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Archive for the 'Special Events' Category

June 5, 2009

Cribs: Team Toyota Yamaha OTSFF (Video)

After distracting security guards with shiny things and cute puppies, Bryan Hudgin and I managed to sneak into the pits of Team Toyota Yamaha OTSFF at the opening round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championships in Calabogie, ON. Get a feel for what it’s like to be “factory” by watching the video below …

Along with our road racing team, we’ll also be following Team Toyota/Yamaha/Red Bull/Blackfoot/Fox Racing at some nationals (which kick off this weekend in Kamloops, BC), so stay tuned for some behind the scenes action from those guys as well. And if there is anything specifiic you’d like to see, hear or smell, let us know and we’ll plug it into the script.

Keep your stick on the ice!


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Posted @ 9:39 am in Racing,Special Events,Sport,Travel Stories   
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June 4, 2009

B.A.D Ride XII (Video)

Well, we just finished participating in the 12th Annual B.A.D Ride, and despite the below seasonal temperatures and high winds, there was still an exceptional turnout. With over 1,500 people in attendance, the Distress Centre;”  raised $200,000!

The day began at the AMC Movie Theatre Complex, located at Highway 400 and 7. Participants rode through the Everyone received a grab-bag filled with all kinds of goodies including a t-shirt and bandanna. Participants had the option of raising funds or simply donating to the distress centre

I have to tell you, the coordinators did a fantastic job. First thing in the morning, the tunes were pumping, bikes were shining, and there were lots of smiles. Q107’s own morning man John Derringer and Global Televisions Susan Hay were in attendance to wish participants well on their ride. Once the riders mounted their bikes, the marching band started to play, the adrenaline started flowing and they were off to complete the 165km clearly marked and unescorted ride, passing through picturesque villages, such as Cheltenham, Terra Cotta and Glen Williams, all nestled along the banks of the Credit River.

The end of the route landed at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum where riders enjoyed a fantastic BBQ lunch, live music and the opportunity to bid on some amazing silent auction items that were donated by the various sponsors.

We also brought some of our accessorized bikes along for the ride for participants to check out, including a dressed Yamaha V-Star 950, V-Star 1300 and Raider. It’s always nice to see some of the options that you can add to your bike. All in all we had a great day. It just goes to show you that when bunch of bikers get together for ride, amazing things can and will happen.

See you at the next event!

Aaron Dowden

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Posted @ 12:03 pm in Commuting,Cruisers,Custom,Special Events   
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June 3, 2009

Photo Report: Calabogie Road Race

Well, it only took 25 years and 24 days, but I finally enjoyed my first, live road race. I know, I know … I should have sealed the deal much earlier, but with my past duties at RXC, my weekends were always tied up at the MX track.

Fortunately, with this swanky new job at Yamaha Motor Canada, I had the opportunity to attend Calabogie Motorsports Park on May 24 for the opening round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championships.

The trip started out in Marmora on Sunday morning, where I was picked up by Yamaha’s PR Specialist, Bryan Hudgin, in James Stewart’s truck of choice, a Toyota Tundra. During our two and half hour journey from Marmora to Calabogie, Bryan and I exchanged stories about college, road trips (we both shared some very eventful ones from our respective stays on the CMRC National MX tour, but we’ll save those for another column), and what it all means. Deep stuff, for sure [laughs].

We arrived to the track shortly after ten o’clock and received a rather unwelcoming welcome from the front gate people. It seems that our VIP badges, Yamaha wear, and heavily labeled truck weren’t enough to warrant us access to the pits. Instead, we were asked to drive down into the gravel pits and park with the public. Nice!

Other than their staff not recognizing ‘big wigs’ 😉 when they see them, Calabogie is a welcomed addition to the series. This was only Calabogie’s second year as part of the national circuit, but will probably remain on the schedule for many years. They have an impressive facility that features a 5 km track, 5-star chalet overlooking the front straight, and pristine landscape. In my very limited knowledge of RR, I thought that the track didn’t cater to the spectators very well (I know,  it’s not MX …) but I’m sure the racers love the long and fast layout, and the many unique sections and corners.

Rather than explaining every detail of my experience, let’s take a look through some pics instead. As always, feel free to offer some feedback. Maybe share with us your first road racing experience??


Quigley Down Under?
No, unfortunately, Tom Selleck didn’t make an appearance in Calabogie, but some really fast dudes did on street bikes. This section was pretty cool to watch from; it was the final corner before the finish and we saw some pretty exciting passes coming out of it. It’s kinda neat driving into the track, too. You’re driving down these back roads, in between gravel pits, feeling like you’re in the middle of nowhere, and then, all of sudden, you climb over this huge hill and see a brand new racetrack. Just neat is all….

