Irnie Scores Double Podiums in Calgary
Parts Canada Superbike National Rounds 2-3 June 24-27, 2010
Onboard race video/ Documentary available at IRNIERACING.COM
Photo By Epicphotos.ca
Marcel Irnie of Kelowna BC made two trips to the podium in the Amateur Sportbike class of the Parts Canada Superbike Series. After taking second place honors at the Race City course in 2009, Irnie's focus was to come back and achieve even greater results. Irnie trained hard all winter and honed his skills in the competitive Washington State racing series with the aim of being at his best for Calgary.
Thursday's opening practice session was not going according to script. Irnie was just 7th fastest at 1:24.426. There was modest improvement in Friday's practice at 1:23.272; just 8th fastest.
There was deep concern in the Irnie Racing pit at Marcel's lack of pace. Marcel's bike was dialed in and his fitness level was certainly up to the task. It was time for some serious introspection. Marcel intimated, “I have been riding so conservative all season in Washington; I pretty much forgot how to push the limits. I didn't have the tire-grip confidence to be knee-down over Calgary's rough racing surface. Until this event, I had been racing on used 2009 tires, so I needed to rediscover the amount of traction available. I need to start sliding my tires, which I haven't done all year. I also believe that my crash in round one of the Washington series also hampered my practice times.” Irnie withstood two very hard crashes this spring. The aforementioned crash in Washington was a spectacular 130km slide into a gravel trap. He also sustained a knee injury in a dirt bike accident in late March. Both of these events slowed Irnie's 2010 racing preparation program.
Qualification brought a ray of hope as Irnie brought his time down to 1:21.793; quite close to his best 2009 time of 1:21.443. Still, this was good only for 6th place on the starting grid. The start would be a challenge as a mysterious transmission ailment would not allow Irnie to use first gear, which is the ideal launch gear. The mission was clear. With fresh tires now installed, no time could be wasted in traffic as passing space was a precious commodity on the Race City course.
For the race start, the starting light was held for four seconds, which seems like an eternity with the bikes revving at 14,000 RPM. In Marcel's perifery, pole sitter Bodhi Edie jumped forward. Irnie instinctively inched ahead before catching himself. While he was in the midst of pulling in his clutch and backing off the throttle, the light went out and the pack launched forward. Irnie's hesitation allowed the trailing row to pass him in the opening metres. Irnie feverishly shifted trough the gears and worked his way over to the inside line diving deep into corner one. By the second corner, he had made his way into 6th spot. By lap seven, Irnie had made his way into 2nd place, but by this time eventual race winner Raphael Archambault was out of reach. Irnie rattled off consistent lap times in the 1.20.00 range for the remainder of the race finishing comfortably in 2nd spot.
After the race, Marcel was slapped with a five second jump start penalty. This penalty relegated Irnie to 3rd spot as Bill McKay's 19:21.593 would edge out Marcel's penalty-adjusted time of 19:21.672. "So close. If only I knew to go 0.1 second faster on the last lap..doh!" Said Marcel
The post-race tech inspection showed the Irnie Racing 2005 zx-6rr putting out 110.9 horsepower at the rear wheel. By contrast, Bill McKay's 2009 Kawasaki checked in at 117.3; just under the 118 horsepower limit.
Sunday was the second race of this double-header and after a tire change and some minor suspension changes, Irnie was ready for battle. As the race got under way, Irnie was once again handicapped by his second gear launch as he was passed by several riders down the opening straight. Again Irnie dove to the inside and pushed hard into turn one. Third spot was in reach, but Joey McRae held his line and kept Irnie at bay; even as the riders made light contact. During this battle, Bill McKay squeezed though for 4th. Irnie dispatched McKay by the end of lap one and McRae by corner nine of lap two. Irnie could now concentrate on closing the gap with race leader Archambault. By lap four, he had closed that gap and the battle was on. As they entered the front straight for the fifth lap, Irnie attempted to pass on the outside, but Archambault pushed Irnie to the concrete wall with millimitres to spare. Irnie pulled into the draft and made the pass for the lead in corner one. Irnie promptly stretched out a two second gap, but the race was suddenly red-flagged! A slower rider had crashed and race officials opted to halt the race and do a re-start.
Riders were summoned to the hot pit and tire warmers were installed. Said Irnie, “I was pretty tired by this point, but was more than able to continue thanks to my intense training program with Ryan Brown of World Gym Kelowna.”
On the re-start Irnie started on the front row, but was immediately passed by four riders; again due to the second gear start. Once again Irnie dove hard into the first turn and grabbed 3rd place with just Archambault and Samuel Proulx in front. Proulx was very competitive on Saturday, and had laid down the fastest lap of the day before crashing out. Archambault bobbled in the “S's” allowing both Irnie and Proulx through. Irnie out-braked Proulx for the lead as they exited the start straight for the second lap and was leading for the second time that day. Irnie lead for three laps, before a missed shift allowed Archambault through for the lead. Irnie stayed in close 2nd before another missed shift on the main straight allowed Archambault to create a small gap, Irnie would close in the course's bumpy turns, but eventually Archambault would take the win by 0.671 seconds.
Prior to this weekend, Irnie was on the fence as to whether to make the long journey to the legendary Mosport race facility in Ontario for rounds 4 and 5. As Irnie now smells blood in the water, he will have his AMSOIL/ Seattle Tool/ FALCO zx-6rr in the thick of the action on July 8-11.
Marcel would like to offer special thanks to George Tchor from Kreater Ontario, and Tony Blue from BlueStreakRacing.ca for providing new funding for the trip to Mosport.
Marcel Irnie, owner/operator of Irnieracing.com is sponsored by: AMSOIL Synthetics, Blue Streak Racing, British Columbia Trailer, EBC Brakes, FALCO, Fluid Suspension Science, GoPro, Kreater, Magna-Tech Services, Muller Motorsports, Munro Cylinder Heads, Oneononedesign, Pinnacle Physiotherapy, Seattle Tool, World Gym, and Valley Moto Sport.
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