What started out as a promising beginning to another Super Bike racing season for Gibsons' Laurence Owen has ended with a permanent pit stop.
Owen, who finished second in the 250 Grand Prix Racing Series Class at the Portland International Raceway last year, began his run for a title last month.
He won his first race in exciting fashion on April 10 and was looking forward to an excellent season.
But that all changed last weekend before the start of his second race.
Owen found out that his tire manufacturer, Dunlop, changed tires recently, forcing all the teams to make major modifications."The tires we used to run just don't work anymore," Owen said. "The changes really messed up the set up on the bike. I almost crashed this weekend, so I pulled the plug."
Owen said the major problem is with the front tire he now has to use.
"The added costs are just too much for me to deal with," Owen said. "The only place you can get it is from Europe, and to import those kinds of tires is just too rich for my blood. When we changed the set-up on the bike, I was going around a corner at about 130 miles per hour, and I almost went down. It was a major dose of reality, and I decided I had to pull out. I didn't even stick around for the race on Sunday - I packed up early and came home in one piece."
Owen spent most of Monday talking with Dunlop to try and come up with a solution, but every suggestion they offered proved to be fruitless.
"All the changes they suggested didn't work," he said. "It's more than a little disappointing. After last season, I was really looking forward to this year. We did a lot of work on the bike in the off-season. The first race went really well and I thought this was going to be the year, but now I just don't know. It looks like I'm done racing this year."