safe and efficient without compromise to dynamic performance.” Professor David Greenwood, Professor, Advanced Propulsion Systems at WMG, University of Warwick.
Steve Sargent, Triumph’s Chief Product Officer said “Our future product strategy is focused on delivering the most suitable engine platforms for the changing landscape of customer needs, and we see a Triumph electric powertrain as a significant requirement alongside our signature twin and triple cylinder engines. As part of our electric motorcycle initiative, Project Triumph TE-1 represents an exciting collaboration that will provide valuable input into our future line-up. We are incredibly pleased to have the support of OLEV and Innovate UK, and to be working together with the UK’s electrification experts and academic leaders, in an endeavor that ultimately is focused on the future prosperity of British industry, and the future of motorcycling.”
With little time to rest, the four Red Bull KTM riders have travelled from the series opener in Portugal to France to compete in round two of this year’s WESS championship. Based at the picturesque town of Mende, Trèfle Lozérien AMV will challenge competitors over three days of riding, covering a total of over 719 kilometres. With each day comprising five special tests, all riders will need to adapt to the fast-paced, special test format.
Third overall at the 2018 event, Josep Garcia is looking to take the win this time around in France. Back riding his KTM 250 EXC-F, and with the special test format of Trèfle Lozérien AMV certainly to his liking, Garcia is confident of a good result at the iconic event.
Josep Garcia: “I’m really looking forward to Le Trefle. It will still be quite a challenge because we have to switch from hard enduro to classic enduro and the majority of my training recently has been on the 300, for Lagares. I finished third last year in France, which was great especially as I lost a lot of time on the first day. The locals are always tough to beat – there are French riders who specialise in these grass special tests. This year I start off third so that should help as the stages lose grip later on. I know I need to get back up to speed on the 4-stroke, but my plan is to fight for the win.”
Nathan Watson comes into round two with a year’s WESS experience under his belt. The motocross-turned-enduro rider finished seventh at Le Trefle 12 months ago, and as the second-highest non-French rider behind teammate Garcia. Keen to move up the order this time around, the 2019 French Beach Race Champion is eager to claim valuable WESS points in France.
Nathan Watson: “If I’m honest, I didn’t have the best time at Lagares, the course was a lot tougher than last year and I struggled a little on the technical stuff. With this year’s WESS having more hard enduros, Le Trefle is one I am looking forward to the most and as it’s my second time here, I know a little more of what to expect. My start position for this year’s race will be a lot better so that should work in my favour. My hope is that the rain stays off and I can really get stuck in.”
Top Red Bull KTM rider at round one in Portugal, Jonny Walker is no stranger to classic enduro. The experienced Brit has ridden many different formats including both national and world-level events. Claiming 10th at the French classic in 2018, Jonny is looking to utilise his all-round skills and move up the WESS championship order at Le Trefle.
Jonny Walker: “It’s tough to know how the format in France will suit me this year. I know my strength is not quite there yet and it’s three long days on the bike. Last year went well though and the tests are not too long, so if I can really push on them and relax a little on the liaison sections I should be ok. I was pleased with 10th last year so hopefully something close to that will put me in good stead for the championship.”
Finishing a creditable 20th at the 2018 event, Taddy Blazusiak will once again be aiming for a solid result at the French classic enduro. Back onboard his familiar KTM 350 EXC-F for the race, the Polish rider is looking to stay consistent over the three days and secure himself more valuable WESS points.
Taddy Blazusiak: “The way the events have fallen this year is really tough. To come straight from the Superenduro season, into hard enduro with Lagares, then one week later into classic enduro at Le Trefle is a real challenge. The good news is, I’ll be back on the 350 in France and I’m probably more used to that at the moment than the 2-stroke after riding it for the indoors. The grass tests are unique and sure it will be tricky to stay with the experts out there, but it’s part of what WESS is all about so I’ll give it my all.”
Trèfle Lozérien AMV, WESS round two, commences May 17 in France.
