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Canada’s FIM MiniGP Road Racing!

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Written by Misti Hurst

I was surprised to learn that my local go-kart track, Greg Moore Raceway in Chilliwack, British Columbia, will host the first FIM MiniGP Canada Race series event—a doubleheader, no less—in just two days. Until then, I had not even heard of the series. How could it have happened?

I became interested in it as soon as I saw it on the Facebook page of the Pacific Coast Mini Roadracing Club (PCMRC) and decided to learn more. Through an internet connection, I was able to visit Toni Sharpless’s Super Sonic Road Race School website, where I discovered that she was in charge of organizing, arranging, and obtaining FIM permission for this innovative new Canadian series. British Columbia would host its first-ever FIM-sanctioned road race, and Canada would take part in the FIM World MiniGP Series for the first time.

“Everyone at the Super Sonic School is ecstatic that FIM road racing is coming to Canada after three years of construction!” stated Sharpless. “The FIM MiniGP Canada series serves as the training ground for young Canadian athletes who aspire to compete in MotoGP.”

When a rider reaches the age of 14, they are qualified to compete in the Canadian Superbike Series, often known as the CSBK. Canadian athletes are lagging behind global leaders in road racing because there aren’t many options for younger children to train and compete on pavement.

Sharpless aims to make road racing more accessible to young people, provide young, aspiring racers with additional possibilities, and provide Canadians with the same level of support and training that is provided to individuals across the globe. Her dream is to see the Canadian flag flying with pride over the podiums in World Championship competitions.

Sharpless Toni

Sharpless has an amazing racing career and is a professional in the field as well as an accomplished Canadian motorcycle racer. She started riding at the age of six. She is the eldest of Hall of Famer Bill Sharpless’ three children. Before switching to road racing in her 20s, she began ice racing at the age of 9. She went on to win the Canadian Motorcycle Association Championship and the national junior class championship.

In 1987, Sharpless and Kathleen Coburn qualified for and finished the prestigious Daytona 200, which led to them racing the Suzuka 8-hour, part of the FIM Endurance World Championship Series, for the next four years. They also extended their racing career to include rides in the historic Bol d’Or 24-hour and Le Mans 24-hour races in France, where they finished ninth. She was also awarded the historic Kaye Don Trophy by the British Empire Motor Club, which is given for “the most meritorious high-speed performance on a motorcycle.”

The Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada awarded Toni the Canadian Woman of Influence Award in 2009, and she was inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2011. With her Super Sonic Road Race School, the Canadian MiniSBK Championship Series, and now the first-ever FIM MiniGP Canada Series, she is still actively putting her heart and soul into motorsports.

The Program

The 12-race, six-round FIM MiniGP Canada Series, sponsored by Pirelli and Motul, takes place throughout the nation, with four rounds held in Ontario, one in British Columbia, and one in Alberta. Two or three 12-lap main events are held each weekend at Lombardy Raceway in Ontario, culminating on August 6.

Racers between the ages of 10 and 14 compete on kart circuits managed by the provincial mini-series organizers, using Ohvale GP-0 160cc mini-GP vehicles. Sharpless said, “(The) Ohvale is a fantastic motorcycle.” “They are ideal for kids to race because they are made specifically for road racing and training.” They are thus the MiniGP World Series’ official bike.

For the first time, Canadian youth have the chance to start along the road to MotoGP racing without having to go to Europe or the United States to participate.

The Canadian Motorcycle Association (CMA) is the affiliate of Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), the global competitive body that establishes the rules and regulations.

Germany and Canada joined the FIM MiniGP World Series in 2023, marking their largest season to date. The FIM MiniCup USA, formerly known as the FIM MiniCup North America series, is enhanced by the FIM MiniGP Canada Series. (MiniGP has been trademarked in the US and has been in use for years, but that didn’t stop FIM from using the moniker when it launched its own series.) Alpe Adria, Australia, Austria, France, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Portugal, Qatar, Spain, and other countries are already involved in the FIM series.

Every global region’s winner and runner-up will have the opportunity to compete in the World Series final, which will take place in Spain.

Getting In Motion!

On Wednesday, June 21st, I was perusing this material and contemplating the amazing prospect of my 14-year-old son, Ashton Parker, being able to participate in a nationwide competition. However, how? We had only sometimes participated in mini-road races throughout the years, and we very definitely lacked an Ohvale 160 for competitive usage. Not to add that there were just two days left before the marathon!

But after looking into the series further, I discovered that Sharpless was renting out race-ready Ohvale GP-0 160s via her Super Sonic School. Furthermore, the series’ costs have been partially covered by a kind anonymous sponsor, which has reduced the price for families by half and made it much more accessible and reasonable.

I was unable to resist. The door appeared before us and it seemed like a perfect chance. I signed the child up, bought all the required racing licenses, registered for the races, rescheduled my Friday meetings, messaged Sharpless right away to check whether there was still an Ohvale available, and then I went to the track.

We know Greg Moore Raceway, the kart track, very well, and we live around 1.5 hours away from Chilliwack. Ashton began competing in small road racing on a Yamaha PW50 at the age of six. After upgrading to a Suzuki DRZ70 for a few years, he took a long sabbatical until returning early this year to test out a 125cc Kayo. We were racing against each other for the first time ever, so there could have been an epic mom-and-son fight on the track, but that’s a whole other tale!

However, this would be a fantastic chance for him to test an Ohvale and go up against some of the nation’s quickest youth athletes. To put it mildly, he was rather thrilled!

A Racing Weekend!

It was an amazing weekend, and Ashton had a great time riding against some really skilled riders. He said, “The Ohvale is extremely responsive, twitchy, and quick.” “It’s also a lot of fun, and racing against kids who are so fast was exciting.”

In addition to tire warmers, mechanical support, and general assistance with everything we required trackside, the bike rental from Sharpless and her staff came with excellent organization. Arrive and race is the format, which is quite useful for parents like myself who are not too mechanically minded.

In order to lessen the total amount of travel, families like ours may book back-to-back weekends in Ontario and the West. We traveled the whole twelve hours to participate there because Ashton was so excited about it that he requested me to take him to the next competition in Alberta!

Two consecutive weekends in a row saw the series continue in Ontario, which meant that I just needed to take a week off work to enable us to go there from Vancouver so he could race the whole series. A few weeks ago, I had no idea about this series at all, and now we’ve gone across the nation to make it happen for the child. I often interpret opportunities like this as signs that they were meant to be, as they were too wonderful to pass up.