For the second year in a row the Flat Track Canada season got underway with its first race taking place at the Hippodrome 3R in Trois Rivieres, QC. While last season's weather put a bit of a damper on the event, this year the weather was pretty well perfect and fans in attendance were treated to an amazing show.
Pre-season buzz had those in the know wondering what the pro debut would be like for our very own fourteen-year-old Hunter Bauer. Last year, Bauer, sponsored by Steeltown Garage Co, absolutely crushed the competition in the Intermediate National series. For this 2019 season, Flat Track Canada made the decision to bump him up to Pro, making the young Niagara Falls rider one of the youngest pro racers in Flat Track Canada history.
If anybody had any doubts as to what Bauer would do in his first race those quickly disappeared when the light turned green in the first DTX Expert heat race. Bauer jumped into the lead right away while KBR teammate Dustin Brown set off in chase mode in second place. While Bauer and Brown enjoyed the top two positions hometown favourite Dave Pouliot made his way into third. Bauer held the lead until the end looking amazing in his Expert Debut while Brown and Pouliot held on for second and third.
Despite turning the fastest lap in either heat, there was bad news for Bauer however as there was an ominous puff of smoke as he crossed the line which turned out to be terminal, meaning Bauer would have to start from the back of the pack on a back -up bike in the final. Heat two saw Jimmy McCullough grab the early lead on his Sehl Racing Yamaha before local rider Shawn Ford made his way to the front of the pack. Following Ford towards the front was former champion Brodie Buchan who got around McCullough as well and the finishing order was Ford, Buchan and then McCullough.
As if to prove the DTX race was not a fluke, Bauer once again took the victory in his Open Expert heat. With his closest competition again being Brown, Bauer again set the fastest lap time of the race on his way to a flawless performance at the front.
With the crowd buzzing as the green light signaled the start of the final, it was Beaulac grabbing the early lead while Brown got a terrible start and found himself in about sixth going into turn one. Bauer was looking strong after the first lap holding onto second while Buchan had made his way into third. Brown was charging at this point and soon found himself in second place and hunting down leader Beaulac with Bauer in third and Pouliot getting around Buchan. Brown made short work of Beaulac and started checking out on the field while Bauer and Pouliot edged a little closer to Beaulac. The trio of riders engaged in a fight for a few laps and when the dust settled Brown had taken the victory with Bauer grabbing second and 2018 race winner Pouliot holding on for third on his JPR machine.
Next action for the Flat Track Canada series is June 8th at Welland County Speedway.