Brian Blaauwendraat is hoping his new ride makes a big difference at Atlantic Motorsport Park on Sunday.
The Truro motorcycle road racer has spent the past week tweaking his 2009 Honda CBR600RR in preparation for one of the biggest events of his summer — the sixth round of the Parts Canada Superbike championship in Shubenacadie.
Since turning in his old 2005 Honda at the start of the summer, his times have been getting faster and faster. He’s hoping for a top-10 or even a top-five finish on Sunday.
“I’m picking up speed with the new bike. I’m already almost at my personal-best time from last year and I haven’t even started the race weekend,” said Blaauwendraat, last year’s rookie-of-the-year runner-up. “I’m looking for pretty big things.”
Blaauwendraat, 17th in the point standings, has an advantage over most of his competitors because he is familiar with the track. He has raced a half-dozen times at AMP while dominating the Atlantic Road Racing League this summer.
The hometown Superbike crowd is as good as it gets, he said.
“There are always 4,000, 5,000 people camping, partying all night, drinking, sitting around bonfires, having a good time,” he said. “People always look forward to this weekend.”
SZOKE GOES FOR FOUR: Jordan Szoke of Brantford, Ont. is gunning for his fourth straight Superbike title. He has a 25-point lead over young gun Brett McCormick, 17, heading into Sunday’s second-to-last race. A win nets 50 points.
He’s hoping for a fast start.
“The track is so small and tight that it all comes down to the start, getting off the line with the right guys,” he said. “The stress comes off your shoulders when you go into your second or third corner and say, ‘OK, I got off the line not too bad.’”
STEEVES INJURED: Dartmouth’s Terry Steeves fractured his C6 vertebrae during last weekend’s ARL race. Although he is expected to recover, he’ll miss Sunday’s Parts Canada event and won’t return for the rest of the summer.