INJURY SPOILS TITLE HOPES FOR LACOMBE But brave performance nets critical championship points BRESLAU, Ont. -- Team Toyota Yamaha / Fast Company Racing's Kevin Lacombe had every excuse not to race after breaking his wrist in Saturday's ...
INJURY SPOILS TITLE HOPES FOR LACOMBE
But brave performance nets critical championship points
BRESLAU, Ont. -- Team Toyota Yamaha / Fast Company Racing's Kevin Lacombe had every excuse not to race after breaking his wrist in Saturday's Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike race at Atlantic Motorsport Park.
But the 25-year-old from Granby, Que. refused to give in and competed in the Parts Canada Superbike feature later that day, and both the Pro 600 Sport Bike and Superbike races on Sunday.
Lacombe finished 10th and seventh in the two Superbike races on the tight and technical, 2.56km (1.6-mile) AMP circuit, and also picked up a fourth in Sunday's Pro 600 Sport Bike event.
He may have lost his bid to unseat Jordan Szoke in both championships this season, but he earned critical points that could help him retain a top three finish in both classes at the end of the year. And he also gained the respect of many observers at the AMP circuit last weekend.
"It was important to prove to the team that we're not done yet," said Lacombe, who broke his left wrist in two places. "That's why I was back on the bike an hour or so after the crash. We're a team, and I needed to do the best I could for them. I think it was the right thing to do."
Lacombe's accident came on the ninth lap of the 18-lap Pro 600 Sport Bike race. After qualifying on pole with a new track record, he was running second on his Scott Miller-prepared Yamaha YZF-R6, just behind Chris Peris but ahead of Andrew Nelson and Szoke, when he suffered a vicious highside going onto the backstraight.
"I had a good start and I was behind Chris," Lacombe explained. "I thought he was overriding the bike, he was really pushing. I needed to lead the most laps [for the two-point bonus]; it was win or lose. If you don't try, you don't crash. I tried a little too hard, but I had to."
After visiting with the track medical staff Lacombe initially decided to sit out the remainder of the weekend, but just before the Superbike race he had a change of heart.
"I was sitting on the pit wall and I started feeling my fingers again," he explained. "And I thought maybe I could ride."
Lacombe elected to give up his front row starting spot and start from the back of the 24-bike field. By lap 2 he was already up to 15th spot and he put in a big charge in the second half of the 22-lap race, finally taking 10th on the last lap.
"I had no grip on the tank, but once I got used to riding with the injury I got more confident," Lacombe said. "I'm sure if I had started from the front row I could have finished as high as eighth. The last few laps I was crying in my helmet, but it was worth it."
For Sunday Lacombe had a cast fitted, took a couple of Advil in the morning and consulted with fellow racer Dr. Steve Walker.
He battled with Szoke throughout the Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike race but had to settle for fourth spot as Szoke clinched the series title.
"I wanted to try and get him at the last corner but I just didn't have enough," Lacombe said.
Lacombe took up his rightful second spot on the Superbike grid aboard the Fast Company-fettled R1. He completed the opening lap in third but quickly slipped down the order. He had settled into a safe ninth by half distance but gained two places when Steve Crevier and Francis Martin crashed near the end.
"About five or six laps in I couldn't feel my left hand," Lacombe recalled. "So I was working with just one hand. Then at halfway the fingers on my right hand went numb. The last few laps I wanted to pull in every lap, but I knew I had a good enough gap. That race was the hardest one of the weekend."
Lacombe now has a couple of weeks to rest and recover before the final round of the Parts Canada Superbike season at Shannonville Motorsport Park on Aug. 29-31. He is third in the Superbike standings with 205 points, 40 behind second place Clint McBain but 43 clear of his nearest pursuer. He retained second in the Pro 600 rankings but is now only seven points ahead of third place Peris.
"I wish I could have got third in the Pro 600 race on Sunday, because that would have given me more room for Shannonville," Lacombe said. "But we'll be good for the next round. The wrist isn't as sore now. I just have to take it easy, and if it's good enough that I can ride my bike a week before Shannonville, it will be nice to get some training in."