DIVERSITY RULES IN TWO-WHEEL READERS' CHOICE NOMINEES Breadth of Canadian racing talent represented by Inside Track Award nominees TORONTO, ON -- Twelve racers representing five disciplines of motorcycle competition highlight the nominees for...
DIVERSITY RULES IN TWO-WHEEL READERS' CHOICE NOMINEES
Breadth of Canadian racing talent represented by Inside Track Award nominees
TORONTO, ON -- Twelve racers representing five disciplines of motorcycle competition highlight the nominees for this year's Inside Track Readers' Choice Awards presented by Castrol in the Motorcycle Racer of the Year and Up-and-Coming Motorcycle Racer of the Year categories.
The list of nominees includes champions in road racing, flat track, drag racing and hare scrambles, along with rising stars in a wide array of competition arenas.
"Canada seems to be able to produce fantastic riders in a wide range of motorcycle racing pursuits," said John Hopkins, editor of Inside Motorcycles. "What makes the Readers' Choice Awards special is each of this country's top competitors, regardless of their discipline, gets a chance to enjoy the spotlight and be recognized for their excellence."
Motorcycle Racer of the Year category features two road racers, Steve Crevier and Jordan Szoke, motocrosser Colton Facciotti, drag racer Gord Smith, flat tracker Donald Taylor and off-road ace Chris Van Hove.
Szoke and Crevier are already legends in Canadian racing and Szoke is the defending winner of the Motorcycle Racer of the Year Award. The 28-year- old from Brantford, Ont. enjoyed another remarkable season on the Parts Canada Superbike Championship tour, winning his second straight Superbike and Pro 600 Sport Bike titles for the Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory team.
Crevier was Szoke's closest challenger and placed runner-up in both Pro divisions last summer. The Maple Ridge, B.C. racer won three Superbike events for Team Toyota Yamaha / Fast Company to improve his all-time leading total to 26 victories.
Long considered one of Canada's budding motocross stars, Facciotti enjoyed the best season of his young career in 2007. The Blackfoot Yamaha rider from Aldergrove, B.C. was the top Canadian in the Monster Energy MX Nationals and placed second overall. He ended his season on a high with an excellent performance for the Canadian team at the Motocross of Nations in Budds Creek, MD.
Smith was probably the most impressive racer in CMDRA drag racing competition in 2007. The Kelowna native claimed his fourth Pro Mod crown in five years and made the finals in every race -- a dominant season if there ever was one.
Taylor enjoyed a flat track season for the ages. The young speedster from Welland, Ont. won his fourth CMA National Dirt Track title with a perfect season and added his first CMRC Harley-Davidson National title along the way. Newly signed to Harley after racing with Suzuki backing last year, Taylor looks primed to make his mark south of the border in 2008.
Van Hove was among the off-road elite in 2007. The KTM racer from Simcoe, Ont. won another CMA National Hare Scrambles title and lost out on adding the Enduro crown by a single point.
Up and Coming Motorcycle Racer of the Year
The six nominees for Up and Coming Motorcycle Racer of the Year point to a very bright future for Canadian racing.
Shawn Ford of Repentigny, Que. emerged as a rising star on the Canadian flat track scene by claiming the Pro 450 title in the CMRC Harley-Davidson Flat Track Series and finishing second to Taylor in Pro Open.
Keene, Ont.'s Paul Glenn enjoyed a busy but successful road racing season in 2007. The Suzuki rider won the International Motorcycle SUPERSHOW Amateur 600 Sport Bike title and, south of the border, teamed up with Ross Millson to help Go Big Racing to a second place finish in the Sport Twins class of the SunTrust MOTO-ST endurance series.
Before the start of last year's road racing season, few people would have recognized the name Israel Johnas, but the Oak Lake, Man. racer took his Kawasaki to a pair of Amateur 600 Sport Bike national wins.
Suzuki rider Jeremy Medaglia was one of the most impressive young riders on the Canadian motocross scene. The Kemptville, Ont. racer won the Rick Joseph Memorial Award at the Walton TransCan Grand National after taking the Intermediate 125 championship and placing second in 250 and GP Intermediate.
A native of Australia now living in Parry Sound, Ont., Jake Stapleton took the Canadian off-road scene by storm in 2007, riding his Yamaha to third in the CMA National Hare Scrambles Series thanks to victories in the last four races. He added a win in the daunting Corduroy Enduro to boot, and will no doubt be a force in off-road racing in this country -- and perhaps internationally -- in years to come.
Shane Wiebe of Abbotsford, B.C. was another young rider to make a big impression on the Canadian MX season last season. At the Western Canadian Amateur Nationals in Raymond, Alta. the Yamaha rider swept the Intermediate 125, 250 and GP titles to earn the Gaerne Bronze Boot.
The Inside Track Readers' Choice Awards presented by Castrol also include a category for the Canadian Racer of the Year Competing at the Highest Level of International Competition. For 2007 that division features two motorcycle racers, Supercross star Darcy Lange and drag race ace Mike Konopacki.
Last year Lange picked up his third Arenacross Championship aboard his Kawasaki and also placed third in the very competitive Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Lites East Series. The Courtenay, B.C. native earned three podium finishes in the seven races.
Konopacki was Canada's top drag racer in international competition last season. The Oshawa, Ont. racer was in contention for three AMA/Prostar titles and ended up winning Pro ET, finishing second in Super Comp and third in Top Gas.
Fans can access the Inside Track Readers' Choice Awards ballot through the Inside Motorcycles website (www.insidemotorcycles.com) and voting ends Friday, Mar. 14. Results will be posted on the website, and in the May issue of Inside Motorcycles.