Ninja 300 Round 4 Report: Eastbound and Not Down

2017 CSBK Ninja 300 at Atlantic Motorsport Park-KW (12)

photos by Kimi Walker and Evan Williams

“Oh-oh…” my decision to try and follow Kawasaki Ninja 300 Series ace Jared Walker into turn one at alien speed was a bad one. I could feel the front sliding, then the back, but I opened my shoulder to the corner, looked down the hill and got my weight forward and low – somehow, I managed to get the little Ninja around the corner, though at a greatly diminished pace.

The bikes are forgiving, but it’s fair to say that Atlantic Motorsport Park is not. The track layout is excellent. Undulations, massive, multi-story elevation changes and a rhythmic technicality that means you’re never not in a corner – the Shubenacadie, NS track is a credit to the designer.

It’s also bearing the ravages of East-Coast winters, car meets and time, which means the track is bumpy, and each corner represents its own challenges. Get off the track, and things get ugly in a big hurry.

My personal challenges were there too, my regular crew chief, Larry, and my NRC Racing teammate Rob Lepp, weren’t there. I managed to bum some paddock space with Amateur Superbike competitor Aaron Burns, alongside Adolfo Silva and the Walker family.

Goals for the weekend were simple: Nurse my still-healing left hand, but improve on the disappointing result of the St Eustache round. In short: Beat Adolfo and Kirk Shergold and try and close the now-massive points gap to them.

The foil for my plan was that Kirk was fast – really fast – right out of the gate. Both he and Adolfo had extra track time (they were able to do the Thursday practice day and I wasn’t) but that wasn’t the reason – Kirk was just plain good at Shubenacadie.

Up the front, a whole host of super-fast locals had rocked up to show the regulars how it’s done, and they were mixing it up right through the pack. Jared Walker and points leader Xavier Paradis went bar-to-bar, literally, in both races, with Walker coming out on top in both. Nova Scotian Patrick Pelletier was third in both races.

Kawasaki Ninja 300 Series Race 1:

2017 CSBK Ninja 300 at Atlantic Motorsport Park-KW (8)

After qualifying 10th my start in race one was strong enough to leap me up to eighth ahead of Lonnie Deline and Kirk Shergold, who dropped back behind Adolfo. Lonnie and I were locked together for the opening laps but he pulled away when I struggled to get by a lapped rider. Nicolas Meunier crashed out at turn two and was uninjured, but unable to rejoin, leaving me in eighth place. Over my shoulder I could see Kirk coming, he’d passed Adolfo and was reining me in by about a half second a lap. A few micro-mistakes closed the gap further until I reminded myself to “race the track”.

Head down and bum up, I managed to hold off Kirk by the skin of my teeth and remain eighth – one more lap and things might have been different.

Atlantic Roadracing League Light Weight Super Sport Race 1:

2017 CSBK Ninja 300 at Atlantic Motorsport Park-KW (6)

I entered the regional race as well, keen to maximize my track time after posting lowly 1m31s laps in opening practice. A full 10 seconds off the pace the leaders were then setting. In the Atlantic Roadracing League lightweight production class, a heavily modified Yamaha R3 piloted by Richard Thompson dominates. His 1m17s lap times were a class above the rest of the field.

Originally scheduled for Saturday, a spate of red flags for serious crashes meant our race was pushed to Sunday morning.

After qualifying 15th of 22 riders I again got a good start, and spent the opening laps letting Lonnie Deline show me the way around the track, our times dipped into the 1m23s bracket until he was forced to pit on the third lap. My lack of race experience showed itself and I lost a lot of time trying to figure out what was happening as Lonnie slowed and pulled off, so we lost touch with the group ahead.

My hands were full though, as local stalwart Mark Wilson hounded me for all 10 laps. He passed me around the outside of turn one, only for me to get back up the inside at two. A few laps later he passed me on the way into two, only for me to get the cut-back and power by on the exit – the fans were appreciative, and after 10 laps I managed to sneak home in ninth.

Times were down, confidence up, heading into the final race of the weekend.

Kawasaki Ninja 300 Series Race 2:

2017 CSBK Ninja 300 at Atlantic Motorsport Park-KW (21)

With my record of starts this season, starting eighth in race two should have meant being sixth or seventh heading into turn one – but it didn’t. Adolfo Silva got a blinder, and passed me off the line, with Lonnie latched on behind.