Some things may look or feel different for Jordan Szoke this season, but the goal is all too familiar as the season opener approaches for the 2019 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Shannonville Motorsport Park.
The Lynden, ON veteran will enter the new year as undoubtedly the most decorated Canadian roadracer of all time, having secured his record 13th Mopar Pro Superbike National overall title last season and fourth consecutive.
However, if Szoke plans to add to his trophy case yet again this year, he will have to do so aboard a new machine after his eight-year partnership with BMW came to an end this offseason. Instead, “The People’s Champion” will be returning to his roots with Kawasaki support, riding a Mopar Express Lane-sponsored ZX-10R Ninja much like the one he dominated with in the late 2000’s.
The reason for the added pressure in 2019 is not just his switch to a new team, but also the emergence of his biggest rivals late in the 2018 season. After seeing his perfect season snapped during last year’s season-ending doubleheader, Szoke failed to even stand on the podium in the final race, finishing fourth.
The winner of race one from that weekend will almost certainly be his biggest challenger in Ben Young, who will take over as BMW’s new leading man after Szoke’s departure. The Collingwood, ON rider is coming off his best season to date and will look to build upon his first career victory aboard a Barrie BMW Scot-Build S1000RR.
Young won’t be the only rider aiming for Szoke’s title, however, with St. Isidore, QC’s Samuel Trepanier poised for his best season as a Pro after finishing third overall a year ago. The Blysk Racing BMW rider is long overdue for his first career victory and it’s possible that result could finally come at the season opener in Shannonville.
Another bet to run near the front is Mississauga, ON’s Trevor Daley, who will also be piloting a new machine this season as he becomes the official factory Suzuki rider in 2019. After finishing fourth in last year’s championship aboard a solo Kawasaki effort, the former Amateur champion will now receive a massive boost as he switches to a Fast Company GSX-R1000RR.
One entry to look out for in Ontario rounds is Belfountain, ON’s Kenny Riedmann, who is planning to ride a partial program in 2019 aboard a Sturgess Cycle Kawasaki after winning his first ever Pro Superbike race at C.T.M.P. last season.
Arguably Szoke’s biggest rival for a span of three seasons, “Kenneth the Menace” is a safe bet to challenge for another National win.
A popular race within the race to follow will be the fight for this years Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year award, with teenage phenom Nicolas Meunier the early favourite after an impressive Pro debut at SMP’s regional race in early May.
The Verdun, QC youngster finished second in the Parts Canada Sport Bike standings a year ago and was the top middleweight rider in the Amateur Superbike class, finishing fifth overall aboard a Turcotte Performance Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja.
As for the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, it will be up to Tomas Casas to defend his title against a field of worthy competitors, though the 19-year old Peterborough, ON native will be tough to beat at his home track in round one.
The Parts Canada Yamaha YZF-R6 rider will also be riding an R1 machine in the Superbike class for the first time but his focus remains on Sport Bike, where he will search for his third-consecutive title in 2019.
With the runner-up of the last two years, Mitch Card, not expected to compete this season, Casas’ biggest challenge will almost certainly come in the form of Mirabel, QC’s Sebastien Tremblay.
Tremblay won his first ever Pro race last year aboard a DB Moto Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja and has looked strong in the preseason, besting Casas in regional racing at SMP a few weeks ago.
Meunier, the aforementioned rookie, should also be a strong front-runner aboard his Kawasaki in his first year of Pro racing in what is turning into a class loaded with strong, young talent.
Last year’s BCR Pro Rookie of the year, Samuel Desmarais of Lasalle, QC, will return with a strengthened Kawasaki program aiming to join the lead pack. Will Hornblower is returning to the series full time and has frequently diced with Casas at the front of Sport Bike, the Sarnia, ON. racer also on a Yamaha YZF-R6.
The most exciting display of young talent, however, is certainly the Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike class, which will feature the biggest rising stars in Canadian racing once again after a terrific inaugural season in 2018.
