BMW Motorcycles National Racing Series
Canadian Thunder

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Chrs Duff

Dan Zlock

This is what happens when you use too much lean angle on a BMW. :O)

The Zlock Brothers

Bob Szoke and John Hopkins

Dan cleaning

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Steve Whiting from Over The Top Performance

Kodi & I


Mike Smith & I

The Zlock bros

Foolin around

Dino Paron & I

Racing Photos by Rob O'Brien /

Racing Photos by Rob O'Brien /

Podium Photos by Rob O'Brien /

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Photos by Rob O'Brien /

Photos by Rob O'Brien /

Photos by Rob O'Brien /

Photos by Rob O'Brien /

Photos by Rob O'Brien /

Photos by Rob O'Brien /


Race Report Round 3

The following are the daily updates posted to my blog on During any race weekend you can visit the series website for daily updates as each race weekend progresses.

June 30, 2006

Round 3 - Canadian Thunder National Series
Race City Motorsport Park - Calgary, AB
Day One

Welcome to Calgary. More specifically welcome to Race City, a place where it seems the racing surface becomes further decayed each year. Although it's been several years since I have actually ridden this track, located on the outskirts of the city, it didn't take too long to remember why I haven't been all too keen to race here.

Please don't get me wrong as I don't want to come off as being negative because this track does feature a wonderful layout. It would, in my mind, be one of the better tracks in Canada if it weren't for the long winters that buckle and ripple the pavement into an almost washboard like surface. Maybe we were just somewhat spoiled after having the last round at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant.

Another unique and humorous situation to racing here is the wildlife and the extra challenge they present to the riders. Race City hosts a substantial population of the Richardson Ground Squirrels - A.K.A. the gopher. These little devils, in their infinite wisdom, tend to play life and death chicken matches with the riders as they circulate the track causing obvious casualties on both sides. Yes, you read that right. Gophers have accounted for more than their fair share of crashes here. Barely a lap goes by where you don't notice a gopher running right across the track in front of you. You actually have to ignore them or you'll end up crashing or going of line. Also, when they unfortunately get hit they pose another hazard as gophers, smashed ones to be exact, don't provide the same level of traction as pavement. No surprise really but you must avoid the dead ones as you go around or you'll end up off the track or on your head.

To make things even more entertaining another opportunistic predator, this time I'm referring to coyotes, have found the deceased gophers to be an easy meal. Can't blame the coyotes really, but they do on occasion prove to be another hazard. Hilarious, all we need now are a few bears and throw in the occasional moose to really liven things up. Anyway, I guess I should get back to our racing at hand. We managed to survive first and second practice sessions with the final score Oliver = four, gophers = zero. :o)

Seriously though the aforementioned track conditions are throwing me for a loop, but we managed to get our BMW up to fifth fastest in today's practice sessions. Tomorrow with some time to think things through and some needed suspension adjustments we will make up some time.

July 1, 2006

Round 3 - Canadian Thunder National Series
Race City Motorsport Park - Calgary, AB
Day Two

Disclaimer: the following Gopher versus Oliver report is in no way intended to offend those that might belong to the PETA association (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)
Current official gopher vs. Oliver score remains a solid - Oliver = four Gophers = zero

With the weather forecast calling for afternoon thunder showers, typical of this area, race officials decided to expedite the qualifying sessions in an effort effectively beat the weather. Although this new schedule didn't affect our Thunder class it did provide me with the opportunity to watch Jordan and Kevin battle it out for pole position in the Superbike. Really quite amazing to see how hard these guys were pushing the bikes and themselves.

In our camp, things definitely improved as Dan and I made some suspension changes enabling me to stay on the gas through a few key sections effectively lowering out lap times. We keep developing the bike each time we ride it and managed to post the third fastest time in morning practice. Progress! Qualifying came up and to be honest I'm a little disappointed in my performance. I was determined to get our BMW into the 1:23 range and ultimately didn't, settling for a best lap at 1:24.306. No excuses though, it was just a matter of me not putting a lap together. Although I did improve my best lap time for the weekend I only managed to qualify 6th putting me on the second row.

Tomorrow naturally brings us to the race and I'm looking forward to putting the gloves on and knocking out fourteen laps with competition. It should be a really good race.

July 2, 2006

Round 3 - Canadian Thunder National Series
Race City Motorsport Park - Calgary, AB
Day Three

It occurred to me, as I passed another "smashed" gopher entering turn five, in this morning's practice that I might write the beginning of this entry from the perspective of what seems to be the star of my Calgary blogs - the now infamous Richardson Ground Squirrel. Now that I think of it, I might seem to have been sniffing too much race fuel today, but honestly, I ran this idea by someone and they made me promise to do this. So here goes. :o)

The following was written by Dale the gopher:

There I was sitting there eating some nuts with my buddy Chip when out of the blue he says, "You know what Dale, seeing as it been about five minutes, I think that Jervis fellow should be coming around. (That is if he's on a good lap.) Let's see if we can spook pretty boy and get him to crash. Maybe we'll even mess up his hair gel!" So with that Chip and I wandered to the edge of the track waiting for the distinctive sound of that blue and white bike he rides. Sure enough we saw Jervis coming up, off line and all over the place as usual. As for that Jervis fellow, well, he got off lucky this year (and so did Chip and I) as we hear the official score still remains Jervis = four Gophers = zero. We'll get him next time.

Anyway, now that I've made a complete fool of myself (I'll probably be asked to kindly not write again) I'll get on with our day from my perspective. (As skewed as that might seem right now)

The race went about as well as it could have for us. I managed to get a great start and lead the field into turn one. From there I just focused on hitting my marks and putting in the best laps possible. I managed to lead the race for a few laps until both Michael Taylor and Brett McCormick managed to squeeze by. From there it became an all out scrap as we dipped into some pretty decent lap times.

Unfortunately, as we came through the chicane on lap eight Michael touched his right cylinder head down and crashed rather horrifically. At the time of writing this report my understanding is that he broke some ribs and suffered some soft tissue damage to his neck. Although he should recover in due time, it's disheartening to see him out with injuries. Again, as I have written about in other reports, it was great just being able to race with him. Michael's crash brought out the red flag and with the number of laps completed, officials called the race complete placing us in second.

From here I have a week off before we head off to Mosport for the double header weekend. We've made a lot of progress this weekend and I have to thank Dan and the team for all their efforts. None of this would be possible without the help of everyone involved including the sponsors and I want to thank them for this opportunity.

Stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted.