Yamaha Motor Canada has announced its withdrawal from the Parts Canada Superbike Championship.
Company spokesman Tim Kennedy revealed the decision at a meeting of the series partner manufacturers in Toronto earlier today.
“We are sorry to have Yamaha leave us,” said Colin Fraser of Professional Motorsports Productions, which runs the national motorcycle road racing series. “They have been a valued manufacturer partner from day one and have a long history of success in our sport.”
The company played a key role in the restructuring of the series and the growth of television coverage in the mid-1990s.
Five riders have ridden Yamahas to six Canadian national Superbike titles. The first came from Toronto’s Miles Baldwin in 1982 aboard a TZ750.
West Hill, Ont.’s Art Robbins rode a similar model to the 1985 championship.
Maple Ridge, B.C.’s Steve Crevier and Michel Mercier of Thetford Mines, Que. rode the OWO1 to back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990, respectively and Granby, Que. racer Pascal Picotte won successive championships on the YZF-R1 in 2003 and 2004.
Additionally, Yamaha riders have taken seven National Pro 600 Sport Bike championships since 1986, the most recent coming courtesy of Picotte in 2004 aboard the YZF-R6.
Last season Andre Laurin and his OTSFF squad handled Yamaha’s Canadian road racing program with assistance from Evan Steele Performance and sponsorship from Toyota Canada. Lead rider Kevin Lacombe of Granby rode a YZF-R1 to sixth in Parts Canada Superbike points with podium finishes in four of the seven races and took third in the Yoshimura Pro Sport Bike standings.
His rookie team-mates Royce McLean and Tony Kasper finished ninth and 12th in the Pro Sport Bike championship, respectively. The 14-year-old McLean was particularly impressive and the Coaldale, Alta. rider looked set to take the HJC Pro Rookie of the Year award before an injury in the penultimate race of the year sidelined him.
“Andre Laurin and the OTSFF team were a welcome addition to our series last year,” added Fraser. “They brought a very professional program to the national tour and we were looking forward to working with them in 2010.”
The Parts Canada Superbike Championship will shortly be releasing its 2010 schedule.