Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
By John PG Hopkins (the writer, not the racer)
AMA 250cc Grand Prix regular Ed Sorbo made the long haul from Laguna Seca to compete at Mosport last weekend and found the trek to be well worth the effort.
The Redlands, California resident won the regional Pro 250cc GP event, breaking his own lap record in the process, and placed third in the fourth round of the Diablo Paintballs Can-Am 125cc GP Series.
Sorbo's 125cc performance was particularly impressive as this was his first-ever race action on a 125. He rode a Honda owned by series organizer John Bickle that had been damaged in a crash at the previous series round in Grattan, MI.
Sorbo made the repairs and fitted Bridgestone tires. With no practice or timed qualifying Sorbo was forced to start from the back of his heat race grid. He made it up to sixth in the qualifier, putting him on the outside of row three for the 12-lap feature.
In the main event Sorbo rose impressively to lead a seven-bike mob disputing third place and held off veteran 125cc ace Jim Struke for the final podium spot.
"On the last lap I goofed in Moss's [turn 5] and we were side by side up the backstraight," Sorbo explained. "I had the edge off the backstraight and blocked the inside in the last turn. The bugger went outside and still almost got me."
A big Mosport fan, Sorbo was all smiles after his 125cc experience. "I was more nervous before this race than I think I've ever been," Sorbo admitted. "But it was a really fun race, exciting, and everyone rode clean."
Honda Canada development rider Chris Peris won the 125cc Grand Prix race.
More, from a press release issued by event organizers:
Forty-three riders took to the grid for Sunday's round three of the Diablo Paintball Can-Am 125GP Challenge Presented by Durmach. From the front to the back of the grid there were groups of three to seven riders battling it out the entire twelve lap race for position.
Due to the large turnout for the event, there were insufficient transponders for timed qualifying and so two five lap heat races were held Saturday afternoon to set the field.
In the first heat race it was a battle between series points leader Dave Wright and young gun Logan Myers for the win. Mark Gonyou challenged early but he dropped back in the last two laps leaving the battle between Myers and Wright. Wright was quicker through the corners, pulling a gap on Myers, but Myers had horsepower on Wright. Down the back straight Myers pulled the draft and pass on Wright, but Wright fought back and re-took the lead in turn eight. Myers got a good drive out of the last turn and drafted up behind Wright. Wright though had just enough to hold off Myers by a wheel at the line. Had the finish line been ten feet farther ahead the outcome may have been different.
In heat race two the action was hot and fast. Again it was a two rider dogfight between factory Honda Canada rider Chris Peris and Corey Sherman. The two swapped the lead several times per lap for the first three laps, until Sherman decided to cool it and go to school on Peris. On the last lap Sherman closed up the gap in the esses of turns eight and nine and was carrying a lot of speed into the final turn when he thought up the Hail Mary pass and put his bike just under Peris, then ran it all the way out on to the rumblestrips and hold off Peris' counterattack by half a bike at the finish. "That was a ton of fun, it was anyone's race," said Peris. "Corey made a great pass, I can't wait for tomorrow, it's going to be a fantastic race."
Pole was decided by the quicker of the two races, Corey Sherman took the pole with his race win in at a total time of 7:45.343 for the five lap heat, versus 7:48.496 for Dave Wright.
Besides Honda Canada's Chris Peris, Ed Sorbo, currently number five in points in the AMA 250GP series made the trip to Mosport riding series organizer John Bickle's 1996 Honda RS125. Sorbo, from Redlands, California, may have had the longest tow to the track, but not far behind were Morrison, Colorado's John Hjelm and Houston, Texas' Emmit Dibble.
It was Corey Sherman who took the holeshot in Sunday's twelve lap feature. With him though were Peris and Myers with Mark Gonyou, Dave Wright and Taylor Knapp just behind. As the riders exited Moss for the first time and went down the back straight the sound of those 43 125s echoed throughout the entire Mosport facility! Logan Myers was the leader as the riders completed lap two, getting the drive out of Moss and down the back straight to do the draft and pass into the lead. Sherman was having nothing of it though as he would battle back and retake the lead on lap three. The top three riders were trying to check out from the field, but series points leader Dave Wright who had his head down, had separated himself from Gonyou and Knapp and was within five bike lengths of the lead trio.
Chris Peris made his way to the front and took his turn on point coming of the back straight on lap three. As the lead four battled there way around the track on lap four Myers went to make the pass for second around Sherman and the two came into contact. Sherman went off into the grass at over 140 kilometers an hour yet managed to save it and continue on in fourth. Myers continued on but would tuck the front three corners later in turn five, taking points leader Wright with him. "We were turning a good pace when Logan lost the front going into Moss," said Wright after the race. "I had a choice of hitting him or his bike. I hit his rear wheel and went down, I think I broke my collarbone."
Perris now had a two second lead on Sherman and try as he might Sherman could never get the lead down under one and a half seconds even though he was running laps at or near the new 125 lap record of 1:30.792.
The battle for third through ninth was a classic 125 scrap. Ed Sorbo, Mark Gonyou, Taylor Knapp, Jim Struke, John Hjelm, Jeff Chen and Yvan Desi all swapped positions in a race-long battle. Sorbo and Struke, who both did not get the best of starts, had to battle their way from the back of the top 10 up to third and fourth. As they made their way to the checkers it was a near photo finish, but Sorbo was just able to hold off Struke for the final podium position. "I think that for next year they need to move the finish line up about 10 feet," said Struke. "If it would have been there, I think I would have had third."
"That race was unbelievably intense!" said Sorbo on the podium. "I can't think of a race where I had that many guys to race with. If you got by one, there was someone else coming up on you. On the last lap I goofed in Moss, and Struke and I were side by side all the way up the back straight. We were eyeballing each other out the side, and it just came down to having the outside by an inch on him on the turn off the back straight and tried to leave him some room. I blocked the inside going into the last turn and the sneaky bugger went around the outside! I think I held him off by a quarter inch at the line! I have to thank John Bickle for giving me the chance to come up here and run. There were just a hundred bumblebees everywhere you went. Everyone raced really well, everyone gave each other plenty of room to race, I think it was a great show!"
"It was a great race out there," said race winner Peris. "I felt better out there then I have all weekend. The traffic really helped me out, I was able to use them for the draft and get a bit of a lead. Corey was turning about the same lap times as me, I feel fortunate to win."
"I'm happy with second today, declared Sherman. "After my off track excursion there in two Chris had a gap that I just couldn't close. At times I thought I made some ground, but it wasnt to be. But second is good, we got points towards the championship and well go on from here."
Formula USA was very impressed with the show put on by the 125s and has issued an open invitation for the Diablo Paintball 125 series to run with them in 2003!
Round four of the series will be August 9-11 at Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. The series will enjoy full FIM and NAMU sanctioning for the event and is looking forward to having 12 riders from Bermuda come to the Maritime Province to join in the series. The race will also be taped for television as part of the Canadian Superbike Series.
Chris Peris, Corey Sherman, Ed Sorbo, Jim Struke, Yvan Desi, Taylor Knapp, Mark Gonyou, Jeff Chen, John Hjelm, Dave Thompson.
TOP 10 POINTS
1 Dave Wright 125, 2 Corey Sherman 123, 3 Mark Gonyou 99, 4 Jim Struke 90, 5 Chris Peris 86, 6 Stuart Nodell 83, 7 John Dempsey 53, 8 Matthew Dennie 49, 9 Logan Myers 45, 10 Taylor Knapp 44
Full results and points standings can be found at the series website: www.can-am125gp.com