GLENN BREAKS NEW GROUND WITH BMW TORONTO, Ont. (July 15) -- This has been a year of big changes for Keene, Ont.'s Paul Glenn in the Parts Canada Superbike Championship. The defending Amateur 600 Sport Bike national champion is in his first ...
GLENN BREAKS NEW GROUND WITH BMW
TORONTO, Ont. (July 15) -- This has been a year of big changes for Keene, Ont.'s Paul Glenn in the Parts Canada Superbike Championship.
The defending Amateur 600 Sport Bike national champion is in his first season as a Pro rider, is running a brand new motorcycle for BMW in the Canadian Thunder class and opened his 2008 national season at a new venue.
But Glenn will be on familiar ground when the Thunder division runs its third and fourth rounds of the season at Mosport International Raceway this weekend.
Glenn has a history of good performances when the Parts Canada Superbike national tour sets up camp at Mosport. In 2006 he won the Suzuki SV650 National Cup support race and his time of one minute, 32.458 seconds around the 3.9km (2.459-mile) track remains a lap record for the class.
Last year he placed second in the red flag shortened Amateur 600 Sport Bike race, but was in the thick of the lead battle when the race was stopped.
"Mosport is probably my favorite track," he says. "It's more of a flowing track. Tight and technical is OK but I like the speed as well."
Glenn comes to Mosport this weekend in eighth place in the Thunder standings racing for the BMW Motorrad Canada factory team. Riding the new HP2 Sport, he finished eighth in the season opener at Calabogie Motorsport Park, but suffered a retirement early in round two at Calgary's Race City Motorsports Park.
Glenn will get two chances to add to his point total this weekend, with 10-lap races for the Thunder competitors scheduled for Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
The Canadian Thunder class is the most technically diverse in the national series, with Italian Ducatis, American Buells, Austrian KTMs and German BMWs going head-to-head on the track.
"It's a great class," Glenn confirms. "There's a lot of different equipment and each bike has its own strengths and weaknesses."
Developing the new BMW has been a challenge for the rookie Pro and his teammate Michael Ferreira of Kitchener, Ont.
"The biggest thing is nobody else is racing these things," Glenn points out. "So if we have problems, they're often problems we can't fix that weekend. There are a lot of things coming together, but we haven't had the time to get everything done.
"But it's a neat role to be playing, trying to develop the bike. And it's nice having a teammate in the same class. Every time we come off the track Michael and I are talking, sometimes we'll swap bikes and we just try to help each other."
Glenn says one of the strong points of the BMW is its suspension.
"It's very stable, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out at Mosport. The engine is strong too, and we're trying to build more on that."
The biggest challenge with the HP2 has been its weight, Glenn says, although that may be less of an issue at Mosport, where the fast, flowing corners allow the rider to carry more momentum.
Glenn made his national debut in 2005, running in the then-new Suzuki SV650 Cup class and placing sixth in the final standings. The following season he narrowly lost out on the title at the final round after winning three races in a row, including the Mosport event.
Last year he led the Amateur 600 Sport Bike standings from start to finish, never finishing lower than fourth on his Go Big Racing Suzuki GSX- R600 and winning the season opener. He and teammate Ross Millson also starred in the SunTrust MOTO-ST endurance series south of the border.
But a lack of sponsorship forced Glenn and Millson to shut down Go Big Racing this spring and with the new season approaching and nothing on the horizon, Glenn was considering running whatever national rounds he could manage with his Suzuki.
But about four weeks before the Calabogie season opener Glenn got the call from BMW, the defending Thunder class champions, and he quickly went from being a part time privateer to a full time factory racer.
It's a tough situation being a rookie Pro helping with the development of a brand new race bike, but it's a lot better than what Glenn was staring at just a couple of months before the start of the Parts Canada Superbike season.
"It's definitely a big change but it's all for the better," he says. "It's a huge learning curve but having more support is always better. I have less things to worry about and I can really just focus on my riding. It's definitely been a confidence building exercise."
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