The two preseason frontrunners also happen to be two of the youngest riders in the National paddock, with Blackstock, ON’s Ben LeClair leading the way at just 15 years of age. The Yamaha YZF-R3 rider is the younger brother of last year’s champion, Jake, and will be looking to follow in his footsteps this season.
However, it won’t be without a strong challenge from Bowmanville, ON’s Matthew Simpson, who will also enter the year at just 15 years old aboard his Honda CBR500R. The youngster gave LeClair a strong run at the regional opener at SMP and will likely find himself at the centre of a title fight that comes right down to the season finale.
Also returning to the class is Laval, QC’s Alex Berthiaume, who finished second in last year’s championship and will be aiming to take the title aboard his Yamaha this season.
While the younger LeClair will aim at one Amateur championship, his older brother will have his sights set on at least another as Jake moves bigger machinery in 2019.
Now riding a bLU cRU Yamaha YZF-R6, LeClair should be a contender as early as round one at SMP after a strong showing at the circuit earlier this month. Riding in both the Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike and Mopar Express Lane Amateur Superbike classes, the teenager could join Meunier and Casas as recent examples of one-year amateurs who fast-tracked their way to the Pro classes.
Though he has yet to make his National debut, another favourite to win the season opener would be Jordan Royds, who has won the last two regional races at SMP dating back to last season aboard his Yamaha YZF-R1.
As for LeClair’s biggest foe in the Sport Bike category, it may be the year for Ottawa, ON’s Max Kathron to find his footing and graduate to the Pro ranks.
Riding a Suzuki GSX-R600, Kathron has been amongst the fastest riders in the class for the last three seasons but settled for fourth in the standings last year after battling inconsistency down the stretch, though his best result did come at SMP when he finished second in the season opener.
Information regarding the CSBK season and its first round at SMP, including the full weekend schedule, can be found on the series’ official website at www.csbk.ca.
Triumph Factory rider Ernie Vigil piloting the all-new Scrambler 1200 XE finished an incredible 5th place at this year’s NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally.
Competing in the Modern Open Class, Vigil was up against a field of dirt bikes more traditionally associated with Baja desert racing.
Riding a near standard Scrambler 1200 XE, Ernie Vigil completed the five day, 1,347 mile rally in 25 hours and 37 minutes and ran entirely free of a single crash or mechanical issue with the Scrambler 1200.
The sole delay occurred on Day 2 when a front BIB Mousse spectacularly failed after crossing a long, rocky stage at high speed. Vigil was swiftly recovered by communicating to the Triumph chase crew via satellite phone, who were able to identify his exact location deep inside the rally course. After a three hour delay Vigil was back out on track using the power of the Scrambler 1200 to make up lost ground.
Wearing #278 in honor of Steve McQueen’s 1964 ISDT number and displaying a bespoke paint design using Triumph’s signature design the Scrambler 1200 XE was largely unmodified.
Ernie Vigil – Factory Triumph rider: “We made it! It was a super long week at the NORRA Mexican Rally. I couldn’t ask for a better result and on a stock bike, it was a super rad week ripping in the desert with a bunch of dirt bikes. We had zero issues, she ran like a dream. Two of the longest days were in some really technical, rocky sections, you really have to stay focussed and pick your lines without slowing down too much. But when we hit the open desert I could really let the bike eat, she was a rocket and took everything we threw at her. I’m very sad it’s all over, but I’m hoping we can get to the Baja 1000 later this year to run her in the Ironman Class. We not only proved the Scrambler 1200 XE could finish this rally, but be competitive.”
Ernie’s Scrambler 1200 XE was left in near-standard condition, with only the addition of an extended sump guard, softer bar grips, removal of ABS & TC functions and the fitment of a Metzeler MC 360 21” front tire and Metzeler Karoo 3 on the standard 17” rear wheel. Suspension settings we’re left as supplied on the standard showroom models.
This result demonstrates the capability of the Scrambler 1200 platform which represents a first for dual-purpose capability and modern custom style. This beautiful 1,200cc scrambler delivers a category-redefining level of performance, specification and finish, fused with Triumph’s iconic scrambler DNA and all the multi-surface capability of a genuine adventure motorcycle.