Ahead, the front runners disappeared, and Lonnie scythed by me into turn two on the third lap. Adolfo and I were close, with me showing my wheel lap after lap until I finally made a pass stick into the uphill left hander at two. My joy was short lived, as I immediately ran wide into turn four – really wide. I pulled the bike back in time to make the turn, but only just and had to chase Adolfo back down. For three more laps I hounded him, until finally making it through on the penultimate lap, this time holding on for a credible ninth. Again, to the delight of the crowd.

Poor Kirk blew a fuse on the warm-up lap, and was a DNS for the race, which means he and Adolfo are now tied on points. Thanks to my own DNF and a poor showing at Shannonville I’m now 30 points back from those two. If I was to overtake them I’d need to finish top five in both races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and have them finish lower than 11th. It’s a very big ask, and frankly, is probably an insurmountable gap in this short a season.

The final round of the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 300 Series will run with the Canadian Superbike Championship Double-Header weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, August 18-20.

2017 CSBK Ninja 300 at Atlantic Motorsport Park-KW (16)

Results: Kawasaki Ninja 300 Series Race 1:

Pos No. Name Make Model/Engine Best Tm Gap
1 14 Jared Walker Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:19.3
2 88 Xavier Paradis Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:19.5 0.014
3 41 Patrick Pelletier Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:19.5 2.456
4 56 Scott Alexander Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:19.9 0.272
5 74 Johann Plancque Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:21.9 22.042
6 11 Lonnie Deline Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:22.3 8.089
7 811 Jake Leclair Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:22.7 0.172
8 707 Jacob Black Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:25.2 29.512
9 111 Kirk Shergold Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:24.2 0.17
10 67 Adolfo Silva Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:26.7 17.162
11 196 Kristin Whitehead Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:28.2 1 Lap
12 665 Stanley Moran Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:29.0 6.14
13 671 Andrea Smith Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:30.7 5.329
DNF 12 Nicolas Meunier Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:21.0

Results: Atlantic Roadracing League Light Weight Super Sport Race 1:

Pos No. Name Make Model/Engine Best Tm Gap
1 83 Richard Thompson Yamaha YZF-R3 01:17.2
2 9 Gary McKinnon Kawasaki Ninja 250 01:18.8 12.054
3 74 Johann Plancque Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:21.2 26.447
4 34 Mark Goodwin Kawasaki Ninja 250 01:19.8 0.42
5 31 Paul Whitehead Kawasaki EX250 01:20.4 0.152
6 12 Nicolas Meunier Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:23.4 18.213
7 111 Kirk Shergold Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:23.2 0.38
8 88 Derek Nheiley Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:23.4 0.377
9 707 Jacob Black Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:23.8 18.972
10 55 Mark Willson Kawasaki Ninja 250 01:23.9 0.945
11 72 Scott Campbell Honda VTR250 01:25.0 5.097
12 67 Adolf Silva Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:25.8 1 Lap
13 29 Chalena Biggar Kawasaki Ninja 250 01:26.0 11.426
14 196 Kristin Whitehead Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:26.6 0.876
15 73 Bob Eastwood Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:28.2 7.109
16 665 Stanley Moran Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:27.4 01:00.5
DNF 101 Avery Hart Kawasaki Ninja 250 01:19.3
DNF 78 Jason Rideout KTM RC390 01:20.2
DNF 11 Lonnie Deline Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:23.9
DNS 14 Jared Walker Kawasaki Ninja 300
DNS 56 Scott Alexander Kawasaki Ninja 300
DNS 811 Jake Leclair Kawasaki Ninja 300
DNS 177 Lauren Hill Honda CBR250R

Results: Kawasaki Ninja 300 Series Race 2:

Pos No. Name Make Model/Engine Best Tm Gap
1 14 Jared Walker Kawasaki Ninja 300 0.000923
2 88 Xavier Paradis Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:20.0 0.321
3 41 Patrick Pelletier Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:20.1 0.072
4 56 Scott Alexander Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:20.3 0.165
5 811 Jake Leclair Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:21.8 1.584
6 74 Johann Plancque Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:22.1 0.28
7 12 Nicolas Meunier Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:22.2 0.073
8 11 Lonnie Deline Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:23.0 0.844
9 111 Kirk Shergold Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:24.1 1.049
10 707 Jacob Black Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:26.0 1.922
11 67 Adolfo Silva Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:26.7 0.648
12 196 Kristin Whitehead Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:26.9 0.216
13 665 Stanley Moran Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:29.3 2.377
14 671 Andrea Smith Kawasaki Ninja 300 01:32.4 3.136

 

 

 

 

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Jacob Black

Jacob Black

Jacob is a writer and a journalist who enjoys cars, driving and jokes. Sometimes he writes a series of jokes and loosely connects them to a car he was driving. Jacob Black is not a werewolf.
  • Alan Burns

    Great job this weekend Jacob. It’s always great to see you at the track.