New kid in the class
For 2009, we’ve partnered with Andre Laurin and his OTSFF Motorsports Group (who we also work with in snocross racing) to attack the Superbike Championships. While some pundits are skeptical regarding our new alliance/team and experience, our potential was easily visible in Calabogie. We found the podium in both classes with our veteran leader, Kevin Lacombe, and newbies, Tony Kasper, and Royce McLean, showed signs of brilliance in their first Canadian road racing debuts. And once we have more time on the all-new YZF-R1, and the riders adapt better to its new power delivery, look out!


The Calabogie crowd
Since this was my first road race, I really can’t really say what a good crowd is, but here’s how I normally define a good crowd at a MX race. Let’s see if Calabogie makes the grade:

1. Fans interacting with racers – check.
2. Lots of attractive girls – check.
3. Lots of attractive girls who don’t pay any attention to me – check.
4. Fans surrounding the track – check.
5. Fans eating cheeseburgers and consuming beers without shirts on – check. (And nope, for once, I actually did have a shirt on.)

Boy Wonder
I’ve seen a lot of young, accomplished Canadian MX riders graduate into the pro ranks far too early (I still think our system needs to be reworked) that end up falling apart because they can’t deal with the pressures of pro racing. No matter how well you do in amateur stuff, it doesn’t mean anything when you line up against the men.

However, Alberta’s Royce McLean is a little different than most of the young guns that I’ve come into contact with. The 14-year-old is a naturally gifted rider,  who also knows how to overcome the pressures and distractions as well. McLean was never shook all weekend. He ran competitive lap times and never lost composure anywhere – on or off – the track all weekend.

While he was shooting for a top-5 finish in the 600 class, McLean settled for a 7th behind veteran Steve Crevier, and fellow Yamaha supported rider, Andrew Nelson. He even signed up for the Superbike class for extra track time to work on his bike setup, and managed to finish just outside the top-10 in 11th. Not bad.

Keep an eye on this kid as he gets more track time and experience against the pros….

Kasper “The Ghost” and “Smiley” Nick
Two more new faces at the Canadian races and under the Yamaha tent are Minnesota’s Tony Kasper (left) and Nick Cristofaro (right). Kasper has had some good results in AMA Pro Racing, and is also a top snocross racer, while Nick, who hails from Brampton, is a former MX technician for the OTSFF team and also enjoys working out and playing soccer.

Kasper’s weekend didn’t go as planned after sliding out on his R6 in the 600 final while running fifth. His goal was to finish on the podium, as he knew that would surely make Nick smile for the first time in 2009. Just hassling you, Nick.


I’ll let you create the caption for this one….052409_calabogie
Good luck to Team Toyota Yamaha/OTSFF, and to everyone who will be trying to be beat them, at Round 2 in Montreal on June 11-14!


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Posted @ 10:35 am in Racing,Special Events,Sport   
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February 7, 2008

Welcome from Andre Harris

Hi, my name is Andre Harris (you can call me Dre’); I’m the Events and Show Coordinator in the marketing department of Yamaha Motor Canada.

I’ll be one of the folks blogging here; often I’ll blog about sport bikes, though I’ll cover anything motorcycle-related (especially if you ask me to! 😉

Now, a bit about my background…

I’ve worked at Yamaha Motor Canada for going on five years. I like my job – the company is full of enthusiasts, and I get to travel and meet like-minded individuals. And I get to sample the latest and greatest of a wide selection equipment – from dirt bikes and sport bikes to large-displacement cruisers, even beginner bikes.

And quite often, I’m testing one-of-a-kind equipment, before it even goes into mass production! Cool, eh?

I’ve been riding since 1974 (I’m NOT telling you my age! I was out of diapers, but not old enough to get a mature rider insurance discount 😉
My first bike, way back when, was virtually unheard of in Canada, but it was all I could afford – brand new for $600! It was a Jawa CZ 175 [JaWa the first two letters of the developer’s name- Janecek – and first two from a competitor’s model Wanderer; the CZ for Czechoslovakia.)

I’ve been training novice riders as part of the Humber College Rider Training program for more than 20 years, and instructing in advanced cruiser/touring at the FAST Road Racing School for more than seven years.

I was asked recently if I have a favourite bike; I don’t think so – really, any bike with an attitude (but not too obnoxious!) The MT-01 torque sport bike, Vmax, and Roadliner all come to mind.

My hobbies? If it’s got a motor and handle bars… I want to ride it!

Why am I blogging? ‘Cause I want to share my passion (obsession?), relay my stories and experience – and generally be part of the never-ending quest for what it is about motorcycling that we true enthusiasts like so much!


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Posted @ 8:45 am in Authors,Maintenance,Special Events,Sport,trailer hitch,Travel Stories,Yamaha Insights   
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January 29, 2008

Good times at the Yamaha Fukuroi Test Track

Riding the same course the Yamaha MotoGP team rode the day before!

By Dave Shepherd, motorsports technical specialist, Yamaha Motor Canada

I was lucky enough to find myself recently at the Yamaha Fukuroi road track test course to test some new motorcycles.