The NORRA Mexican 1000 is an incredible off-road racing event that covers 1,347 miles of Mexico’s rugged Baja peninsula, with riders tackling rocks, deep sand and the unforgiving desert landscape. If you want to compete in extreme endurance races on a motorcycle, the Mexican 1000 is one of the biggest.
The Mexican 1000 is run on the same hallowed Baja terrain that made the Triumph Scrambler name famous in the 1960s. Hence, this was a homecoming for the Triumph Scrambler, back to prove its capability to a new generation of riding enthusiasts.
TSN’s “Motorcycle Experience” program celebrates their 30th anniversary of broadcast on The Sports Network in 2019, and part of the festivities surrounding this milestone with include the support of the Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike class on the 2019 Mopar CSBK National motorcycle road racing tour.
“Motorcycle Experience” host Dave Hatch of Picton, ON, also the owner of Whistlestop Productions, who have created a wide range of broadcast programs, including shows focused on music, technology and sports, beyond “Motorcycle Experience.”
“I think that Amateur Sport Bike is a good fit for our show,” confirmed Hatch, a former competitor in the Shannonville Motorsport Park, ON, based RACE SuperSeries. “This class centres on the rising stars of Canadian competition, and there is also a lot of focus on the lightweight class of machinery in terms of street bikes as well as in competition these days.”
The Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike category is for very lightly modified, street-bike based racers below 500cc’s displacement. The class is built around Kawasaki Ninja 250, 300 and 400 bikes, as well as Honda singles and twins and the Yamaha YZF-R3 twin.
Last season, Jake LeClair from Blackstock, ON, scored the inaugural Ltwt National Championship aboard a Yamaha, earning the very first bLU cRU Factory Ride award. Yamaha Canada are supporting LeClair as he climbs the ladder to the Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike category with his sponsored 600cc Yamaha YZF-R6.
TNS’s “Motorcycle Experience” is known for their moto, “the voice of motorcyclists everywhere,” and have long supported two-wheel sport. The original version of the TSN magazine show, “Motorcycle Rider,” sponsored a Grand Prix class at Shannonville in 1993.
Hatch will be on hand at the Shannonville Motorsport Park National opener May 17-19, presenting awards on the podium to the top finishers in TSN’s “Motorcycle Experience” Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike event. Each National weekend features two races for the Ltwt racers, one on Saturday afternoon and one on Sunday.
As well as supporting the CSBK tour in 2019, TSN’s Motorcycle Experience will be on hand at the Toronto Sheraton Airport Hotel and Conference Centre for the 14th annual Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame event November 2. This event is the kick-off for the 40th anniversary of Superbike racing in Canada, 1980-2020.
“I have been involved in the Superbike series over the years in a number of roles, and I look forward to celebrating this anniversary with some of the founders of the sport in Canada,” explained Hatch. “Canadian motorcyclists have a great story to tell, and the Superbike racers are certainly some of our best story tellers.”
In 2019, TSN’s “Motorcycle Experience” 3oth anniversary season is supported by Kawasaki, Honda, BMW, Yamaha and Olympia riding gear. This season’s episodes recently went into broadcast rotation on TSN, and are available at the “Motorcycle Experience” web site.
The compact and sandy Mantova circuit entertained the FIM Motocross World Championship for the first time since 2016 and the fifth round of the current 2019 campaign (the second event on Italian soil this season) saw Tony Cairoli triumph for the fourth time this year while MX2 World Champion Jorge Prado posted results of 1-1 for his fourth shut-out. The terrain was wet, bumpy and slippery after thunderstorms and showers had softened the Italian surface Saturday night and Sunday morning. MXGP gathered together for first time in four weeks after the rescheduling of the Grand Prix of China left a long hiatus on the calendar.
