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Trophies and Controversy at Mosport PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 26 July 2010 10:11

Mosport International Raceway (a contraction of Motor Sport) - Bowmanville, ON Rounds 4-5 July 8-11, 2010

HD VIDEO Documentary Part One.

HD VIDEO Documentary Part TWO  (NEW VIDEO August 6th, 2010)

Five days after earning second and third place honors at the Calgary rounds of the Parts Canada Superbike Series, Amateur Sportbike class contender Marcel Irnie embarked on the 5000 kilometer trek to the legendary Mosport race circuit for rounds 4 and 5. Calgary had been a tumultuous affair for Irnie as he enjoyed the highs of leading races and standing on the podium to the lows of being placed on probation two weeks later by series officials with no specific information as to the reason(s). Marcel used the Wednesday, July 7th track day to ride the track for the first time.

The Mosport track is legendary and many great racers have raced there.  Halewood, Villeneuve, McLaren, Baldwin, Crevier, Szoke, and up-and-coming superstars Jodie Christie, Cody Matechuk, Steven Nickerson and Raphael Archambault.  The venerable circuit has many elevation changes and blind corners, so learning the track and gaining confidence would be a daunting task. 


For Thursday’s first official practice session Marcel brought out his 2008 zx-6r on used tires. Much more work was needed as his best time was good only for 12th place at 1:31.341; almost 4 seconds away from the top spot. He would have to overcome the complex Mosport circuit before even beginning to think about becoming a contender. For the afternoon session, Irnie turned to his trusty 2005 zx-6rr. Now he was finding his groove as he clocked a 1:28.449; good enough for 3rd spot. He was now closing in on leader Raphael Archambault’s 1.27.215.

Friday morning’s practice was marred by torrential rains. Of the 37 riders in the Amateur Sportbike class, only Marcel and Bodhi Edie ventured onto the track. The riders gingerly rounded the rolling circuit some 30 to 40 seconds off of the dry pace. As the session unfolded, Irnie started to have hopes for a wet race. Irnie offered, “Since everyone opted out of practice, they would have no clue about Mosport's wet traction for the first couple laps. My horsepower disadvantage would not show up in the rain as much.”  As the track was still damp for the afternoon’s scheduled qualifying session, race officials opted to cancel it and use Thursday afternoon’s practice times as qualifying. Marcel’s third place time from that session would put him on the front row for both races.

During Saturday’s rider meeting, race officials talked about using on-board cameras, stating they must be tech inspected, and then deemed helmet cameras as prohibited. This speech may have been prompted by Marcel’s use of a helmet camera in Calgary. At the end of the Calgary round, an official attempted to confiscate Marcel’s on-board camera, stating they owned the rights to everything, and that he was not allowed to run a helmet camera.

A seemingly innocent incident occurred during tech inspection that would later come back to haunt Irnie Racing. Regulations state that “Parts Canada Superbike Championship” decals must be affixed near the windscreen area. Irnie had placed them on the uppermost bodywork for the Calgary event, but technical officials changed their mind for Mosport and placed them on Marcel’s windscreen. Irnie recounted, “At the tech inspection, the staff put another set of stickers on my windscreen, which affected my view when tucked on the straight away. The stickers were printed this year with 6mm of white space on the top and bottom of the sticker. I figured it was a mistake, as stickers from the previous three years didn’t have this large white space. Not thinking twice about it, we trimmed the 6mm of white-space off the sticker top, increasing visibility for the twisty back-straight.”   
As the race got underway, Marcel got off to a great start taking second place behind Raphael Archambault. Irnie held his own until the pack reached the long back straight and he was passed by Jody Greening. As the race unfolded, Marcel settled into 3rd place, but was finding that his clutch was slipping as he powered into the back straight. Marcel attempted to loosen his clutch cable on the go in an attempt to reduce slippage. This issue was now causing him to lose precious time on every trip down this long, high-speed stretch where top speed is required.
Nevertheless, Marcel was able to find speed on other portions of the circuit by taking an unusually wide line in corner two, and carrying more speed into corner eight and nine. Marcel passed Greening on the inside entering corner ten and then set his sights on Archambault. Irnie worked hard to close on the leader, but his slipping clutch would allow Archambault to pull a 15-bike-length-lead on the Andretti straight. Marcel charged hard and made the pass for 1st place; again entering corner 10. Again the slipping clutch on the back straight was Irnie’s Achilles heel, as both Archambault and Steve Nickerson passed Irnie. Irnie did put up a fight for second with Nickerson, but eventually finished the race in 3rd spot.

