MCBRIDE READY TO TURN YEAR AROUND TORONTO, Ont. (July 10) -- Mississauga, Ont.'s Matt McBride is ready to turn around his Parts Canada Superbike Championship season, and Mosport International Raceway seems like the perfect place to do it. The...
MCBRIDE READY TO TURN YEAR AROUND
TORONTO, Ont. (July 10) -- Mississauga, Ont.'s Matt McBride is ready to turn around his Parts Canada Superbike Championship season, and Mosport International Raceway seems like the perfect place to do it.
The 23-year-old will do battle with the rest of the Parts Canada Superbike field as the national road racing series makes its only Toronto area stop next weekend for the third and fourth rounds of the seven-race tour.
McBride has shown plenty of pace in his debut season with the Team Suzuki / Blackfoot / Picotte Racing factory team, but he doesn't have the results to back it up. But Mosport is a venue he knows well and he has had success there in the past.
"I've done a lot of laps there; it's my home track," McBride says. "I like the high speed nature of it, the flowing corners. It definitely seems to suit my style."
Indeed, some of McBride's best results have come on the 3.9km (2.459- mile) 10-turn road course. In 2005, as a member of the Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory team he claimed a third place finish in the Pro 600 Sport Bike race and fourth in Superbike. The following year he rode his Suzuki GSX- R1000 to a fifth place finish in Superbike.
Unfortunately last year he suffered a crash in turn 2 that resulted in a knee injury.
After running as a Suzuki privateer last season McBride is enjoying the perks of being back on a factory team this year. He is teamed with fellow up-and-comer Chris Peris of Calgary and two-time national Superbike champion Francis Martin of Sherbrooke, Que. in a squad run by racing legend Pascal Picotte.
"It's going good, it's definitely much easier than last year," McBride says. "It's nice being able to just show up at the track and ride, and just have to worry about my riding and training and things like that."
McBride is also getting the benefits of working with Picotte, a two- time national Superbike champion who has been forced to the sidelines this year as he recovers from injuries.
"I enjoy working with Pascal," explains McBride, who is spending the week before Mosport training on Picotte's pea gravel oval track at his Quebec base. "He has a lot of wisdom and a lot of experience. He's been helping me with both the set-up of the bike and my riding."
The move to the Team Suzuki program has also reunited McBride with highly regarded tuner Dale Rathwell. The pair worked together when McBride was part of the Kawasaki factory team a few years ago.
"Dale and I get along really well together," McBride says. "There's a lot of chemistry between us; we communicate really well. But I have a lot of confidence in my whole crew."
McBride's season started with a lot of promise when he finished third in the Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike season opener at Calabogie Motorsport Park in May. Later in the day, he was battling for third spot in the Superbike feature with Peris when the pair collided going into turn 1. Round 2 at Calgary's Race City Motorsports Park last month also ended in disappointment for McBride. He was sixth in the Pro 600 Sport Bike race and could only manage seventh in the Superbike event.
"We missed the set-up a lot in the Superbike race," McBride admits. "The rear tire was spinning up coming out of the corners, I had front end chatter. It was not a good race. But I need more from myself. I need to be able to work around these issues and get the job done."
McBride comes to Mosport 13th in the Parts Canada Superbike standings with 25 points. But he is only 13 points out of sixth spot, so a couple of strong results in next weekend's doubleheader could give his season a major boost.
He's fourth in the Pro 600 Sport Bike rankings, but only 14 points behind second-place Brett McCormick. Again, two solid finishes at Mosport could put him in an excellent championship position heading into the final three races of the season.
McBride feels he has the best opportunity of his Pro career this summer and he is anxious to make it pay off.
"I have the equipment, I have the support behind me, this is the best situation I've had yet," he insists. "I'm ready to go at Mosport. You have bad luck everywhere you go, you just have to move on from it.
"I'm looking forward to improving. I definitely want to be on the box again before the season's out. I want to try and win one of these things. I'm definitely ready for a breakthrough."
Rounds 3&4 of the 2008 Parts Canada Superbike Championship will be held at Mosport International Raceway July 18-20.
The Track: Mosport is a 3.9km (2.459-mile), 10-turn road course. This weekend's races will be the 22nd and 23rd Canadian Superbike events at the track.
Weekend Schedule: Practice and qualifying will be held Friday, July 18, with feature races on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Tickets: Call the track at 1-800-866-1072 or go to the website at www.mosport.com