Tony Cairoli set expectations for his second home Grand Prix of the season by taking a commanding victory during the Saturday Qualification Heat for his second Pole Position of the term. The championship leader and winner of 5 from 7 motos in 2019 so far, made sure of the holeshot in the opening race under persistent light Italian rain and rode to victory without pressure. Many riders fell in the conditions, made mistakes and had to use the new Goggle Lane. Cairoli’s form and precision was impressive and in the second moto – as the rain continued and the track was at its roughest – he was again dominant. Tony’s fourth win from the five Grands Prix in 2019 means he now has a career total of 89.
Teammate and World Champion Jeffrey Herlings took his first tentative laps on his 450 SX-F the week before the Grand Prix of Lombardia and will now build-up his bike fitness and speed ahead of a competitive return in the near future.
Cairoli holds the red plate as series leader by 40 points from Tim Gajser.
Tony Cairoli: “It was very nice to be back in Italy and despite the weather there was a lot of people here today. The race itself went perfectly and we knew the start would be important, especially on a track that was so rutted – it was completely different to what it was yesterday. I’m really happy and thanks to all the team for their great work. It is very early to look at the standings so my focus is to stay in front as long as possible and try not to make a mistake. Hopefully we can be on the podium again next week in Portugal. It is important to be consistent and my goal this season is to always be in the top three. We’ll see how it goes.”
MX2 World Champion Jorge Prado negotiated his first Grand Prix at Mantova with style and remains unbeaten in 2019 with eight wins from eight moto appearances. It was the Spaniard’s holeshot in the first outing (his sixth of 2019) that allowed him to escape from the pack. In the second moto he overtook teammate Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM earning both holeshots on the day) to ease his way through a rutty and tricky course for his fourth double of the campaign.
The Red Bull KTM MX2 awning was full of ‘rookies’ in Italy. Tom Vialle was also circulating Mantova for the first time in the context of Grand Prix. The Frenchman rode to 23rd in the first moto (due to a crash after running high on the leaderboard) and then turned around his results with a 3rd place in the second race despite a painful left knee and left thumb after a fall on Saturday. Austrian prospect and EMX250 runner, Rene Hofer, made his MX2 debut at Mantova. The youngster showed top fifteen pace on Saturday but a tumble and twisted knee ended his first moto prematurely and he elected not to line-up for the second sprint.
After five rounds Prado is just 7 points behind Thomas Kjer Olsen in the MX2 standings.
The FIM World Championship moves immediately west with a long trip to the popular Agueda circuit for the Grand Prix of Portugal next weekend.
Jorge Prado: “After a month off it was good to come back and get on top of the podium; for the confidence also. I felt really good here from the beginning and it was important to make good starts today: that was the key of the race, as well as staying on two wheels! I enjoyed the second moto a lot. It was really nice to ride that track. It is a place where you need to get the rhythm and let it flow and roll. I could make it happen today. It is very difficult to stay at this level and not make any mistakes and good starts every time: it’s tough. I need to keep concentrating and catch the lead.”
Tom Vialle: “A much better second race and a good start. Jorge passed me on the first lap so I decided to follow him and I’m pleased with my feeling on the bike. The track was difficult with long ruts and I had some pain after my crash yesterday but to come back with that result in the second moto was good: I’m happy and a big thanks to all the Red Bull KTM team.”
Rene Hofer: “My first GP and it was exciting but also a bit disappointing. It was good to see and learn about the class and the speed of the guys, and I think I was riding pretty OK but when I caught my knee in the first moto I had a lot of pain. There is a little bit of damage to the ligament but I should be OK for the next round of the European Championship.”
Dirk Gruebel, MX2 Team Manager & Team Technical Co-ordinator: “More great results for the team and there were some tough conditions today. We didn’t have any problems, luckily, because a lot of bikes out there stopped or had trouble. Super-strong weekend from Jorge and Tony while Tom rode a bit conservative and stiff in the first moto after his crash but then surprised everybody with that third place in the second race: a holeshot from 32nd position was impressive. He was a little hurt from Saturday but I think we can be satisfied overall today.”