Photo by: Vallee Photography
For the second year in a row the Flat Track Canada season got underway with its first race taking place at the Hippodrome 3R in Trois Rivieres. While last season weather put a bit of a damper on the event, this year the weather was pretty well perfect and fans in attendance were treated to an amazing show.
Pre-season buzz had those in the know wondering what the pro debut would be like for fourteen-year-old Hunter Bauer. If anybody had any doubts as to what Bauer would do in his first race those, quickly disappeared when the light turned green in the first DTX Expert heat race. Bauer jumped into the lead right away while KBR teammate Dustin Brown set off in chase mode in second place. While Bauer and Brown enjoyed the top two positions hometown favourite Dave Pouliot made his way into third. Bauer held the lead until the end looking amazing in his Expert Debut while Brown and Pouliot held on for second and third. Despite turning the fastest lap in either heat, there was bad news for Bauer however as there was an ominous puff of smoke as he crossed the line which turned out to be terminal, meaning Bauer would have to start from the back of the pack on a back -up bike in the final. Heat two saw Jimmy McCullough grab the early lead on his Sehl Racing Yamaha before local rider Shawn Ford made his way to the front of the pack. Following Ford towards the front was former champion Brodie Buchan who got around McCullough as well and the finishing order was Ford, Buchan and then McCullough.
In the DTX final the biggest question was how Bauer would do on the back-up machine coming from the back of the pack. While KBR teammate Brown led the field, Bauer was charging from the back trying to make up time. When the checkered flew it was the 2018 champion Brown taking the victory with 2017 champion Buchan taking second after dicing with Pouliot who held on for third. Bauer passed a gaggle of riders but saw his charge towards the front end up in a sixth place finish.
Intermediate DTX looked like it could come down to a battle between Jarrett Phibbs and Kyle Sheppard. Both riders looked strong in their heat races while Dustin Lambert and Shane Corbeil looked fast as well although Corbeil had been penalized for a jump start in his heat. Off the start of the race Phibbs took off and let the rest of the field know that the victory was going to be his and they would be left to battle for second. With Phibbs checking out on the field Lambert and Rod Scott were involved in a great fight for the second position. When the checkers were shown it was Phibbs taking a convincing victory on his Mary’s Motorsports Honda while Lambert came out on top in the dice for second with Scott.
As if to prove the DTX race was not a fluke, Bauer once again took the victory in his Open Expert heat. With his closest competition again being Brown, Bauer again set the fastest lap time of the race on his way to a flawless performance at the front. Rounding out the top three was Trent “Sweet Heat” Pickle who had a great run on his Honda. Heat two saw local legend Dominic Beaulac take the victory while Pouliot and Buchan once again seemed to find each other on the track with Buchan coming out the victor in the dice for second on his Baer Racing Kawasaki. Heat three action saw Tyler Seguin jump to the front on his Evans Racing machine. New Yorker Josh Shear briefly held onto second place before crafty veteran Chris Evans made his way around him to take over the position. Final order at the finish was Seguin, Evans and then Shear.
With the crowd buzzing as the green light signaled the start of the final, it was Beaulac grabbing the early lead while Brown got a terrible start and found himself in about sixth going into turn one. Bauer was looking strong after the first lap holding onto second while Buchan had made his way into third. Brown was charging at this point and soon found himself in second place and hunting down leader Beaulac with Bauer in third and Pouliot getting around Buchan. Brown made short work of Beaulac and started checking out on the field while Bauer and Pouliot edged a little closer to Beaulac. The trio of riders engaged in a fight for a few laps and when the dust settled Brown had taken the victory with Bauer grabbing second and 2018 race winner Pouliot holding on for third on his JPR machine. Early leader finished fourth in the final and the Quebec rider still got a round of applause at the line.
Intermediate Open looked like it could belong to heat race winner Phibbs once again but the unknown at this point was Gabriel Beaulac who had flipped his bike off the start in his heat race and would be starting on the back for the final. Phibbs grabbed the early lead but Beaulac was putting on an incredible charge and was remarkably in second place after lap one with Lambert in third. Beaulac hunted down Phibbs and made the pass for the lead and most in attendance thought the race was over at this point. Phibbs had other ideas however and him and Beaulac swapped the lead seven or eight times over the next several laps before Beaulac was able to take it for good near the end of the race. Final order at the line was Beaulac, Phibbs and Quebec rider Gabriel Boisvert who made his way through the field getting around lambert and Kyle Lonnen for the final podium position.
Next action for the Flat Track Canada series is June 8th at Welland County Speedway. For more information please visit flattrackcanada.com
A HUGE THANKS goes out to the people behind Flat Track Quebec, and their tireless hard work to help make this event happen. We can’t thank you enough!