The town of Fukuroi is one train stop down the line from Iwata, Japan, home of Yamaha Motor Company. Nestled in the hillside of Fukuroi sits this famous Yamaha test track.

Built in 1969, the Yamaha Fukuroi track (known as “FookU” to us inside the company) follows some of the older designs for its 5.8 km layout. Yamaha Fukuroi is shaped in a figure-8, similar to Suzuka Circuit (the centre of Japanese motorsports and that country’s first full-fledged racing course when it opened in 1962).

The Yamaha Fukuori test track has many trees and rails in close proximity, and not much run-off room (sand traps were unheard of in those days).

The day started out with heavy rain, and I worried that the test session might be cancelled. (Apparently, being located among the hills causes problems such as rivers forming and running over the track surface.) But by lunchtime, the sun was fierce and steam was rising from the black surface.

Engaging racetrack functions… all systems go!

The first few laps on the drying tarmac were slow. That gave me an opportunity to switch on those circuits in my brain that let my body perform racetrack functions. Those include:

  • bending in a full armour racesuit
  • getting the mind up to speed to handle the blitz of bike control information
  • learning the curves and ripples of the track at the same time

In a couple of slower turns, the exit line was seriously marked with a wide stripe of rubber. Not my doing, that’s for sure!

There is something special about riding high-performance motorcycles on the track. Without the distraction of normal road traffic or the constant vigil for our police friends, it is much easier to concentrate on the task of improving one’s riding skill set. (In my case, I need all the improvement I can get!)

It’s a great moment when you suddenly slip into the “zone” and the rest of the world is a million miles away.

Inside my Suomy helmet, I hear myself think, “that’s right, I’m being paid to be here and wring out this bike.” A bug-eating grin spreads across my face, and even the fact that I just missed my brake marker doesn’t really matter. I know that some much better riders than me have been on this very same track, and may even have missed a marker or two themselves!

I finally return to the hot pit where a large Japanese contingent is waiting patiently. (see the photo here). I ask about those wide stripes of heavy wrist action; they tell me that the Yamaha MotoGP team were here the day before, testing some new engines and control systems. With the rubber laid that wide, there had to be some very sideways riding; I’m awestruck by the talent of those unknown pilots!

We spend a very full day riding seven new models, gaining an understanding of the reasons for changes and sampling new technologies in the pipeline.

I realize just how lucky I am to experience these things – it’s almost as great as watching delight on the faces of bike enthusiasts at shows back home when they first see these models for themselves.

What bikes did I ride in Japan? That’s a blog post for another day…!

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Posted @ 8:45 am in Industry Insights,Maintenance,Racing,Special Events,Sport,Yamaha Insights   
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November 27, 2007

Welcome from Aaron Dowden

Hi, I’m Aaron Dowden, known around the office as “BeeWee Man” because of how much I love my BW50 scooter! I’ve worked in marketing at Yamaha Canada for about a year; I’ve decided to start blogging so I can interact directly with customers and interested folks (you!)Aaron Dowden

Scooters are my favourite type of bike, overall, but I have ridden other kinds of bikes. My first bike was a Yamaha YZF600R, and my favourite model remains the V-Star 1300. My fav trip on a bike? To Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia (near Halifax).

When I’m not riding, I enjoy playing hockey and learning all that I can about a cool Web practice known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

I love talking about Yamaha products – but just as much, I’d like to know what you want to talk about… especially all you fellow scooter commuters and lovers of scooters in general! Aaron

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Posted @ 8:45 am in Authors,Commuting,Scooters,Special Events,Yamaha Insights   
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November 1, 2007

Welcome to the Yamaha Canada Bike Blog

cr-0207.jpgHi, my name is Chris Reid and I am the Senior Product and Research Manager here at Yamaha Motor Canada. If you are also a ‘sled head’, you might know me as CR over on our sister blog, Sled Talk.

We have assembled a group of Yamaha Motor Canada employees who all love to ride and have some stories to tell. We hope you’ll check in often, and read what we have to say.

(As far as I know, Yamaha is the only motorsports company in Canada to host a blog where we interact with our friends and customers.)

If you have any questions or feedback for us, you’re welcome to add a comment and we’ll try to respond to as many as we can. There are some areas that we won’t be discussing (please see our Terms of Use) but for the most part, be nice and anything motorcycle-related goes!

If you like what you see, you can subscribe (enter email address on the right) and we’ll email you whenever we add a new post, or you can add Bike Blog to your list of RSS feeds. We’ll be populating the blog with a wide selection of content over the next few weeks and we’d love to hear what you have to say about it all.

I sincerely hope you enjoy Bike Blog and if you do, please let your friends know about us.

Cheers cr

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Posted @ 8:45 am in Commuting,Cruisers,Custom,Dirt,Industry Insights,Ladies Only,Maintenance,Racing,Scooters,Special Events,Sport,Technology,Travel Stories,Uncategorized,Yamaha Insights   
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