The penultimate round of the Canadian Superbike Championship will return to the east coast for the first time in three years this weekend, as Pro Superbike rivals Ben Young and Alex Dumas look to break their championship stalemate at Atlantic Motorsport Park, presented by Pro Cycle, Kawasaki, and Arai.
Young will carry a one-point advantage into the fifth and sixth races of the feature class season in AMP, before embarking on a season-ending tripleheader in August, but that lead will mean little to him after dropping the last two races to Dumas in Calabogie.
However, Young will get a bit of a morale boost when he returns to Shubenacadie, NS, as the tight eleven-turn, 2.5 km circuit holds a special place in his career – and remains the site of one of the greatest comebacks in CSBK history.
Locked in a fierce title battle with Jordan Szoke in 2019, it was at AMP where Young and Szoke collided early, with the Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW rider recovering from 10th to score a decisive victory after a last lap, last corner pass.
Compare that to the inexperience of Dumas, who made his east coast debut at the SARL regional just this weekend, and it would be easy to anoint Young the championship leader entering CTMP next month. However, if his 19-year-old counterpart has shown us anything in his brief CSBK career, it’s that he shouldn’t be doubted.
Dumas has finished on the podium in every single race since returning north of the border, and the defending champion shocked many when he turned up to Grand Bend in round one – another track he had yet to race at – and scored a pair of second-place finishes aboard his Liqui Moly/Fast School Suzuki.
He will surely be in for a tougher challenge at ‘Shubie,’ a track known for being one of the most physically demanding in North America, but the punishing layout could also work to Dumas’ advantage as he hunts down the more experienced Young.
Their qualifying results will be crucial to their weekend performances as they aim for track position on the run down to turn two, but it will also play a mighty role in their battle for the BS Battery Pole Position Award. Young holds a two-point advantage after a pair of second-place grid slots, but pole in Calabogie helped Dumas close the gap with just two more chances remaining.
Not to be discounted atop the feature class is the other frontrunning Suzuki of Trevor Daley, who led majority of that famed race in 2019 before losing out to Young, the closest Daley has ever come to his first Pro Superbike victory.
The OneSpeed/Pro Cycle rider has been erratic at times in 2022, but the pace has remained as strong as ever with a pair of podiums on the season, and another fast start coupled with the high-stakes battle between Young and Dumas could be a perfect recipe for Daley to finally capture his elusive debut victory.
Inexperience may be the theme further down the midfield, as a number of names either head to AMP for the first time or under much different circumstances. Sebastian Tremblay will be one of the latter, having competed on the east coast on numerous occasions but primarily in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class.
Now fully focused on his Superbike program, Tremblay will hope to keep his momentum going after scoring a brilliant podium in round two, a result that propelled the Turcotte Performance Kawasaki rider to fourth in the championship overall.
One of the more experienced riders at AMP will also be looking to build on some recent form, as Michael Leon returns to one of his more successful tracks after a strong bounce-back weekend in Calabogie.
The Royal Distributing BMW rider finished fourth there in 2018 after qualifying on the front row, and has a few more top-five finishes to his name in the Superbike class, as he looks to play a key role for BMW as they lead the Constructors Championship.
Fellow BMW-mounted rider Samuel Guerin will also be looking to keep his strong form intact, though he will be making his first ever appearance at AMP and will be sorely lacking in experience compared to his championship rivals.
The EFC Group rider and former championship runner-up has been solid in all four races thus far but has yet to return to the podium, and he may have to wait at least one more round to do so as he hopes to cling on to fifth in the overall standings.
One opportunity for movement in the standings may come in the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year fight, as an unfortunate turn of events has opened up a massive prospect for Ryan Taylor.
The Taylor Racing Ducati rider initially looked to be in tough against Trevor Dion after Dion became the breakout star of round one, but the LDS Consultants BMW rider has since decided to focus on his title lead in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class.
As such, Taylor has now dropped the gap down to just ten points in the fight for top Rookie honours, and another pair of points finishes could be enough to give him an edge in the award battle heading to CTMP.
The long-awaited return to AMP will officially kick off with a CSBK Event Party on Thursday night, hosted at Pro Cycle in Dartmouth, NS. The major powersports dealer has been Atlantic Canada’s premier source of fun since 1983, and continues to be a devoted partner of the CSBK series, providing logistical and technical support to the nation’s premier racing championship.
The full schedule for the four-day weekend event can be found on the series’ official website at csbk.ca.