TRURO RACER FINDS TIME TO SHINE TORONTO, Ont. (July 31) -- Truro motorcycle racer Brian Blaauwendraat certainly knows how to make an impression. When the Parts Canada Superbike Championship made its traditional stop at Atlantic Motorsport Park...
TRURO RACER FINDS TIME TO SHINE
TORONTO, Ont. (July 31) -- Truro motorcycle racer Brian Blaauwendraat certainly knows how to make an impression.
When the Parts Canada Superbike Championship made its traditional stop at Atlantic Motorsport Park last August, he surprised many observers by winning the Amateur 600 Sport Bike event in convincing fashion.
The 23-year-old is hoping he can raise a few more eyebrows when the national tour returns to the Shubenacadie, N.S. circuit next weekend.
"When I won that Amateur national I just couldn't believe it," says Blaauwendraat. "But it really got me recognition. The year before I won a lot of Amateur regional events but people didn't seem to take a lot of notice. But after I won the Amateur national, people started to know who I was."
Blaauwendraat used his success last season as a springboard into the Pro ranks, and he comes to his home event at AMP second in the HJC Pro Rookie of the Year standings, 28 points behind leader Alex Welsh.
With two points paying events at his home track Blaauwendraat sees a big opportunity to make up ground before the national tour makes its final stop at Ontario's Shannonville Motorsport Park on the Labor Day Weekend.
"I'm definitely shooting for the top five, and I'd be happier than anything for the top 10," says Blaauwendraat, who will ride his Honda CBR600RR in both the Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike and Parts Canada Superbike classes. He sits ninth in Pro 600 Sport Bike points.
"In the regionals this summer I've been able to run lap times that were comparable to what the top national Pros were doing last year in the 600 class," he continues. "This is my home track, so this is definitely the place to do it."
It has been a rapid rise up the racing ladder for Blaauwendraat, who only bought his first sport bike in 2005 and started racing it a year later. Although he and his Dad attended the Shubenacadie national regularly as fans, Brian's parents weren't keen on him getting into the sport. That has since changed.
"Well, my Father always loved motorcycle racing, so he was pretty excited about things," Blaauwendraat explains, "but my Mother wasn't so sure at first. But she's come around. Now, they're two of my biggest supporters and biggest sponsors."
Blaauwendraat's win in last year's Amateur 600 Sport Bike National was part of a remarkable season for the second-year racer. He swept to victory in both the Amateur Superbike and 600 SuperSport classes in the AMP regional series, winning every race along the way.
He has carried that momentum through to his rookie Pro season. He currently lies first in the Pro Superbike points and tied for first in 600 SuperSport after five rounds of the Atlantic Roadracing League season.
On the national scene he opened up the year with a solid eighth in the Pro 600 Sport Bike opener at Calabogie Motorsport Park in May. He was 11th in the next round at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park and scored a 10th and a 13th in the doubleheader at Mosport International Raceway a few weeks ago.
The results are impressive considering Blaauwendraat is every inch a privateer, so while many of his rivals step up to new machinery each season, he is competing on the same 2005 Honda he raced as an Amateur last season.
"I'm on a very, very tight budget," says Blaauwendraat, who holds down a full-time job as a mechanic for a John Deere dealership. "I have local friends and family sponsoring me. Everybody wants to help and I get little bits here and there."
Two of his major backers are T.R. Petroleum Enterprises and Lougheads Heating Oils. He has also received assistance from the ARL. Terry Steeves is also a competitor in the Parts Canada Superbike Championship and took Blaauwendraat's bike to Calgary.
"The whole ARL group has been amazing," Blaauwendraat points out. "They've helped me out with tire warmers, bike stands -- anything they could do to."
Blaauwendraat would love to pursue a career in motorcycle racing, but acknowledges it will be tough to make it happen.
"Racing full time would be my ultimate dream," he admits. "But unless it was a full factory ride I don't think it could happen. For next year I'd be happy just to get some factory support; I'd like to have a couple of new bikes. I love the sport, but it's a drain. I'm spending my budget this year. It's all or nothing."
A big day at Atlantic Motorsport Park last August opened a door for Blaauwendraat. Perhaps another magical performance next weekend will open another.
The fifth and sixth rounds of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship will be held at Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie, N.S. Aug. 8-10.
Media Event: There will be a media conference at Peddler's Pub at 1903 Granville Street in Halifax on Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 1:00 p.m. featuring Kevin Lacombe, Francis Martin, Jordan Szoke and Blaauwendraat. For more information contact Terry Steeves at (902) 433-1695, firstname.lastname@example.org or John Hopkins at (416) 451-6623, email@example.com.
Weekend Schedule: Practice and qualifying will be held Friday, Aug. 8 with feature races set for Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Tickets: Weekend Passes are $50 to be paid at the gate. Further information on tickets, directions, schedules, etc., can be found at www.atlanticroadracing.com