Life in the fast lane
Rob Brouse is on the fast track to hitting the national circuit in road racing.
The Greater Sudbury man has always had a passion for two-wheeled vehicles, be it dirt bikes, BMXs or street bikes. Simply put, Brouse has an intense need for speed.
“What happens at 150 km/hr to me is what happens with you at 50 km/hr — it just doesn’t seem fast,” he said. “I needed to get off the street before I lost my license or went to jail.” Or worse.
Two years ago, friends dragged him to the Calabogie Motorsports Park racetrack to take part in a track day. After all, the racetrack was the safest place for him to be.
He showed up on a 2010 Ducati Streetfighter, which Brouse likened to a “piece of jewelry that you should not bring to the racetrack.”
But the transition from the street to the track was more than Brouse bargained for.
“There is no corelation between being a good speed rider and being a good track rider,” he said. “I didn’t know what I was doing at all.”
He started riding in the practice track days in the rookie group, with a big X on his back, designating him a hazard. Within about five visits to the track, Brouse graduated to the red group, which consists of all the best racers in Canada. And he was keeping pace.
“If the national racers weren’t there, I was the fastest guy and I had no equipment,” the motorcyclist said. “I started to get notoriety at the tracks. I also found out my times at the track were (comparable to) the national level.”
Brouse realized he needed to upgrade his equipment if he wanted to go any further in the sport.
“My equipment was substandard, so I made the changes and took the plunge, because I do everything to the limit,” he said.
It paid off. Now riding a 2012 GSXR, Brouse has knocked roughly 12 seconds off his lap times.
This year, he’ll be competing in a mixture of regional and national races to learn the tracks, and also to develop his race craft and gain confidence in the varying environments. But next year, it’s full bore national circuit for the local rider.
“I’m the only one doing this probably north of Toronto, and to my knowledge, the first kid from Sudbury to race nationals,” he said.
And Brouse is at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to garnering both seat time and experience with the nearest racing facility a six-hour drive away. To help him stay in shape in the off-season, Brouse mountain bikes and runs.
“I also spend countless hours literally sitting in my garage in a tuck position,” he said. “Your body goes through unbelievable circumstances on a bike with G-forces and speed — from your fingers to your feet, it’s exhausting. But you need to be able to develop a posture and devlop a callus to being in that position for so long. I hate being in that position but I’ll do anything it takes to persevere.”
Brouse has high hopes for a motorsports facility to be built in Greater Sudbury in the near future. While having a track in his backyard would have immense benefit to him as a competitor, his real focus on the new track is the element of safety it would offer other local riders.
“Getting kids off the street would be the primary push,” he said. “I’ve been that guy and I’m lucky I’m even here. It’s so easy to go fast on those things.”
The costs are high to keep going in the sport. Last year, Brouse’s total bill for tires alone was $6,300, and that’s not even starting to factor in his travel costs to be able to get in some seat time.
“(Having sponsorship) helps the racer not focus on what they have to do to get on the bike,” he said. “You have to have a clear mind to race at that level. I’m blessed with the people who have big hearts in this city who want to help me. Sudbury’s a really good place.”
Brouse wished to extend his thanks to his sponsors: Champion Cycle, Bickle Racing, Blue Streak Racing, Mid City Motorsports, Ripp Racing, Superior Auto Collision, Sudbury RV Travel, Tim Hortons Kingsway, Mac Media, Vespa Panini, Accelerated Technologies, Kimpex/Draggons, Royal Distributing and Rhythm ‘n Cues.