RACE CITY ACE MCBAIN READY TORONTO, Ont. (June 20) -- The 2008 Parts Canada Superbike Championship officially opened last month, but for Cochrane racer Clint McBain the season actually starts next weekend at Calgary's Race City Motorsports ...
RACE CITY ACE MCBAIN READY
TORONTO, Ont. (June 20) -- The 2008 Parts Canada Superbike Championship officially opened last month, but for Cochrane racer Clint McBain the season actually starts next weekend at Calgary's Race City Motorsports Park.
McBain, team owner and lead rider for the Acceleration Racing Suzuki team, was forced to miss the first round at Calabogie Motorsport Park after suffering a separated shoulder in a racing accident the weekend before the event.
Floridian Michael Barnes was called in as a last minute replacement and led the first half of the race before dropping out with an engine failure. But the 35-year-old McBain is ready to get back on track and try to claw his way back into the Parts Canada Superbike Championship title battle when action resumes at Race City June 27-29.
"The shoulder's coming along," he said. "I won't be 100 per cent for next weekend, but I don't think I ever am! I've got all the mobility back but not so much the strength. I've been out riding but not in anger. I guess we won't know how everything is until we get out there on the track."
If McBain can produce anything like the results he did in 2007 he should be in for a very good summer. Last season, his first as a team owner, was one of the most successful in his five years as a Superbike class regular. He scored a race win at Mosport International Raceway and finished third in the series standings, carrying a mathematical shot at the championship right up to the final event.
"It was a lot of work putting the team together," said McBain, who won the 2002 Pro 600 Sport Bike national title with Calgary's Blackfoot Suzuki. "We got good support, and one of the keys was hooking up with [engine tuner] Patrice [Goyette]. We get along so well.
"I was also able to ride so much. We did some tested in the U.S. before the start of the Canadian season and that was a big thing for us. We started at Daytona in March and got to develop the bike straight from stock. That was the first time I've had that opportunity and it helped us out a ton."
McBain had hoped to expand his team for 2008 and add Calgary rider Jeremy Stepper to the squad. But a big sponsorship deal failed to come through and the veteran rider was left scrambling even to continue with his own program.
Fortunately his Edmonton-based sponsor Alberta Cycle Motorsports pitched in with some additional support and McBain was able to also draw some backing from an assortment of Suzuki dealers across the country.
"There are a few pieces missing from last year," McBain admitted. "But Alberta Cycle stepped up, and some other dealers came on board. I have to thank Suzuki for allowing that to come together."
McBain did wind up with a teammate in the form of his 14-year-old stepson Cody Matechuk, who is racing in the Suzuki SV650 National Cup development class. The youngster impressed on his debut at Calabogie, finishing a competitive fourth.
"Cody knows this is not a father/son type of thing," McBain pointed out. "Patrice is the boss, and he's learning that. The idea for him was just to have some fun out there. I was very surprised with Calabogie. He had only ridden the bike twice before the start of the season."
McBain cut his road racing teeth at Race City Motorsports Park and the 3.2km road course has been the scene of both joy and heartbreak in his career. In 2002 he won both the Pro Open and 600 Sport Bike features at the track, and in 2005 he swept both ends of a Superbike doubleheader there.
Last year McBain looked set to win the second race of the doubleheader, only to crash while lapping a slower bike just a few corners from the finish. That allowed his close friend, two-time defending Parts Canada Superbike Champion Jordan Szoke to sweep the weekend's races on his Kawasaki.
"I'm wiser now," McBain said, reflecting on the incident last year. "Although if the same situation came up again, I'd probably go for the pass. I might not be so much of a gentleman about it though, I'd be more aggressive. We'll see what happens."
Sitting on the pit wall at Calabogie last month McBain got a good chance to eye up his competition for next weekend.
"A lot more guys seem to be raising their game this year," McBain said. "But I know I can run with these guys. And of course there's one guy we're all shooting for, and that's Jordan. And I know I can beat Jordan."
Round 2 of the 2008 Parts Canada Superbike Championship will be held at Race City Motorsport Park in Calgary June 27-29. The event is the second of seven races at five venues for Canada's premier motorcycle road racing series.
The Track: Race City Motorsport Park is a 3.2km (2.0-mile), 11-turn road course. This will be the 27th Canadian Superbike event at the track, which has the second longest tenure on the national tour.
Weekend Schedule: Practice will be held Friday, June 27 with qualifying for all classes on Saturday afternoon. Feature races will run Sunday afternoon.
Tickets: Call the track at (403) 272-7223 or go to the website at www.racecity.com