By Todd Vallee
Todd Vallee is the official Flat Track Canada announcer and has been announcing motorsport events for over a decade. He has written for Inside Motorcycles for 12 years with roughly 120 articles combined in print and online. Happily married for 30 years, Todd is also a proud father of
two, and soon-to-be first time grandpa. Off the track, you can catch Todd riding his Suzuki SV650, watching racing or hockey, or travelling to a new destination.
When the light flashes green on June 10th, it will mark the start of Flat Track Canada’s tenth season of bringing thrills and spills to eager fans. After a decade of providing some of the best racing action in Canada, some of the venues may have changed since the start, but the excitement level remains the same. For 2023, Flat Track Canada once again promises to deliver some incredible bar to bar racing that will leave fans breathless and screaming for more.
A staple on the FTC schedule, the season opener will take place at Welland County Speedway. Hosting races for well over five decades, Welland has long been known for providing some incredibly tight racing that has produced some of the closest finishes in the series history. While the track was totally revamped in 2020 to provide multiple racing lines, the winner of the race may still have to bump their way to the checkers.
With an eight race schedule for 2023, the series will see a fairly equal split between horse tracks, purpose built motorcycle tracks, and a couple of stock car tracks thrown into the mix as well. With this diverse schedule, every week will provide a challenge to the riders, and ultimately the overall champion will be the rider who can adapt the best to each type of track or at least do damage control at those venues where they don’t feel quite as comfortable.
SOME FAVOURITES MAKE THEIR RETURN
After not being on the schedule for the past few seasons, the series will return to the Leamington half mile for 2023. Long known as one of the rider’s favourite tracks, the packed grandstand will no doubt be rocking as the bikes fly around the beautiful half mile at breathtaking speeds. Also returning to the schedule after a couple of years absence is Ohsweken Speedway. The stock car oval offers a very unique track for the riders as it has the highest banking they will see all season. While some may be intimidated by the banked corners, others will take advantage of the elevation change and watch for them to enter corners high, and then drop to the bottom as they get tremendous momentum off the exits of turns two and four.
Races are also scheduled at the long, flowing horse tracks at Flamboro Downs and Georgian Downs, as well as one of the most fun tracks on the circuit in Wheatley at the Erie County Ramblers club track. Biggest race of the year could be the one taking place at the Hippodrome in Trois-Rivieres Quebec on July 1st, and once again the series will hold its final race at Humberstone Speedway in September.
The 2022 season belonged to Dave Pouliot, and try as they might the racing gods were unable to uproot Pouliot’s championship run last year. Despite some bad luck in heat races, the determined rider always found a way to make his way towards the front, and his championship was sealed with a surprising yet inspiring ride in the season finale at Humberstone.
Pouliot will be looking to repeat for 2023, but there will be some stiff competition for that number one plate. Coming up just a couple of points short of the title last year, Tyler Seguin promises to take another run towards the top of the points chart.
Seguin took the checkers on multiple occasions last season and will no doubt be battling near the front of the pack all year long. Another Seguin could be in the mix as well as Tyler’s brother Brandon took the checkers in Wheatley last season. While not being short on speed or talent, a little luck and consistency could go a long way if Brandon hopes to be near the top of the points at seasons end. Second year Expert Boyd Deadman could also be a player this year after a surprising campaign in his rookie season. Deadman’s biggest challenge could be trying to find a way to be fast and smooth while battling with the leaders. Long known as one of the smoothest riders in the series, Deadman saw his style change drastically last year while trying to keep pace with the established Experts. Deadman did win the final Dash for Cash of the season at Humberstone, but then saw his season end abruptly after a wild ride down the front straight in the final race of the year.
Other possible contenders for the title include Dustin Brown, Hunter Bauer, and maybe even Chris Evans, but they all have question marks attached to their names. Brown is a three-time series champ, but it remains to be seen if he has lost a step after missing most of last year with a broken leg. Bauer is one of the fastest riders in Canada, but he is concentrating on the AFT series and bike availability in Canada may be a problem for the speedster. Finally, there is the grizzled veteran Evans who missed all last season while dealing with a shoulder injury. Evans, despite being decades older than any of his competition, has long been one of the smoothest riders in the Expert ranks and has many Canadian titles to his credit. We will have to wait and see if 2023 sees a return for Evans, or will he continue the role of last season where he had other top-notch riders using his bikes.
Along with the Experts, the Flat Track Canada series offers a full slate of classes to entertain you at each venue. With the first race of 2023 just around the corner, Flat Track Canada can’t wait to provide fans with breathtaking action all season long. Want to experience the action yourself? Click here for tickets!