As Irnie was just about to give his podium interview, a PMP official noted the modified decals on Marcel’s windscreen. He then quoted the rule book which states, "Failure to display specified decals and patches, unaltered and in the specified areas, during any official on track sessions will result in the forfeiture of any series points or purse monies due to said competitor." Race officials deliberated on a course of action and opted to slap Irnie with a $250 fine. Irnie explained, " It is important to be able to see through the windscreen on the back straight, so to me this was a simple safety issue.   I can also appreciate that PMP, the race organizer,  wants to take good care of their sponsors, and I am grateful to Part Canada for their sponsorship. I even have a Parts Canada decal on my truck."

For Sunday morning practice, Irnie considered his 2005 bike’s clutch issue and Irnie turned to his 2008 zx-6r. He was 6th fastest for the session. His 2008 unit was notoriously low on power, but the decision was made to use it for the race. In attempt to mitigate the bike’s power issues, race fuel was used. This unit had previously only used pump fuel. During the race start Marcel dumped the clutch and pulled a wheelie down the start straight. Marcel entered corner one in second spot. By corner three it become quite evident that his bike was not running well on race fuel. His power output was now worse than before, allowing Nickerson to pass between corners three and four.

Soon Bodhi Edie and Jeremie Hade Precourt would demote him to 5th spot on the back straight.  He compensated for his lack of horsepower by breaking late and driving extra hard into corners. This extra effort allowed him to briefly make his way to third spot but his lack of power was slowly undoing his race. He also discovered that his 2008 unit did not have the correct gearing and was not able to reach the top speeds needed for the long Mosport back straight. Eventually Irnie was in 7th place and struggling to stay in contact with the lead group.

Again extra effort allowed Marcel to catch the lead group in the corners. He battled with Philippe Masse over sixth spot, only to lose 15 bike lengths in the long straight. Soon Bodhi Edie was drawn into the Masse/Irnie battle, but Masse was able to slip away. Irnie was faster than Edie in the corners and could see that the lead pack was pulling away. Irnie describes the encounter, “I took a peak on the inside entering Moss Corner 5a; just testing the waters, as Bodhi was slower in this area.

"The Moss Corner is a test of skill and a show for the spectators."  Sterling Moss

I was right on Bodhi again into corner one, and stayed close till Bodhi made a little bobble, dropping into Moss Corner. I went for the side by side inside pass, taking the tightest line possible next to the curbing, but Bodhi didn't see me and cut across into me. We rubbed together and being stuck together, we could not steer and we headed for dirt at the edge of the track.  Bodhi hit the dirt and lost his rear tire.  I stayed upright as Bailey passed on the inside.”   

Marcel describes his feelings after the collision with Edie. “A wave of emotions took over me. I felt sick inside. Bodhi is my favorite competitor, and I have great respect for the Edie family.  I felt absolutely horrible and had trouble finishing the race. I apologized to Bodhi and his family which they graciously accepted. Bodhi said "It's racing, don't worry about it."

Irnie finished in seventh place and Edie was unhurt and went on to finished in 11th spot.

Marcel's superbike schedule is still packed for the remainder of 2010 with three race weekends in Washington, and another two in Oregon.  For 2011, Marcel will be attending races in Portland, Seattle, Spokane, and further south to Utah and California.  "I hope to find more power in my race bikes or find the funding for a used 2010 race bike."  Look for Marcel’s Mosport Documentary, and Part 2 of the Calgary Superbike National featuring Joey McRae's corner one contact complaint.” 

Marcel will also have a promotional booth at this years Center of Gravity, July 30 - Aug 1, in Kelowna BC.  The three day event is BC's hottest Sports and Entertainment Festival focusing on Music Art and Pro Sports. (Marcel Irnie) 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.



Last Updated on Monday, 30 August 2010 09:30


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