STOKOWSKI SERIOUS FOR HOME RACE CALGARY, Alta. (June 22) - Calgary motorcycle road racer Dave Stokowski is taking the gloves off for this weekend's second and third rounds of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship, presented by Rocky Mountain...
STOKOWSKI SERIOUS FOR HOME RACE
CALGARY, Alta. (June 22) - Calgary motorcycle road racer Dave Stokowski is taking the gloves off for this weekend's second and third rounds of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship, presented by Rocky Mountain Honda Powerhouse, at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park.
After some encouraging results in the past and an up and down season on the national tour in 2009, the 29-year-old is putting together his most serious effort yet.
"I've always looked at motorcycle racing as a rider sport," he explains. "If the rider was capable enough he could do well despite some mechanical disadvantages. But nationally, that just doesn't cut it anymore. It's a team sport and you need to have a group of guys around you to get the most out of the situation."
To that end, Stokowski has brought in some extra hands to help prepare his Blackfoot Motosports / Canadian Kawasaki Motors / Pro-Power Engines Kawasaki ZX-10R this weekend.
Pro-Power, based in Medicine Hat, will provide engine tuning expertise while a computer specialist will help Stokowski with the data analysis from the bike.
"I'm excited to have a crew of guys helping me out who are very passionate about the racing," Stokowski enthuses. "I don't see how it can't go well."
This will be Stokowski's fourth year of mixing it up with the Parts Canada Superbike Championship regulars at Race City. In the 2007 doubleheader he had a pair of 12th-place finishes but he raised eyebrows in 2008 by qualifying in the top 10 and participating in the Pirelli SuperPole session. He followed that up with a ninth place finish in the race.
Last summer the Medicine Hat native elected to contest the full Parts Canada Superbike schedule, but struggled through a season of highs and lows. His best finishes were a pair of 10th place results, at Circuit ICAR near Montreal and Race City, and he finished 20th in the point standings.
The season wasn't a total loss for Stokowski, however. He won the Western Canadian Expert Open Sportbike Championship and almost claimed the Superbike crown as well. And he was Superbike Champion in the Edmonton Motorcycle Roadracing Association series.
Still, the veteran of 11 years of competition is setting his goals a little further afield.
"I really want to focus more on the national stage," he explains. "So I've decided to take a different approach to my racing."
Indeed, Stokowski has been spending most of his time running with the Alberta Mini Roadracing Association, the organization that has produced top talent like last year's Race City Superbike race winner Brett McCormick and 2009 national Amateur Sport Bike champion Cody Matechuk.
"I've focused on the Thunder class, which gets bikes around 125cc or 100cc," Stokowski says. "The reason it's so good for training is the bikes are very hard to ride quickly and there isn't a lot of set up you can do to them. So if the guy ahead of you is quicker, you just have to find a way to ride faster.
Stokowski says he has learned a lot by competing in the mini roadracing series against the like of McCormick and another western Canadian star, Chris Peris. Both racers are currently employed in the AMA National Guard Superbike Series in the U.S.
"It really opened my eyes to what they do in terms of preparation and dedication," he points out. "It's an excellent way to keep yourself sharp.
"This weekend will be my first official race on the big bike this season. But I'm not worried about that."
Should things go well at Race City Stokowski may elect to continue with the Parts Canada Superbike Championship through the remainder of the season. After this weekend the series has two more doubleheaders, at Bowmanville, Ont.'s Mosport International Raceway July 9-11 and at Atlantic Motorsport Park near Halifax Aug. 6-8.
"All the doubleheaders make things so much easier on a guy like me," he says. "It takes such an edge off the travel budget and makes things more realistic. There is a lot of pressure if you don't know the facility, because you don't get a lot of practice time. But I was at Mosport last year, so AMP would be the only new track for me."
Job one, however, is putting together a couple of solid results in front of the home fans this weekend. Last year McCormick's best race lap was a one minute, 16.164 seconds, and Stokowski feels he can get close to those times.
"We've got to start tuning the engine, making some more power," he says. "I'm hoping to get into the 17s, maybe even the 16s, and I think that will put me right in the thick of it."
The second and third rounds of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship take place June 25-27 at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park. For ticket information call (403) 975-2849 or visit www.amra.ca.