Former Seaton man rides to big win in Canada
Last updated at 21:45, Thursday, 25 August 2011
A former Seaton man has pulled off a huge motorcyling win in Canada – and thinks West Cumbria’s rainy weather helped.
Paul Whitehead, now of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, took on the best of Canada’s riders and beat them in pouring rain.
Whitehead, 46, normally competes in the north America’s two pro class championship – 600cc and 1,000cc bikes – which involves riders from Canada and the US. He is currently fifth in both divisions.
But once a year, the higher rated Canadian Superbike Championship comes to his home track at Nova Scotia for a round.
Local riders get the chance to compete and as a first year pro rider Whitehead was allowed to compete in amateur class at the Superbike event.
His first race was for 600s and after qualifying 11th on the grid he finished the race in sixth.
The last race of the day was the amateur Superbike 1,000cc race. Ten minutes before the start the heavens opened and everyone quickly changed to wet tyres.
Whitehead said: “I knew that in a wet race I had a chance at a top three result. You don’t grow up in the wet West Cumbria with out it teaching you how to ride in the rain.
“Conditions during the race were getting so bad that I knew that the race would be stopped before the full distance and if they stopped it then first would go to the rider who led the previous lap.
“Knowing this I decided I would try and lead every lap across the finish line. This strategy paid off and after four laps the race was red-flagged, due to dangerous conditions.
“I was in the lead across the finish line on the previous lap and so won the race.
“Most of the guys I was racing against were between the ages of 17 and 28 and at that age there’s no fear of crashing and getting hurt – they’re not worried about being back at work Monday morning to pay the mortgage.”
Whitehead lived most of his life in Seaton where his mother Elizabeth still lives. He has three sisters – Louise McDermott who lives in Workington, Nichola Rosser who lives in High Harrington, and Christine Clare who lives in Perth, Australia.
Whitehead raced in Britain for a few seasons in the early 90s with friend, Gary Long, of Camerton, who went on to do great things in the Irish road racing, and Isle on Man TT, and was also British 250cc classic bike champion.
Whitehead still gets a lot of support from Pica motorbike garage Lakeland Motorcycles, which is able to get him parts faster and at a better price than he can find them in north America.
First published at 19:22, Thursday, 25 August 2011
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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