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The Honda CBR250R Canadian Superbike championship was decided on Sunday, August 26th, 2012 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. If you've been following the Superbike National Championship you knew it was going to be an extraordinary race. Little did we know this race would be the most dramatic and hard fought of the Honda CBR250R series.
The feeder series includes two classes: CBR250R racers aged 12-25 and new this year, the media class comprising of motorcycle journalists of varying experience aged 30-55.
The CBR250R 12-25 class was pretty small this year as it's the first season since Honda upgraded the race series from 125s to the 250s. For the most part, four racers were competing for the championship at each race with a few local and talented racers joining in at different tracks.
Stacey Nesbitt (#1) is the 125 reigning champion. At 15, she's the only young woman in the series, a fierce competitor who's fast and who will not give up her championship lightly.
Ryan Roche (#368) is the tallest of the racers; he's 16 and a normal teenager of very few words. Roche is focused, fast and hungry to win. Â
Sean Smith (#195) is also 16 years old from Calgary. He's been flying in for each race on his own. For the first time in the series, his dad is here to see him race. Sean is new to the circuit and had collected some of the worst spills out of the top 4 competitors; he has a lot to prove to himself and his family.
Tomas Casas (#10)Â At 13 years old, Casas is the youngest of the top four, he's also just as much a fierce competitor as his seniors in the CBR250R 12-25 class. He's been racing since the age of 6 in Columbia. This was his first National CSBK series since immigrating to Peterborough, Ontario with his family. Tomas had won 5 out of 9 races so far, each one by fractions of a second often pulling away from the pack of Nesbitt and Roche somewhere in the last lap. This race would prove different. Â
Drama leading up to the championship race
At the daily morning racers meeting, there was already a bit of drama. Roche and Smith were given warnings; they touched fairing in the previous race and were on probation as a result. Further clashes would lead to a points deduction.
Then, there was a controversy about the starting grid. One of the teams wanted to have the CBR250R class grid ahead of the journalists in the media class. It seems the journalists were too competitive in their slip-streaming (getting a free tow). With both classes qualifying and gridding together throughout the entire series, it was decided the championship race would not be different. So journos and racers in the CBR250R class started on the grid where they qualified and not by class.
Three bike crash in the first lap
Nesbitt had a good lead overall having come second to Tomas Casas in the last race. She couldn't afford any mistakes in race 10 or the #1 championship plate would fall to Roche.
The start was aggressive with almost the entire field of leaders bunched together, although Nesbitt had managed to pull ahead of the field.
Disaster struck before the end of the first lap at turn eight. According to the leading journalist in the race, Costa Mouzouris, Casas (#10) made a pass on both him and Ryan Roche (#368) and attempted to pass Smith (#195) on the inside at turn nine. Casas and Smith's wheels may have touched sending Smith into what looked like a low-side. Roche and Mazouris couldn't help but collide with Smith and before the first lap with done, the red flag was out and the race stopped.
Ryan Roche was thrown from his bike, which proceeded to ghost-ride down into turn ten and crashing into the wall, luckily the ghost bike managed to avoid Cameron Walker (#112) in the process. Roche, determined to race, restarted on a spare CBR250R (#12) provided by Honda; he was clearly shaken but otherwise unhurt by the incident.
Both Mouzouris and Smith were taken to medical and unable to restart; Smith was conscious and moving but was dispatched to Sunnybrook Hospital for checks.
You can see Nesbitt (#1) leading in the turn here and Smith about a second behind. He takes a spill in the corner.
Here you can see the bike ghost riding right between Cameron Walker (#112) and journalist racer Pascal Bastien (#4)Â
Race was restartedÂ
Reduced to eight laps, the restarted race proceeded without further incident.Â
Casas Wins but Nesbitt takes home the championship
Tomas Casas went on to win the final race of the season, but second place for Stacey Nesbitt was sufficient for her to clinch the title and the inaugural #1 championship in the CBR250R series for 2012!
You can't take the race out of the racer
As of Wednesday, Sean Smith was recovering at Sunnybook. He spoke with Kim Moore of Honda directly and said he was doing much better now that he was out of surgery. He has a few fractures but is healing well and looking forward to visitors. Smith commented that he thought he had a good chance of getting a podium in the championship race and that he was gaining on Nesbitt when the three of them went down. His mother isn't sharing his enthusiasm for racing!
Costa Mouzouris (#7), despite the crash took home the championship the day before and, while he had a very sore shoulder was doing well after the race.