BIG CHANGES FOR BIG TWINS TORONTO, Ont. -- The Canadian Thunder national class for big twin motorcycles will undergo major changes for the 2008 season. These will see a host of exciting new models become eligible for the series and an ...
BIG CHANGES FOR BIG TWINS
TORONTO, Ont. -- The Canadian Thunder national class for big twin motorcycles will undergo major changes for the 2008 season. These will see a host of exciting new models become eligible for the series and an additional manufacturer throw its hat into the ring.
The series, which runs as a support division in the Parts Canada Superbike Championship, will now be divided into a two-tier category. A new class, titled Canadian Thunder, will be open to a host of new cutting edge super sport machines while a secondary division called Canadian Sport Twins (CST) will resemble the previous Canadian Thunder category.
"We see these changes as part of the ongoing evolution of the Canadian Thunder class," said Colin Fraser, series organizer for Professional Motorsports Productions. "When we launched Thunder as a national category three years ago we introduced storied manufacturers like Harley-Davidson, through its Buell brand, BMW and Ducati to the Canadian racing scene. Now we have opened the door for more manufacturers, such as KTM, and more models."
The new Canadian Thunder class will be open to bikes with up to 122 horsepower and weighing no less than 380 lbs. These new parameters open up the class to new models like the Buell 1125R, BMW HP2 Sport, Ducati 848 and KTM 990 Super Duke.
The CST category will be open to air-cooled bikes producing up to 95 hp and liquid-cooled bikes registering 90 hp, with a minimum weight of 370 lbs. Eligible bikes will include the Buell XB-9R, winner of the Thunder title in 2005 and '06 in the hands of Darren James, and XB-12R, the Ducati Paul Smart 1000 replica and Super Sport models, the BMW F800, and Kawasaki Ninja 650.
The new class structure is very similar to the top two classes of the SunTrust MOTO-ST endurance series in the United States, which is also sanctioned by PMP.
The two divisions will race together at each Parts Canada Superbike round, using a two-wave start. There will be separate podiums for the two classes after each race and separate point standings, with number one plates awarded to both the Canadian Thunder and CST champion at season's end.
Two-time Canadian Superbike Champion Michael Taylor of Toronto won last year's Canadian Thunder title for BMW Motorrad Canada riding an R1200S.
"From where the series started a few years ago this represents a huge step forward," said Ric Marrero, Marketing Programs and Events Director for Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada. "The series is getting bigger, more inclusive and I think it's going to be very competitive. It puts the series in very good shape for the long term."
KTM Canada has said it will enter a team with its 990 Super Duke in the Canadian Thunder class this summer. This will mark KTM's first foray into Canadian national road racing although the Super Duke has been raced in Europe for the past few years.
"Our motto is 'race ready, ready to race,' and we're happy to compete against units in the same category," said Andy White, Race Marketing Manager for KTM Canada. "This is such a unique motorcycle and everybody is anxious to find out more about this model and how competitive it is."