Rick’s Gentleman’s Express Blog

Motorcycle news and opinion

Archive for May, 2014

Paris 1/2 mile

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On a cool, blustery long-weekend Saturday, my wife and I attended the kick-off to the Flat Track Canada race series, held on the big 1/2 mile horse track at the Paris fairgrounds.

We live in Paris and attend the CVMG events at the fairgrounds as well as a few of the races held on Friday nights at Paris Speedway, also on the grounds. I have often imagined what flat-track racing might be like on the big track. It had pluses and minuses.

The track itself has some speed potential. I didn’t bring my own stopwatch but the announcer said a couple of laps were in the low 25-second range. The track is definitely flat — very little banking. The soft surface formed no discernible packed groove. Passing was happening inside and outside and back tires were leaving a rooster-tail everywhere — much like a loose surface speedway track. By the end of the races, deep ruts had formed at the start-finish line and in the turns. All the racers remarked on it and seemed wary about getting too close to each other. There was no “bar-banging”.

The racing itself followed the kids on 50’s through to the experts style that has become the bread and butter of Canadian flat-track and made it a family affair. Some of the starting grids were a bit thin. The most I saw start a race was seven riders. I could be wrong. That being said, the racing was entertaining, especially the expert races that brought out current reigning champ Don Taylor along with old-timers Chris Evans and Steve Beattie. There were even racers from the States and Quebec.

All in all it was an entertaining four hours of racing for $15 each. Hopefully the series will take off and the stands will be more than half full for the event next week in nearby Burford.

Written by admin

May 19th, 2014 at 9:23 am

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Flat Track Racing

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I recently found an old pdf file downloaded from the Cycle Canada website over ten years ago.

The file was the 2004 motorcycle race schedule and included the following entries:

CMA National Dirt Track and Speedway
May 23 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TBA, Ont., Round 1
June 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Welland, Ont., Round 2
June 19 . . . . . . . . . . . . Welland, Ont., Round 3
June 26 . . . . . . . . . . . . Welland, Ont., Round 4
July 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Welland, Ont., Round 5
July 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Welland, Ont., Round 6
July 17 . . . . . . Welland Dirt track, Ont., Round 7
July 24 . . . . . Welland Speedway, Ont., Round 8
July 31 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Welland, Ont., Round 9
August 7 . . . . Belleville 1/2 mile, Ont., Round 10

The following can be found on the website of Flat Track Canada (http://www.flattrackcanada.com):

2014 Championship Race Series Schedule
May.17th – Paris Half Mile – Paris,On
May.18th – Paris Short Track – Paris,On
May.24th – Burford Fairgrounds – Burford,On
June.7th – Welland County Speedway – Welland,On
June.21st -Welland County Speedway – Welland,On
July. 19th – Leamington Half Mile – Leamington, On
July.20th – Erie Ramblers Club – Wheatley, On
Aug.2nd – Woodstock Fairgrounds -Woodstock,On
Aug.23rd – Western Fair District – London,On
Aug.30th – Paris Short Track – Paris, On
Sept. 13th – Erie Ramblers Club – Wheatley, On

What appears to have happened in the ten years that I wasn’t paying attention is that flat track racing is making a comeback after being kept alive almost single-handedly by the club in Welland. I started following flat rack racing at Welland back in the 1980’s and soon became a regular at the Welland track and at the races put on around Ontario at Belleville, Barrie, Leamington, Sarnia, Tillsonburg, Woodstock — just about any town with a fairground 1/2 mile horse track. Riders came from Quebec, Ohio, sometimes even BC. During the 1990’s flat track seemed to be gradually coming to an end, with only Welland keeping the faith.

What also appears to have happened is that the CMA is no longer in the picture. Perhaps they are concentrating on upholding the rights of motorcyclists as a lobby group.

Whatever the case may be, I plan on attending as many of the races scheduled for this summer as I can and hopefully becoming a flat track fan once again.

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May 7th, 2014 at 8:38 am

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Motorcycle Safety Rules

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These earnest but amateurish translations from a 1962 Honda Motorcycle Instruction Book may seem comical now but serve to illustrate how much Honda has matured in the interim. The advice for motorcyclists is just as meaningful a half-century later…

1. At the rise of the hand by Policeman, stop rapidly. Do not pass him
by or otherwise disrespect him.

2. When a passenger of the foot, hooves in sight, tootel the horn
trumpet melodiously at first. If he still obstacles your passage,
tootel him with vigor and express by word of mouth, warning Hi, Hi.

3. Beware of the wandering horse that he shall not take fright as you
pass him. Do not explode the exhaust box at him. Go soothingly by.

4. Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway. Avoid
entanglement of dog with wheel spokes.

5. Go soothingly on the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
Press the brake foot as you roll around the corners, and save the collapse
and tie up.

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May 5th, 2014 at 1:20 pm

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