Lange shakes rust off

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:23 PM ET

Darcy Lange isn't slummin' it.

He considers himself lucky to be racing at home in Canada.

The 23-year-old Courtney, B.C., native was among the marquee names taking part in this weekend's Thor Parts Canada Canadian Arenacross Championship tour at the Stampede Corral.

After winning back-to-back national arenacross titles in the U.S., Lange took the summer off before agreeing to race the five stops on the inaugural Canadian arenacross circuit.

Sure, many of the venues are smaller and the tracks less technical than he's become used to but Lange said he's enjoying the chance to race north or the border as he prepares to compete on the American supercross circuit -- the top loop in North America -- starting in January.

"This is kind of a warmup for me," said Lange yesterday after an afternoon practice session. "And I like getting to race in my country. It's been a lot of fun so far. I was a bit rusty at first after such a long layoff. I hadn't been on the bike much, so the first weekend (in Toronto) was rough. In Winnipeg, things went better."

The new Canadian circuit has afforded Lange the perfect chance to shake off the rust and sharpen his riding before returning stateside.

"The tracks down there are a lot different," said Lange, who added he did enjoy the layout organizers had built at the Corral. "Since it's a big professional event, they build the tracks really technical. Lots of big jumps, big whoops -- everything is big and hard to do. Courses like these are a bit easier, they're more for everyone to do. The tracks are definitely much tamer, not as technical. They're still fun, though, and challenging."

Following four rounds of the Canadian series, two each in Toronto and Winnipeg, Lange was atop the points standings in the 125cc division with a 34-point cushion on fellow Kawasaki factory rider Colton Facciotti.

In the 250cc division, he trailed Honda rider Marco Dube by 38 points.

Round 5 went last night at the Corral with Round 6 tonight.

The series then moves on to Chilliwack before finishing off in Nanaimo.

"Canada, I think, is moving in the right direction with arenacross finally getting a Canadian series," said Lange, who is building a house in B.C. but lives with a buddy in Riverside County, Calif. "This is the first time they have done it. They still have some bugs to work out, for sure, but that's like anything. The first time you do something there's growing pains. But, hopefully it works out and soon it'll be a 10 or 12 race series and there will be some money to be made."

Lange turned the right heads back in '98 when representatives from the B.C.-based Richmond Motorsports team watched him win a race and signed him to their team.

After toiling in Canada for a few years, he went south and won a few races before clinching his first national arenacross title in 2003-04. He backed that up the next year winning 30 of 40 main-event races.

That success has led Lange to make a move to the supercross circuit, the NHL of indoor arenacross racing.

"That's where the money is," said Lange.

Instead of racing in hockey rinks like most arenacross events, supercross is run in baseball stadiums "where (the track) is a lot longer and more wide open, pretty much double the size," said Lange.

Lange said his goals at this point are simple: Be successful.

"I just want to do well in supercross," said Lange.


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